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Yet not by spleen or superstition led,
Forbear ambition's giddy height to tread;
Who not inglorious spend their peaceful day,
Whilst science, lovely star! directs their way?
Flows there not something good from such as these?
No useful product from the men of ease ?
And shall the Muse no social merit boast?
Are all her vigils to the public lost?
Though noisy pride may scorn her silent toil,
Fair are the fruits which bless her happy soil :
There every plant of useful product grows,
There science sprang, and thence instruction flows;
There true philosophy erects her school,
There plans her problem, and there forms her rule;
There every seed of every art began,
And all that eases life and brightens man:
"Twas hence greatNewton,mighty genius! soard,
And all creation's wondrous range explored.
Far as the Almighty stretch'd his utmost line,
He pierced in thought, and view'd the vast design.
Too long had darker ages sought in vain
The secret scheme of nature to explain;
Too long had truth escaped each sage's eye,
Or faintly shone through vain philosophy.
Each shapely offspring of her feeble thought
A darker veil o'er genuine science brought;
Still stubborn facts o'erthrew their fruitless toil;
For truth and fiction who shall reconcile?
But Britain's sons a surer guide pursue ;
Tread safe the maze, since Newton gave the clue.
Where'er he turn'd, true Science rear'd her head,
While far before her puzzled Ignorance fled :
From each bless'd truti se noble ends he draws,
Use to mankind, and to their God applause.
Taught by his rules secure the merchant rides When threatening seas roll high their dreadful And either India speeds her precious stores [tides; Midst various dangers safe to Britain's shores, Long as those orbs he weigh'd shall shed their rays, His truth shall guide us, and shall last his praise.
Yet if so just the fame, the use so great, Systems to poise, and spheres to regulate; To teach the secret well adapted force, That steers of countless orbs the' unvaried course; Far brighter honours wait the nobler part, To balance manners and conduct the heart, Order without us, what imports it seen, If all is restless anarchy within ? Fired by this thought great Ashley, generous sage, Plann'd in sweet leisure * his instructive page. Not orbs he weighs, but marks, with happier skill, The scope of actions and the poise of will; In fair proportion here described we trace Each mental beauty, and each moral grace; Each useful passion taught, its tone design'd In the nice concord of a well tuned mind. Does mean self-love contract each social claim? Here public transports shall thy soul inflame. Virtue and Deity supremely fair, Too oft delineated with looks severe, Resume their native smiles and graces here: Soothed into love, relenting foes admire, And warmer raptures every friend inspire.
Such are the fruits which from retirement spring; These blessings ease and learned leisure bring.
Yet of the various tasks mankind employ, "Tis sure the hardest, leisure to enjoy.
• See the Characteristics, particularly the inquiry concerning Virtae and the Moralists.
For one who knows to taste this godlike bliss,
What countless swarms of vain pretenders miss!
Though each dull plodding thing, to ape the wise,
Ridiculously grave, for leisure sighs
(His boasted wish from busy scenes to run),
Grant him that leisure, and the fool's undone.
The gods, to curse poor Demea, heard his vow,
And business now no more contracts his brow;
Nor real cares, 'tis true, perplex his breast,
But thousand fancied ills his peace molest:
The slightest trifles solid sorrows prove, [move.
And the long lingering wheel of life scarce seems to
Useless in business, yet unfit for ease,
Nor skill’d to mend mankind, nor form’d to please,
Such spurious animals of worthless race
Live but the public burthen and disgrace :
Like mean attendants of life's stage are seen,
Drawn forth to fill but not conduct the scene.
The mind not taught to think, no useful store To fix reflection, dreads the vacant hour. Turn'd on itself, its numerous wants are seen, And all the mighty void that lies within: Yet cannot wisdom stamp our joys complete; "Tis conscious virtue crowns the bless'd retreat. Who feels not that the private path must shun, And fly to public view to escape his own; In life's gay scenes uneasy thoughts suppress, And lull each anxious care in dreams of peace. Midst foreign objects not employ'd to roam, 'Thought, sadly active, still corrodes at home: A serious moment breaks the false repose, And guilt in all its naked horror shows.
He who would know retirement's joys refined The fair recess must seek with cheerful mind;
No cynic's pride, no bigot's heated brain,
No frustrate hope, nor love's fantastic pain
With him must enter the sequester'd cell,
Who means with pleasing solitude to dwell;
But equal passions let his bosom rule,
A judgment candid, and a temper cool,
Enlarged with knowledge, and in conscience clear,
Above life's empty hopes and death’s vain fear.
Such he must be who greatly lives alone;
Such Portio is, in crowded scenes unknown.
For public life with every talent born,
Portio far off retires with decent scorn;
Though without business, never unemploy'd,
And life, as more at leisure, more enjoy’d:
For who like him can various science taste,
His mind shall never want an endless feast.
In his bless'd evening walk mayst thou, may I,
Oft friendly join in sweet society ;
Our lives like his in one smooth current flow,
Nor swelld with tempest, nor too calmly slow,
Whilst he, like some great sage of Rome or Greece,
Shall calm each rising doubt and speak us peace,
Correct each thought, each wayward wish control,
And stamp with every virtue all the soul.
Ah! how unlike is Umbrio's gloomy scene,
Estranged from all the cheerful ways of men !
There superstition works her baneful power,
And darkens all the melancholy hour.
Unnumber'd fears corrode and haunt his breast
With all that whim or ignorance can suggest.
In vain for him kind nature pours her sweets;
The visionary saint no joy admits,
But seeks with pious spleen fantastic woes, [goes.
And for Heaven's sake Heaven's offer'd good fore-
Whate'er 's our choice, we still with pride prefer, And all who deviate vainly think must err: Clodio, in books and abstract notions lost, Sees none but knaves and fools in honour's post; Whilst Syphax, fond on fortune's sea to sail, And boldly drive before the flattering gale (Forward her dangerous ocean to explore), Condemns as cowards those who make the shore. Not so my friend impartial,-man he views Useful in what he shuns as what pursues; Sees different turns to general good conspire, The hero's passion and the poet's fire; Each figure placed in nature's wise design, With true proportion and exactest line: Sees lights and shades unite in due degree, And form the whole with fairest symmetry.
AN ESSAY ON CONVERSATION.
The art of converse, how to soothe the soul
Of haughty man, his passions to control,
His pride at once to humble and to please,
And join the dignity of life with ease,
Be now my theme. O thou, whom Nature's hand
Framed for this best this delicate command,
And taught when lisping, without reason's aid,
At the same time to speak and to persuade,
WYNDHAM, with diligence awhile attend,
Nor scorn the instructions of an older friend;
Who when the world's great commerce shall have
The deep reflection and the strength of mind