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"The best of men have ever lov'd repose: They hate to mingle in the filthy fray; Where the soul sours, and gradual rancor grows, Embitter'd more from peevish day to day. Ev'n those whom Fame has lent her fairest ray, The most renown'd of worthy wights of yore, From a base world at last have stol'n away: So Scipio, to the soft Cumaan shore Retiring, tasted joy he never knew before.
"But if a little exercise you choose, Some zest for ease, 'tis not forbidden here. Amid the groves you may indulge the Muse, Or tend the blooms, and deck the vernal year; Or softly stealing, with your watery gear, Along the brook, the crimson-spotted fry You may delude: the whilst, amus'd, you hear Now the hoarse stream, and now the zephyr's sigh, Attuned to the birds, and woodland melody.
"O grievous folly! to heap up estate,
Losing the days you see beneath the Sun; When, sudden, comes blind unrelenting Fate, And gives th' untasted portion you have won, With ruthless toil, and many a wretch undone, To those who mock you gone to Pluto's reign, There with sad ghosts to pine, and shadows dun But sure it is of vanities most vain,
To toil for what you here untoiling may obtain."
He ceas'd. But still their trembling ears retain'd
By the smooth demon so it order'd was,
And his alluring baits suspected han,
Yet through the gate they cast a wishful eye:
When this the watchful wicked wizard saw,
For whomsoe'er the villain takes in hand, Their joints unknit, their sinews melt apace; As lithe they grow as any willow-wand, And of their vanish'd force remains no trace: So when a maiden fair, of modest grace, In all her buxom blooming May of charms, Is seized in some losel's hot embrace, She waxeth very weakly as she warms, Then sighing yields her up to love's delicious harms. Wak'd by the crowd, slow from his bench arose A comely full-spread porter, swoln with sleep: His calm, broad, thoughtless aspect, breath'd
And in sweet torpor he was plunged deep, Ne could himself from ceaseless yawning keep; While o'er his eyes the drowsy liquor ran, Thro' which his half-wak'd soul would faintly peep. Then, taking his black staff, he call'd his man, And rous'd himself as much as rouse himself he can.
The lad leap'd lightly at his master's call.
Meantime the master-porter wide display'd
O fair undress, best dress! it checks no vein,
Sir porter sat him down, and turn'd to sleep again.
Thus easy rob'd, they to the fountain sped,
There each deep draughts, as deep he thirsted,
It was a fountain of Nepenthe rare :
Whence, as Dan Homer sings, huge pleasaunce
And sweet oblivion of vile earthly care; Fair gladsome waking thoughts, and joyous dreams more fair.
This rite perform'd, all inly pleas'd and still,
As thick as idle motes in sunny ray,
With all the lodges that thereto pertain❜d, No living creature could be seen to stray; While solitude and perfect silence reign'd: So that to think you dreamt you almost was con strain'd.
As when a shepherd of the Hebrid isles, Plac'd far amid the melancholy main, (Whether it be lone fancy him beguiles; Or that aërial beings sometimes deign To stand embodied, to our senses plain,) Sees on the naked hill, or valley low, The whilst in ocean Phoebus dips his wain, A vast assembly moving to and fro: Then all at once in air dissolves the wondrous show.
Ye gods of quiet, and of sleep profound! Whose soft dominion o'er this castle sways, And all the widely-silent places round, Forgive me, if my trembling pen displays What never yet was sung in mortal lays. But how shall I attempt such arduous string, I, who have spent my nights, and nightly days, In this soul-deadening place, loose-loitering? Ah! how shall I for this uprear my moulted wing?
Come on, my Muse, nor stoop to low despair, Thou imp of Jove, touch'd by celestial fire! Thou yet shalt sing of war, and actions fair, Which the bold sons of Britain will inspire; Of ancient bards thou yet shalt sweep the lyre; Thou yet shalt tread in tragic pall the stage, Paint love's enchanting woes, the hero's ire, The sage's calm, the patriot's noble rage, Dashing corruption down through every worthless
The doors, that knew no shrill alarming bell, Ne cursed knocker ply'd by villain's hand, Self-open'd into halls, where, who can tell What elegance and grandeur wide expand, The pride of Turkey and of Persia land? Soft quilts on quilts, on carpets carpets spread, And couches stretch'd around in seemly band; And endless pillows rise to prop the head; So that each spacious room was one full-swelling bed.
And everywhere huge cover'd tables stood, With wines high-flavor'd and rich viands crown'd Whatever sprightly juice or tasteful food On the green bosom of this Earth are found, And all old Ocean genders in his round : Some hand unseen these silently display'd, Ev'n undemanded by a sign or sound; You need but wish, and, instantly obey'd, Fair-rang'd the dishes rose, and thick the glasses play'd.
Here freedom reign'd, without the least alloy; Nor gossip's tale, nor ancient maiden's gall, Nor saintly spleen, durst murmur at our joy, And with envenom'd tongue our pleasures pall. For why there was but one great rule for all; To wit, that each should work his own desire, And eat, drink, study, sleep, as it may fall, Or melt the time in love, or wake the lyre, And carol what, unbid, the Muses might inspire.
Our easy bliss, when each thing joy supplied; The woods, the mountains, and the warbling maze Of the wild brooks!-But fondly wandering wide, My Muse, resume the task that yet doth thee abide.
One great amusement of our household was,
Run bustling to and fro with foolish haste,
"Of vanity the mirror" this was call'd.
Firm to this scoundrel maxim keepeth he,
Till it has quench'd his fire, and banished his pot.
Straight from the filth of this low grub, behold!
This globe portray'd the race of learned men,
Then would a splendid city rise to view,
The puzzling sons of party next appear'd,
Th' important shoulder; then, as if to get
But what most show'd the vanity of life.
To number up the thousands dwelling here,
But these I passen by, with nameless numbers moe.
Of all the gentle tenants of the place,
To noontide shades incontinent he ran,
Sauntering and slow. So had he passed many a day!
Yet not in thoughtless slumber were they past:
But with the clouds they fled, and left no trace
With him was sometimes join'd, in silent walk,
New light, their twinkling eyes were inward set. The glittering star of eve-"
Than forth they various rush in mighty fret;
day is done."
Here lurk'd a wretch, who had not crept abroad
Through secret loop-holes, that had practis'd been Near to his bed, his dinner vile he took; Unkempt, and rough, of squalid face and mien, Our castle's shame! whence, from his filthy nook, We drove the villain out for fitter lair to look.
One day there chaunc'd into these halls to rove A joyous youth, who took you at first sight; Him the wild wave of pleasure hither drove, Before the sprightly tempest-tossing light: Certes, he was a most engaging wight,
Of social glee, and wit humane, though keen, Turning the night to day, and day to night: For him the merry bells had rung, I ween, If in this nook of quiet bells had ever been.
But not ev'n pleasure to excess is good : What most elates then sinks the soul as low: When spring-tide joy pours in with copious flood, The higher still th' exulting billows flow, The farther back again they flagging go, And leave us grovelling on the dreary shore: Taught by this son of joy, we found it so: Who, whilst he staid, kept in a gay uproar Our madden'd castle all, th' abode of sleep no more.
As when in prime of June a burnish'd fly, Sprung from the meads, o'er which he sweeps along,
Cheer'd by the breathing bloom and vital sky,
Then out again he flies, to wing his mazy round.
Another guest there was, of sense refin'd,
And sometimes would he make our valley glad; When as we found he would not here be pent, To him the better sort this friendly message sent.
"Come, dwell with us! true son of virtue, come!
Here whilom ligg'd th' Esopus* of the age;
Yet quits not Nature's bounds. He knows to keep Each due decorum: now the heart he shakes, And now with well-urg'd sense th' enlighten'd judgment takes.
* Mr. Quin.