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2. AGAINST IDLENESS.
How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day
From every op’ning flower!
How skilfully she builds her cell!
How neat she spreads the wax!
And labours hard to store it well
With the sweet food she makes.
In works of labour or of skill
I would be busy too;
For Satan finds some mischief still
For idle hands to do.
In books, or work, or healthful play,
Let my first years be past,
That I may give for every day
Some good account at last.
CXIV. JOHN PHILIPS.
THE DUN. Thus, while my joyless minutes tedious flow, With looks demure, and silent pace a dun, Horrible monster, hated by gods and men ! To my aërial citadel ascends, With vocal heel thrice thundering at my gate, With hideous accent thrice he calls : I know The voice ill-boding, and the solemn sound. What should I do? or whither turn ? amaz’d, Confounded, to the dark recess I fly Of woodhole: strait my bristling hairs erect Thro' sudden fear; a chilly sweat bedews My shudd'ring limbs and (wonderful to tell!) My tongue forgets her faculty of speech ; So horrible he seems : his faded brow Entrench'd with many a frown, and comic beard, And spreading band admired by modern saints, Disastrous acts forebode : in his right hand Long scrolls of paper solemnly he waves, With characters and figures dire inscrib’d,
Grievous to mortal eyes; (ye gods, avert
Such plagues from righteous mèn ;) behind him stalks
Another monster not unlike himself,
Sullen of aspect, by the vulgar call'd
A catchpole, whose polluted hands the gods
With force incredible and magic charms
Erst have endu'd: if he his ample palm
Should haply on ill-fated shoulder lay
Of debtor, straight his body, to the touch
Obsequious, (as whilom knights were wont)
To some enchanted castle is convey’d,
Where gates impregnable, coercive chains
In durance strict detain him, till in form
Of money, Pallas sets the captive free.
CXV. JOHN HUGHES.
DEATH. Farewell and think of death! Was it not so ? Do murderers then preach morality ? But how to think of what the living know not, And the dead cannot, or else may not tell ? What art thou, oh thou great mysterious terror ? The way to thee we know! Disease, and famine, Sword, fire, and all thy ever-open gates, That day and night stand ready to receive us. But what's beyond them ?—who will draw that veil ? Yet death's not there—no; ’tis a point of time, The verge 'twixt mortal and immortal beings. It mocks our thoughts! On this side all is life; And when we've reached it, in that very instant 'Tis past the thinking of ! Oh, if it be The pangs, the throes, the agonizing struggles When soul and body parti
, sure I have felt it, And there's no more to fear.
CXVI. GEORGE FARQUHAR.
PROLOQUE TO THE RECRUITING OFFICER.
In ancient times, when Helen's fatal charms
Roused the contending universe to arms,
The Grecian council happily deputes
"he sly Ulysses forth, to raise recruits.
The artíul captain found without delay
Where great Achilles, a deserter, lay :
Him fate had warned to shun the Trojan blows:
Him Greece required, against the Trojan foes.
All their recruiting arts were needful here,
To raise this great, this timorous volunteer.
Ulysses well could talk-he stirs, he warms
The warlike youth-he listens to the charms
Of plunders, fine laced coats, and glittering arms.
Ulysses caught the young aspiring boy,
And listed him who wrought the fate of Troy.
Thus by recruiting was bold Hector slain ;
Recruiting thus fair Helen did regain.
If for one Helen such prodigious things
Were acted, that they even listed kings;
If for one Helen's artful, vicious charms,
Half the transported world was found in arms.
What for so many
Whose mind as well as faces are so fair ?
If by one Helen's eyes old Greece could bind
Its Homer fired to write, e'en Homer blind;
Then Britons sure beyond compare may write,
That view so many Helens every night.
1. HUMAN LIFE, IMITATED FROM THE FRENCH,
Relentless Time ! destroying power,
Whom stone and brass obey,
Who giv'st to every flying hour
To work some new decay.
Unheard, unheeded, and unseen,
Thy secret saps prevail,
And ruin man, a nice machine,
By nature form’d to fail.
My change arrives : the change I meet,
Before I thought it nigh,
My spring, my years of pleasure fleet,
And all their beauties die.
In age I seek and only find
A poor unfruitful gain,
Grave wisdom walking slow behind,
Oppress'd with loads of pain.
My ignorance could once beguile,
And fancied joys inspire;
My errors cherished hope to smile
On newly born desire.
But now experience shows the bliss
For which I fondly sought,
Not worth the long impatient wish
And ardour of the thought.
My youth met fortune well array'd;
In all her pomp she shone,
And might perhaps have well essay'd
To make her gifts my own.
But when I saw the blessings shower
On some unworthy mind,
I left the chase, and own’d the power
Was justly painted blind.
I passed the glories which adorn
The splendid courts of kings,
And while the persons mov'd my scorn,
I rose to scorn the things.
My manhood felt a vigorous fire,
By love increased the more ;
But years with coming years conspire
To break the chains I wore.
In weakness safe, the sex I see
With idle lustre shine;
For what are all their joys to me,
Which cannot now be mine?
But hold—I feel my gout decrease,
My troubles laid to rest,
And truths which would disturb my peaco,
Are painful truths at best.
Vainly the time I have to roll,
In sad reflection flies ;
Ye fondling passions of my soul!
Ye sweet deceits, arise.
I wisely change the scene within
To things that used to please ;
In pain, philosophy is spleen,
In health, 'tis only ease.
2. DOUBT-A SIMILE.
A life so sacred, such serene repose,
Seemed heaven itself, till one suggestion rosn.
That Vice should triumph, Virtue, Vice obey,
This sprung some doubt of Providence's sway
His hopes no more a certain prospect boast,
And all the tenour of his soul is lost;
So when a smooth expanse receives imprest
Calm nature's image on its watery breast,
Down bend the banks, the trees depending grow,
And skies beneath with answering colours glow!
But if a stone the gentle sea divide,
Swift ruffling circles curl on every side,
And glimmering fragments of a broken sun,
Banks, trees, and skies, in thick disorder run.
CXVIII. BENJAMIN IBBOT.
FAREWELL, VAIN WORLD!
Farewell, vain world! dwelling of ills and fears,
Full of fond hopes, false joys and sad repentance:
For, though sometimes warm Fancy lights a fire,
That mounting upwards darts its pointed head
Up, through the unopposing air, to heaven,
Yet then comes Thought, and cold Consideration,
Lame After-thought with endless scruples fraught,
Benumbed with fears, to damn the goodly blaze.
CXIX. SUSANNA CENTLIVRE.
Love and religion ne'er admit restraint,
And force makes many sinners, not one saint :
Till free as air the active mind does rove,
And searches proper objects for its love :