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So then he hath it, when he cannot use it,
And leaves it to be master'd by his young,
Who in their pride do presently abuse it:
Their father was too weak and they too strong,
To hold their cursed blessed fortune long.
The sweets we wish for, turn to loathed sours,
E'en in the moment that we call them ours.
Unruly blasts wait on the tender spring;
Unwholesome weeds take root with precious flow'rs;
The adder hisseth where the sweet birds sing;
What virtue breeds, iniquity devours :
We have no good, that we can say is ours.
But ill annexed opportunity,
Or kills his life, or else his quality.
O ! opportunity! thy guilt is great:
'Tis thou that execut’st the traitor's treason :
Thou set'st the wolf where he the lamb may get,
Whoever plots the sin, thou point'st the season;
'Tis thou that spurn’st at right, at law, at reason :
And in thy shady cell, where none may spy her,
Sits sin to seize the souls that wander by her.
Thou mak’st the vestal violate her oath;
Thou blow'st the fire when temperance is thaw'd;
Thou smother'st honesty, thou murder'st troth :
Thou foul abetter, thou notorious bawd!
Thou plantest scandal, and displaceth laud.
Thou ravisher, thou traitor, thou false thief !
Thy honey turns to gall, thy joy to grief.
Thy secret pleasure turns to open shame;
Thy private feasting to a public fast;
Thy smothering titles to a ragged name;
Thy sugar'd tongue to bitter wormwood taste:
Thy violent vanities can never last.
How comes it, then, vile opportunity,
Being so bad, such numbers seek for thee?
When wilt thou be the humble suppliant's friend, And bring him where his suit may be obtain'd? When wilt thou sort an hour great strifes to end, Or free that soul, which wretchedness hath chain'd, Give physic to the sick, ease to the pain'd ?
The poor, lame, blind, halt, creep, cry out for thee,
But they ne'er meet with opportunity.
The patient dies, while the physician sleeps ;
The orphan pines, while the oppressor feeds;
Justice is feasting, while the widow weeps ;
Advice is sporting while infection breeds ;
Thou grant'st no time for charitable deeds.
Wrath, envy, treason, rape and murder rages,
Thy heinous hours wait on them as their pages.
When truth and virtue have to do with thee,
A thousand crosses keep them from thy aid :
They buy thy help: but sin ne'er gives a fee,
He gratis comes, and thou art well apaid,
As well to hear as grant what he bath said.
My COLATINE would else have come to me,
When TABQUIN did, but he was staid by thee.
Guilty thou art of murder and of theft;
Guilty of perjury and subordination ;
Guilty of treason, forgery and shift;
Guilty of incest that abomination :
An accessary by thine inclination
To all sins past, and all that are to come,
From the creation to the general doom.
Mishapen time, copesmate of ugly night;
Swift subtle post, carrier of grisly care ;
Eater of youth, false slave to false delight,
Base watch of woes, sin's pack-horse, virtue's snare ;
Thou nursest all, and murder'st all that are.
O hear ine then, injurious shifting time !
Be guilty of my death, since of my crime.
Why hath thy servant opportunity,
Betrayed the hours thou gav'st me to repose ?
Cancell'd my fortunes, and inchained me
To endless date of never-ending woes ?
Time's office is to find the hate of foes,
To eat up error by opinion bred,
Not spend the dow'ry of a lawful bed.
Time's glory is to calm contending kings;
To unmask falshood, and bring truth to light;
To stamp the seal of time on aged things;
To wake the morn, and centinel the night;
To wrong the wronger, till he render right;
To ruinate proud buildings with thy hours,
And smear with dust their glittering golden tow'rs:
To fill with worm-holes stately monuments;
To feed oblivion with decay of things;
To blot old books, and alter their contents,
To pluck the quills from ancient ravens’ wings;
To dry the old oak’s sap, and cherish springs ;
To spoil antiquities of hammer'd steel.
And turn the giddy round of fortune's wheel :
To shew the beldame daughters of her daughter;
To make a child a man, the man a child;
To slay the tyger, that doth live by slaughter ;
To tame the unicorn and lion wild ;
To mock the subtle in themselves beguild;
To chear the plowman with increaseful crops,
And waste huge stones with little water-drops.
Why work'st thou mischief, in thy pilgrimage,
Unless thou could'st return to make amends ?
One poor retiring minute, in an age,
Would purchase thee a thousand thousand friends,
Lending him wit that to bad debtors lends.
0, this dread night! wou'dst thou one hour come back,
I could prevent this storm, and shun this wreck.
Thou ceaseless lackey to eternity,
With some mischance cross TARQuin in his fight;
Devise extremes beyond extremity,
To make him curse this cursed crimeful night :
Let ghastly shadows his lewd eyes affright,
And the dire thought of his committed evil
Shape every bush a hideous shapeless devil.
Disturb his hours of rest with restless trances;
Afflict him in his bed with bed-rid groans :
Let there bechance him pitiful mischances,
To make him moan, but pity not his moans :
Stone him with harden'd hearts, harder than stones,
And let mild women to him lose their mildness,
Wilder to him than tygers in their wildness.
Let him have time to tear his curled hair;'
Let him have time against himself to rave;
Let him have time of time's help to despair ;
Let him have time to live a loathed slave;
Let him have time a beggar's orts to crave,
And time to see oue, that by alms does live,
Disdain to him disdained scraps to give.
Let him have time to see his friends his foes,
And merry fools to mock at him resort :
Let him have time to mark how slow time goes
In time of sorrow, and how swift and short
His time of folly, and his time of sport:
And ever let his unrecalling crime
Have time to wail th' abusing of his time.
O time! thou tutor both to good and bad !
Teach me to curse him, that thou taught'st this ill;
At bis own shadow let the thief run mad,
Himself, himself seek every hour to kill :
Such wretched hands such wretched blood should spill!
For who so base would such an office have,
A's slanderous death's-man to so base a slave?