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Beneath that home I scorn the wintry wind;
The spring, to shade me, robes her fairest tree; And if a friend my grass-grown threshold find,
O how my lonely cot resounds with glee !
Yet, tho' averse to gold in heaps amass’d,
I wish to bless, I languish to bestow;
Still, to her dulcet murmurs not a foe.
Too proud with servile tone to deign address ;
Too mean to think that honours are my due, Yet shou'd some patron yield my stores to bless,
I sure shou'd deem my boundless thanks were few.
But tell me, thou! that, like a meteor's fire,
Shot'st blazing forth; disdaining dull degrees ; Shou'd I to wealth, to fame, to pow'r aspire,
Must I not pass more rugged paths than these?
Must I not groan beneath a guilty load,
Praise him I scorn, and him I love betray ? Does not felonious envy bar the road ?
Or falsehood's treach'rous foot beset the way ?
Say shou'd I pass thro' favour's crowded gate,
Must not fair truth inglorious wait behind ? Whilst I approach the glittring scenes of state, My best companion no admittance find ?
Nurs'd in the shades by freedom's lenient care,
Shall I the rigid sway of fortune own? Taught by the voice of pious truth, prepare
To spurn an altar, and adore a throne ?
And when proud fortune's ebbing tide recedes,
And when it leaves me no unshaken friend, Shall I not weep that e'er I left the meads,
Which oaks embosom, and which hills defend ?
Oh! if these ills the price of pow'r advance,
Check not my speed where social joys invite ! The troubled vifion caft a mournful glance,
And sighing vanish'd in the shades of night.
He describes his early love of poetry, and its consequencess
H me! what envious magic thins my
fold? What mutter'd spell retards their late increase? Such less’ning fleeces must the swain behold,
That e'er with Doric pipe essays to please.
I saw my friends in ev'ning circles meet;
I took my vocal reed, and tun'd my lay ;
Ah fool! to credit what I heard them say!
Ill-fated bard! that seeks his skill to show,
Then courts the judgment of a friendly ear!
To guide his doubtful step, has more to fear.
Nor cou'd my G--- mistake the critic's laws,
Till pious friendship mark'd the pleasing way:
Ev'n tho’it led me boundless leagues astray !
N. B. Written after the death of Mr. Pope.
Couldst thou reprove me, when I nurs'd the fame
On lift'ning CHERWELL's ofier banks reclin'd ? While foe to fortune, unseduc'd by fame,
I footh'd the biass of a careless mind.
Youth's gentle kindred, health and love were met;
What tho' in Alma's guardian arms I play'd ? How shall the muse those vacant hours forget?
Or deem that bliss by folid cares repaid ?
Thou know'ft how transport thrills the tender breast,
Where love and fancy fix their op’ning reign; How nature shines in livelier colours drest,
To bless their union, and to grace their train.
So first when PHOEBUS met the Cyprian queen,
And favour'd Rhodes beheld their passion crown'd, Unusual Aow’rs enrich'd the painted green;
And swift spontaneous roses blush'd around.
Now fadly lorn, from TWITNAM's widow'd bow'r,
The drooping muses take their casual way; And where they stop, a flood of tears they pour ;
And where they weep, no more the fields are gay!
Where is the dappled pink, the sprightly rose ?
The cowsip's golden cup no more I fee : Dark and discolour'd ev'ry flow'r that blows, To form the garland, Elegy! for thee !
Enough of tears has wept the virtuous dead;
Ah might we now the pious rage controul ! Hush'd be my grief ere ev'ry smile be fed,
Ere the deep swelling figh subvert the soul !
If near some trophy spring a stripling bay,
Pleas'd we behold the graceful umbrage rise ; But soon too deep it works its baneful way,
And, low on earth, the prostrate * ruin lies.
Alludes to what is reported of the bay-tree, that if it is planted too near the walls of an edifice, its roots will work their way underneath, till they destroy the foundation.