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Her conscious tail her joy declared;
Her coat, that with the tortoise vies,
Their scaly armour's Tyrian hue
Through richest purple to the view Betray'd a golden gleam. The hapless Nymph with wonder saw: A whisker first, and then a claw, With many an ardent wish,
She stretch'd in vain to reach the priwr.
What female heart can gold despise? What Cat's averse to fish? Presumptuous Maid! with looks intent Again she stretch'd, again she bent, Nor knew the gulf between.
(Malignant Fate sate by, and smiled)
The slipp'ry verge her feet beguiled,
No Dolphin came, no Nereid stirrM:
Nor cruel Tom, nor Susan heard—
And be with caution bold.
Nor all, that glisters, gold
III. ON A DISTANT PROSPECT OF
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Ye distant spires, ye antique towers,
That crown the wat'ry glade, Where grateful Science still adores
Her Henry's* holy shade;
And ye, that from the stately brow
Of Windsor's heights th' expanse below Of grove, of lawn, of mead survey;
Whose turf, whose shade, whose flowers among
Wanders the hoary Thames along His silver-winding way!
Ah happy hills! ah pleasing shade!
Ah fields beloved in vain,
A stranger yet to pain!
My weary soul they seem to sooth,
And, redolent of joy and youth,
Full many a sprightly race,
The paths of pleasure trace,
What idle progeny succeed
To chase the rolling circle's speed, Or urge the flying ball?
* King Henry the Sixth, founder of the College.
While some on earnest business bent
Their murm'ring laoours piy
To sweeten liberty:
Still as they run they look behind,
They hear a voice in every wind, And snatch a fearful joy.
Gay hope is theirs, by fancy fed,
Less pleasing when possest; The tear forgot as soon as shed,
The sunshine of the breast: Theirs buxom health of rosy hue, Wild wit, invention ever new, And lively cheer of vigour born;
The thougVtless day, the easy night,
The spirits pure, the slumbers light, That fly th' approach of morn.
Alas! regardless of their doom,
The little victims play!
Nor care beyond to-day:
Ah, shew them where in ambush stand,
To seize their prey, the murth'rous band Ah, tell them they are men! These shall the fury Passions tear,
The vultures of the mind, Disdainful Anger, pallid Fear,
And Shame that scuiks behind; Or pining Love shall waste their youth, Or Jealousy with rankling tooth,
That inly gnaws the secret heart,
Then whirl the wretch from high,
And grinning Infamy. The stings of Falsehood those shall try, And hard Unkindness* alter'd eye, That mocks the tear it forced to flow; And keen Remorse with blood denied* And moody Madness laughing wild Amid severest woe. Lo, in the vale of years beneath
A griesly troop are seen, The painful family of Death,
More hideous than their queen: This racks the joints, this fires the vein*, That every labouring sinew strains, Those in the deeper vitals rage: Lo, Poverty, to fill the band, That numbs the soul with icy hind, And slow-consuming Age. To each his sufferings: all are men,
Condemn'd alike to groan; The tender for another's pain,
Th* unfeeling for his own. Yet ah! why should they know their fate, Since sorrow never comes too late, Aud happiness too swiftly flies?
Thought would destroy their paradise. No more; where ignorance is bliss. Tig folly to be wise
IV. TO ADVERSITY.
ffui/Ta, ru) irdOei ixatiav
Muchylus, in Agamemnon
Daughter of Jove, relentless power,
Thou tamer of the human breast,
The Bad affright, afflict the Best!
Virtue, his darling child, designed,
And bade to form her inf nt mind.
Self-pleasing Folly's idle brood,
And leave us leisure to be good.
To her they vow their truth, and are again believed.
Immersed in rapt'rous thought profound, And Melancholy, silent maid,
With leaden eye, that loves the ground,