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Such is the common lot of man:
Can we then 'scape from folly free? Can we reverse the general plan,
Nor be what all in turn must be ?
No, for myself, so dark my fate
Through every turn of life hath been ;
Man and the world I so much hate,
I care not when I quit the scene.
But thou, with spirit frail and light,
Wilt shine awhile and pass away;
As glow-worms sparkle through the night,
But dare not stand the test of day.
Alas! whenever folly calls
Where parasites and princes meet, (For cherished first in royal halls,
The welcome vices kindly greet)
Ev'n now thou’rt nightly seen to add
One insect to the fluttering crowd ; And still thy trifling heart is glad,
To join the vain, and court the proud.
There dost thou glide from fair to fair,
Still simpering on with eager haste, As flies along the gay parterre,
That taint the flowers they scarcely taste,
But say, what nymph will prize the flame
Which seems, as marshy vapours move,
To flit along from dame to dame,
An ignis-fatuus gleam of love?
What friend for thee, howe'er inclined,
Will deign to own a kindred care? Who will debase his manly mind,
For friendship every fool may share ?
In time forbear; amidst the throng
No more so base a thing be seen;
No more so idly pass along:
Be something, any thing, but-mean.
Thy husband's blest—and 'twill impart
Some pangs to view his happier lot: But let them pass—Oh! how my heart
Would hate him, if he loved thee not!
When late I saw thy favourite child,
I thought my jealous heart would break;
But when th' unconscious infant smiled,
I kissed it, for its mother's sake.
I kissed it, and repressed my sighs
Its father in its face to see;
But then it had its mother's eyes,
And they were all to love and me.