صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

Nor are the great more free; their constant train Drive the fair goddess to the humble plain; Their actions closely watch'd, their words mark'd

down, And even their very thoughts no more their own; Pursued by flatterers, parasites, and knaves, What are they but the veriest slaves to slaves ? And what concluđes this pageantry of life? The axe of justice or the murdering knife. Bribing and bribed to grasp the dazzling prize, And labouring in their country's fall to rise ; Tarpeia's just return their treachery yields, No golden bracelet, but the' o'erwhelming shields.

There are who free midst all their greatness live, If the name free to that we rightly give, Which follows (slavish term!) passion's strong gust, The heat of appetite, and rage of lust. [chase, For heaven's bright queen a gilded cloud they And monsters issue from the rude embrace : Yet the false form their ravish'd hearts adore, Held in vain raptures by her wanton lore. Meanwhile pale Virtue groaning on the ground, With all her ruin'd honours scatter'd round, Insulted lies, and with indignant shame Blushes to see the pageant's guilty fame.

O heaven-descended Freedom! if thy voice, Assuasive yet, can fix the doubtful choice, Lead us, 0, lead us to sequester'd shades, Where Reason rules, and not one lust invades; Far from the life of vanity or care, From grandeur, folly, passion, pride, and fear, Thou, when the wise, by contemplation led, The darksome grove or winding valley tread, Wilt join the walk, and breathe into the breast The sweet complacence of a mind at rest;

Whence purer reason, heighten'd wisdom flow,
An Hoadley's calmness, or a Seraph's glow.
There nor dependant, and by none confined,
We act the sober dictates of the mind;
There dare we give the generous smile to flow,
Not basely fashion’d from another's brow;
Or sit or walk, uncumber'd with the train
That swells the little great and meanly vain;
Our guard pure innocence and wisdom brings,
More solemn than the tedious pomp of kings.
This, this is freedom! O’er the peaceful plains
In all her glory bright the goddess reigns:
Behold her winning and majestic air!
The laws before her their firm guardians bear;
Plenty, and Peace, and Industry, and Wealth,
And sweet Content, and ever blooming Health
Attend her side; Joy sheds his smiles around;
Each Muse walks honour'd, and each Science

(neath Whilst pleased she views her chariot wheels beAmbition, Pride, Lust, Fortune, Fear, and Death.

Forgive a verse the love of virtue warms, Nor think these only visionary charms; You'll find them, listening to the moral strain, More than a flattering fiction of the brain. Come then, with me the heat of rapture quit; Hear sober reasoning in exchange for wit; Preach on the world; but first the text divide; Of business first, of pleasure next decide.

How can the man, whose every thought is pelf, Search his own mind and look into himself? Unheard, without, all grave reflections wait, Like humble suitors at a great man's gate; Intent on each low artifice to thrive, Strangers to virtue and themselves they live:

An honest man, if honest such may be,
Breathes, many a sigh, and wishes to be free;
But, like the Roman parricide, is found
With serpents, dogs, and apes shut up and bound.

How are the silken sons of pleasure lost,
In all her wild rotations madly toss'd !
The flowery round unthinkingly they tread,
Where vanities to vanities succeed ;
Amusements ever new their reason blind,
Hope plays before, but mockery steals behind.

Lead them from these pursuits, at some grave To the calm garden or sequester'd bower; [hour, Collected there each scatter'd beam of thought, They learn to think and reason as they ought; Fame drops the wreath ; the pageantry of power And wealth's own magic cheat the sense no more: No more the wanton ask the painted toy, True solid pleasures realize their joy; They find that happiness in reason lies, Reason, that makes us and that keeps us wise.

Nor end we here: new joys enrich the scene In the calm sunshine of a soul serene. On life's wide sea unsteadily we sail, Sport of the dashing tide or driving gale; Or Hope misleads the flatter'd sense, or Fear Embitters each tumultuous hour with care; Each conversation pains; on every side Fancied or real insults hurt our pride; We pine with envy at the prosperous state, But toss the head, and mock the' unfortunate: In Passion's giddy whirl we vainly strive, Converse in storms, and in a tempest live. But, from the world retired, we find that rest Which calms the troubled ocean of the breast; VOL. I.

3 B

The distant images, erewhile so gay,
Languid and faint upon the fancy play;
And with them every image dies away.

Still let me raise the verse, and point the road
That leads through Nature up to Nature's God :
The heighten'd theme requires a stronger wing,
· The God, the God, the vocal valleys ring.'
On every mountain we confess his power,
In every bush the still small voice adore;
When ʼmongst yon venerable oaks I rove,
I own the Deity that fills the grove;
If the sage tree no voice prophetic gives,
If in its bark no fabled Druid lives,
He gave each towering trunk to rise, he spread
The waving foliage of each reverend head;
Known in each leaf unfolding to the spring,
Seen in each insect of the meanest wing,
Found in each herb, each flower that decks the field,
In every walk conversed with and beheld:
Bless'd intercourse! when deigns with men to join
The' all gracious presence of the Power Divine;
When, great example of primeval grace,
Man communes with his God as face to face.
Hence, hence, ye rain, with all your pomp remove;
For kings and courts, quit all the wise approve;
For kings and courts, the godhead and the grove!

There are who feel these truths, the joy serene, The humble blessings of the rural scene; But false desires their erring judgments cheat, And ruin all their bliss to make them great. Fools! not to know that happiness and pride, Things inconsistent, will not be allied ; That Nature, craving no luxurious feast, Asks but a little, and rejects the rest.

Not that this lust of pomp would be so ill,
Could we, like Joshua, bid the sun stand still ;
Or to our wishes set a certain bound,
Stop when we reach it, nor aspire beyond:
But here not more than foolish children wise,
Who covet every star that decks the skies;
The skies appear to their unjudging sight
As resting on yon hill's aspiring height;
The little wantons pant and glow with joy,
Eager to gather up each sparkling toy;
Their breasts in vain a nearer hope inspires,
The moving sky, as they advance, retires;
Till, having gain’d the summit, they deplore
The flying stars as distant as before:
Than these no wiser we our wishes bound,
The bound we find, Content is never found;
Still we toil on in warning Nature's spite,
Fix no horizon to our appetite;
Run the same round with never resting haste,
Till death the enchanted circle bursts at last.
Wouldst thou be bless'd ? Thy false desires resign;
Now, now retire; the future is not thine:
Dare to be wise; for he that here delays,
The clown upon the river margin stays*
Expecting till the passing stream be dried,
Still glides the passing stream, and will for ever

But how retire? Shall we, like Timon, ily
From all mankind, and in a desert die?
In fretful pique, or indolence, forego
Life's various duty and its comforts too?

* Rusticus expectat dum defluat amnis: at ille
Labitur, et labetur in omne volubilis ævam.

Hor. 2 Epist. L. i.


« السابقةمتابعة »