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Maximian's meal of turnip-tops,
(Disgusting food to dainty chops,)
I've also read of, without wonder;
But such a curs'd egregious blunder,
As that a man of wit and sense,
Should leave his books to hoard up pence.-
Forsake the loved Aonian maids,
For all the petty tricks of trades,
I never, either now, or long since,
Have heard of such a piece of nonsense ;
That one who learning's joys hath felt,
And at the Muse's altar knelt,
Should leave a life of sacred leisure,
To taste the accumulating pleasure;
And metamorphosed to an alley duck,
Grovel in loads of kindred muck.
Oh ! 'tis beyond my comprehension !
A courtier throwing up his pension,-
A lawyer working without a fee,-
A parson giving charity,
A truly pious methodist preacher,
Are not, egad, so out of nature.
Had nature made thee half a fool,
But given thee wit to keep a school,
I had not stared at thy backsliding:
But when thy wit I can confide in,
When well I know thy just pretence
To solid and exalted sense ;
When well I know that on thy head
Philosophy her lights hath shed,
I stand aghast ! thy virtues sum too,
And wonder what this world will come to !
Yet, whence this strain ? shall I repine
That thou alone dost singly shine ?
Shall I lament that thou alone,
Of men of parts, hast prudence known?
ON READING THE POEMS OF WARTON.
Oh, Warton ! to thy soothing shell,
Stretch'd remote in hermit cell,
Where the brook runs babbling by,
For ever I could listening lie;
And catching all the Muse's fire,
Hold converse with the tuneful quire.
What pleasing themes thy page adorn,
The ruddy streaks of cheerful morn,
The pastoral pipe, the ode sublime,
And Melancholy's mournful chime !
Each with unwonted graces shines
In thy ever-lovely lines.
Thy Muse deserves the lasting meed;
Attuning sweet the Dorian reed,
Now the love-lorn swain complains,
And sings his sorrows to the plains;
Now the Sylvan scenes appear
Through all the changes of the year;
Or the elegiac strain
Softly sings of mental pain,
And mournful diapasons sail
On the faintly-dying gale.
But, ah! the soothing scene is o'er !
On middle flight we cease to soar,
For now the muse assumes a bolder sweep,
Strikes on the lyric string her sorrows deep,
In strains unheard before.
Now, now the rising fire thrills high,
Now, now to heaven's high realms we fly,
And every throne explore;
The soul entranced, on mighty wings,
With all the poet's heat, up springs,
And loses earthly woes;
Till all alarm'd at the giddy height,
The Muse descends on gentler flight,
And lulls the wearied soul to soft repose.
ILL-FATED maid, in whose unhappy train Chill poverty and misery are seen,
Anguish and discontent, the unhappy bane Of life, and blackener of each brighter scene.
Why to thy votaries dost thou give to feel So keenly all the scorns—the jeers of life ? Why not endow them to endure the strife With apathy's invulnerable steel,
[to heal? Of self-content and ease, each torturing wound
Ah! who would taste your self-deluding joys, That lure the unwary to a wretched doom,
That bid fair views and flattering hopes arise, Then hurl them headlong to a lasting tomb?
What is the charm which leads thy victims on
To persevere in paths that lead to wo?
What can induce them in that rout to go,
In which innumerous before have gone,
And died in misery, poor and wo-begone.
Yet can I ask what charms in thee are found; I who have drank from thine ethereal rill,
And tasted all the pleasures that abound Upon Parnassus' loved Aonian hill ? [thrill!
I, through whose soul the Muse's strains aye Oh! I do feel the spell with which I'm tied;
And though our annals fearful stories tell, How Savage languish'd, and how Otway died, Yet must I persevere, let whate'er will betide.
Why should I blush to own I love?
'Tis love that rules the realms above.
Why should I blush to say to all,
That Virue holds my heart in thrall ?
Why should I seek the thickest shade, Lest Love's dear secret be betray'd ? Why the stern brow deceitful move, When I am languishing with love?
Is it weakness thus to dwell
On passion that I dare not tell ?
Such weakness I would ever prove;
'Tis painful, though 'tis sweet, to love.