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“ Come, ye, who still the cumberous load of life Push hard
up hill; but as the farthest steep You trust to gain, and put an end to strife, Down thunders back the stone with mighty
And hurls your labours to the valley deep,
For-ever vain : come, and, withouten fee,
I in oblivion will your sorrows steep,
Your cares, your toils, will steep you in a sea Of full delight: 0 come, ye weary wights, to me!
“ With me, you need not rise at early dawn,
To pass the joyless day in various stounds:
Or, louting low, on upstart fortune fawn,
And sell fair honour for some paltry pounds;
Or through the city take your dirty rounds,
To cheat, and dun, and lie, and visit pay,
Now flattering base, now giving secret wounds:
Or prowl in courts of law for human prey,
In venal senate thieve, or rob on broad highway.
“ No cocks, with me, to rustic labour call,
From village on to village sounding clear:
To tardy swain no shrill-voic'd matrons squall;
No dogs, no babes, no wives, to stun your ear;
No hammers thump; no horrid blacksmith fear,
Ne noisy tradesmen your sweet slumbers start,
With sounds that are a misery to hear:
But all is calm, as would delight the heart
Of Sybarite of old, all nature, and all art.
“Here nought but candour reigns, indulgent ease, Goodnatur'd lounging, sauntering up and down : They who are pleas'd themselves must always
On others' ways they never squint a frown,
Nor heed what haps in hamlet or in town:
Thus, from the source of tender indolence,
With milky blood the heart is overflown,
Is sooth'd and sweeten’d by the social sense ;
For interest, envy,pride, and strife are banish'd hence.
“ What, what is virtue, but repose of mind, A pure
ethereal calm, that knows no storm; Above the reach of wild ambition's wind, Above the passions that this world deform, And torture man, a proud malignant worm? But here, instead, soft gales of passion play, And gently stir the heart, thereby to form
A quicker sense of joy; as breezes stray Across th’ enliven'd skies, and make them still more
gay. 6 The best of men have ever lov'd repose : They hate to mingle in the filthy fray; Where the soul sours, and gradual rancour grows, Imbitter'd more from peevish day to day. Ev'n those whom Fame has lent her fairest ray, The most renown'd of worthy wights of yore, From a base world at last have stol'n away:
So Scipio, to the soft Cumæan shore Retiring, tasted joy he never knew before.
« But if a little exercise you choose,
Some zest for ease, 'tis not forbidden here.
Amid the groves you may indulge the Muse,
Or tend the blooms, and deck the vernal year;
Or softly stealing, with your watery gear,
Along the brook, the crimson-spotted fry
You may delude: the whilst, amus'd, you hear
Now the hoarse stream, and now the zephyr's
Attuned to the birds, and woodland melody.
“O grievous folly! to heap up estate,
Losing the days you see beneath the sun;
When, sudden, comes blind unrelenting fate,
And gives th' untasted portion you have won,
With ruthless toil, and many a wretch undone,
To those who mock you gone to Pluto's reign,
There with sad ghosts to pine, and shadows dun:
But sure it is of vanities most vain,
To toil for what you here untoiling may obtain.”
He ceas'd. But still their trembling ears retain'd
The deep vibrations of his witching song;
That, by a kind of magic power, constrain'd
To enter in, pell-mell, the listening throng,
Heaps pour'd on heaps, and yet they slipt along,
In silent ease: as when beneath the beam
Of summer-moons, the distant woods among,
Or by some flood all silver'd with the gleam,
The soft-embodied fays through airy portal stream:
By the smooth demon so it order'd was,
And here his baneful bounty first began :
Though some there were who would not further
And bis alluring baits suspected han.
The wise distrust the too fair spoken man.
Yet through the gate they cast a wishful eye :
Not to move on, perdie, is all they can;
For do their very best they cannot fly,
But often each way look, and often sorely sigh.
When this the watchful wicked wizard saw,
With sudden spring he leap'd upon them straight;
And soon as touch'd by his unhallow'd paw,
They found themselves within the cursed gate ;
Full hard to be repass’d, like that of fate.
Not stronger were of old the giant crew,
Who sought to pull high Jove from regal state ;
Though, feeble wretch, he seem'd of sallow hue : Certes, who bides his grasp, will that encounter rue.
For whomso'er the villain takes in hand,
Their joints unknit, their sinews melt apace;
As lithe they grow as any willow-wand,
And of their vanish'd force remains no trace:
So when a maiden fair, of modest grace,
In all her buxom blooming May of charms,
Is seized in some losel's hot embrace,
She waxeth very weakly as she warms,
Then sighing yields her up to love's delicious harms.
Wak'd by the crowd, slow from his bench arose
A comely full-spread porter, swoln with sleep:
His calm, broad, thoughtless aspect breath'd repose;
And in sweet torpor he was plunged deep,
Ne could himself from ceaseless yawning keep;
While o'er his eyes the drowsy liquor ran,
Through which his half-wak'd soul would faintly
peep. Then taking his black staff he call'd bis man, And rous'd himself as much as rouse himself he can.
The lad leap'd lightly at his master's call.
He was, to weet, a little roguish page,
Save sleep and play who minded nought at all,
Like most the untaught striplings of his age.
This boy he kept each band to disengage,
Garters and buckles, task for him unfit,
But ill-becoming his grave personage,
And which his portly paunch would not permit, So this same limber page to all performed it.
Meantime the master-porter wide display'd
Great store of caps, of slippers, and of gowns;
Wherewith he those that enter'd in, array'd
Loose, as the breeze that plays along the downs,
And waves the summer-woods when evening frowns.
O fair undress, best dress! it checks no vein,
But every flowing limb in pleasure drowns,
And heightens ease with grace. This done, right
fain, Sir porter sat him down, and turn'd to sleep again.