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THE

VANITY OF HUMAN WISU ES:

IN IMITATION OF

THE TENTII SATIRE OF JUVENAL.

LET "observation, with extensive view, Survey mankind, from China to Peru; Remark each anxious toil, each eager strife, And watch the busy scenes of crowded life; Then say, how hope and fear, desire and hate O’erspread with snares the clouded maze of fate; Where wav'ring man, betray'd by ventrous pride To tread the dreary paths, without a guide, As treach'rous phantoms in the mist delude, Shuns fancied ills, or chases airy good; How rarely reason guides the stubborn choice, Rules the bold hand, or prompts the suppliant voice ; How nations sink, by darling schemes oppress'd, When vengeance listens to the fool's request. Fate wings with ev'ry wish th' afflictive dart, Each gift of nature, and each grace of art; With fatal heat impetuous courage glows, With fatal sweetness elocution flows, Impeachment stops the speaker's pow'rful breath, And restless fire precipitates on death.

But, scarce observ'd, the knowing and the bold Fall in the gen’ral massacre of gold; Wide wasting pest! that rages unconfin'd, And crowds with crimes the records of mankind; For gold his sword the hireling ruflian draws, For gold the hireling judge distorts the laws; Wealth heap'd on wealth, nor truth nor safety buys, The dangers gather as the treasures rise.

1 Ver. 1-11.

b Ver. 12-22.

THE VANITY OF HUMAN WISHES.

. 13

Let hist'ry tell where rival kings command,
And dubious title shakes the madded land,
When statutes glean the refuse of the sword,
How much more safe the vassal than the lord;
Low sculks the hind beneath the rage of power,
And leaves the wealthy traitor in the Tower",
Untouch'd his cottage, and his slumbers sound,
Though confiscation's vultures hover round d.

The needy traveller, serene and gay,
Walks the wild heath, and sings his toil away.
Does envy seize thee? crush th' upbraiding joy;
Increase his riches, and his peace destroy ;
Now fears, in dire vicissitude, invade,
The rustling brake alarms, and quiv'ring shade;
Nor light nor darkness bring his pain relief,
One shows the plunder, and one hides the thief.

'Yet still one gen’ral crys the skies assails,
And gain and grandeur load the tainted gales :
Few know the toiling statesman's fear or care,
Th' insidions rival, and the gaping heir.
"Once more, Democritus, arise on earth,
With cheerful wisdom and instructive mirth,
See motley life in modern trappings dress’d,
And feed with varied fools th' eternal jest:
Thou, who could'st laugh where want enchain'd caprice,
Toil crush'd conceit, and man was of a piece;
Where wealth, unlov'd, without a mourner died ;
And scarce a sycophant was fed by pride ;
Where ne'er was known the form of mock debate,
Or seen a new-made mayor's unwieldy state;
Where change of fav’rites made no change of laws,
And senates heard, before they judg’d a cause ;
How would'st thou shake at Britain's modish tribe,
Dart the quick taunt, and edge the piercing gibe?

e In the first edition, “ the bonny traitor !” an evident allusion to the Scotch lords who suffered for the rebellion in 1745. Clang around e New fears.

f Ver. 23-37. & Yet still the gen’ral cry.

h Ver. 28-55.

Attentive truth and nature to descry,
And pierce each scene with philosophick eye;
To thee were solemn toys, or empty show,
The robes of pleasure, and the veils of woe:
All aid the farce, and all thy mirth maintain,
Whose joys are causeless, or whose griefs are vain.

Such was the scorn that fill’d the sage's mind,
Renew'd at ev'ry glance on human kind;
How just that scorn, ere yet thy voice declare,
Search ev'ry state, and canvass ev'ry pray'r.

i Unnumber'd suppliants crowd preferment's gate,
Athirst for wealth, and burning to be great;
Delusive fortune hears th' incessant call,
They mount, they shine, evaporate, and fall.
On ev'ry stage the foes of peace attend,
Hate dogs their flight, and insult mocks their end.
Love ends with hope, the sinking statesman's door
Pours in the morning worshipper no more;
For growing names the weekly scribbler lies,
To growing wealth the dedicator flies;
From ev'ry room descends the painted face,
That hung the bright palladium of the place;
And, smok'd in kitchens, or in auctions sold,
To better features yields the frame of gold;
For now no more we trace in ev'ry line
Heroick worth, benevolence divine :
The form, distorted, justifies the fall,
And detestation rids th' indignant wall.

But will not Britain hear the last appeal, Sign her foes' doom, or guard her fav’rites' zeal ? Through freedom's sons no more remonstrance rings, Degrading nobles and controling kings; Our supple tribes repress their patriot throats, And ask no questions but the price of votes ; With weekly libels and septennial ale, Their wish is full to riot and to rail.

In full-blown dignity, see Wolsey stand, Law in his voice, and fortune in his hand;

i Ver. 56—107.

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To him the church, the realm their pow'rs consign,
Through him the rays of regal bounty shine ;
Turn'd by his nod the stream of honour flows,
His smile alone security bestows.
Still to new heights his restless wishes tow'r,
Claim leads to claim, and pow'r advances pow'r;
Till conquest, unresisted, ceas'd to please,
And rights, submitted, left him none to seize.
At length his sov'reign frowns—the train of state
Mark the keen glance, and watch the sign to hate.
Where'er he turns, he meets a stranger's eye,
His suppliants scorn him, and his followers fly;
Now drops, at once, the pride of awful state,
The golden canopy, the glitt'ring plate,
The regal palace, the luxurious board,
The liv'ried army, and the menial lord.
With age, with cares, with maladies oppressid,
He seeks the refuge of monastick rest:
Grief aids disease, remember'd folly stings,
And his last sighs reproach the faith of kings.

Speak thou, whose thoughts at humble peace repine,
Shall Wolsey's wealth, with Wolsey's end, be thine ?
Or liv'st thou now, with safer pride content,
*The wisest justice on the banks of Trent?
For, why did Wolsey, near the steeps of fate,
On weak foundations raise th' enormous weight?
Why but to sink beneath misfortune's blow,
With louder ruin to the gulfs below?

'What gave great Villiers to th' assassin's knife,
And fix'd disease on Harley's closing life?
What murder'd Wentworth, and what exil'd Hyde,
By kings protected, and to kings allied ?
What but their wish indulg'd in courts to shine,
And pow'r too great to keep, or to resign?

* When first the college rolls receive his name,
The young enthusiast quits his ease for fame;
The richest landlord.

I Ver. 108–113.

m Ver. 114-132.

No sounds, alas! would touch th' impervious ear,
Though dancing mountains witness'd Orpheus near;
Nor Jute nor lyre his feeble pow'rs attend,
Nor sweeter musick 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 expense,
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 with unperceiv'd decay,
And glides in modest innocence away ;
Whose peaceful day benevolence endears,
Whose night congratulating conscience cheers ;
The gen'ral fav’rite as the gen'ral friend ;
Such age there is, and who shall wish its enda?

Yet e'en on this her load misfortune flings,
To press the weary minutes' flagging wings;
New sorrow rises as the day returns,
A sister sickens, or a daughter mourns.
Now kindred merit fills the sable bier,
Now lacerated friendship claims a tear;

c An age that melts in.

d Could wish its end.

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