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When every thing shall cease to charm
Which life can here supply;
When even my Nancy's lovely form
Swims on my closing eye;
When in the peaceful grave I'm laid
Unhonour'd 'mong th' unhonour'd dead;
I ask no monumental stone.
Enough that I the bliss enjoy'd
Of having virtuous liv'd and died,
Unknowing and unknown!
In the down-hill of life, when I find I'm declining,
May my fate no less fortunate be,
Than a snug elbow-chair can afford for reclining,
And a cot that o'erlooks the wide sea;
With an ambling pad poney, to pace o'er the lawn,
While I carrol away idle sorrow; And, as blithe as the lark that each day hails the dawn,
Look forward with hope for to-morrow.
With a porch at my door, both for shelter and shade too, As the sunshine or rain may prevail;With a small spot of ground for the use of the spade too,
And a barn for the use of the flail;
With a cow for my dairy, a dog for my game,
And a purse when a friend wants to borrow,—
I envy no Nabob his riches or fame,
Or what honours may wait him to-morrow.
From the bleak northern blast may my cot be completely
Secur'd by a neighbouring hill;
And at night may repose steal upon me more sweetly,
By the side of a murmuring rill:
And while peace and plenty I find at my board,
With a heart free from sickness and sorrow,
I'll share with my friends what to-day may afford,
And let them spread the table to-morrow.
And when I at last must throw off this frail cov'ring
I've worn for threescore years and ten, On the brink of the grave I'll not seek to keep hov'ring,
Nor my thread wish to spin o'er again: But my face in the glass I'll serenely survey,
And with smiles count each wrinkle and furrow; As this old worn-out stuff, which is thread-bare to-day,
May become everlasting to-morrow.
AN EPISTLE. TO THE REV. DR. KURD.
IY THE LATE REv. R. POTTER.
When on the stage Bays bids th' eclipse advance,
Earth, sun, and moon confounding in the dance;
If Critics wisely act, who damn the fool
Outraging nature, and transgressing rule;
How in the world's mad dance shall we forbear
The serious censure, or contemptuous sneer?
Where ev'ry age, and ev'ry rank is found
Treading a like absurd, unnatural round;
A round that rules not only forms of state,
But governs all th' affairs of all the great.
Look o'er the military list, you'll find
The supple coward, whose ignoble mind
With slavish suff'ranee joins the fav'rite's side,
Watching his smiles, and bending to his pride,
Rise o'er the brave man's head, and snatch the place
His scorn'd, but modest, worth was form'd to grace.
Nay, when we groan distemper'd with our pain,
And the fierce fever boils in every vein,
Proud to the very confines of the grave,
By the long wig we judge the skill to save.
* Or what avails in Warburton to find
The pow'r of genius, soul of science join'd?
The sacred mitre dignifies his brows,
Who lowest to th' unletter'd Courtier bows,
Too just to flatter, and too brave to lye,
From such a world the Sons of Virtue fly:
Yet, bless'd with innocence, how few can find
What to supply the mighty void of mind!
Becalm'd, and wanting oars, they ask the gale
Of others' breath to swell the flagging sail;
Or, without pilot their light bark to guide,
Float at the mercy of each varying tide.
O teach us, for you know, to be alone,
And all th' advantage of retirement own!
Let us that greatest blessing learn of you,
To view ourselves, nor tremble at the view.
And let me bless you; for your friendly care
Remov'd me from the world, and plac'd me here 3
And taught me, in the boiling heat of youth,
To hear the voice of reason and of truth;
Willing your friend that happiness shou'd find,
Which gilds your shades, and calms your spotless
From the reflections these calm scenes allow,
Much of myself, and of the world I know;
I know that Liberty, man's greatest boast,
Is in the chace of wild ambition lost;
» Ttao' Poets are not Prophets, to foreknow
What plants will take the blight, and what will grow.
By tracing heav'n his footsteps may be found:
Behold, how awfully he walks the round!
Cod is abroad, and wond'rous in his ways.
Enslav'd to all the vanities of state, The passions, and the tollies of the great. Nor are the great more free; their constant train
Drive the fair Goddess to the humble plain;Their actions closely watch'd, their words mark'd down,
And e'en their very thoughts no more their own;
Pursued by flatterers, parasites, and knaves,
What are they but the veriest slaves to slaves?
And what concludes this pageantry of life?
The axe of justice, or the murd'ring knife.
Bribing and brib'd to grasp the dazzling prize,
And lab'ring in their country's fall to rise;
Tarpeia's just return their treachery yields,
No golden bracelet, but th' o'erwhelming shields.
There are who free midst all their greatness live,
Jf the name, free, to that we rightly give,
Which follows (slavish term !) Passion's strong gust,
The heat of appetite, and rage of lust.
For Heaven's bright queen a gilded cloud they
And monsters issue from the rude embrace:
Yet the false form their ravish'd hearts adore,
Held in vain raptures by her wanton lore.
Mean while pale Virtue groaning on the ground,
With all her ruin'd honours scatter'd round,
Insulted lies, and with indignant shame
Blushes to see the pageant's guilty fame.
O Heav'n-descended Freedom! if thy voice,
Assuasive yet, can fix the doubtful choice;
Lead us, O lead us to sequester'd shades,
Where Reason rules, and not one lust invades;
Far from the life of Vanity or Care,
from Giandeur, Folly, Passion, Pride, and Fear.