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There is, they fay (and I believe there is), A fpark within us of th' immortal fire, That animates and moulds the groffer frame; And, when the body finks, efcapes to heaven, Its native feat, and mixes with the Gods. Meanwhile this heavenly particle pervades The mortal elements; in ev'ry nerve It thrills with pleasure, or grows mad with pain. And, in its fecret conclave, as it feels The body's woes and joys, this ruling pow'r Wields at its will the dull material world, And is the body's health or malady.
By its own toil the grofs corporeal frame Fatigues, extenuates, or deftroys itself. Nor lefs the labours of the mind corrode The folid fabric: for by fubtle parts, And viewlefs atoms, fecret Nature moves The mighty wheels of this ftupendous world. By fubtle fluids pour'd thro' fubtle tubes The nat'ral, vital, functions are perform'd. By thefe the stubborn aliments are tam'd; The toiling heart distributes life and strength; Thefe the till-crumbling frame rebuild, and thefe Are loft in thinking, and diffolve in air.
But 'tis not Thought (for ftill the foul's employ 'd),
'Tis painful thinking, that corrodes our clay.
All day the vacant eye without fatigue
Strays o'er the heaven and earth; but long intent
On microfcopic arts its vigour fails.
Juft fo the mind, with various thought amus'd,
Nor aches itfelf, nor gives the body pain.
But anxious Study, Difcontent, and Care,
Love without hope, and Hate without revenge,
And Fear, and Jealousy, fatigue the foul,
Engrofs the fubile minifters of life,
And fpoil the lab'ring functions of their share.
Hence the lean gloom that Melancholy wears,
The Lover's palenefs, and the fallow hue
Of Envy, Jealoufy, the meagre ftare
Of fore Revenge, the canker'd body hence
Betrays each fretful motion of the mind.
The ftrong-built pedant, who both night and Feeds on the coarfeft fare the schools bestow, And crudely fattens at grofs Burman's stall; O'erwhelm'd with phlegm lies in a dropfy drown'd, Or finks in lethargy before his time. With youthful studies you, and arts that please, Employ your mind; amufe, but not fatigue. Peace to each drowfy metaphyfic fage! And ever may all heavy fyftems relt! Yet fome there are, ev'n of elastic parts, Whom ftrong and obftinate ambition leads Thro' all the rugged roads of barren lore, And gives to relith what their gen'rous taste Would elfe refufe. But may nor thirst of fame, Nor love of knowledge, urge you to fatigue With conftant drudgery the lib'ral foul. Toy with your books: and, as the various fits Of humour feize you, from Philofophy To Fable shift, from ferious Antonine To Rabelais' ravings, and from profe to fong. While reading pleases, but no longer, read; And read aloud refounding Homer's strain,
And wield the thunder of Demosthenes.
The cheft fo exercis'd improves its strength;
And quick vibrations thro' the bowels drive
The restless blood, which in unactive days
Would loiter elfe thro' unelaftic tubes.
Deem it not trifling while I recommend
What pofture fuits: to fland and fit by turns,
As nature prompts, is beft. But o'er your leaves
To lean for ever, cramps the vital parts,
And robs the fine machinery of its play.
'Tis the great art of life to manage well
The reftlefs mind. For ever on pursuit
Of knowledge bent, it farves the groffer pow'rs
Quite unemploy'd, against its own repofe
It turns its fatal edge, and tharper pangs
Than what the body knows embitter life.
Chiefly where Solitude, fad nurfe of Care,
To fickly mufing gives the penfive mind,
There Madness enters; and the dim-eyed Fiend,
Sour Melancholy, night and day provokes
Her own eternal wound. The fun grows pale;
A mournful vifionary light o'eripreads
The cheerful face of nature; earth becomes
A dreary defert, and heaven frowns above.
Then various fhapes of curs'd illusion rife:
Whate'er the wretched fears, creating Fear
Forms out of nothing; and with monsters teems
Unknown in hell. The proftrate foul beneath
A load of huge imagination heaves;
And all the horrors that the murd❜rer feels
With anxious flutt'rings wake the guiltless breast.
Such phantoms Pride in folitary fcenes,
Or Fear, on delicate Self-love creates.
From other cares abfolv'd, the bufy mind
Finds in yourself a theme to pore upon;
It finds you miferable, or makes you fo.
For while yourself you anxiously explore,
Timorous Self-love, with fick 'ning Fancy's aid,
Prefents the danger that you dread the most,
And ever galls you in your tender part.
Hence fome for love, and fome for jealoufy,
For grim religion fome, and fome for pride,
Have loft their reafon: fome, for fear of want,
Want all their lives; and others, ev'ry day,
For fear of dying, fuffer worfe than death.
Ah! from your bofoms banish, if you can,
Thofe fatal guests; and firft the Demon Fear,
That trembles at impoffible events,
Left aged Atlas fhould refign his load,
And heaven's eternal battlements rufh down.
Is there an evil worfe than Fear itself?
And what avails it that indulgent Heaven
From mortal eyes has wrapt the woes to come,
If we, ingenious to torment ourselves,
Grow pale at hideous fictions of our own?
Enjoy the prefent; nor with needlefs cares
Of what may fpring from blind Misfortune's
Appal the fureft hour that life beftows.
Serene, and mafter of yourself, prepare
For what may come, and leave the reft to Heaven.
Oft from the body, by long ails miftun'd,
Thefe evils fprung, the most important health,
That of the mind, destroy; and when the mind
They firft invade, the confcious body foon
In fympathetic languifhment declines.
Thefe chronic Paffions, while from real woes
They rife, and yet without the body's fault
Infeft the foul, admit one only cure;
Diversion, hurry, and a reftlefs life:
Vain are the confolations of the wife;
In vain your friends would reafon down your pain.
O ye, whofe fouls relentless love has tam'd
To foft diftrefs, or friends untimely flain!
Court not the luxury of tender thought!
Nor deem it impious to forget thofe pains
That hurt the living, nought avail the dead.
Go, foft enthufiaft! quit the cypress groves,
Nor to the rivulet's lonely moanings tune
Your fad complaint. Go, feek the cheerful haunts
Of men, and mingle with the bustling crowd;
Lay fchemes for wealth, or pow'r, or fame, the
Of nobler minds, and push them night and day,
Or join the caravan in queft of fcenes
New to your eyes, and thifting ev'ry hour,
Beyond the Alps, beyond the Apennines.
Or, more advent'rous, rufh into the field
Where war grows hot; and, raging thro' the sky,
The lofty trumpet fwells the madd'ning foul;
And in the hardy camp and toilfome march
Forget all fofter and lefs manly cares.
But moft too paffive, when the blood runs low,
Too weakly indolent to strive with pain,
And bravely by refifting conquer Fate,
Try Circe's arts, and in the tempting bowl
Of poifon'd nectar fweet oblivion drink.
Struck by the pow'rful charm, the gloom diffolves
In empty air; Elyfium opens round.
A pleafing phrenly buoys the lighten'd foul,
And fanguine hopes difpel your fleeting care;
And what was difficult and what was dire,
Yields to your prowefs and fuperior stars:
The happieft you of all that e'er were mad,
Or are, or fhall be, could this folly laft.
But foon your heaven is gone; a heavier gloom
Shuts o'er your head: and, as the thund'ring
Swoln o'er its banks with fudden mountain rain,
Sinks from its tumult to a filent brook;
So, when the frantic raptures in your breast
Subfide, you languifh into mortal man:
You fleep, and waking find yourself undone.
For, prodigal of life, in one rafh night
You lavish'd more than might fupport three days.
A heavy morning comes; your cares return
With tenfold rage. An anxious ftomach well
May be endur'd; fo may the throbbing heart:
But fuch a dim delirium, fuch a dream,
Involves you; fuch a daftardly despair.
Unmans your foul, as madd'ning Pentheus felt
When, baited round Citharon's cruel fides,
He faw two funs, and double Thebes, afcend..
You curfe the fluggish Port; you curfe the wretch,
The felon, with bat'ral mixture first
Who dar'd to violate the virgin wine.
Or on the fugitive Champaign you pour
A thoufand curfes; for to heaven it rapt
Your foul, to plunge you deeper in despair.
Perhaps you rue ev'n that divineft gift,
The gay, ferene, good-natur'd Burgundy,
Or the fresh fragrant vintage of the Rhine;
And wish that Heaven from mortals had withheld
grape, and all intoxicating bowls.
Befides, it wounds you fore to recollect
What follies in your loose unguarded hour
Efcap'd. For one irrevocable word,
Perhaps that meant no harm, you lofe a friend;
Or in the rage of wine your hatty hand
Performs a deed to haunt you to your grave.
Add, that your means, your health, your parts
Your friends avoid you; brutishly transform'd,
They hardly know you; or, if one remains
To with you well, he wishes you in heaven.
Defpis'd, unwept, you fall; who might have left
A facred, cherifh'd, fadly-pleafing name;
A name ftill to be utter'd with a sigh.
Your laft ungraceful fcene has quite effac'd
All fenfe and mem'ry of your former worth.
How to live happieft; how avoid the pains,
The difappointments, and difgufts of those
Who would in picafure all their hours employ;
The precepts here of a divine old man
I could recite. Tho' old, he still retain'd
His manly fenfe and energy of mind.
Virtuous and wife he was, but not fevere;
He still remember'd that he once was young;
His eafy prefence check'd no decent joy.
Him ev'n the diffolute admir'd: for he
A graceful loofenefs, when he pleas'd, put on;
And laughing could inftruct. Much had he read,
Much more had feen; he studied from the life,
And in th' original perus'd mankind.
Vers'd in the woes and vanities of life, He pitied Man: and much he pitied thofe Whom falfely-finiling Fate has curs'd with means To diffipate their days in queft of joy. Our aim is happinefs: 'tis yours, 'tis mine, He faid; 'tis the purfuit of all that live: Yet few attain it, if 't was e'er attain'd. But they the wideft wander from the mark, Who thro' the flow'ry paths of faunt'ring jov Seek this cov goddess; that from stage to stage Invites us ftill, but thiffs as we purfue. For, not to name the pains that pleasure brings To counterpoife itfelf, relentlefs Fate Forbids that we thro' gay voluptuous wilds Should ever roam; and were the fates more kind, Our narrow luxuries would foon be ftale. Were thefe exhauftlefs, Nature would grow fick; And, cloy'd with pleasure, fqueamishly complain That all was vanity, and life a dream. Let nature reft: be bufy for yourself, And for your friend; be buty ev'n in vain, Rather than teafe her fated appetites. Who never faíts, no banquets e'er enjoys; Who never toils or watches, never fleeps. Let nature reft: and when the taste of joy Grows keen, indulge; but fhun fatiety.
'Tis not for mortals always to be bleft. But him the leaft the dull or painful hours
Of life opprefs, whom fober Sense conducts,
And Virtue, thro' this labyrinth we tread.
Virtue and Senfe I mean not to disjoin;
Virtue and Senfe are one: and, trust me, fill
A faithlefs heart betrays the head unfound.
Virtue (for mere good-nature is a fool)
Is Senfe and Spirit, with Humanity :
'Tis fometimes angry, and its frown confounds;
"Tis ev'n vindictive, but in vengeance juft.
Knaves fain would laugh at it; fome great ones
But at his heart the moft undaunted fon [dare;
Of fortune dreads its name and awful charms.
To nobleft ufes this determines wealth;
This is the folid pomp of profp rous days,
The peace and fhelter of adverfity.
And, if you pant for glory, build your fame
On this foundation, which the fecret shock
Defies of Envy and all-fapping Time.
The gaudy glofs of Fortune only strikes
The vulgar eye; the fuffrage of the wife,
The praife that 's worth ambition, is attain'd
By fenfe alone, and dignity of mind.
Virtue, the ftrength and beauty of the foul,
Is the best gift of Heaven; a happiness
That ev'n above the fmiles and frowns of fate
Exalts great Nature's favourites; a wealth
That ne'er encumbers, nor to bafer hands
Can be transferr'd: it is the only good
Man justly boafts of, or can call his own.
Riches are oft by guilt and baseness earn'd;
Or dealt by chance, to fhield a lucky knave,
Or throw a cruel fun-thine on a fool.
But for one end, one much-neglected use,
Are riches worth your care (for Nature's wants
Are few, and without opulence fupplied):
This noble end is, to produce the foul;
To fhew the virtues in the faireft light;
To make humanity the minifter
Of bounteous Providence; and teach the breaft
That gen'rous luxury the gods enjoy.
Thus, in his graver vein, the friendly fage Sometimes declaim'd. Of right and wrong he taught
Truths as refin'd as ever Athens heard;
And (trange to tell!) he practis'd what he
Skill'd in the paffions, how to check their fway
He knew, as far as reafon can controul
The lawless pow'rs. But other cares are mine:
Form'd in the fchool of Pæon, I relate
What paffions hurt the body, what improve;
Avoid them, or invite them, as you may.
Know then, whatever cheerful and ferene
Supports the mind, fupports the body too.
Hence, the most vital movement mortals feel
Is Hope, the balm and life-blood of the foul:
It pleases, and it lafts. Indulgent Heaven
Sent down the kind delufion, thro' the paths
Of rugged life to lead us patient on,
And make our happieft ftate no tedious thing.
Our greatest good, and what we leaft can fpare,
Is Hope; the laft of all our evils, Fear.
But there are paffions grateful to the breast, And yet no friends to life: perhaps they please
Or to excefs, and diffipate the foul; [clown,
Or, while they pleafe, torment.
The ill-tam'd ruffian, and pale ufurer,
(If love's omnipotence fuch hearts can mould)
May tafely mellow into love; and grow
Refin'd, humane, and gen'rous, if they can.
Love in fuch bofoms never to a fault
Or pains or pleafes. But, ye finer fouls,
Form'd to foft luxury, and prompt to thrill
With all the tumults, all the joys and pains,
That beauty gives; with caution and referve
Indulge the feet deftroyer of repofe,
Nor court too much the Queen of charming cares.
For, while the cherish'd poifon in your breast
Ferments and maddens; fick with jealoufy,
Abfence, diftruft, or even with anxious joy,
The wholefome appetites and pow'rs of life
Diffolve in languor. The coy ftomach loaths
The genial board; your cheerful days are gone;
The gen'rous bloom that flush'd your checks is fled.
To fighs devoted, and to tender pains,
Penfive you fit, or folitary stray,
And waste your youth in mufing. Mufing first
Toy'd into care your unfufpecting heart:
It found a liking there, a fportful fire,
And that fomented into ferious love;
Which mufing daily ftrengthens and improves
Thro' all the heights of fondnefs and romance:
And you 're undone, the fatal fhaft has fped,
If once you doubt whether you love or no :
The body waftes away; th' infected mind,
Diffolv'd in female tenderness, forgets
Each manly virtue, and grows dead to fame.
Sweet Heaven from fuch intoxicating charms
Defend all worthy breafts! Not that I deem
Love always dangerous, always to be fhunn'd.
Love well repaid, and not too weakly funk
In wanton and unmanly tenderness,
Adds bloom to health; o'er ev'ry virtue fheds
A gay, humane, and amiable grace,
And brightens all the ornaments of man.
But fruitlefs, hopelefs, difappointed, rack'd
With jealoufy, fatigued with hope and fear,
Foo ferious, or too languishingly fond,
Unnerves the body, and unmans the foul.
And fome have died for love, and fome run mad;
And fome with defp'rate hand themselves have
Some to extinguish, others to prevent, [flain.
A mad devotion to one dang'rous Fair,
Court all they meet; in hopes to diffipate
The cares of love amongst an hundred brides.
Th' event is doubtful: for there are who find
A cure in this; there are who find it not.
'Tis no relief, alas! it rather galls
The wound, to thofe who are fincerely fick.
For while from feverish and tumultuous joys
The nerves grow languid, and the foul fubfides,
The tender fancy fmarts with ev'ry fting,
And what was love before is madness now.
Is health your care, or luxury your aim?
Be temperate ftill; when Nature bids, obey;
Her wild impatient fallies bear no curb :
But when the prurient habit of delight,
Or loofe imagination, fpurs you on
To deeds above your ftrength, impute it not
To Nature; Nature all compulfion hates.
Ah! let nor luxury nor vain renown
Urge you to feats you well might fleep without;
To make what should he rapture a fatigue,
A tedious task; nor in the wanton arms
Of twining Lais melt your manhood down.
For from the colliquation of foft joys
How chang'd you rife! the ghost of what you was!
Languid and melancholy, gaunt and wan,
Your veins exhaufted, and your nerves unftrung.
Spoil'd of its balm and sprightly zest, the blood
Grows vapid phlegm; along the tender nerves
(To each flight impulfe tremblingly awake)
A fubtle fiend that mimics all the plagues,
Rapid and reftlefs, fprings from part to part.
The blooming honours of your youth are fallen;
Your vigour pines; your vital pow'rs decay;
Difeafes haunt you; and untimely age
Creeps on, unfocial, impotent, and lewd.
Infatuate, impious epicure! to wafte
The ftores of pleasure, cheerfulness, and health
Infatuate all who make delight their trade,
And coy perdition ev'ry hour purfue.
Who pines with love, or in lafcivious flames
Confumes, is with his own confent undone;
He chooses to be wretched, to be mad,
And warn'd proceeds and wilful to his fate.
But there's a paffion, whofe tempestuous fway
Tears up each virtue planted in the breast,
And thakes to ruin proud Philofophy.
For pale and trembling Anger ruthes in,
With faltering fpeech, and eyes that wildly ftare;
Fierce as the tiger, madder than the feas,
Desperate, and arm'd with more than human
How foon the calm, humane, and polish'd man
Forgets compunction, and starts up a fiend!
Who pines in love, or waftes with filent cares,
Envy, or ignominy, or tender grief,
Slowly defcends, and ling'ring, to the fhades.
But he whom anger ftings, drops, if he dies,
At once, and rufhes apoplectic down;
Or a fierce fever hurries him to hell.
For, as the body thro' usnumber'd ftrings
Reverberates each vibration of the foul;
As is the paflion, fuch is ftill the pain
The body feels; or chronic, or acute.
And oft a fudden ftorm at once o'erpow'rs
The life, or gives your reafon to the winds.
Such fates attend the rafh alarm of fear,
And fudden grief, and rage, and fudden joy.
There are, meantime, to whom the boift'rous fit
Is health, and only fills the fails of life;
For where the mind a torpid winter leads,
Wrapt in a body corpulent and cold,
And each clogg'd function lazily moves on,
A generous fally fpurns th' incumbent load,
Unlocks the breast, and gives a cordial glow.
But, if your wrathful blood is apt to boil,
Or are your nerves too irritably ftrung,
Wave all difpute; be cautious if you joke,
Keep Lent for ever, and forfwear the bowl;
For one rath moment fends you to the fhades,
Or fhatters ev'ry hopeful scheme of life,
And gives to horror all your days to come.
Fate, arm'd with thunder, fire, and ev'ry plague
That ruins, tortures, or diftracts mankind,
And makes the happy wretched, in an hour
O'erwhelms you not with woes fo horrible
As your own wrath, nor gives more fudden blows.
While choler works, good friend, you may be
Diftruft yourself, and fleep before you fight.
'Tis not too late to-morrow to be brave;
If honour bids, to-morrow kill or die.
But calm advice againft a raging fit
Avails too little; and it braves the pow'r
Of all that ever taught in profe or fong,
To tame the fiend that fleeps a gentle lamb,
And wakes a lion. Unprovok'd and calm,
You reaton well, fee as you ought to fee,
And wonder at the madnefs of mankind;
Seiz'd with the common rage, you foon forget
The fpeculation of your wiler hours.
Befet with furies of all deadly fhapes,
Fierce and infidious, violent and flow,
With all that urge or lure us on to fate,
What refuge fhall we feek, what arms prepare
Where reafon proves too weak, or void of wiles,
To cope with fubtle or impetuous pow'rs,
I would invoke new paflions to your aid;
With indignation would extinguish fear,
With fear or generous pity vanquish rage,
And love with pride; and force to force oppofe.
There is a charm, a pow'r that fways the breath;
Bids every pation revel or be ftill;
Infpires with rage, or all your cares diffolves;
Can footh diftraction, and almost despair.
That pow'r is mufic: far beyond the stretch
Of thofe unmeaning warblers on our ftage;
Thole clumfy heroes, thofe fat-headed gods,
Who move no paffion justly but contempt;
Who, like our dancers (light indeed and ftrong)
Do wondrous feats, but never heard of grace.
The fault is ours; we bear thofe monftrous arts:
Good Heaven we praife them; we with loudeft
Applaud the fool that higheft lifts his heels,
And with infipid fhow of rapture die
Of idiot notes impertinently long.
But be the Mufe's laurel juftly shares,
A poct he, and touch'd with Heaven's own fire,
Who with bold rage, or folemn pomp of founds,
Inflames, exalts, and ravifhes the foul;
Now tender, plaintive, fweet almost to pain,
In love diffolves you; now in fprightly strains
Breathes a gay rapture thro' your thrilling breaft,
Or melts the heart with airs divinely fad,
Or wakes to horror the tremendous strings.
Such was the bard whofe heavenly ftrains of old
Appeas'd the fiend of melancholy Saul.
Such was, if old and heathen fame fay true,
The man who bade the Theban domes afcend,
And tam'd the favage nations with his fong;
And fuch the Thracian, whofe harthonious lyre,
Tun'd to foft woe, made all the mountains weep;
Sooth'dev'n th' inexorable pow'rs of Hell,