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Who, not by cares, or wants, or age deprest,
Stems a wild deluge with a dauntless breast;
And dares to sing thy praises in a clime
Where vice triumphs, and virtue is a crime;
Where e'en to draw the picture of thy mind,
Is satire on the most of human kind:
Take it, while yet ’tis praise ; before my rage,
Unsafely just, break loose on this bad age;
So bad, that thou thyself hadst no defence
From vice, but barely by departing hence.
Be what, and where thou art; to wish thy place,
Were, in the best, presumption more than grace.
Thy relics, (such thy works of mercy are)
Have, in this poem, been my holy care.
As earth thy body keeps, thy soul the sky,
So shall this verse preserve thy memory;
For thou shalt make it live, becauseit singsof thee.
'Twas on a joyless and a gloomy morn,
Wet was the grass, and hung with pearls the thorn,
When Damon, who design'd to pass the day
With hounds and horns, and chace the flying prey,
Rose early from his bed; but soon he found
The welkin pitch'd with sullen clouds around,
An eastern wind, and dew upon the ground.
Thus while he stood, and sighing did survey
The fields, and curst the ill omens of the day,
He saw Menalcas come with heavy pace :
Wet were his eyes, and cheerless was his face :
He wrung his hands, distracted with his care,
And sent his voice before him from afar.
Return, he cried, return, unhappy swain,
spungy clouds are fill’d with gathering rain :
The promise of the day not only crossid,
But even the spring, the spring itself is lost.
Amyntas-oh-he could not speak the rest,
Nor needed, for presaging Damon guess'd.
Equal with heaven young Damon loved the boy,
The boast of nature, both his parents' joy.
His graceful form revolving in his mind;
So great a genius, and a soul so kind,
Gave sad assurance that his fears were true;
Too well the envy of the gods he knew :
For when their gifts too lavishly are placed,
Soon they repent, and will not make them last.
For sure it was too bountiful a dole,
The mother's features, and the father's soul,
Then thus he cried :-The morn bespoke the news;
The morning did her cheerful light diffuse;
But see how suddenly she changed her face,
And brought on clouds and rain, theday's disgrace;
Just such, Amyntas, was thy promised race.
And more than man was given us in a child !
His infancy was ripe; a soul sublime
In years so tender that prevented time.
Heaven gave him all at once;
him all at once; then snatch'd away, Ere mortals all his beauties could survey ; ? Just like the flower that buds and withers in a day.)
MENALCAS. The mother, lovely, though with grief opprest, Reclined his dying head upon her breast. The mournful family stood all around; One
groan was heard, one universal sound: All were in floods of tears and endless sorrow
drown'd. So dire a sadness sat on every look, Even death repented he had given the stroke. He igrieved his fatal work had been ordain'd, But promised length of life to those who yet re
main’d. The mother's and her eldest daughter's grace, It seems, had bribed him to prolong their space. The father bore it with undaunted soul, Like one who durst his destiny controul ;
Yet with becoming grief he bore his part,
Resign'd his son, but not resign'd his heart.
Patient as Job; and may he live to see,
Like him, a new increasing family!
Such is my wish, and such my prophecy ; For yet, my friend, the beauteous mould remains; Long may she exercise her fruitful pains ! But, ah! with better hap, and bring a race More lasting, and endued with equal grace ! Equal she may, but farther none can go ; For he was all that was exact below.
MENALCAS. Damon, behold yon breaking purple cloud ; Hearst thou not hymns and songs divinely loud ? There mounts Amyntas ; the young cherubs play About their godlike mate, and sing him on his way. He cleaves the liquid air ; behold, he flies, And every moment gains upon the skies. The new-come guest admires the ethereal state, The sapphire portal, and the golden gate ; And now admitted in the shining throng, He shews the passport which he brought along. His passport is his innocence and
grace, Well known to all the natives of the place. Now sing, ye joyful angels, and admire Your brother's voice that comes to mend your quire. Sing you, while endless tears our eyes bestow; For, like Amyntas, none is left below.
HE, who could view the book of destiny,
And read whatever there was writ of thee,
O, charming youth, in the first opening page,
So many graces in so green an age,
Such wit, such modesty, such strength of mind,
A soul at once so manly and so kind,
Would wonder when he turn'd the volume o'er,
And, after some few leaves, should find no more,
Nought but a blank remain, a dead void space,
A step of life that promised such a race.
We must not, dare not, think, that heaven began
A child, and could not finish him a man ;
Reflecting what a mighty store was laid
Of rich materials, and a model made,
The cost already furnish’d; so bestow'd,
As more was never to one soul allow'd.
Yet after this profusion spent in vain,
Nothing but mouldering ashes to remain,
not, lest I split upon the shelf, Yet, durst I guess, heaven kept it for himself;