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OT HE following Translation is from a Poem justly admir’d for
I the Elegance and Purity of its Style, and for comprising in an easy, concise, perspicuous and affecting Manner, the strongest Proofs from Reafon, of the most interesting and important Truth that the Mind of Man can contemplate. As it peculiarly excels in the Juftness and Propriety of the Language it is wrote in, it must appear to disadvantage in any other. I have however endeavour'd to give at least a faithful and exact Translation of it, and in some Measure to preserve the Spirit of the Original, by keeping as close as possible, not only to the Sense of the learned and ingenious Author, but to his Words, and Manner of Expression. The rendering of it into English may possibly contribute towards making the Arguments upon this Subject more generally known and attended to, and consequently more effectually answer the good Intention of the Poem. For it is greatly to be hoped, that if Men were once firmly persuaded of the Immortality of the Soul, upon the Principles of natural Reason, they might not only be prevailed upon to live more consistently with the Dignity of their Nature, and the Expectation of a future State; but also be disposed the more readily, and thankfully to embrace that Divine Revelation, of which this Doctrine is a fundamental Point, infallibly made known to them, in the clearest and most awful Light.
I have only to add, that I did not hear of Mr. Hay’s intending to oblige the World with a Translation of this Poem, till I had finish'd my own. The Performance of so ingenious a Writer would, in all Probability, have superseded this Attempt of mine, if it had not been undertaken in a different kind of Verse.
TELL other Animals on Earth enjoy
A The Lot which Nature gave, nor wish for more. SSC Man only, with Sagacity to know, And with importunate Desire, of Things The Reasons and Connections to search out, Takes a vain Journey: Death with fable Wings Hangs o'er, and in the Middle of his Course, Arrests him as he goes. Why this, if nought Wisdom divine created has in Vain? Say, for what End these Seeds of heav’nly Mind In Man implanted, if they have not Pow'r To grow and ripen to their proper Fruits!
Of Things to know the Causes, what avails;
Come on then, fill the Bowl: Eat, Drink, and Play ;
But soon of these Delights we weary grow; Scarce is the Pleasure tasted, ere it cloys. These Trifles then dismiss’d, let's try to find Things of more grave Concern. Go, heap up Wealth; The Path, where Honour or Ambition leads, Pursue, attended with a num'rous Throng Of Morning-Visiters.. Why many Words? To the fame Point you still are carried round, Forc'd to exclaim, that All is Vanity.
What Way then try we? Where the friendly Shore?
See you not how the Mind, whilft closely pent
Nay more, She covets not these fleeting Joys,
Take Courage then; for neither works in vain
Indeed, whilft Life remains, (if what's enclos’d.
Can never in the Body's Cells be lodg’d,
That too, which Life supplies with all it wants
Those too, whose Eloquence in rapid Course