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Peace courts his hand, but spreads her charms in vain;
“ Think nothing gain’d, he cries, 'till nought remain,
“On Moscow's walls 'till Gothic standards fly,
“And all be mine beneath the polar sky.”
The march begins in military state,
And nations on his eye suspended wait;
Stern Famine guards the solitary coast,
And Winter barricades the realm of Frost;
He comes, not want and cold his course delay ; -
Hide, blushing Glory, hide Pultowa's day:
The vanquish'd hero leaves his broken bands,
And shews his miseries in diftant lands;
Condemn’d a needy supplicant to wait,
While ladies interpose, and Naves debate.
But did not Chance at length her error mend?
Did no subverted empire mark his end?
Did rival monarchs give the fatal wound?
Or hostile millions press him to the ground?
His fall was destin'd to a barren strand,
A petty fortress, and a dubious hand;
He left the name, at which the world grew pale,
To point a moral, or adorn a tale.
Al'times their scenes of pompous woes afford,
From Persia's tyrant to Bavaria's lord.
1 Ver. 168 — 187. VOL. IV. M
In gay hostility, and barb'rous pride,
With half mankind embattled at his fide,
Great Xerxes comes to seize the certain prey,
And starves exhausted regions in his way ;
Attendant Flatt'ry counts his myriads o'er,
'Till counted myriads footh his pride no more ;
Fresh praise is try'd 'till madness fires his mind,
The waves he lashes, and enchains the wind;
New pow'rs are claim'd, new pow'rs are still beftow'd,
'Till rudę resistance lops the spreading god;
The daring Greeks deride the martial fhow,
And heap their vallies with the gaudy foe;
Th'insulted sea with humbler thoughts he gains,
A single skiff to speed his flight remains ;
Th' incumber'd oar scarce leaves the dreaded coaft
Through purple billows and a floating hoft.
The bold Bavarian, in a lucklefs hour,
Tries the dread fummits of Cesarean pow'r,
With unexpected legion's bursts away,
And sees defenceless realms receive his sway;
Short sway! fair Austria spreads her mournful charms,
The queen, the beauty, sets the world in arms;
From hill to hill the beacons rousing blaze
Spreads wide the hope of plunder and of praise ;
The fierce Croatian, and the wild Hussar,
And all the sons of ravage crowd the war ;
The baffled prince in honour's flatt'ring bloom
Of hafty greatness finds the fatal doom,
His foes derision, and his subjects blame,
And steals to death from anguish and from shame.
Enlarge “ my life with multitude of days,
In health, in sickness, thus the suppliant prays ;
Hides from himself his state, and shuns to know,
That life protracted is protracted woe.
Time hovers o'er, impatient to destroy,
And shuts up all the passages of joy:
In vain their gifts the bounteous seasons pour,
The fruit autumnal, and the vernal flow'r,
With listless eyes the dotard views the store,
He views, and wonders that they please no more ;
Now pall the tasteless meats, and joyless wines,
And Luxury with sighs her Nave resigns.
Approach, ye minstrels, try the foothing strain,
And yield the tuneful lenitives of pain :
No sounds, alas! would touch th' impervious ear,
Though dancing mountains witness Orpheus near,
Nor lute nor lyre his feeble pow'rs attend,
Nor sweeter music of a virtuous friend,
But everlasting dictates crowd his tongue,
Perversely grave or positively wrong.
The still returning tale, and ling'ring jest,
Perplex the fawning niece and pamper'd guest,
While growing hopes scarce awe the gath'ring sneer,
And scarce a legacy can bribe to hear ;
The watchful guests still hint the last offence,
The daughter's petulance, the son's expence,
Improve his heady rage with treach'rous skill,
And mould 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 Av'rice still remains,
And dreaded losses aggravate his pains ;
He turns, with anxious heart and crippled hands,
His bonds of debt, 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 temp'rate prime
Bless with an age exempt from scorn or crime;
An age that melts in unperceiv'd decay,
And glides in modest innocence away ;
Whole peaceful day Benevolence endears,
Whole night congratulating Conscience chears ;
The gen’ral fav’rité, as the gen’ral friend;
age there is, and who could wish its end?
Yet ev'n on this her load Misfortune Alings,
To press the weary minutes flagging wings:
New sorrow rises as the day returns,
A lifter fickens, or 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 with’ring life away ;
New forms arise, and diff'rent views engage,
Superfluous lags the vet’ran on the stage,
'Till pitying Nature signs the last release,
And bids afflicted worth retire to peace.
But few there are whom hours like these await,
Whọ set unclouded in the gulphs 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 Marlb'rough's eyes the streams of dotage flow,
And Swift expires a driv'ler and a show.
The "teeming mother, anxious for her race, Begs for each birth the fortune of a face: o Ver. 289-345