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"What pleasures, vain mistaken wretch, are thine!" (Virtue with scorn reply'd) "who sleep'st in ease Insensate; whose soft limbs the toil decline That seasons bliss, and makes enjoyment please. Draining the copious bowl, ere thirst require; Feasting, ere hunger to the feast invite :
Whose tasteless joys anticipate desire;
Whom luxury supplies with appetite:
Yet nature loaths; and you employ in vain
Variety and art to conquer her disdain.
The sparkling nectar, cool'd with summer snows
The dainty board, with choicest viands spread;
To thee are tasteless all! sincere repose
Flies from thy flow'ry couch and downy bed.
For thou art only tir'd with indolence ;
Nor is thy sleep with toil and labour bought :
Th' imperfect sleep, that lulls thy languid sense
In dull oblivious interval of thought;
That kindly steals th' inactive hours away
From the long, ling'ring space, that lengthiens out the day.
From bounteous nature's unexhausted stores
Flows the pure fountain of sincere delights:
Averse to her, you waste the joyless hours;
Sleep drowns thy days, and riot rules thy nights.
Immortal tho' thou art, indignant Jove
Hurl'd thee from heaven, th' immortals' blissful place
For ever banish'd from the realms above,
To dwell on earth, with man's degenerate race:
Fitter abode on earth alike disgrac'd;
Rejected by the wise, and by the fool embrac'd.
Fond wretch, that vainly weenest all delight To gratify the sense reserv'd for thee!
Yet the most pleasing object to the sight, Thine own fair action, never didst thou see.
Tho' lull'd with softest sounds thou liest along; Soft music, warbling voices, melting lays;
Ne'er didst thou hear, more sweet than sweetest song Charming the soul, thou ne'er didst hear thy praise! No-To thy revels let the fool repair :
To such, go smooth thy speech; and spread thy tempting snare.
Vast happiness enjoy thy gay allies!
A youth of follies; an old age of cares:
Young, yet enervate; old, yet never wise; Vice wastes their vigour, and their mind impairs. Vain, idle, delicate, in thoughtless ease, Reserving woes for age, their prime they spend; All wretched, hopeless, in the evil days,
With sorrow, to the verge of life they tend. Griev'd with the present; of the past asham'd; They live, and are despis'd: they die, nor more are nam'd.
But with the gods, and godlike men, I dwell: Me, his supreme delight, th' Almighty Sire
Regards well-pleas'd: whatever works excel, All or divine, or human, I inspire.
Counsel with strength, and industry with art, In union meet conjoin'd, with me reside:
My dictates arm, instruct, and mend the heart;
The surest policy, the wisest guide.
With me, true friendship dwells: she deigns to bind
Those generous souls alone, whom I before have join'd.
Nor need my friends the various costly feast; Hunger to them th' effects of art supplies;
Labour prepares their weary limbs to rest;
Sweet is their sleep: light, cheerful, strong they rise,
Thro' health, thro' joy, thro' pleasure and renown,
They tread my paths; and by a soft descent,
At length to age all gently sinking down,
Look back with transport on a life well-spent ;
In which, no hour flew unimprov'd away;
In which, some generous deed distinguish'd every day.
And when, the destin'd term at length complete,
Their ashes rest in peace; eternal fame
Sounds wide their praise: triumphant over fate,
In sacred song, for ever lives their name.
This, Hercules, is happiness! obey
My voice, and live.
Let thy celestial birth
Lift, and enlarge, thy thoughts. Behold the way
That leads to fame; and raises thee from earth
Immortal! Lo, I guide thy steps. Arise,
Pursue the glorious path; and claim thy native skies.”
Her words breathe fire celestial, and impart
New vigour to his soul, that sudden caught
The generous flame: with great intent his heart
Swells full; and labours with exalted thought:
The mist of error from his eyes dispell'd,
Thro' all her fraudful arts in clearest light
Sloth in her native form he now beheld;
Unveil'd, she stood confess'd before his sight:
False Siren!-All her vaunted charms, that shone
So fresh erewhile, and fair; now wither'd, pale, and gone.
No more the rosy bloom in sweet disguise Masks her dissembled looks: each borrow'd grace
Leaves her wan cheek; pale sickness clouds her eyes, Livid and sunk, and passions dim her face.
As when fair Iris has a while display'd Her watry arch, with gaudy painture gay;
While yet we gaze, the glorious colours fade, And from our wonder gently steal away : Where shone the beauteous phantom erst so bright, Now low`rs the low-hung cloud, all gloomy to the sight.
But Virtue more engaging all the while Disclos'd new charms; more lovely, more serene; Beaming sweet influence. A milder smile Soften'd the terrors of her lofty mien.
"Lead, goddess, I am thine! (transported cry'd Alcides:) O propitious pow'r, thy way
Teach me possess my soul; be thou my guide:
From thee, O never, never let me stray!"
While ardent thus the youth his vows address'd;
With all the goddess fill'd, already glow'd his breast.
The heav'nly maid with strength divine endu'd
His daring soul; there all her pow'rs combin'd:
Firm constancy, undaunted fortitude,
Enduring patience, arm'd his mighty mind.
Unmov'd in toils, in dangers undismay'd,
By many a hardy deed and bold emprize,
From fiercest monsters, thro' her pow rful aid,
He freed the earth: thro' her he gain'd the skies.
'Twas Virtue plac'd him in the blest abode;
Crown'd with eternal youth, among the gods, a god.
Part of the THIRD ODE of the THIRD BOOK of HORACE, imitated.
THE man, whose mind, on virtue bent,
Pursues some greatly good intent,
With undiverted aim,
Serene beholds the angry crowd;
Nor can their clamours, fierce and loud,
His stubborn honour tame.
Not the proud tyrant's fiercest threat,
Nor storms, that from their dark retreat
The lawless surges wake,
Not Jove's dread bolt, that shakes the pole,
The firmer purpose of his soul
With all its power can shake.
Should nature's frame in ruins fall,
And chaos o'er the sinking ball
Resume primæval sway,
His courage chance and fate defies,
Nor feels the wreck of earth and skies
Obstruct its destin'd way.
The PASSIONS. An OPE.
WHEN Music, heavenly Maid! was young,
While yet in early Greece she sung,
The Passions oft, to hear her shell,
Throng'd around her magic cell:
Exulting, trembling, raging, fainting,
Possess'd beyond the Muse's painting,
By turns they felt the glowing mind
Disturb'd, delighted, rais'd, refin'd;
Till once, 'tis said, when all were fir'd,
Fill'd with fury, rapt, inspir'd,'
From the supporting myrtles round
They snatch'd her instruments of sound;
And as they oft had heard apart
Sweet lessons of her forceful art,
Each, for Madness rul'd the hour,
Would prove his own expressive power.
First Fear his hand, its skill to try,
Amid the chords bewilder'd laid,
And back recoil'd, he knew not why,
Ev'n at the sound himself had made.
Next Anger rush'd, his eyes on fire
In lightnings own'd his secret stings;
In one rude clash he struck the lyre,
And swept with hurry'd hand the strings;
With woeful measures wan Despair-
Low sullen sounds his grief beguil'd;
A solemn, strange, and mingled air!
'Twas sad by fits, by starts 'twas wild.
But thou, O Hope! with eyes so fair,
What was thy delightful measure?
Still it whisper'd promis'd pleasure,
And bade the lovely scenes at distance hail!
Still would her touch the strain prolong,
And from the rocks, the woods, the vale,
She call'd on Echo still thro' all the song;
And where her sweetest theme she chose,
A soft responsive voice was heard at every close;
And Hope enchanted smil'd, and view'd her golden hair;
And longer had she sung-But with a frown
Revenge impatient rose;
He threw his blood-stain'd sword in thunder down,
And with a withering look
The war-denouncing trumpet took,
And blew a blast so loud and dread,
Were ne'er prophetic sounds so full of woe;
And ever and anon he beat
The doubling drum with furious heat;
And tho' sometimes, each dreary pause between,
Dejected Pity at his side
Her soul-subduing voice apply'd,
Yet still he kept his wild unalter'd mien,
While each strain'd ball of sight seem'd bursting from his head.
Thy numbers, Jealousy! to nought were fix'd;
Sad proof of thy distressful state;
Of differing themes the veering song was mix'd,
And now it courted Love, now raving call'd on Hate.
With eyes up-rais'd, as one inspir'd,
Pale Melancholy sat retir'd,