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O'er the cloud-piercing Alps, remote ; beyond
The vale of Arno purpled with the vine ;
Beyond the Umbrian, and Etruscan hills,
To Latium's wide champain, forlorn and waste,
Where yellow Tiber his neglected wave
Mournfully rolls. Yet once again, my Muse,
Yet once again, and soar a loftier flight ;
Lo! the resistless theme, imperial Rome.
Fall'n, fall'n, a silent heap; her heroes all Sunk in their urns ; behold the pride of pomp, The throne of nations fall'n, obscur'd in dust.
Vain end of human strength, of human skill,
Conquest, and triumph, and domain, and pomp,
And ease, and luxury. O luxury,
Bane of elated life, of affluent states,
What dreary change, what ruin is not thine ?
How doth thy bowl intoxicate the mind!
To the soft entrance of thy rosy cave
How do'st thou lure the fortunate and great!
Dreadful attraction ! while behind thee gapes
Th' unfathomable gulph, where Ashur lies
O’erwhelm'd, forgotten; and high boasting Cham,
And Elam's haughty pomp, and beauteous Greece;
And the great queen of earth, imperial Rome..
ART OF PRESERVING HEALTH, b. ii. 1. 159.
Is this for pleasure? Learn a juster taste ;
And know, that temperance is true luxury.
Or, is it pride ? Pursue some nobler aim,
Dismiss your parasites, who praise for hire;
And earn the fair esteem of honest men,
Whose praise is fame. Form'd of such clay as
The sick, the needy, shiver at your gates.
Even modest want may
Tho' hush'd in patient wretchedness at home,
Is there no virgin, grac'd with every charm
But that which binds the mercenary vow ?
No youth of genius, whose neglected bloom
Unfoster'd sickens in the barren shade ?
No worthy man, by fortune's random blows,
Or by a heart too generous and humane,
Constrain'd to leave his happy natal seat,
And sigh for wants more bitter than his own :-
There are, while human miseries abound,
A thousand ways to waste superfluous wealth,
Without one fool or flatterer at your board,
Without one hour of sickness or disgust.
'Tis not for mortals always to be blest.
But him the least the dull or painful hours
Of life oppress, whom sober sense conducts,
And virtue, thro' this labyrinth we tread.
Virtue and sense I mean not to disjoin ;
Virtue and sense are one; and, trust me, still
A faithless heart betrays the head unsound.
Virtue (for mere good-nature is a fool,)
Is sense and spirit with humanity :
'Tis sometimes angry, and its frown confounds ;
'Tis even vindictive, but in vengeance just.
Knaves fain would laugh atit; some great ones dare;
But at his heart the most undaunted sun
Of fortune dreads its name and awful charms.
To noblest uses this determines wealth ;
This is the solid pomp of prosperous days;
The peace and shelter of adversity.
And if you pant for glory, build your fame
On this foundation, which the secret shock
Defies of envy and all-sapping time.
The gawdy gloss of fortune only strikes
The vulgar eye : the suffrage of the wise,
The praise that's worth ambition, is attain'd
By sense alone, and dignity of mind.
Virtue, the strength and beauty of the soul,
Is the best gift of Heaven: a happiness
That even above the smiles and frowns of fate
Exalts great Nature's favourites; a wealth
That ne'er encumbers, nor to baser hands
Can be transferr'd: it is the only good
Man justly boasts of, or can call his own.
Riches are oft by guilt and baseness earn'd;
But for one end, one much neglected use,
Are riches worth your care: (for Nature's wants
Are few, and without opulence supplied.)
This noble end is to produce the soul ;
To shew the virtues in the fairest light;
To make Humanity the minister
Of bounteous Providence.
But there's a passion, whose tempestuous sway
Tears up each virtue planted in the breast,
And shakes to ruins proud Philosophy.
For pale and trembling Anger rushes in,
With fault'ring speech, and eyes that wildly stare;
Fierce as the tiger, madder than the seas,
Desperate, and arm'd with more than human
How soon the calm, humane, and polish'd man
Forgets compunction, and starts up a fiend!
Who pines in love, or wastes with silent cares,
Envy, or ignominy, or tender grief,
Slowly descends, and ling'ring, to the shades.
But he whom anger stings, drops, if he dies,
At once, and rushes apoplectic down;
Or a fierce fever hurries him to hell.
Such fates attend the rash alarm of fear,
And sudden grief, and rage, and sudden joy.
The bell strikes one. We take no note of time,
But from its loss. To give it then a tongue,
Is wise in man.
As if an angel spoke,
I feel the solemn sound. If heard aright,
It is the knell of my departed hours :
Where are they? With the years beyond the flood.
It is the signal that demands dispatch ;
How much is to be done! My hopes and fears
alarm'd, and o'er life's narrow verge
Look down-On what :-A fathomless abyss;
A dread eternity! how surely mine!
And can eternity belong to me,
Poor pensioner on the bounties of an hour.
Night 2. What if (since daring on so nice a theme) I show thee friendship delicate, as dear, Of tender violations apt to die? Reserve will wound it; and Distrust, destroy. Deliberate on all things with thy friend. But since friends grow not thick on ev'ry bough, Nor ev'ry friend unrotten at the core; First, on thy friend, deliberate with thyself; Pause, ponder, sift; not eager in the choice, Nor jealous of the chosen: fixing, fix;