« ForrigeFortsett »
Has time worn out, or fashion put to shame,
stye. Delights like these, ye sensual and profane, Ye are bid, begged, besought to entertain;
Called to these crystal streams, do ye turn off Obscene to swill and swallow at a trough? Envy the beast then, on whom heaven bestows Your pleasures, with no curses in the close.
Pleasure admitted in undue degree Enslaves, the will, nor leaves the judgment free. 'Tis not alone the grape's enticing juice Unnerves the moral powers, and mars their use; Ambition, avarice, and the lust of fame, And woman, lovely woman, does the same. The heart, surrendered to the ruling power Of some ungoverned passion every hour, Finds by degrees the truths, that once bore sway, And all their deep impressions, wear away; So coin grows smooth, in traffic current passed, Till Cæsar's image is effaced at last.
The breach, tho'small at first, soon opening wide, In rushes folly with a full moon tide, Then welcome errors of whatever size, To justily it by a thousand lies. As creeping ivy clings to wood or stone, And hides the ruin that it feeds upon;
So sophistry cleaves close to and protects
The sacred implement I now employ
Ye writers of what none with safety reads, Footing it in the dance that fancy leads;
Ye novelists, who mar what ye would mend,
But the muse, eagle-pinioned, has in view A quarry more important still than you; Down, down the wind she swims and sails away, Now stoops upon it, and now grasps the
prey. Petronius! all the muses weep for thee; But every tear shall scald thy memory: The graces too, while virtue at their shrine Lay bleeding under that soft hand of thine, Felt each a mortal stab in her own breast, Abhorred the sacrifice, and curst the priest. Thou polished and high-finished foe to truth, Gray-beard corruptor of our listening youth, To purge and skim away the filth of vice, , That so refined it might the more entice, Then pour it on the morals of thy son; To taint his heart, was worthy of thine own! Now, while the poison all high life pervades, Write if thou canst, one letter froin the shades; One, and one only, charged with deep regret That thy worst part, thy principles, live yet : One sad epistle thence may cure mankind Of the plague spread by bundles left behind.