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Shall burning Ætna, if a sage requires, Forget to thunder, and recal her fires ? On air or sea new motions be imprest,
But still this world (so fitted for the knave)
say, Or he whose virtue sigh’d to lose a day?
• But sometimes virtue starves, while vice is fed.' What then : is the reward of virtue bread ? 150 That vice may merit, 'tis the price of toil ; The knave deserves it, when he tills the soil ; The kpave deserves it, when he tempts the main, Where folly fights for kings, or dives for gain. The good man may be weak, be indolent ; 155 Nor is his claim to plenty, but content. But grant him riches, your demand is o'er ? * No-shall the good want health, the good want pow'r ??
Add health, and pow'r, and ev'ry earthly thing ; Why bounded pow'r? why private ? why no king ?? Nay, why external for internal giv’n ?
What nothing earthly gives, or can destroy,
175 Yet sigh’st thou now for apples and for cakes ? Go, like the Indian, in another life Expect thy dog, thy bottle, and thy wife : As well as dream such trifles are assign'd, Ag toys and empires, for a god-like mind; 180 Rewards, that either would to virtue bring No joy, or be destructive of the thing : How oft by these at sixty are undone The virtues of a saint at twenty-one ! To whom can riches give repute or trust,
185 Content or pleasure ; but the good and just ? Judges and senates have been bought for gold, Esteem and love were never to be sold. Oh fool! to think God hates the worthy mind, The lover and the love of human-kind,
190 Whose life is bealthful, and whose conscience clear, Because he wants a thousand pounds a year. Honour and shame from no condition rise ; Act well your part, there all the honour lies. Fortune in men hath some small diff'rence made, 195 One flaunts in rags, one flutters in brocade,
The cobler apron'd, and the parson gown'd,
Look next on greatness , say where greatness lies ? * Where, but among the heroes and the wise ?? Heroes are much the same, the point's agreed, From Macedonia's madman to the Swede ; 220 The whole strange purpose of their lives, to find, Or make, an enemy of all mankind ! Not one looks backward, .onward still he goes, Yet ne'er looks forward farther than his nose. No less alike the politic and wise,
225 All sly slow things, with circumspective eyes : Men in their loose unguarded hours they take, Not that themselves are wise, but others weak. But grant that those can conquer, these can cheat ; 'Tis phrase absurd, to call a villain great :
230 Who wickedly is wise, or madly brave, Is but the more a fool, the more a knave.
Who poble ends by noble means obtains,
What's fame i a fancy'd life in other's breath,
In parts superior what advantage lies ? Tell (for you can) what is it to be wise ? 260 'Tis but to know how little can be known ; To see all other's faults, and feel our own : Condemn'd in bus'ness, or in arts to drudge, Without a second, or without a judge. Truths would you teach, or save a sinking land ? 265 All fear, none aid you, and few understand. Painful pre-eminence ! yourself to view Above life's weakness, and its comforts too.
Bring then these blessings to a strict account ; Make fair deductions, see to what they 'mount, 370
How much of other each is sure to cost ;
290 Mark what wretched steps their glory grows, From dirt and sea-weed as proud Venice rose ; In each how guilt and greatness equal ran, And all that rais'd the hero, sunk the man. Now. Europe's laurels on their brows behold, 295 But stain'd with blood, or ill exchang'd for gold : Then see them broke with toils, or sunk in ease, Or ipfamous for plunder'd provinces. Oh wealth ill fated ! which no act of fame E’er taught to shine, or sanctify'd from shame ! 300 What greater bliss attends their close of life? Some greedy minion, or imperious wife, The trophy'd arches, story'd halls invade, And baunt their slumbers in the pompous shade. Alas t not dazzled with their noon-tide ray, 305 Compute the morn and ev’ning to the day ; The whole amount of that enormous fame, A tale, that blends their glory with their shame!