« PreviousContinue »
'Tis but by part we follow good or ill,
For, Vice or Virtue, self directs it still;
Each individual seeks a sev'ral goal;
But Heaven's great view is one, and that the whole;
That counterworks each folly and caprice;
That disappoints th' effect of ev'ry vice;
That happy frailties to all ranks apply'd—
Shame to the virgin, to the matron pride,
Fear to the statesman, rashness to the chief,
To kings presumption, and to crowds belief.
That Virtue's end from vanity can raise,
Which seeks no int'rest, no reward but praise;
And build on wants, and on defects of mind,
The joy, the peace, the glory of mankind.
Heaven, forming each on other to depend,
A master, or a servant, or a friend,
Bids each on other for assistance call,
Till one man's weakness grows the strength of all.
Wants, frailties, passions, closer still ally
The common int'rest, or endear the tie.
To those we owe true friendship, love sincere,
Each homefelt joy that life inherits here;
Yet from the same, we learn in its decline,
Those joys, those loves, those int'rests to resign.
Taught half by reason, half by mere decay,
To welcome death, and calmly pass away.
Whate'er the passion, knowledge, fame, or pelf,
Not one would change his neighbour with himself.
The learn'd is happy, nature to explore,
The fool is happy that he knows no more ;
The rich is happy in the plenty given,
The poor contents him with the care of heav'n:
See the blind beggar dance, the cripple sing,
The sot a hero, lunatic a king;
The starving chymist in his golden views
Supremely blest, the poet in his muse.
See some strange comfort ev'ry state attend,
And pride, bestow'd on all, a common friend;
See some fit passion ev'ry age supply,
Hope travels through, nor quits us when we die.
Behold the child, by nature's kindly law,
Pleas'd with a rattle, tickled with a straw;
Some livelier plaything gives his youth delight;
A little louder, but as empty quite ;
Scarfs, garters, gold, amuse his riper stage,
And cards and counters are the toys of age;
Pleas'd with this bauble still, as that before;
Till tir'd he sleeps, and life's poor play is o'er.
Meanwhile opinion gilds, with varying rays,
Those painted clouds that beautify our days;
Each want of happiness by hope supply'd,
And each vacuity of sense by pride.
These build as fast as knowledge can destroy:
In folly's cup still laughs the bubble, joy:
One prospect lost, another still we gain,
And not a vanity is giv'n in vain :
E'en mean self-love becomes, by force divine,
The scale to measure others wants by thine.
See! and confess, one comfort still must rise;
'Tis this: Though man's a fool, yet God is wise.
AND now unveil'd, the toilet stands display'd,
Each silver vase in mystic order laid.
First, rob'd in white, the nymph intent adores,
With head uncover'd the cosmetic pow'rs.
A heav'nly image in the glass appears;
To that she bends, to that her eye she rears.
Th' inferior priestess, at the altar's side,
Trembling, begins the sacred rites of pride.
Unnumber'd treasures ope at once, and here
The various off'rings of the world appear;
From each, she nicely culls, with curious toil,
And decks the goddess with the glittering spoil.
This casket India's glowing gems unlocks,
And all Arabia breathes from yonder. box.
The tortoise here, and elephant unite,
Transform'd to combs, the speckled and the white ;
Here files of pins extend their shining rows,
Puffs, powders, patches, bibles, billet-doux.
Now awful beauty puts on all its arms,
The fair, each moment, rises in her charms,
Repairs her smiles, awakens every grace,
And calls forth all the wonders of her face.
FAR in a wild, unknown to public view, From youth to age, a rev'rend hermit grew. The moss his bed, the cave his humble cell, His food the fruits, his drink the chrystal well; Remote from man, with God he pass'd the days; Prayer all his bus'ness, all his pleasure praise. A life so sacred, such serene repose, Seem'd heav'n itself, till one suggestion rose: That vice should triumph, virtue vice obey; Thus sprung some doubt of Providence's sway. His hopes no more a certain prospect boast, And all the tenor of his soul is lost.
So when a smooth expanse receives, imprest,
Calm nature's image on its wat'ry breast,
Down bend the banks; the trees, depending grow;
And skies, beneath, with answ'ring colours glow;
But if a stone the gentle sea divide,
Swift ruffling circles curl on ev'ry side;
And glimm'ring fragments of a broken sun,
Banks, seas, and skies, in thick disorder run,
To clear this doubt; to know the world by sight;
To find if books or swains report it right;
(For yet by swains alone the world he knew,
Whose feet came wand'ring o'er the nightly dew.)
He quits his cell; the pilgrim staff he bore,
And fix'd the scallop in his hat before;
Then, with the sun a rising journey went,
Sedate to think, and watching each event.
The morn was wasted in the pathless grass,
And long and lonesome was the wild to pass;
But when the southern sun had warm'd the day,
A youth came posting o'er a crossing way;
His raiment decent, his complexion fair,
And soft in graceful ringlets wav'd his hair.
Then, near approaching, Father hail! he cry'd;
And, hail! my son, the rev'rend sire reply'd;
Words follow'd words; from question answer flow'd;
And talk of various kind deceiv'd the road;
Till, each with other pleas'd, and loth to part,
While in their age they differ, join in heart.
Thus stands an aged elm in ivy bound;
Thus youthful ivy clasps an elm around.
Now sunk the sun; the closing hour of day,
Came onward, mantled o'er with sober grey;
Nature, in silence, bid the world repose;
When, near the road, a stately palace rose ;
There, by the moon, through ranks of trees they pass,
Whose verdure crown'd their sloping sides with grass.
It chanc'd the noble master of the dome,
Still made his house the wand'ring stranger's home;
Yet still, the kindness, from a thirst of praise,
Prov'd the vain flourish of expensive ease.
The pair arrive; the liv'ry servants wait,
Their lord receives them at the pompous gate:
A table groans with costly piles of food;
And all is more than hospitably good.
Then, led to rest, the day's long toil they drown,
Deep sunk in sleep, and silk, and heaps of down.
At length 'tis morn; and at the dawn of day,
Along the wide canals the zephyrs play;
Fresh o'er the gay parterres, the breezes creep,
And shake the neighb'ring wood, to banish sleep.
Up rise the guests, obedient to the call;
An early banquet deck'd the splendid hall;
Rich luscious wine a golden goblet grac'd,
Which the kind master forc'd the guests to taste.
Then, pleas'd and thankful, from the porch they go,
And, but the landlord, none had cause of wo.
His cup was vanish'd; for, in secret guise,
The younger guest purloin'd the glitt'ring prize.
As one who sees a serpent in his way, Glist'ning and basking in the summer ray, Disorder'd stops, to shun the danger near,
Then walks with faintness on, and looks with fear;
So seem'd the sire, when, far upon the road,
The shining spoil his wily partner show'd.
He stopt with silence, walk'd with trembling heart;
And much he wish'd, but durst not ask, to part:
Murm'ring he lifts his eyes, and thinks it hard
That gen'rous actions meet a base reward.
While thus they pass, the sun his glory shrouds ;
The changing skies hang out their sable clouds:
A sound in air presag'd approaching rain;
And beasts to covet, scud across the plain,
Warn'd by the signs, the wand'ring pair retreat,
To seek for shelter in a neighb'ring seat:
'Twas built with turrets, on a rising ground;
And strong and large, and unimprov'd around:
Its owner's temper, tim'rous and severe,
Unkind and griping, caus'd a desert there.
As near the miser's heavy doors they drew
Fierce rising gusts with sudden fury blew;
The nimble lightning, mix'd with showers, began;
And o'er their heads loud rolling thunder ran.
Here long they knock; but knock or call in vain ;
Driven by the wind, and batter'd by the rain.
At length, some pity warm'd the master's breast:
('Twas then his threshold first receiv'd a guest ;)
Slow creeking turns the door, with jealous care,
And half he welcomes in the shiv'ring pair.
One frugal faggot lights the naked walls,
And nature's fervour through their limbs recalls;
Bread of the coarsest sort, with meagre wine,
(Each hardly granted) serv'd them both to dine;
And when the tempest first appear'd to cease,
A ready warning bid them part in peace.
With still remark, the pond'ring hermit view'd,
In one so rich, a life so poor and rude:
And why should such, (within himself he cry'd)
Lock the lost wealth, a thousand want beside ?
But, what new marks of wonder soon took place,
In ev'ry settling feature of his face,
When, from his vest, the young companion bore
That cup the gen'rous landlord own'd before,
And paid profusely with the precious bowl,
The stinted kindness of this churlish soul!
But, now the clouds in airy tumults fly :
The sun, emerging, opes an azure sky;
A fresher green the smiling leaves display,
And, glitt'ring as they tremble, cheer the day:
The weather courts them from the poor retreat,
And the glad master bolts the wary gate.
While hence they walk, the pilgrim's bosom wrought With all the travail of uncertain thought.
His partner's acts without their cause appear;
'Twas there a vice, and seem'd a madness here.
Detesting that, and pitying this, he goes,
Lost and confounded with the various shows.
Now night's dim shades again involve the sky;
Again the wand'rers want a place to lie;
Again they search, and find a lodging nigh:
The soil improv'd around; the mansion neat;
And neither poorly low, nor idly great;
It seem'd to speak its master's turn of mind:
Content, and not for praise, but virtue kind.
Hither the walkers turn, with weary feet;
Then bless the mansion, and the master greet;
Their greeting fair, bestow'd with modest guise,
The courteous master hears, and thus replies:--
"Without a vain, without a grudging heart,
To him who gives us all, I yield a part:
From him you come, from him accept it here—
A frank and sober, more than costly cheer."
He spoke and bade the welcome tables spread;
Then talk'd of virtue till the time of bed:
When the grave household round his hall repair,
Warn'd by the bell, and close the hour with prayer.
At length the world, renew'd by calm repose,
Was strong for toil; the dappl'd morn arose;
Before the pilgrims part, the younger crept
Near the clos'd cradle, where an infant slept,
And writh'd his neck; the landlord's little pride-
O strange return!-grew black, and gasp'd, and died.
Horror of horrors! what! his only son!
How look'd our hermit when the deed was done!
Not hell, though hell's black jaws in sunder part,
And breathe blue fire, could more assault his heart.
Confus'd and struck with silence at the deed,
He flies: but trembling, fails to fly with speed.
His steps the youth pursues. The country lay
Perplex'd with roads; a servant show'd the way.
A river cross'd the path. The passage o'er
Was nice to find; the servant trod before;
Long arms of oak an open bridge supply'd,
And the deep waves beneath the bending, glide.
The youth, who seem'd to watch a time to sin,
Approach'd the careless guide, and thrust him in:
Plunging he falls; and rising, lifts his head;
Then splashing, turns, and sinks, among the dead.
Wild sparkling rage inflames the father's eyes:
He bursts the bands of fear, and madly cries,
Detested wretch!-But scarce his speech began,
When the strange partner seem'd no longer man ;