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But him the leaft the dull or painful hours
Of life opprefs, whom fober Sense conducts,
And Virtue thro' this labyrinth we tread.
Virtue and Senfe I mean not to disjoin;
Virtue and Senfe are one: and truft me, he
Who has not virtue is not truly wife.
Virtue (for mere good-nature is a fool)
Is fenfe and fpirit, with humanity :
'Tis fometimes angry, and its frown confounds;
'Tis even vindictive, but in vengeance juft.
Knaves fain would laugh at it; fome great ones dare;
But at his heart the most undaunted fon
Of fortune dreads its name and awful charms.
To nobleft ufes this determines wealth:
This is the folid pomp of profperous days;
The peace and shelter of adverfity.
And if you pant for glory, build your fame
On this foundation, which the secret shock
Defies of Envy and all-fapping Time.
The gaudy glofs of Fortune only strikes
The vulgar eye: The fuffrage of the wife,
The praise that's worth ambition, is attain’d
By fenfe alone, and dignity of mind.
Virtue, the ftrength and beauty of the foul,
Is the best gift of heaven: a happiness
That even above the fmiles and frowns of fate
Exalts great Nature's favourites: a wealth
That ne'er encumbers, nor to bafer hands
Can be transferr'd: it is the only good
Man juftly boafts of, or can call his own.
Riches are oft by guilt and baseness earn'd;
Or dealt by chance, to shield a lucky knave,
Or throw a cruel fun-fhine on a fool.
But for one end, one much-neglected ufe,
Are riches worth your care (for Nature's wants
Are few, and without opulence supplied)
This noble end is, to produce the Soul:
To fhew the virtues in their faireft light;
To make Humanity the Minifter
Of bounteous Providence; and teach the breaft
That generous luxury the Gods enjoy.
Thus, in his graver vein, the friendly Sage
Sometimes declaim'd. Of Right and Wrong he taught
Truths as refin'd as ever Athens heard;
And (ftrange to tell!) he practis'd what he preach'd.
N frolick's hour, ere ferious thought had birth,
There was a time, my dear CORNWALLIS, when
The Mufe would take me on her airy wing
And waft to views romantic; there prefent
Some motley vision, fhade and fun: the cliff
O'erhanging, sparkling brooks, and ruins grey:
Bade me meanders trace, and catch the form
Of varying clouds, and rainbows learn to paint.
Sometimes ambition, brufhing by, would twitch
My mantle, and with winning look fublime
Allure to follow. What tho' steep the track,
Her mountain's top would overpay, when climb'd,
The fcaler's toil; her temple there was fine,
And lovely thence the profpects. She cou'd tell
Where laurels grew, whence many a wreath antique;
But more advis'd to fhun the barren twig,
(What is immortal verdure without fruit?)
And woo fome thriving art: her num'rous mines
Were open to the searcher's skill and pains.
Caught by th' harangue, heart beat, and flutt'ring pulse
Sounded irregular marches to be gone
What, pause a moment when Ambition calls?
No, the blood gallops to the diftant goal,
And throbs to reach it. Let the lame fit ftill.
When Fortune gentle, at the hill's verge extreme,
Array'd in decent garb, but fomewhat thin,
Smiling approach'd; and what occafion, ask'd,
Of climbing; She already provident
Had cater'd well, if ftomach cou'd digeft
Her viands, and a palate not too nice :
Unfit fhe faid, for perilous attempt;
That manly limb requir'd, and finew tough.
She took, and laid me in a vale remote,
Amid the gloomy scene of fir and yew,
On poppy beds, where Morpheus ftrew'd the ground;
Obfcurity her curtain round me drew,
And Syren Sloth a dull quietus fung.
Sithence no fairy lights, no quick'ning ray,
No ftir of pulfe, nor objects to entice
Abroad the spirits: but the cloyster'd heart
Sits fquat at home, like pagod in a nitch
Obfcure, or grandees with nod-watching eye,
And folded arms, in prefence of the throne,
Turk, or Indoftan.-Cities, forums, courts
And prating fanhedrims and drumming wars,
Affect no more than ftories told to bed
Lethargic, which at intervals the fick
Hears and forgets, and wakes to doze again.
Inftead of converfe and variety,
The fame trite round, the fame ftale filent fcene:
Such are thy comforts, bleffed Solitude!
But Innocence is there, but Peace all kind,
And fimple quiet with her downy couch,
Meads lowing, tune of birds, and lapfe of streams,
And faunter with a book, and warbling Mufe
In praife of hawthorns-Life's whole bufinefs this!
Is it to bak i' th' fan? if fo a fnail
Were happy crawling on a fouthern wall.
Why fits content upon a cottage-fill
At eventide, and bleffeth the coarse meal
In footy corner? why fweet flumber wait
Th' hard pallet? not becaufe from haunt remote
Sequefter'd in a dingle's bushy lap :
"Tis labour makes the peafant's fav'ry fare,
And works out his repofe: for ease must ask
The leave of diligence to be enjoy'd.
Oh! liften not to that enchantrefs Eafe
With feeming fmile; her palatable cup
By ftanding grows infipid; and beware
The bottom, for there's poifon in the lees.
What health impair'd, and crowds inactive maim'd?
What daily martyrs to her fluggish caufe!
Lefs ftrict devoir the Rufs and Perfian claim
Defpotic; and as fubjects long inur'd
To fervile burthen, grow fupine and tame,
So fares it with our fov'reign and her train.
What tho' with lure fallacious fhe pretend
From worldly bondage to fet free, what gain
Her votaries? What avails from iron chains
Exempt, if rofy fetters bind as faft?
Beftir, and answer your creation's end.
Think we that man with vig'rous pow'r endow'd
And room to stretch, was deftin'd to fit fill?
Sluggards are Nature's rebels, flight her laws,
Nor live up to the terms on which they hold
Their vital lease. Laborious terms and hard;
But fuch the tenure of our earthly state!
Riches and fame are Induftry's reward;
The nimble runner courses Fortune down,
And then he banquets, for fhe feeds the bold.
Think what you owe your country, what yourself.
If fplendor charm not, yet avoid the fcorn.
That treads on lowly ftations. Think of fome
Affiduous booby mounting o'er your head,
And thence with faucy grandeur looking down:
Think of (Reflection's ftab !) the pitying friend
With shoulder shrugg'd and forry. Think that Time
Has golden minutes, if difcreetly seiz'd:
And if fome fad example, indolent,
To warn and fcare be wanting
ELEGY TO A YOUNG NOBLEMAN
'ER yet, ingenuous Youth, thy steps retire
From Cam's fmooth margin, and the peaceful vale,
Where Science call'd thee to her ftudious quire,
And met thee mufing in her cloyfters pale;
O let thy friend (and may he boaft the name)
Breathe from his artless reed one parting lay!