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A lay like this thy early Virtues claim,
And this let voluntary Friendship pay.
Yet know, the time arrives, the dangerous time,
When all thofe Virtues, opening now fo fair,
Tranfplanted to the world's tempeftuous clime,
Muft learn each Paffion's boift'rous breath to bear.
There if Ambition, peftilent and pale,
Or Luxury fhould taint their vernal glow;
If cold Self-intereft, with her chilling gale,
Should blaft th' unfolding bloffoms e'er they blow;
If mimic hues, by Art, or Fashion spread,
Their genuine, fimple colouring fhould fupply;
O! with them may these laureate honours fade;
And with them (if it can) my Friendship die.
And do not blame, if, tho' thyself infpire,
Cautious I ftrike the panegyric ftring;
The Mufe full oft pursues a meteor fire,
And vainly vent'rous, foars on waxen wing.
Too actively awake at Friendship's voice,
The poet's bofom pours the fervent strain,
'Till fad reflection blames the hafty choice,
And oft invokes Oblivion's aid in vain.
Go then, my Friend, nor let thy candid breaft
Condemn me, if I check the plausive string;
Go to the wayward world; compleat the reft;
Be, what the pureft Muse would wish to fing.
Be ftill thyfelf; that open path of Truth,
Which led thee here, let Manhood firm purfue;
Retain the fweet fimplicity of Youth,
And all thy virtue dictates, dare to do.
Still fcorn, with conscious pride the mask of Art;
On Vice's front let fearful Caution lour,
And teach the diffident, discreeter part
Of knaves that plot, and fools that fawn for power. So, round thy brow when age's honours fpread, When death's cold hand unftrings thy MASON's lyre, When the green turf lies lightly on his head,
Thy worth fhall some superior bard inspire: He to the amplest bounds of Time's domain,
On Rapture's plume fhall give thy Name to fly; For truft, with rev'rence truft this Sabian ftrain: "The Mufe forbids the virtuous Man to die."
H little think the gay licentious proud,
Whom pleasure, power, and affluence surround; They, who their thoughtless hours in giddy mirth, And wanton, often cruel, riot waste;
Ah little think they, while they dance along,
How many feel, this very moment, death,
And all the fad variety of pain:
How many fink in the devouring flood,
Or more devouring flame: how many bleed,
By fhameful variance betwixt Man and Man:
How many pine in want, and dungeon glooms;
Shut from the common air, and common ufe
Of their own limbs: how many drink the cup
Of baleful grief, or eat the bitter bread
Of mifery: fore pierc'd by wintry winds,
many fhrink into the fordid hut
Of cheerless poverty: how many shake
With all the fiercer tortures of the mind,
Unbounded paffion, madness, guilt, remorse;
Whence tumbling headlong from the height of life,
They furnish matter for the tragic mufe:
Even in the vale, where wifdom loves to dwell,
With friendship, peace, and contemplation join'd,
How many rack'd, with honeft paffions, droop
In deep retir'd diftrefs: how many stand
Around the death-bed of their dearest friends
And point the parting anguish.-Thought fond man
Of these, and all the thoufand nameless ills,
That one inceffant ftruggle render life
One scene of toil, of suffering, and of fate,
Vice in his high career would ftand appall'd,
And heedlefs rambling Impulfe learn to think;
The confcious heart of charity would warm,
And her wide with benevolence dilate;
The focial tear would rife, the focial figh;
And into clear perfection, gradual blifs,
Refining ftill, the focial paffions work.
REFLECTIONS ON A FUTURE STATE.
IS done!-dread WINTER fpreads his latest glooms,
And reigns tremendous o'er the conquer'd year.
How dead the vegetable kingdom lies!
How dumb the tuneful! horror wide extends
His defolate domain. Behold, fond Man!
See here thy pictur'd life, pafs fome few years:
Thy flowering Spring, thy Summer's ardent ftrength,
Thy fober Autumn fading into age,
And pale concluding Winter comes at last,
And shuts the fcene. Ah! whither now are fled
Thofe dreams of greatness? those unfolid hopes
Of happiness? those longings after fame ?
Those reftlefs cares? thofe bufy bustling days?
Thofe gay-fpent feftive nights? thofe veering thoughts
Loft between good and ill, that fhar'd thy life?
All now are vanish'd! VIRTUE fole furvives,
Immortal never-failing friend of Man,
His guide to happiness on high.—And fee!
'Tis come, the glorious morn! the second birth
Of heaven, and earth! awakening Nature hears
The new creating word, and starts to life,
In every heightened form, from pain and death
For ever free. The great eternal scheme
Involving all, and in a perfect whole
Uniting, as the prospect wider spreads,
To reason's eye refin'd clears up apace.
Ye vainly wife! ye blind prefumptuous! now,
Confounded in the duft, adore that PowER,
And WISDOM oft arraign'd: fee now the cause,
Why unaffuming worth in fecret liv'd,
And dy'd, neglected: why the good Man's share
In life was gall and bitterness of soul:
Why the lone widow, and her orphans pin'd,
In ftarving folitude; while luxury,
In palaces, lay ftraining her low thought,
To form unreal wants: why heaven-born truth,
And moderation fair, wore the red marks
Of fuperftition's fcourge: why licens'd pain,
That cruel spoiler, that embosom'd foe,
Imbitter'd all our blifs. Ye good distrest!
Ye noble few! who here unbending stand
Beneath life's preffure, yet bear up a while,
And what your bounded view, which only faw
A little part, deem'd Evil, is no more.
The storms of WINTRY TIME will quickly pafs,
And one unbounded SPRING encircle all.
E wife to day; 'tis madnefs to defer;
Next day the fatal precedent will plead ;
Thus on, till wisdom is push'd out of life.
Procraftination is the thief of time;
Year after year it fteals, till all are fled,
And to the mercies of a moment leaves
'The vaft concerns of an eternal scene.
Of man's miraculous mistakes, this bears
"That all men are about to live,"
For ever on the brink of being born.
All pay themselves the compliment to think
They, one day, shall not drivel; and their pride
On this reverfion takes up ready praise;
At least, their own; their future felves applauds ;
How excellent that life they ne'er will lead!
Time lodg'd in their own hands is Folly's vails;
That lodg'd in Fate's, to Wisdom they confign;
The thing they can't but purpose, they poftpone.
'Tis not in Folly, not to scorn a fool;
And scarce in human Wisdom to do more,