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* Ah! why should man pursue the charms of Fame,

For ever luring, yet for ever coy?
Light as the gaudy rainbow's pillar'd gleam,

That melts illusive from the wondering boy!
« What though her throne irradiate many a clime,

If hung loose-tottering o'er th' unfathom'd tomb? What though her mighty clarion, rear'd sublime,

Display the imperial wreath, and glittering plume?

* Can glittering plume, or can th' imperial wreath

Redeem from unrelenting fate the brave? What note of triumph can her clarion breathe,

T' alarm th* eternal midnight of the grave?
'That night draws on: nor will the vacant hour

Of expectation linger as it flies:
Nor Fate one moment unenjoy'd restore:

Each moment's flight how precious to the wise!

* O shun th' annoyance of the bustling throng,

That haunt with zealous turbulence the great; There coward Office boasts th' unpunished wrong, And sneaks secure in insolence of state.

'O'er fancied injury Suspicion pines,

And in grim silence gnaws the festering wound J

Deceit the rage-embitter'd smile refines,

And Censure spreads the viperous hiss around.

'Hope not, fond prince, though Wisdom guard thy throne,

Though Truth and Bounty prompt each generous aim. Though thine the palm of peace, the victor's crown,

The Muse's rapture, and the patriot's flame:

'Hope not, though all that captivates the wise,
All that endears the good exalt thy praise:

Hope not to taste repose: for Envy's eyes
At fairest worth still point their deadly rays.

'Envy, stern tyrant of the flinty heart,

Can aught, of Virtue, Truth, or Beauty charm?

Can soft Compassion thrill with pleasing smart,
Repentance melt, or Gratitude disarm?

* Ah no. Where Winter Scythia's waste enchains, And monstrous shapes roar to the ruthless storm,

Not Phoebus* smile can cheer the dreadful plains,
Or soil accursed with balmy life inform.

'Then, Envy, then is thy triumphant hour,

When mourns Benevolence his baff*H scheme:

When Insult mocks the clemency of Po<ver,
And loud Dissension's livid firebrands gleam:

'When squint-eyed Slander plies th' unhallow'd

From poison'd maw when Treason weaves his line, And muse apostate (infamy to song !)

Grovels, low-muttering, at Sedition's shrine. 'Let not my prince forego the peaceful shade,

The whispering grove, the fountain and the plain: Power, with th' oppressive weight of pomp array'd,

Pants for simplicity and ease in vain.

'The yell of frantic Miith may stun his ear,

But frantic Mirth soon leaves the heart forlorn:

And Pleasure flies that high tempestuous sphere,
Far different scenes her lucid paths adorn.

'She loves to wander on th' untrodden lawn,

Or the green bosom of reclining hill, Soothed by the careless warbler of the dawn,

Or the lone plaint of ever-murmuring rill. 'Or from the mountain-glade's aerial brow,

While to her song a thousand echoes call, Marks the wild woodland wave remote below,

Where shepherds pipe unseen, and waters fall.

* Her influence oft the festive hamlet proves,

Where the high carol cheer? th' exulting ring: And oft she roams the maze of wildering groves, Listening th' unnumber'd melodies of Spring.

'Or to the long and lonely shore retires;

What time, loose-glimmering to the lunar beam, Faint heaves the slumberous wave, and starry fires

Gild the blue deep with many a lengthening gleam.

* Then to the balmy bower of Rapture borne,

While strings self-warbling breathe elysian rest, Melts in delicious vision, till the morn

Spangle with twinkling dew the flowery waste.

* The frolic Moments, purple-pinion'd, dance

Around, and scatter roses as they play:
And the blithe Graces, hand in hand, advance,

Where, with her loved compeers, she deigns to stray.

'Mild Solitude, in veil of rustic die,

Her sylvan spear with moss-grown ivy bound:

And Indolence, with sweetly-languid eye,

And zoneless robe that trails along the ground.

« But chiefly Love—0 thou, whose gentle mind
Each soft indulgence Nature framed to share,

Pomp, wealth, renown, dominion, all resign'd,
O haste to Pleasure's bower, for Love is there.

« Love, the desire of gods ! the feast of Heaven!

Yet to Earth's favour'd offspring not denied! Ah, let not thankless man the blessing given

Enslave to Fame, or sacrifice to Pride.

1 Nor I from Virtue's call decoy thine ear;

Friendly to Pleasure are her sacred laws:
Let Temperance' smile the cup of gladness cheer J

That cup is death, if he withhold applause.

'Far from thy haunt be Envy's baneful sway,

And Hate, that works the harass'd soul to storm:

But woo Content to breathe her soothing lay,
And charm from Fancy's view each angry form

'No savage joy th' harmonious hours profane!

Whom Love refines, can barbarous tumults please? Shall rage of blood pollute the sylvan reign?

Shall Leisure wanton in the spoils of Peace?

'Free let the feathery race indulge the song,
Inhale the liberal beam, and melt in love:

Free let the fleet hind bound her hills along,
And in p-iwe streams the watery nations rove

'To joy in Nature's universal smile

Well suits, O man, thy pleasurable sphere;

But why should Virtue doom thy years to toil?
Ah, why should Virtue's law be deem'd severe?

'What meed, Beneficence, thy care repays?

What, Sympathy, thy still returning pang? And why his generous arm should Justice raise,

To dare Che vengeance of a tyrant's fang?

'From thankless spite no bounty can secure;

Or froward wish of discontent fulfil,
That knows not to regret thy bounded power,

But blames with keen reproach thy partial will

'To check th' impetuous all involving tide
Of human woes, how impotent thy strife!

High o'er thy mounds devouring s-urges ride,
Nor reek thy baffled toils, or lavish'd life.

The bower of bliss, the smile of love be thine,

Unlabour'd ease, and leisure's careless dream: Such be their joys, who bend at Venus* shrine, And own her charms beyond compare supreme.

Warm'd as she spoke, all panting with delight,
Her kindling beauties breathed triumphant bloom:

And Cupids flutter'd round in circlets bright,
And Flora pour'd from all her stores perfume.

'Thine be the prize/ exclaim'd th* enraptured youth,
'Queen of unrivall'd charms, and matchless joy/—■

O blind to fate, felicity, and truth !—

But such are they, whom Pleasure's snares decoy.

The sun was sunk; the vision was no more;

Night downward rush'd tempestuous, at the frown Of Jove's awaken'd wrath: deep thunders roar,

And forests howl afar and mountains groan.

And sanguine meteors glare athwart the plain;

With horror's scream the Ilian towers resound, Raves the hoarse storm along the bellowing main,

And the strong earthquake rends the shuddering ground.


(Written in 1757, and first published in 1766.)
Laws, as we read in ancient sages,
Have been like cobwebs in all ages.
Cobwebs for little flies are spread,
And laws for little folks are made;
But if an insect of renown,
Hornet or beetle, wasp or drone,
Be caught in quest of sport or plunder,
The flimsy fetter flies in sunder.

Your simile perhaps may please one
With whom wit holds the place of reason:

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