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I do not woo thy presence, INDOLENCE!
Goddess, I would not rank
A votary in thy train.
I will not ask to wear thy fett'ring flowers,
O thou on whose cold lips
Faint plays the heartless smile!
Pale, sickly as the unkindly shaded fruit,
Thy languid check displays
No sunny bues of health;
There is no radiance in thy listless eye,
No active joy that fires
Its sudden glance with life.
I do not wish upon thy downy couch,
As in a conscious dream,
To doze away the hours,
Dead to all noble purposes of man,
Useless among mankind,
To live, unworthy life.
But to thy sister LEISURE I would pour
The supplicating prayer,
And woo her aid benign:
Nymph, on whose sunny cheek the hue of health
Blooms like the ruddy fruit
Matur'd by Southern rays ;
Whose eye beam sparkles to the speaking heart,
Like the reflected noon
Quick glancing on the waves.
Her would I pray that not for ever thus
The ungentle voice of toil
Might claim my daily task,
So should my hand a votive temple rear,
Through many a distant age
That undestroy'd should stand.
Long should the stately monument proclaim
That no ungrateful heart,
Goddess ! received thy boon.
Nay gather not that Filbert, Nicholas,
There is a maggot there, -it is his house
His castle-oh commit not burglary!
Strip him not naked, 'tis his cloaths, his shell,
His bones, the very armour of his life,
And thou shalt do no murder Nicholas !
It were an easy thing to crack that nut
Or with thy crackers or thy double teeth,
So easily may all things be destroyed !
But 'tis not in the power of mortal man
To mend the fracture of a filbert shell.
There were two great men once amused themselves
With watching maggots run their wriggling race
And wagering on their speed; but Nick, to us
It were no sport to see the pampered worm
Roll out and then draw in his folds of fat,
Like to some Barbers leathern powder bag
Wherewith he feathers, frosts, or cauliflowers
Spruce Beau, or Lady fair, or Doctor grave.
Enough of dangers and of enemies
Hath Nature's wisdom for the worm ordained,
Increase not thou the number! him the Mouse
Gnawing with nibbling tooth the shells defence
May from his native tenement eject ;
Him may the Nut-hatch piercing with strong bill
Unwittingly destroy, or to his hoard
The Squirrel bear, at leisure to be crack'd.
Man also hath his dangers and his foes
As this poor Maggot hath, and when I muse
Upon the aches, anxieties and fears,
The Maggot knows not, Nicholas methinks
It were a happy metamorphosis
To be enkernelled thus: never to hear
Of wars, and of invasions, and of plots,
Kings, Jacobines and Tax-commissioners,
To feel no motion but the wind that shook
The Filbert Tree, and rock'd me to my rest ;
And in the middle of such exquisite food
To live luxurious ! the perfection this
Of snugness ! it were to unite at once
Hermit retirement, Aldermanic bliss,
And Stoic independance of mankind.