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Would you, thro' all your days, dispense
The joys of reason, and of sense?
Or give to life the most you can,
Let social virtue shape the plan.
For does not to the virtuous deed
A train of pleasing sweets succeed?
Or, like the sweets of wild desire,
Did social pleasures ever tire?
Yet midst the groupe be some preserr'd,
Be some abhorr'd—for Damon err'd:
And such there are—of fair address—
As 'twere unsocial to caress.
O learn by reason's equal rule
To stum the praise of knave, or fool!
Then, tho' you deem it better still
To gain some rustic 'squire's good will;
And souls, however mean or vile,
Like features, brighten by a smile;
Yet reason holds it for a crime,
The trivial breast shou'd share thy time:
And virtue, with reluctant eyes,
Beholds this human sacrifice!
Thro' deep reserve, and air erect,
Mistaken Damon won respect;
But cou'd the specious homage pass,
With any creature, but an ass?
If conscious, they who fear'd the skin,
Wou'd scorn the sluggish brute within.
What awe-struck slaves the tow'rs enclose,
Where Persian monarchs eat, and doze?
What prostrate rev'rence all agree,
To pay a prince they never see!
Mere vassals of a royal throne!
The sophi's virtues must be shewn,
To make the reverence his own.
As for Thalia—wouldst thou make her
Thy bride without a portion ?—take her.
She will with duteous care attend,
And all thy pensive hours befriend;
Will swell thy joys, will share thy pain;
With thee rejoice, with thee complain;
Will smooth thy pillow, pleat thy bow'rs;
And bind thine aching head with flow'rs.
But be this previous maxim known,
If thou canst feed on love alone:
If blest with her, thou canst sustain
Contempt, and poverty, and pain:
If so—then rifle all her graces—
And fruitful be your fond embraces.
Too soon, by caitiff-spleen inspir'd, Sage Damon to his groves retir'd: The path disclaimed by sober reason; Retirement claims a later season; Ere active youth and warm desires Have quite withdrawn their ling'ring sires. With the warm bosom, ill agree, Or limpid stream, or study tree,
Love lurks within the rosy bowV,
And claims the speculative hour;
Ambition finds his calm retreat,
And bids his pulse too fiercely beat;
Ev'n social friendship duns his ear,
And cites him to the public sphere.
Does he resist their genuine force?
His tamper takes some froward course;
Till passion, misdirected, sighs
For weeds, or shells, or grubs, or flies!
Far happiest he, whose early days
Spent in the social paths of praise,
Leave, fairly printed on his mind,
A train of virtuous deeds behind:
From this rich fund, the mem'ry draws
The lasting meed of self-applause.
Such fair ideas lend their aid To people the sequesters shade. Such are the naiads, nymphs, and fawns, That haunt his floods, or chear his lawns, If where his devious ramble strays, He virtue's radiant form surveys She seems no longer now to wear The rigid mien, the frown severe ;* To shew him her remote abode; To point the rocky arduous road: But from each flower, his fields allow, She twines a garland for his brow.
»^Hiding to—the alsegory in Ceues's tablet.
A RHAPSODY, addressed to young Poets.
Infants; omnes gelidis qukunque lacernis
Sunt tibi, Nasones Virgiliosque vides. Mart.
PART The FIRST.
TO you, ye bards! whose lavish breast requires
This monitory lay, the strains belong;
Nor think some miser vents his sapient saw,
Or some dull cit unfeeling of the charms
That tempt profusion, sings ; while friendly zeal,
To guard from fatal ills the tribe he loves,
Inspires the meanest of the muse's train!
Like you I loath the groveling progeny,
Whose wily arts, by creeping time matur'd,
Advance them high on pow'r*s tyrannic throne:
To lord it there in gorgeous uselessness,
And spurn successless worth that pines below!
See the rich churl, amid the social sons
Of wine and wit, regaling! hark he joins
In the free jest delighted! seems to shew
A meliorated heart! he laughs! he sings!
Songs of gay import, madrigals of glee,
And drunken anthems set agape the board.
Like *demea, in the play, benign and mild,
And pouring forth benevolence of soul,
Till Micio wonders: or, in Shakespear's line,
Obstrep'rous silence; drowning Shallow's voice,
And startling Falstaff, and his mad compeers.
He owns 'tis prudence, ever and anon,
To smooth his careful brow; to let his purse
Ope to a six-pence's diameter!
He likes our ways; he owns the ways of wit
Are ways of pleasaunce, and deserve regard.
True, we are dainty good society,
But what art thou? alas! consider well,
Thou bane of social pleasure, know thyself.
Thy fell approach, like some invasive damp
Breath'd thro' the pores of earth from Stygian caves,
Destroys the lamp of mirth; the lamp which we
Its flamens boast to guard, we know not how:
But at thy sight the fading flame assumes
A ghastly blue, and in a stench expires.
True, thou seem'st chang'd; all sainted, all ensky'd; The trembling tears that charge thy melting eyes Say thou art honest; and of gentle kind, But all is false! an intermitting sigh Condemns each hour, each moment giv'n to smiles, And deems those only lost, thou dost not lose. Ev^n for a demi-groat, this open'd soul, This boon companion, this elastic breast
•In Terence's Adelphi.