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Hath shap'd his way; on beds profuse of flow'rs,
Cowflip, or primrose, or the circ'lar eye
Of daisie fair, decrees to bask supine.
And see! delighted, down he drops, secure
Of sweet refreshment, ease without annoy,
Or luscious noon-day nap. Ah much deceiv'd,
Much suff’ring pilgrim! thou nor noon-day nap,
Nor sweet repose shalt find; the false morass
In quiv'ring undulations yields beneath
Thy burden, in the miry gulph enclos’d!
And who would trust appearance ? cast thine eye
Where 'mid machines of het’rogeneous form
His coat depends; alas ! his only coat,
Eldest of things ! and napless, as an heath
Of small extent by fleecy myriads graz’d.
Not diff'rent have I seen in dreary vault
Display'd, a coffin ; on each fable side
The texture unmolested seems entire.
Fraudful, when touch'd it glides to dust away!
And leaves the wond'ring swain to gape, to ftare,
And with expressive shrug, and piteous sigh,
Declare the fatal force of rolling years,
Or dire extent of frail mortality,
This aged vesture, scorn of gazing beaux,
And formal cits, (themselves too haply scorn'd)
Both on its neeve and on its skirt, retains
Full many a pin wide-sparkling : for, if e'er
Their well-known crest met his delighted eye,
Tho' wrapt in thought, commercing with the sky,
He, gently stooping, scorn'd not to upraise,
And on each neeve, as conscious of their use,
Indenting fix them ; nor, when arm’d with these,
The cure of rents and separations dire,
And chasms enormous, did he view dismay'd
Hedge, bramble, thicket, bulh, portending fate
To breeches, coat and hose ! had any wight
Of vulgar skill, the tender texture own'd;
his mind to form a sonnet quaint
Of Silvia's shoe-string, or of Cloe's fan,
Or sweetly-falhion'd tip of Celia's ear.
Alas! by frequent use decays the force
Of mortal art ! the refractory robe
Eludes the taylor's art, eludes his own;
How potent once, in union quaint conjoin'd!
See near his bed (his bed too falsely callid
The place of rest, while it a bard sustains ;
Pale, meagre, muse-rid wight! who reads in vain
Narcotic volumes o’er) his candlestick,
Radiant machine, when from the plastic hand
Of MULCIBER, the may’r of BIRMINGHAM,
The engine iffu'd ; now alas disguis’d
By many an unctuous tide, that wand'ring down
Its sides congeal ; what he, perhaps, essays
With humour forc'd, and ill-dissembled smile,
Idly to liken to the poplar's trunk
When o'er its bark the lucid amber, wound
In many a pleasing fold, incrusts the tree.
Or suits him more the winter's candy'd thorn,
When from each branch, anneal'd, the works of frost
Pervasive, radiant isicles depend?
How shall I sing the various ill that waits
The careful sonneteer? or who can paint
The shifts enormous, that in vain he forms
To patch his paneless window; to cement
His batter'd tea pot, ill-retentive vase ?
To war with ruin ? anxious to conceal
Want's fell appearance, of the real ill
Nor foe, nor fearful. Ruin unforeseen
Invades his chattles; ruin will invade;
Will claim his whole invention to repair,
Nor, of the gift, for tuneful ends design'd,
Allow one part to decorate his song.
While ridicule, with ever-pointing hand
Conscious of ev'ry shift, of ev'ry shift
Indicative, his inmoft plot betrays,
Points to the nook, which he his study deems
Pompous and vain! for thus he might esteem
His chest, a wardrobe ; purse, a treasury ;
And shews, to crown her full display, himself.
One whom the powr's above, in place of health,
And wonted vigour ; of paternal cot,
Or little farm ; of bag, or scrip, or staff,
Cup, dish, spoon, plate, or worldly utensil,
fram'd not to repine,
And wish the cobler's loftiest site his own ;
Nor, partial as they seem, upbraid the fates,
Who to the humbler mechanism, join'd
Goods so superior, such exalted bliss !
See with what seeming ease, what labour'd peace
He, hapless hypocrite! refines his nail,
His chief amusement ! then how feign'd, how forc'd,
That care-defying sonnet, which implies
His debts discharg'd, and he of half a crown
In full possession, uncontested right
And property! Yet ah! yhçe'er this wight
Admiring view, if such there be, distrust
The vain pretence; the smiles that harbour grief,
As lurks the serpent deep in flow'rs enwreath'd.
Forewarn’d, be frugal; or with prudent rage
Thy pen demolish; chuse the trustier flail,
And bless those labours which the choice inspir’d.
But if thou view'st a vulgar mind, a wight
Of common fenfe, who seeks no brighter name,
Him envy, him admire, him, from thy breast,
Prescient of future dignities, salute
Sheriff, or may'r, in comfortable furs
Enwrapt, secure : nor yet the laureat's crown
In thought exclude him! He perchance shall rise
To nobler heights than foresight can decree.
When fir'd with wrath, for his intrigues display'd
In many an idle song, Saturnian JoyE
Vow'd sure destruction to the tuneful race;
Appeas’d by suppliant PHOEBUS, “ Bards, he said,
Henceforth of plenty, wealth, and pomp debarr'd,
But fed by frugal cares, might wear the bay
Secure of thunder,”-Low the Delian bow'd,
Nor at th' invidious favour dar'd repine.
The EFFECTS of SUPERSTITION,
T length fair peace with olive crown’d regains
Her lawful throne, and to the sacred haunts
Of wood or fount the frighted muse returns.
Happy the bard, who, from his native hills,
Soft-musing on a summer's eve, surveys
His azure stream, with pensile woods enclos'd!
Or o'er the glassy surface, with his friend,
Or faithful fair, thro' bord’ring willows green
Wafts his small frigate. Fearless he of thouts,
Or taunts, the rhetoric of the wat'ry crew
confusion from the realms they rule!
Fearless of these ; who shares the gentler voice
Of peace and music; birds of sweetest song
Attune from native boughs their various lay,
And chear the forest; birds of brighter plume
With busy pinion skim the glitt'ring wave,
And tempt the sun; ambitious to display
Their several merit, while the vocal flute,
Or number'd verse, by female voice endear'd,
Crowns his delight, and mollifies the scene.
If solitude his wand'ring steps invite
To some more deep receís, (for hours there are,
When gay, when social minds to friendship’s voice,
Or beauty's charm, her wild abodes prefer)
How pleas'd he treads her venerable shades,