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Long ere the honey-moon could wane, Perdition feiz'd on ev'ry twain; At ev'ry house, and all day long, Repentance ply'd her fcorpion thong: Difguft was there with frowning mien, And ev'ry wayward child of spleen. Hymen approach'd his awful fane, Attended by a num'rous train. Love, with each foft and namelefs grace, Was firft in favour and in place: Then came the god, with folemn gait, Whofe ev'ry word was big with fate; His hand a flaming taper bore, That facred fvinbol, fam'd of yore. Virtue, adorn'd with ev'ry charm, Suftain'd the god's incumbent arm; Beauty improv'd the glowing feene With all the roses of eighteen : Youth led the gaily fimiling fair; His purple pinions wav'd in air; Wealth, a clofe hunks, walk'd hobbling nigh, With vulture-claw and eagle-eye. Who threefcore years had feen or more ('Tis faid his coat had feen a foore); Proud was the wretch, tho' clad in rags, Prefuming much upon his bags.
A female next her arts difplay'd;
Poets alone can paint the inaid:
Truft me, Hogarth (tho' great thy fame)
'Twould pofe thy fkill to draw the fame;
And yet thy mimic pow'r is more
Than ever painter's was before.`
Now fhe was fair as cygnet's down,
Now, as Mat Prior's Emina, brown;
And, changing as the changing flow'r,
Her drefs the vary'd ev'ry hour.
'Twas Fancy, child- you know the fair-
Who pins your gown and fets your hair.
Lo! the ged mounts his throne of state,
And fits the arbiter of fate:
His head with radiant glories dreft,
Gently reclin' on Virtue's breaft.
Love took his ftation on the right;
His quiver beam'd with golden light:
Beauty ufurp'd the fecond place,
Ambitious of diftinguifh'd grace;
She claim'd this ceremonial joy,
Becaufe related to the boy;
Said, it was hers to point his dart,
And fpeed its paffage to the heart;
While on the god's inferior hand
Fancy and Wealth obtain'd their stand.
And now the hallow'd rites proceed,
And now a thoufand heart-firings bleed,
I faw a blooming, trembling bride,
A toothless lover join'd her fide;
Averfe the turn'd her weeping face,
And fhudder'd at the cold embrace.
But various baits their force impart;
Thus titles lie at Celia's heart.
A pallion much too foul to name,
Cofts fupercilious prudes their fame:
Prudes wed to publicans and finnets;
The hungry poet weds for dinners.
The god, with frown indignant, view'd
The rabble covetous or lewd;
By ev'ry vice his altar stain’d,
By ev'ry fool his rites prophan'd:
When Love complain'd of Wealth aloud,
Affirming Wealth debauch'd the crowd,
Drew up in form his heavy charge,
Defiring to be heard at large.
The god confents, the throng divide,
The young efpous'd the plaintiff's fide;
The old declar'd for the defendant,
For age is money's worn attendant.
Love faid, that wedlock was defign'd
By gracious Heav'n to match the mind;
To pair the tender and the juft,
And his the delegated trust:
That Wealth had play'd a knavifh part,
And taught the tongue to wrong the heart.
But what avails the faithlefs voice?
The injur'd heart difdains the choice.
What wond'rous change in each was wrought, Believe me, fair, furpaffes thought.
If Love had many charms before,
He now had charms ten thousand more:
If Wealth had ferpents in his breaft,
They were dead, or lull'd to reft.
Beauty, that vain, affected thing,
Who join'd the hymeneal ring,
Approach'd with round, unthinking face ;
And thus the trifler ftates her cafe:
She faid, that Love's complaints, 'twas known, Exactly tally'd with her own;
That Wealth had learn'd the felon's arts,
And robb'd her of a thousand hearts;
Defiring judgment against Wealth,
For falfchood, perjury, and stealth:
All which the could on oath depofe;
And hop'd the court would flit his nofe.
But Hymen, when he heard her name,
Call'd her an interloping dame;
Wealth ftraight reply'd, that Love was blind, Look'd thro' the crowd with angry state,
And talk'd at random of the mind :
That killing eyes, and bleeding hearts,
And all th'artillery of darts,
Were long ago exploded fancies,
And laugh'd at, even in romances.
Poets indeed style love a treat,
Perhaps for want of better meat :
And love might be delicious fare,
Could we, like pocts, live on air.
But grant that angels feaft on love
(Thofe purer effences above)
Yet Albion's fons, he understood,
Preferr'd a more fubftantial food.
Thus while with gibes he drefs'd his caufe,
His grey admirers hemin'd applaufe.
With feeming conqueft, pert and proud,
Wealth fhook his fides, and chuckl'd loud;
When Fortune, to restrain his pride,
And fond to favour Love befide,
Op'ning the mifer's tape-ty'd veft,
Difclos'd the cares which tung his breast:
• Wealth stood abafh'd at his difgrace,
And a deep crimfon flufh'd his face.
Love fweetly fumper'd at the fight;
gay adherents laugh'd outright.
The god, tho' grave his temper, fmil'd;
For Hymen dearly priz'd the child.
But he who triumphs o'er his brother,
In turn is lough'd at by another.
Such cruel fcores we often find
Repaid the criminal in kind:
For Poverty, that famith'd fiend!
Ambitious of a wealthy friend,
Advanc'd into the mifer's place,
And ftar'd the stripling in the face;
Whofe lips grew pale, and cold as clay :
I thought the chit would fwoon away.
The god was ftudious to employ
His cares to aid the vanquish'd boy;
And therefore iffu'd his decree,
That the two partics ftraight agree 7
When both obey'd the god's cominands,
And Love and Riches join'd their hands.
And blam'd the porter at the gate,
For giving entrance to the fair,
When the was no effential there.
To fink this haughty tyrant's pride,
He order'd Fancy to prefide.
Hence, when debates on beauty rife,
And cach bright fair difputes the prize,
To Fancy's court we straight apply,
And wait the fentence of her eye;
In Beauty's realms fhe holds the feals,
And her awards preclude appeals.
$219. Vifion VIII. Life.
LET not the young my precepts fhun;
Who flight good counfels are undone.
Your poet fung of love's delights,
Of halcyon days and joyous nights;
To the gay fancy lovely themes;
And fain I'd hope they're more than dreams.
But, if you pleafe, before we part,
I'd fpeak a language to your heart.
We'll talk of Life, tho' much I fear
Th'ungrateful tale will wound your car.
You aife your fanguine thoughts too high,
And hardly know the reafon why:
But fay, Life's tree bears golden fruit,
Some canker fhall corrode the root;
Some unexpected storm shall rife,
Or fcorching funs, or chilling skies;
And (if experienc'd truths avail)
All your autumnal hopes shall fail.
But, poet, whence such wide extremes ? Well may you ftyle your labours dicams. A fon of forrow thou, I ween,
• Whofe Visions are the brats of Spleen. Is blifs a vague, unmeaning name? Speak then the paffions ufe or aim: Why rage deres without controul, And roufe fuch whirlwinds in the foul? Why Hope erects her tow'ring creft, And laughs and riots in the breat
• Think not my weaker brain turns round;
• Think not I tread on fairy ground;
Think not your pulfe alone beats true-
Mine makes as healthful mufic too.
Our joys, when Life's foft fpring we trace,
• Put forth their early buds apace.
Why fhould the preacher take your pence,
And fmother truth to flatter fenfe?
I'm fure phyficians have no merit,
Who kill thro' lenity of fpirit.
See the bloom loads the tender shoot;
• The bloom conceals the future fruit.
Yes, manhood's warm meridian fun
• Shall ripen what in fpring begun.
• Thus infant rofes, ere they blow,
In germinating clusters grow;
And only wait the fummer's ray,
To burft and bloom to the day.'
What faid the gay unthinking boy?
Methought Hilario talk'd of joy!
Tell, if thou can'ft, whence joys arife,
Or what thofe mighty joys you prize.
You'll find (and truft fuperior years)
The vale of life a vale of tears.
Could wisdom teach where joys abound,
Or riches purchase them when found,
Would fcepter'd Solomon complain,
That all was fleeting, false, and vain ?
Yet fcepter'd Solomon could fay,
Returning clouds obfcur'd his day.
Thofe maxims, which the preacher drew,
The royal fage experienc'd true.
He knew the various ills that wait
Our infant and meridian state;
That toys our earliest thoughts engage,
And diffrent toys maturer age;
That grief at ev'ry stage appears,
But diff'rent griefs at diff'rent years;
That vanity is feen, in part,
Infcrib'd on ev'ry human heart;
In the child's breaft the fpark began,
Grows with his growth, and glares in man.
But when in life we journey late,
If follies die, do griefs abate?
Ah! what is life at fourfcore years?
One dark, rough road, of fighs, groans, pains, and
Perhaps you'll think I act the fame
As a fly fharper plays his game:
You triumph ev'ry deal that's paft,
He's fure to triumph at the last
Who often wins fome thoufands more
Than twice the fums you won before.
But I'm a lofer with the reft;
For life is all a deal at best ;
Where not the prize of wealth or fame
Repays the trouble of the game-
(A truth no winner e'er deny'd,
An hour before that winner dy’d).
Not that with me these prizes fhine;
For neither fame nor wealth are mine.
My cards, a weak plebeian band,
With fcarce an honour in my hand!
And, fince my trumps are very few,
What have I more to boast than you?
Nor am I gainer by your fall;
That harlot, Fortune, bubbles all!
'Tis truth (receive it ill or well)
'Tis melancholy truth I tell.
That life's a game, divines confefs;
This fays at cards, and that at chefs :
But, if our views be center'd here,
'Tis all a lofing game, I fear.
Sailors, you know, when wars obtain,
And hostile veffels crowd the main,
If they difcover from afar
A bark as diftant as a star,
Hold the perfpective to their eyes,
To learn its colours, strength, and fize
And, when this fecret once they know,"
Make ready to receive the foc.
Let you and I from failors learn
Important truths of like concern.
I clos'd the day, as cuftom fed,
With reading, till the time of bed;
Where Fancy, at the midnight hour,
Again difplay'd her magic pow'r-
(For know, that Fancy, like a fprite,
Prefers the filent scenes of night).
She lodg'd me in a neighb'ring wood,
No matter where the thicket stood;
The Genius of the place was nigh,
And held two pictures to my eye.
The curious painter had pourtray'd
Life in each juft and genuine fhado.
They, who have only known its dawn,
May think thefe lines too deeply drawn;
But riper years, I fear, will fhew
The wifer artifts paint too true.
One piece presents a rueful wild,
Where not a fummer's fun had finil'd:
The road with thorns is cover'd wide,
And grief fits weeping by the fide;
Her tears with conftant tenor flow;
And form a mournful lake below;
Whofe filent waters, dark and deep,
Thro' all the gloomy valley creep.
Paffions that flatter, or that flay,
Are beafts that fawn, or birds that prey.
Here Vice affumes the ferpent's fhape;
There Folly perfonates the ape:
Here Av'rice gripes with harpy's claws;
There Malice grins with tiger's jaws;
While fons of Mifchief, Art and Guile,
Are alligators of the Nile.
E'en Pleasure acts a treach'rous part;
She charms the fenfe, but ftings the heart.
And when the gulls us of our wealth,
Or that fuperior pearl, our health,
Reftores us nought but pains and woe,
And drowns us in the lake below.
There a commiffion'd angel ftands,
With defolation in his hands!
He fends the all-devouring flame,
And cities hardly boast a name:
Or wings the peftilential blaft,
And, lo! ten thousands breathe their laft.
He fpeaks-obedient tempefts roar,
And guilty nations are no more :
He fpeaks the fury Difcord raves,
And fweeps whole armies to their graves :
Or Famine lifts her mildew'd hand,
And Hunger howls thro' all the land.
Oh! what a wretch is man!' I cry'd; Expos'd to death on ev'ry fide!
And fure as born to be undone By evils which he cannot fhun! Befides a thoufand baits to fin, A thousand traitors lodg'd within! For foon as Vice affaults the heart, The rebels take the dæmon's part.' I figh, my aching bofom bleeds; When ftraight the milder plan fucceeds: The lake of tears, the dreary fhore, The fame as in the piece before. But gleams of light are here difplay'd To cheer the eye, and gild the fhade: Affliction fpeaks a fofter style, And Difappointment wears a fmile. A group of virtues blossom near; Their roots improve by ev'ry tear. Here Patience, gentle maid! is nigh, To calm the form and wipe the eye: Hope acts the kind phyfician's part, And warms the solitary heart: Religion nobler comfort brings, Difarms our griefs, or blunts their stings; Points out the balance on the whole, And Heav'n rewards the ftruggling soul.
But while thefe raptures I purfue,
The Genius fuddenly withdrew.
IS thought my visions are too grave”; 'TIS A proof I'm no defigning knave. Perhaps, if int'reft held the fcales, I had devis'd quite diff'rent tales; Had join'd the laughing, low buffoon, And fcribbl'd fatire and lampoon; Or ftirr'd each fource of foft defire, And fann'd the coals of wanton fire: Then had my paltry Vifions fold; Yes, all my dreams had turn'd to gold; Had prov'd the darlings of the town, And I-a poet of renown!
Let not my awful theme furprise; Let no unmanly fears arise. I wear no melancholy hue; No wreaths of cyprefs, or of yew. The fhroud, the coffin, pall, or hearse, Shall ne'er deform my fofter verfe. Let me confign the fun'ral plume, The herald's paint, the fculptur'd tomb, And all the folemn farce of graves, To undertakers and their flaves.
You know, that moral writers fay The world's a stage, and life a play: That, in this drama to fuccced, Requires much thought and toil indeed!
There ftill remains one labour more,
Perhaps a greater than before.
Indulge the fearch, and you shall find
The harder task is ftill behind :
That harder task, to quit the stage.
In early youth, or riper age;
To leave the company and place
With firmness, dignity, and grace.
Come, then, the clofing scenes furvey;
'Tis the laft act which crowns the play.
Do well this grand decifive part,
And gain the plaudit of your heart.
Few greatly live in Wifdom's eye-
But, oh! how few who greatly die!
Who, when their days approach an end,
Can meet the foe as friend meets friend?
Inftructive heroes! tell us whence
Your noble fcorn of flesh and fenfe!
You part with all we prize fo dear,
Nor drop one foft reluctant tear :
Part from thofe tender joys of life,
The friend, the parent, child, and wife.
Death's black and ftormy gulph you brave,
And ride exulting on the wave;
Deem thrones but trifles all-no more-
Nor fend one wifhful look to thore.
For foreign ports, and lands unknown,
Thus the firm failor leaves his own;
Obedient to the rifing gale,
Unmoors his bark, and fpreads his fail;
Defies the occan and the wind,
Nor mourns the joys he left behind.
Is Death a pow'rful monarch? True-
Perhaps you dread the tyrant too!
Fear, like a fog, precludes the light,
Or fwells the object to the fight.
Attend my vifionary page,
And I'll difarm the tyrant's rage.
Come, let this ghastly form appear;
He's not fo terrible when near.
Distance deludes th'unwary eye,
So clouds feem monfters in the fky:
Hold frequent converfe with him now,
He'll daily wear a milder brow.
Why is my theme with terror fraught ?
Because you fhun the frequent thought.
Say, when the captive pard is nigh,
Whence thy pale check and frighted eye!
Say, why difmay'd thy manly breast,
When the grim lion thakes his creft?
Because thefe favage fights are new;
No keeper fhudders at the view:
Keepers, accuftom'd to the fcene,
Approach the dens with look ferene!
Fearlefs, their grifly charge explore,
And fimile to hear the tyrants roar.
Aye-but to die! to bid adieu ! An everlasting farewell too! 'Farewell to ev'ry joy around! 'Oh! the heart fickens at the found!'
Stay, ftripling-thou art poorly taughtJoy, didft thou fay? difcard the thought.
See the Monthly Review of new books, for February, 1751.
Joys are a rich celeftial fruit,
And fcorn a fublunary root;
What wears the face of joy below,
Is often found but fplendid woe,
Joys here, like unfubftantial fame,
Are nothings with a pompous name;
Or elfe, like comets in the fphere,
Shine with deftruction in their rear.
Paffions, like clouds, obfcure the fight,
Hence mortals feldom judge aright.
The world's a harfh unfruitful foil,
Yet ftill we hope, and ftill we toil;
Deceive ourfelves with wond'rous art,
And difappointment wrings the heart.
Thus when a mift collects around,
And hovers o'er a barren ground,
The poor deluded trav❜ller fpies
Imagin'd trees and structures rife ;
But, when the fhrouded fun is clear,
The defart and the rocks appear.
Ah-but when youthful blood runs high, Sure 'tis a dreadful thing to die!
To die! and what exalts the gloom, 'I'm told that man furvives the tomb! 'O! can the learned prelate find
What future fcenes await the mind?
Where wings the foul, diflodg'd from clay?
Some courteous angel point the way!
That unknown fomewhere in the fkies,
Say, where that unknown fomewhere lies;
And kindly prove, when life is o'er,
That pains and forrows are no more:
'For, doubtlefs, dying is a curfe,
If prefent ills be chang'd for worse.'
Hufh, my young friend, forego the theme,
And liften to your poet's dream.
Ere while I took an ev'ning walk,
Honorio join'd in focial talk.
Along the lawns the zephyrs fweep;
Each ruder wind was lull'd afleep.
The fky, all beauteous to behold,
Was ftreak'd with azure, green, and gold;
But, tho' ferenely foft and fair,
Fever hung brooding in the air;
Then fettl'd on Honorio's breast,
Which fhudder'd at the fatal guest.
No drugs the kindly with fulfil;
Difeafe cludes the doctor's kill:
The poifon fpreads thro' all the fraine,
Ferments, and kindles, into flame.
From fide to fide Honorio turns,
And now with thirst infatiate burns:
His eyes refign their wonted grace;
Thote friendly lamps expire apace!
The brain's an ufclefs organ grown;
And reafon tumbl'd from his throne.
But, while the purple furges glow,
The currents thicken as they flow:
The blood in ev'ry diftant part
Stagnates and difappoints the heart;
Defrauded of its crimson ftore,
The vital engine plays no more.
Honorio dead, the fun'ral bell
Call'd ev'ry friend to bid farewell.
I join'd the melancholy bier,
And dropp'd the unavailing tear.
The clock ftruck twelve-when nature fought
Repofe from all the pangs of thought;
And, while my limbs were funk to reft,
A Vifion foothi'd my troubl'd breast.
I dreamt the fpectre Death appear'd !
I dreamt his hollow voice I heard!
Methought th'imperial tyrant wore
A ftate no prince affui'd before;
All nature fetch'd a gen'ral groan,
And lay expiring round his throne.
I gaz'd—when straight arose to sight
The moft detefted fiend of night.
He thuill'd with unequal pace,
And confcious thame deform'd his face.
With jealous leer he fquinted round,
Or fix'd his eyes upon the ground.
From hell this frightful monfter came;
Sin was his fire, and Guilt his name,
This fury, with officious care,
Waited around the fov'reign's chair;
In robes of terror drefs'd the king,
And arm'd him with a baneful fting;
Gave fierceness to the tyrant's eye,
And hung the fword upon his thigh.
Difcafes next, a hideous crowd!
Proclaim'd their master's empire loud;
And all, obedient to his will,
Flew in commiffion'd troops to kill.
A rifing whirlwind fhakes the poles,
And ligntning glares, and thunder rolls.
The monarch and his train. prepare
To range the foul tempeftuous air.
Straight to his fhoulders he applies
Two pinions of enormous fize!
Methought I faw the ghaftly form
Stretch his black wings, and mount the storm:
When Fancy's airy horfe I ftrode,
And join'd the army on the road.
As the grim conqu'ror urg'd his way,
He fcatter'd terror and difinay.
Thoufands a penfive aspect wore,
Thoufands who fneer'd at death before..
Life's records rife on ev'ry fide,
And Confcience fpreads thofe volumes wide;
Which faithful regifters were brought
By pale-ey'd Fear and bufy Thought.
Thofe faults which artful men conceal,
Stand here engrav'd with pen of steel,
By Confcience, that impartial scribe!
Whole honeft palm difdains a bribe:
Their actions all like critics view,
And all like faithful critics too.
As Guilt had ftain'd life's various stage,
What tears of blood bedew'd the page !
All shudder'd at the black account,
And fcarce believ'd the vaft amount !
All vow'd a fudden change of heart,
Would Death relent and fheath his dart.
But when the awful foc withdrew,
All to their follies fled anew.
So when a wolt, who fcours at large,
Springs on the fhepherd's fleecy charge,