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The regal palace, the luxurious board,
The liv'ried army, and the menial lord.
With age, with cares, with maladies oppress'd,
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 2
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 P
* What gave great Willier8 to the assassin's knife,
And fix’d disease on Harley's closing life P
What murder'd Wentworth, and what exil'd Hyde,
By kings protected, and to kings ally do
What but their wish indulg'd in courts to shine,
And pow'r too great to keep, or to resign P
† When first the college rolls receive his name,
The young enthusiast quits his ease for fame;
Resistless burns the fever of renown,
Caught from the strong contagion of the gown:
O'er Bodley's dome his future labours spread,
Abd Bacon's mansion trembles o'er his head.
Are these thy views? Proceed, illustrious youth,
And Virtue guard thee to the throne of Truth !
* Ver. 108–113. t Ver, 114—132.
3. There is a tradition, that the study of friar Bacon, built on an
arch over the bridge, will fall when a man greater than Bacon shall
Pass under it. To prevent so shocking an accident it was pulled down many years since.
Yet, should thy soul indulge the gen’rous heat
Till captive Science yields her last retreat;
Should Reason guide thee with her brightest ray,
And pour on misty Doubt resistless day;
Should no false kindness lure to loose delight,
Nor praise relax, nor difficulty fright;
Should tempting Novelty thy cell refrain,
And Sloth effuse her opiate fumes in vain;
Should Beauty blunt on fops her fatal dart,
Nor claim the triumph of a letter'd heart;
Should no disease thy torpid veins invade,
Nor Melancholy’s phantoms haunt thy shade;
Yet hope not life from grief or danger free,
Nor think the doom of man revers'd for thee:
Teign on the passing world to turn thine eyes,
And pause awhile from Letters, to be wise;
There mark what ills the scholar's life assail,
Toil, envy, want, the patron, and the gaol.
See nations, slowly wise, and meanly just,
To buried merit raise the tardy bust.
If dreams yet flatter, once again attend,
Hear Lydiat's life, and Galileo's end".
Nor deem, when Learning her last prize bestows,
The glittoring eminence exempt from foes;
See, when the vulgar 'scapes, despis'd or aw’d,
Rebellion's vengeful talons seize on Laud.
From meaner minds, though smaller fines content
The plunder'd palace, or sequester'd rent;
Mark'd out by dang rous parts, he meets the shock,
And fatal Learning leads him to the block:
Around his tomb let Art and Genius weep,
But hear his death, ye blockheads, hear and sleep.
* See Gent. Mag. vol. LXVIII, pp. 951. 1027.
* The festal blazes, the triumphal show, The ravish'd standard, and the captive foe, The senate's thanks, the Gazette's pompous tale, With force resistless o'er the brave prevail. Such bribes the rapid Greek o'er Asia whirl’d, For such the steady Romans shook the world; For such in distant lands the Britons shine, And stain with blood the Danube or the Rhine; This pow'r has praise, that virtue scarce can warm Till Fame supplies the universal charm. Yet Reason frowns on War's unequal game, Where wasted nations raise a single name; And mortgagd states their grandsires' wreaths regret, From age to age in everlasting debt; Wreaths which at last the dear-hought right convey, To rust on medals, or on stones decay.
t On what foundation stands the warrior's pride, How just his hopes, let Swedish Charles decide; A frame of adamant, a soul of fire, No dangers fright him, and no labours tire; Q'er love, o'er fear, extends his wide domain, Jnconquer'd lord of pleasure and of pain; No joys to him pacific sceptres yield, War sounds the trump, he rushes to the field; Behold surrounding kings their pow'rs combine, And one capitulate, and one resign; Peace courts his hand, but spreads her charms in vain; “Think nothing gaind," he cries, “till nought remain, “On Moscow's walls till Gothic standards fly, “And all be mine beneath the polar sky.”
The march begins in military state,
And nations on his eye suspended wait;
Stern Famine guards the solitary coast,
And Winter barricades the realms of Frost;
He comes, nor want nor cold his course delay;-
Hide, blushing Glory, hide Pultowa's day:
The vanquish'd hero leaves his broken bands,
And shows his miseries in distant lands;
Condemn’d a needy supplicant to wait,
While ladies interpose, and slaves debate.
But did not Chance at length her error mend?
Did no subverted empire mark his end ?
Did rival monarchs give the fatal wound?
Or hostile millions press him to the ground 2
His fall was destin'd to a barren strand,
A petty fortress, and a dubious hand;
He left the name, at which the world grew pale,
To point a moral, or adorn a tale.
* All times their scenes of pompous woes afford,
From Persia's tyrant to Bavaria's lord.
In gay hostility and barb'rous pride,
With half mankind embattled at his side,
Great Xerxes comes to seize the certain prey,
And starves exhausted regions in his way;
Attendant Flattory counts his myriads o'er,
Till counted myriads sooth his pride no more ;
Fresh praise is try'd till madness fires his mind,
The waves he lashcs, and cmchains the wind,
New pow'rs are claim’d, new pow'rs are still bestow'd,
Till rude resistance lops the spreading god ;
* Ver. 168–187.
The daring Greeks deride the martial show,
And heap their valleys with the gaudy foe;
Th’ insulted sea with humbler thought he gains,
A single skiff to speed his flight remains; -
Th’ encumber'd oar scarce leaves the dreaded coast
Through purple billows and a floating host.
The bold Bavarian, in a luckless hour,
Tries the dread summits of Caesarean pow'r,
With unexpected iegions bursts away,
And sees defenceless realms receive his sway;
Short sway ! fair Austria spreads her mournful charms,
The queen, the beauty, sets the world in arms;
From hill to hill the beacon's rousing blaze
Spreads wide the hope of plunder and of praise;
The fierce Croatian, and the wild Hussar,
With all the sons of ravage crowd the war;
The baffled prince, in honour's flattoring bloom
Of hasty greatness, finds the fatal doom;
His foes derision, and his subjects blame,
And steals to death from anguish and from shame.