« הקודםהמשך »
Who breathes, muft fuffer; and who thinks, muft
mourn ; And he alone is blefs'd, who ne'er was borm.
** Yet in thy turn, thou frowning preacher, hear:
* Are not thefe general maxims too fevere ?
** Say: cannot Power fecure its owner's blifs ?
** And is not Wealth the potent fire of peace ? ?
** Are vi&tors blefs'd with fame, or kings with eafe?
I tell thee, Life is but one common care; And Man was born to fuffer, and to fear.
** But is no rank, no ftation, no degree ** From this contagious taint of forrow free ?
None, mortal, none: yet in a bolder ftrain
I,et me this melancholy truth maintain:
But hence, ye worldly, and prophane, retire:
For I adapt my voice, and raife my lyre
To notions not by vulgar ear receiv'd:
Yet ftill muft covet life, and be deceiv'd:
Your very fear of death fhall make ye try
To catch the fhade of immortality ;
Wifhing on earth to linger, and to fave
Part of its prey from the devouring grave;
To thofe who may furvive ye, to bequeath :
Something entire, in fpite ofTine and Death ;
A fancy'd kind of being to retrieve,
And in a book, or from a building iive.
Falfe hope! vain labour! let fome ages fy:
The dome fhall moulder and the volume die:
Wretches, ftill taught, ftill will ye think it ftrange,
That all the parts of this great fabric change;
Quit their old ftation, and primæval frame;
And lofe their fhape, their effence, and their name?
Reduce the fong : our hopes, our joys are vain : Our lot is forrow ; and our portion paim.
What paufe from woe, whathopes of comfort bring
The name of wife or great, ofjudge or king?
What is a king?—a man condemn'd to bear
The publick burden of the nation's care;
Now crown'd fome angry fa&tion to appeafe ;
Now falls a vi&im to the people's eafe:
From the firft blooming of his ill-taught youth,
Nourifh'd in flattery, and eftrang'd from truth :
At home furrounded by a fervile croud,
Prompts to abufe, and in detra&tion loud:
Abroad begirt with men, and fwords, and fpears ;
His very ftate acknowledging his fears:
Marching amidft a thoufand guards, he fhows
His fecret terror of a thoufand foes;
In war, however prudent, great, or brave,
To blind events, and fickle chance a flave :
Seeking to fettle what for ever flies ;
Sure of the toil, uncertain of the prize.
But he returns with conqueft on his brow;
Brings up the triumph and abfolves the vow:
The captive Generals to his carr are ty'd :
The joyful citizens tumultuous tide ?
Echoing his glory, gratify his pride.
What is this triumph ? madnefs, fhouts, and noife, One great colle&tion of the people's voice. The wretches he brings back, in chains relate, What may to-morrow be the vi&tor's fate. The fpoils and trophies borne before him, fhow Mational lofs, and epidemick woe, 3 Various diftrefs, which he and his may know. Does he not mourn the valiant thoufands flain ; The heroes, once the glory of the plain, Left in the confii&t of the fatal day, Or the wolfe's portion, or the vulture's prey? Does he not weep the lawrel, which he wears, Wet with the foldier's blood, and widows tears ? See, where he comes, the darling of the war! See millions crouding round the gilded car! In the vaftjoys of this ecftatic hour, And full fruition of fuccef$ful power, One moment and one thought might let him fcan The various turns of life, and fickle ftate of man. Are the dire images of fad diftruft, And popular change obfcur'd amid the duft, That rifes from the vi&or's rapid wheel ? Can the loud clarion, or fhrill fife repel The inward cries of care ? can Nature's voice Plaintive be drown'd, or leffen'd in the noife ; Tho* fhouts as thunder loud afHi&t the air Stun the birds now releas'd, and fhake the ivory chair ? Yon* croud (he might refle&t) yon* joyful croud,
Pleas'd with my honours, in my praifes loud (Should
At the high palace, or the crouded gate ;
With reftlefs rage would pull my ftatues down;
And caft the brafs anew to his renown.
O impotent defire of worldly fway!
That I, who make the triumph ofto-day,
May ofto-morrow's pomp one part appear,
Ghaftly with wounds, and lifelefs on the bier!
Then [vilenefs of mankind!] then all of thefe,
Whom my dilated eye with labour fees,
Would one, alas! repeat me good, or great,
Wafh my pale body, or bewail my fate ?
Or, march*d I chain'd behind the hoftile carr,
The vi&or's paftime, and the fport of war ?
Would one, would one his pitying forrow lend,
Orbe fo poor, to own he was my friend?
Avails it then, O Reafon, to be wife ?
To fee this cruel fcene with quicker eyes ?
To know with more diftin&tion to complain,
And have fuperior fenfe in feeling pain ?
Let us revolve that roll with ftri&teft eye,
Where fafe from time diftinguifh'd a&tions lie;
And judge ifgreatnef be exempt from pain,
Or pleafure ever may with power remain. '
Adam, great type, for whom the world was made,
The faireft bleffing to his arms convey*d,
A charming wife ; and air, and fea, and land,
And all that move therein to his command
Render'd obedient: fay, my penfive Mufe,
What did thefe golden promifes produce ?
Scarce tafting life, he was ofjcy bereav'd:
One day, I think, in Paradife he liv'd;
Deftin'd the next his journey to purfue,
Where wounding thorns, and curfed thiitles grew,
E'er yet he earns his bread, a-down his brow,
Inclin'd to earth, his labouring fweat muft flow:
His limbs muft ake, with daily toils opprefs'd;
E'er long-wifh'd night brings neceffary reft :
Still viewing with regret his darling Eve,
He for her follies, and his own muft grieve.
Bewailing ftill a-freih their haplefs choice;
His ear oft frighted with the imag'd voice
Of Heaven, when firft it thunder'd ; oft his view
Aghaft, as when the infant lightning fiew ;
And the ftern Cherub ftop'd the fatal road, *
Arm'd with the fames of an avenging God.
His younger fon on the polluted ground,
Firft fruit of death lies plaintive of a wound
Given by a brother's hand : his eldeft birth
Flies, mark'd by Heaven, a fugitive o'er earth.
Yet why thefe forrows heap'd upon the fire,
Becomes not man, nor angel to enquire.
Each age finn'don ; and gui!t advanc'd with time:
The fon ftill added:to the father's crime;
*Till God arofe, and great in anger faid:
Lo! it repenteth me, that man was made,
Withdraw thy light, thou fun! be dark, ye fkies!
And from your deep abyfs, ye waters, rife!