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No sounds, alas ! would touch the impervious ear,
Though dancing mountains witness’d Orpheus near;
Nor lute nor lyre his feeble power attend,
Nor sweeter music of a virtuous friend;
But everlasting dictates crowd his tongue,
Perversely grave, or positively wrong.
The still-returning tale, and lingering jest,
Perplex the fawning niece and pamper'd guest,
While growing hopes scarce awe the gathering sneer,
And scarce a legacy can bribe to hear ;
The watchful guests still hint the last offence,
The daughter's petulance, the son's expense;
Improve his heady rage with treacherous skill,
And nould his passions till they make his will.
Unnumber'd maladies his joints invade,
Lay siege to life, and press the dire blockade;
But unextinguish'd Avarice still remains,
And dreaded losses aggravate his pains;
He turns, with anxious heart and crippled hands,
His bonds of deht, and mortgages of lands;
Or views his coffers with suspicious eyes,
Unlocks his gold, and counts it till he dies.
But grant, the virtues of a temperate prime
Bless with an age exempt from scorn or crime;
An age that melts in unperceived decay,
And glides in modest innocence away;
Whose peaceful day Benevolence endears,
Whose night congratulating Conscience cheers ;
The general favourite, as the general friend :
Such age there is, and who could wish its end !
Yet ev'n on this her load Misfortune flings,
To press the weary minute's flagging wings;
New sorrow rises as the day returns,
A sister sickens, a daughter mourns.
Now kindred Merit fills the sable bier,
Now lacerated Friendship claims a tear.
Year chases year, decay pursues decay,
Still drops some joy from withering life away;
New forms arise, and different views engage,
Superfluous lags the veteran on the stage,
Till pitying Nature signs the last release,
Apd bids afflicted worth retire to peace.
But few there are whom hours like these await,
Who set unclouded in the gulfs of Fate.
From Lydia's monarch should the search descend,
By Solon caution'd to regard his end;
In life's last scene what prodigies surprise,
Fears of the brave, and follies of the wise !
From Marlborough's eyes the streams of dotage flow,
And Swift expires a driveller and a show.
The teeming mother, anxious for her race, Begs for each birth the fortune of a face : Yet Vane could tell what ills from beauty spring ; And Sedley cursed the form that pleased a king. Ye nymphs of rosy lips and radiant eyes ! Whom pleasure keeps too busy to be wise; Whom joys with soft varieties invite, By day the frolic, and the dance by night ; Who frown with vanity, who smile with art, And ask the latest fashion of the heart, [save, What care, what rules your heedless charms shall Each nymph your rival, and each youth your slave ? Against your fame with fondness hate combines, The rival batters, and the lover mines. With distant voice neglected Virtue calls, Less heard and less, the faint remonstrance falls ; Tired with contempt, she quits the slippery reign, And Pride and Prudence take her seat in vain.
In crowd at once, where none the pass defend,
The harmless Freedom, and the private Friend.
The guardians yield, by force superior plied;
To Interest, Prudence; and to Flattery, Pride.
Now Beauty falls betray'd, despised, distress'd,
And hissing Infamy proclaims the rest.
Where then shall Hope and Fear their objects find ?
Must dull Suspense corrupt the stagnant mind ?
Must helpless man, in ignorance sedate,
Roll darkling down the torrent of his fate?
Must no dislike alarm, no wishes rise,
No cries attempt the mercies of the skies?
Inquirer, cease! petitions yet remain
Which Heaven may hear, nor deem religion vaiu.
Still raise for good the supplicating voice,
But leave to Heaven the measure and the choice.
Safe in His power, whose eyes discern afar
The secret ambush of a specious prayer :
Implore his aid, in his decisions rest,
Secure whate'er he gives, he gives the best.
Yet when the sense of sacred presence fires,
And strong devotion to the skies aspires,
Pour forth thy fervours for a healthful mind,
Obedient passions, and a will resigu’d';
For love, which scarce collective man can fill ;
For patience, sovereign o'er transmuted ill;
For faith, that panting for a happier seat,
Counts death kind Nature's signal of retreat :
These goods for man the laws of Heaven ordain,
These goods he grants, who grants the power to
With these celestial Wisdom calms the mind,
And makes the happiness she does not find.
THE THIRD SATIRE OF JUVENAL.
Tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus ut teneat se?
Though grief and fondness in my breast rebel,
When injured Thales' bids the town farewell;
Yet still my calmer thoughts his choice commend,-
I praise the hermit, but regret the friend,
Who now resolves, from vice and London far,
To breathe in distant fields a purer air ;
Avd, fix'd on Cambria's solitary shore,
Give to Saint David one true Briton more.
For who would leave, unbribed, Hibernia's land,
Or change the rocks of Scotland for the Strand ?
There none are swept by sudden fate away,
But all whom hunger spares, with age decay:
Here malice, rapive, accident, conspire,
And now a rabble rages, now a fire;
Their ambush here relentless ruffians lay,
And here the fell attorney prowls for prey;
Here falling houses thunder on your head,
And here a female atheist talks you dead.
While Thales waits the wherry that contains Of dissipated wealth the small remains, On Thames's banks, in silent thought we stood, Where Greenwich smiles upon the silver flood : Struck with the seat that gave Eliza a birth, We kneel, and kiss the consecrated earth; In pleasing dreams the blissful age renew, And call Britannia's glories back to view; Behold her cross triumphant on the main, The guard of commerce, and the dread of Spain, Ere masquerades debauch’d, excise oppress’d, Or English honour grew a standing jest.
A transient calm the happy scenes bestow, And for a moment lull the sense of woe. At length awaking, with contemptuous frown, Indignant Thales eyes the neighbouring town : "Since worth,' he cries, ' in these degenerate days, Wants ev'n the cheap reward of empty praise ; In those cursed walls, devote to vice and gain, Since unrewarded science toils in vain ; Since hope but soothes to double my distress, And every moment leaves my little less ; While yet my steady steps no staff sustains, And life still vigorous revels in my veins ; Grant me, kind Heaven, to find some happier place, Where honesty and sense are no disgrace; Some pleasing bank where verdant osiers play, Some peaceful vale with Nature's painting gay; Where once the harass'd Briton found repose, And safe in poverty defied his foes; Some secret cell, ye powers, indulgent give, Let live here, for has learn'd to live.
· Queen Elizabeth, born at Greenwich.