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The growing pest, whose infancy was weak
Of many thousands, few untainted 'scap'd ; And easy vanquish’d, with triumphant sway Of those infected, fewer 'scap'd alive : O’erpow'rs your life. For want of timely care, Of those who liv'd, some felt a second blow : Millions have died of medicable wounds.
And whom the second spar'd, a third destruy'd. Ah! in what perils is vain life engag'd !
Frantic with fear, they sought by flight to shun What slight neglects, what trivial faults destroy The fierce contagion. O'er the mournful land The hardiest frame! of indolence, of toil,
Th' infected city pour'd her hurrying swarins: We die; of want, of superfluity:
Rous'd by the flames that fir'd her seats around, The all-surrounding Heaven, the vital air,
Th' infected country rush'd into the town. Is with death. And, though the putrid South Some, sad at home, and in the desert some, Be shut; though no convulsive agony
Abjur'd the fatal commerce of mankind : Shake, from the deep foundations of the world, In vain : where'er they fled, the fates pursu'd. Th' imprison'd plagues; a secret venom oft Others, with hopes more specious, cross'd the main, Corrupts the air, the water, and the land.
To seek protection in far distant skies; What livid deaths has sad Byzantium seen! But none they found. It seem'd the general air, How oft has Cairo, with a mother's woe,
From pole to pole, from Atlas to the east, Wept o'er her slaughter'd sons and lonely streets ! Was then at enmity with English blood. Even Albion, girt with less malignant skies, For, but the race of England, all were safe Albion the poison of the gods has drank,
In foreign climes; nor did this fury taste And felt the sting of monsters all her own.
The foreign blood which England then contain'd Ere yet the fell Plantagenets had spent
Where should they fly? The circumambient Heard Their ancient rage, at Bosworth's purple field; Involv'd them still; and every breeze was bene. While, for which tyrant England should receive, Where find relief? The salutary art Her legions in incestuous murders mix’d,
Was mute; and, startled at the new disease, And daily horrours; till the fates were drunk In fearful whispers hopeless omens gave. With kindred blood by kindred hands profus'd: To Heaven with suppliant rites they sent the Another plague of more gigantic arm
pray’rs ; Arose, a monster, never known before,
Heav'n heard them not. Of every bope deprivd; Rear'd from Cocytus its portentous head.
Fatigued with vain resources; and subdued This rapid fury not, like other pests,
With woes resistless and enfeebling fear; Pursu'd a gradual course, but in a day
Passive they sunk beneath the weighty blow. Rush'd as a storm o'er half the astonish'd isle, Nothing but lamentable sounds was heard, And strew'd with sudden carcasses the land. Nor aught was seen but ghastly views of death.
First, through the shoulders, or whatever part Infectious horrour ran from face to face, Was seiz'd the first, a fervid vapour sprung. And pale despair. 'T was all the business then With rash combustion thence, the quivering spark To tend the sick, and in their turns to die. Shot to the heart, and kindled all within;
In heaps they fell: and oft one bed, they say, And soon the surface caught the spreading fires. The sick’ning, dying, and the dead contain d. Through all the yielded pores, the melted blood Ye guardian gods, on whom the fates depend Gush'd out in smoky sweats; but nought assuag'd Of tottering Albion! ye eternal fires (pover The torrid heat within, nor aught reliev'd
That lead through Heav'n the wandering year! ye The stomach's anguish. With incessant toil, That o'er th' encircling elements preside! Desperate of ease, impatient of their pain,
May nothing worse than what this age has seen They toss'd from side to side. In vain the stream Arrive ! Enough abroad, enough at home Ran full and clear, they burnt and thirsted still. Has Albion bled. Here a distemper'd beaven The restless arteries with rapid blood
Has thinn'd her cities, from those lofty cliffs Beat strong and frequent. Thick and pantingly That awe proud Gaul, to Thulé's wintry reiga; The breath was fetch'd, and with huge lab'rings While in the west, beyond the Atlantic foam, heav'd.
Her bravest sons, keen for the fight, have dy'd At last a heavy pain oppress'd the head,
The death of cowards and of common men : A wild delirium came; their weeping friends Sunk void of wounds, and fall’n without renown Were strangers now, and this no home of theirs.
But from these views the weeping Muses turn,
The use of toil, and all external things
What good, what evil, from ourselves proceeds:
The passive body. Ye poetic shades
Engag'd, I wander through mysterious min
That animates and moulds the grosser frame; To lean for ever, cramps the vital parts,
'T is the great art of life to manage well 21eanwhile this heavenly particle pervades
The restless mind. For ever on pursuit The mortal elements; in every nerve
Of knowledge bent, it starves the grosser powers : It ta rills with pleasure, or grows mad with pain. Quite unemployed, against its own repose And, in its secret conclave, as it feels
It turns its fatal edge, and sharper pangs The bo'v's woes and joys, this ruling power Than what the body knows embitter life. Wields as its will the dull material world,
Chiefly where solitude, sad nurse of care, And is the ody's health or malady.
To sickly musing gives the pensive mind, By its own toil the gross corporeal frame There madness enters; and the dim-ey'd fiend, Fatigues, exten. lates, or destroys itself.
Sour Melancholy, night and day provokes Nor less the labours of the mind corrode
Her own eternal wound. The Sun grows pale; The solid fabric: fo: by subtle parts
A mournful visionary light o'erspreads And viewless atoms, secret Nature moves
The cheerful face of Nature: Earth becomes The mighty wheels of this stupendous world. A dreary desert, and Heaven frowns above. By subtle Huids pour'd through subtle tubes Then various shapes of curs'd illusion rise : The natural vital functions are perform'd.
Whate'er the wretched fears, creating fear By these the stubborn aliments are tam'd;
Forms out of nothing, and with monsters teems The toiling heart distributes life and strength; Unknown in Hell. The prostrate soul beneath These the still-crumbling frame rebuild; and these A load of huge imagination heaves; Are lost in thinking, and dissolve in air.
And all the horrours that the murderer feels But 't is not thought, (for still the soul 's em With anxious flutterings wake the guiltless breast. ployd,)
Such phantoms pride in solitary scenes, 'Tis painful thinking that corrodes our clay. Or fear, or delicate self-love creates. All day the vacant eye without fatigue
From other cares absolv’d, the busy mind Strays o'er the Heaven and Earth ; but long intent Finds in yourself a theme to pore upon ; On microscopic arts, its vigour fails.
It finds you miserable, or makes you so. Just so the mind, with various thought amus’d, For while yourself you anxiously explore, Nor aches itself, nor gives the body pain.
Timorous self-love, with sick'ning fancy's aid, But anxious study, discontent, and care,
Presents the danger that you dread the most,
Hence some for love, and some for jealousy,
For grim religion some, and some for pride, And spoil the lab'ring functions of their share Have lost their reason : some for fear of want, Hence the lean gloom that melancholy wears ; Want all their lives; and others every day The lover's paleness; and the sallow hue
For fear of dying suffer worse than death. Of envy, jealousy; the meagre stare
Ah ! froin your bosoms banislı if you can Of sore revenge: the canker'd body hence
Those fatal guests; and first the demon Fear, Betrays each fretful motion of the mind.
That trembles at impossible events; The strong-built pedant, who both night and day Lest aged Atlas should resign his load, Feeds on the coarsest fare the schools bestow, And Heaven's eternal battlements rush down. And crudely fattens at gross Burman's stall; Is there an evil worse than fear itself? O'erwhelm'd with phlegm lies in a dropsy drown'd, And what avails it that indulgent Heaven Or sinks in lethargy before his time.
From mortal eyes has wrapt the woes to come, With useful studies you, and arts that please If we, ingenious to torment ourselves, Employ your mind; amuse, but not fatigue. Grow pale at hideous fictions of our own? Peace to each drowsy metaphysic sage!
Enjoy the present: nor with needless cares, (womb, And ever may all heavy systems rest!
Of what may spring from blind misfortune's Yet some there are, even of elastic parts,
Appal the surest hour that life bestows. Whom strong and obstinate ambition leads Serene, and master of yourself, prepare Through all the rugged roads of barren lore, For what may come ; and leave the rest to Heaven. And gives to relish what their generous taste
Oft from the body, by long ails mis-tun'd, Would else refuse. But may not thirst of fame, These evils sprung, the most important health, Nor love of knowledge, urge you to fatigue That of the mind, destroy : and when the mind With constant drudgery the liberal soul.
They first invade, the conscious body soon
These chronic passions, while from real woes
They rise, and yet without the body's fault To Rabelais' ravings, and from prose to song. Infest the soul, admit one only cure;
While reading pleases, but no longer, read; Diversion, hurry, and a restless life. And read aloud resounding Homer's strain, Vain are the consolations of the wise ; And wield the thunder of Demosthenes.
In vain your friends would reason down your pain. The chest so exercis'd improves its strength; Oye, whose souls relentless love has tam'd And quick vibrations through the bawels drive To soft distress, or friends untimely fall'n! The restless blood, which in unactive days
Court not the luxury of tender thought ; Would loiter else through unelastic tubes,
Nor deem it impious to forget those pains Deem it not trifling while I recommend
That hurt the living, nought avail the dead. What posture suits: to stand and sit by turns, Go, soft enthusiast ! quit the cypress groves, As nature prompts, is best. But o'er your leaves Nor to the rivulet's lonely moanings tune
Your sad complaint. Go, seek the cheerful haunts How to live happiest ; bow avoid the pains,
The precepts here of a divine old man
His manly sense, and energy of mind. New to your eyes, and shifting every hour,
Virtuous and wise he was, but not severe; Beyond the Alps, beyond the Appenines.
He still remember'd that he once was young: Or more advent'rous, rush into the field
His easy presence check'd no decent joy. Where war grows hot; and, raging through the sky, Him even the dissolute admir'd; for he The lofty trumpet swells the madd’ning soul : A graceful looseness when he pleas'd put on, And in the hardy camp and toilsome march And laughing could instruct. Much had he read, Forget all softer and less manly cares.
Much more had seen : he studied from the life, But most, too passive when the blood runs low, And in th' original perus'd mankind. Too weakly indolent to strive with pain,
Vers'd in the woes and vanities of life, And bravely by resisting conquer fate,
He pitied man: and much he pitied those Try Circe's arts; and in the tempting bowl Whom falsely-smiling fate has curs'd with means Of poison'd nectar sweet oblivion swill.
To dissipate their days in quest of joy: Struck by the powerful charm, the gloom dissolves “ Our aim is happiness ; 't is yours, 't is mine," In empty air, Elysium opens round;
He said ; “'t is the pursuit of all that live : A pleasing phrenzy buoys the lighten'd soul, Yet few attain it, if 't was e'er attain'd. And sanguine hopes dispel your fleeting care ; But they the widest wander from the mark, And what was difficult, and what was dire, Who through the flowery paths of sauntering joy Yields to your prowess and superior stars :
Seek this coy goddess ; that from stage to stage The happiest you of all that c'er were mad,
Invites us still, but shifts as we pursue. Or are, or shall be, could this folly last.
For, not to name the pains that pleasure brings But soon your Heaven is gone; a heavier gloom To counterpoise itself, relentless fate Shuts o'er your head : and as the thund'ring Forbids that we through gay voluptuous wilds stream,
Should ever roam : and were the fates more kind, Swoln o'er its banks with sudden mountain rain, Our narrow luxuries would soon grow stale : Sinks from its tumult to a silent brook ;
Were these exhaustless, nature would grow sick, So, when the frantic raptures in your breast And, cloy'd with pleasure, squeamishly complain Subside, you languish into mortal man ;
That all is vanity, and life a dream.
And for your friend; be busy even in vain,
Grows keen, indulge; but shun satiety.
“ 'T is not for mortals always to be bleste
Virtue and sense are one ; and, trust me, still Who dar'd to violate the virgin wine.
A faithless heart betrays the head unsound. Or on the fugitive champaign you pour
Virtue (for mere good-nature is a fool) A thousand curses; for to Heav'n it wrapt Is sense and spirit with humanity : Your soul, to plunge you deeper in despair. 'T is sometimes angry, and its frown confounds; Perhaps you rue even that diviner gift,
'T is even vindictive, but in vengeance just. (dare; The gay, serene, good-natur’d Burgundy,
Knaves fain would laugh at it ; some great ones Or the fresh fragrant vintage of the Rhine : But at his heart the most undaunted son And wish that Heaven from mortals had withheld Of fortune dreads its name and aweful charms. The grape, and all intoxicating bowls.
To noblest uses this determines wealth ;
This is the solid pomp of prosperous days;
And if you pant for glory, build your fame
Defies of envy and all. sapping time. Performs a deed to haunt you to the grave. (decay; The gaudy gloss of fortune only strikes Add that your means, your health, your parts, The vulgar eye; the suffrage of the wise, Your friends avoid you ; brutishly transform’d, The praise that 's worth ambition, is attain'd They hardly know you; or if one remains By sense alone, and dignity of mind. To wish you well, he wishes you in Heaven. “ Virtue, the strength and beauty of the soul, Despis'd, unwept you fall; who might have left Is the best gift of Heaven : a happiness A sacred-cherish’d, sadly-pleasing name;
That even above the siniles and frowns of fate A name still to be utter'd with a sigh.
Exalts great Nature's favourites; a wealth Your last ungraceful scene has quite effac'd That ne'er encumbers, nor can be transfert de All sense and memory of your former worth Riches are oft by guilt and baseness card;
Or dealt by chance to shield a lucky knave, In wanton and unmanly tenderness,
Adds bloom to health ; o'er ev'ry virtue sheds But for one end, one much-neglected use,
A gay, humane, a sweet, and generous grace, Are riches worth your care ; (for Nature's wants And brightens all the ornameats of man. Are few, and without opulence supply'd;) But fruitless, hopeless, disappointed, rack'd This noble end is, to produce the soul;
With jealousy, fatigu'd with hope and fear, To show the virtues in their fairest light;
Too serious, or too languishingly fond, To make humanity the minister
Unnerves the body and unmans the soul. Of bounteous Providence; and teach the breast And some have died for love ; and some run mad; That generous luxury the gods enjoy."
And some with desperate hands themselves have Thus, in his graver vein, the friendly sage
slain. Sometimes declaim'd. Of right and wrong he Some to extinguish, others to prevent, taught
A mad devotion to one dangerous fair, Truths as refin'd as ever Athens heard ; [preach'd. Court all they meet; in hopes to dissipate And (strange to tell !) he practis'd what he The cares of love amongst an hundred brides. Skilld in the passions, how to check their sway, Th' event is doubtful; for there are who find He knew, as far as reason can control
A cure in this; there are who find it not. The lawless powers: But other cares are mine : 'T is no relief, alas! it rather galls Form'd in the school of Pæon, I relate
The wound, to those who are sincerely sick. What passions hurt the body, what improve : For while from feverish and tumultuous joys Avoid them, or invite them as you may.
The nerves grow languid, and the soul subsides, Know then, whatever cheerful and serene The tender fancy smarts with every sting, Supports the mind, supports the body too.
And what was love before is madness now.
Or loose imagination, spurs you on
Ah! let not luxury nor vain renown
For from the colliquation of soft joys (If Love's omnipotence such hearts can mould,) How chang'd you rise! the ghost of what you was! May safely mellow into love ;
Languid, and melancholy, and gaunt, and wan ; Refin'd, humane, and generous, if they can. Your veins exhausted, and your nerves unstrung. Love in such bosoms never to a fault
Spoild of its balm and sprightly zest, the blood Or pains or pleases. But ye finer souls,
Grows vapid phlegm ; along the tender nerves Fonn'd to soft luxury, and prompt to thrill (To each slight impulse tremblingly awake) With all the tumults, all the joys and pains, À subtle fiend that mimics all the plagues, That beauty gives ; with caution and reserve Rapid and restless springs from part to part. Indulge the sweet destroyer of repose,
The blooming honours of your youth are fallen; Nor court too much the queen of charming cares. Your vigour pines; your vital powers decay; For, while the cherish'd poison in your breast Diseases haunt you ; and untimely age Ferments and maddens; sick with jealousy, Creeps on; unsocial, impotent, and lewd. Absence, distrust, or even with anxious joy, Infatuate, impious epicure! to waste The wholesome appetites and powers of life The stores of pleasure, cheerfulness, and health! Dissolve in languor. The coy stomach loathes Infatuate all who make delight their trade, The genial board : your cheerful days are gone; And coy perdition every hour pursue. The generous bloom that flush'd your cheeks is fled. Who pines with love, or in lascivious flames To sighs devoted and to tender pains,
Consumes, is with his own consent undone ;
He chooses to be wretched, to be mad;
But there 's a passion, whose tempestuous sway It found a liking there, a sportful fire,
Tears up each virtue planted in his breast, And that fomented into serious love;
And shakes to ruins proud philosophy. Which musing daily strengthens and improves For pale and trembling anger rushes in, Through all the heights of fondness and romance: With fault'ring speech, and eyes that wildly stare ; And you 're undone, the fatal shaft has sped, Fierce as the tiger, madder than the seas, (strength. If once you doubt whether you love or no.
Desperate, and arm'd with more than human The body wastes away; th' infected mind,
How soon the calm, humane, and polish'd man Dissolv'd in female tenderness, forgets
Forgets compunction, and starts up a fiend ! Each manly virtue, and grows dead to fame. Who pines in love, or wastes with silent cares, Sweet Heaven, from such intoxicating charms Envy, or ignominy, or tender grief, Defend all worthy breasts! not that I deem Slowly descends, and ling'ring, to the shades : Love always dangerous, always to be shunn'd. But he whom anger stings, drops, if he dies, Love well repaid, and not too weakly sunk At once, and rushes apoplectic down;
Or a fierce fever hurries him to Hell.
Where reason proves too weak, or void of wiles For, as the body through unnumber'd strings To cope with subtle or impetuous powers, Reverberates each vibration of the soul;
I would invoke new passions to your aid : As is the passion, such is still the pain
With indignation would extinguish fear ; The body feels : or chronic, or acute.
With fear, or generous pity, vanquish rage ; And oft a sudden storm at once o'erpowers And love with pride ; and force to force oppose. The life, or gives your reason to the winds.
There is a charm, a power, that sways the breast; Such fates attend the rash alarm of fear,
Bids every passion revel or be still ; And sudden grief, and rage, and sudden joy. Inspires with rage, or all your cares dissolves;
There are, meantime, to whom the boist'rous fit Can soothe distraction, and almost despair. Is health, and only fills the sails of life.
That power is music : far beyond the stretch For where the mind a torpid winter leads,
Of those unmeaning warblers on our stage; Wrapt in a body corpulent and cold,
Those clumsy heroes, those fat-headed gods, And each clogg'd function lazily moves on; Who move no passion justly but contempt : A generous sally spurns th' incumbent load, Who, like our dancers (light indeed and strong!) Unlocks the breast, and gives a cordial glow. Do wond'rous feats, but never heard of grace. But if your wrathful blood is apt to boil,
The fault is ours; we bear those monstrous arts; Or are your nerves too irritably strung,
Good Heaven! we praise them: we, with louies Wave all dispute ; be cautious, if you joke;
Of idiot notes impertinently long.
Who, with bold rage or solemn pomp of sound, And makes the happy wretched in an hour, Inflames, exalts, and ravishes the soul; O'erwhelms you not with woes so horrible
Now tender, plaintive, sweet almost to pain, As your own wrath, nor gives more sudden blows. In love dissolves you; now in sprightly strains While choler works, good friend, you may be Breathes a gay rapture through your thrilling wrong.
breasts ; Distrust yourself, and sleep before you fight. Or melts the hearts with airs divinely sad ; ”T is not too late to-morrow to be brave;
Or wakes to horrour the tremendous strings. If honour bids, to-morrow kill or die.
Such was the bard, whose heavenly strains of old But calm-advice against a raging fit
Appeas'd the fiend of melancholy Saul. Avails too little; and it braves the power
Such was, if old and heathen fame say true, Of all that ever taught in prose or song,
The man who bade the Theban domes ascend, To tame the fiend, that sleeps a gentle lamb, And tam'd the savage nations with his song ; And wakes a lion. Unprovok'd and calm, And such the Thracian, whose melodious lyre, You reason well; see as you ought to see,
Tun'd to soft woe, made all the mountains weep; And wonder at the madness of mankind :
Sooth'd even th' inexorable powers of Hell,
Music exalts each joy, allays each grief,
Expels diseases, softens every pain, Fierce and insidious, violent and slow:
Subdues the rage of poison and of plague; With all that urge or lure us on to fate :
And hence the wise of ancient days ador'd What refuge shall we seek? what arms prepare ? One power of physic, melody, and song.