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VANITY OF HUMAN WISHES :
IN IMITATION OF
THE TENTH SATIRE OF JUVENAL.
Let observation with extensive view,
Impeachment stops the speaker's powerful breath, And restless fire precipitates on death.
But, scarce observed, the knowing and the bold Fall in the general massacre of gold; Wide-wasting pest! that rages unconfined, And crowds with crimes the records of mankind : For gold his sword the hireling ruffian draws; For gold the hireling judge distorts the laws; Wealth heap'd on wealth, nor truth nor safety buys, The dangers gather as the treasures rise.
Let history tell where rival kings command, And dubious title shakes the madded land, When statutes glean the refuse of the sword, How much more safe the vassal than the lord; Low sculks the hind beneath the rage of power, And leaves the wealthy traitor in the Tower ; Untouch'd his cottage, and his slumbers sound, Though confiscation's vultures hover round.
The needy traveller, serene and gay, Walks the wild heath, and sings his toil away. Does envy seize thee? crush the upbraiding joy,Increase his riches, and his peace destroy : New fears in dire vicissitude invade, The rustling brake alarms, and quivering shade; Nor light nor darkness bring his pain relief, One shows the plunder, and one hides the thief.
Yet still one general cry the skies assails, And gain and grandeur load the tainted gales ; Few know the toiling statesman's fear or care, The insidious rival and the gaping heir.
Once more, Democritus, arise on earth, With cheerful wisdom and instructive mirth, See motley life in modern trappings dress’d, And feed with varied fools the eternal jest ;
Thou who couldst laugh where want enchaiu'd ca
price, Toil crush'd conceit, and man was of a piece; Where wealth unloved without a mourner died; And scarce a sycophant was fed by pride; Where ne'er was known the form of mock debate, Or seen a new-made mayor's unwieldy state ; Where change of favourites made no change of laws, And senates heard before they judged a cause ; How wouldst thou shake at Britain's modish tribe, Dart the quick taunt, and edge the piercing gibeAttentive truth and nature to descry, And pierce each scene with philosophic eye ! To thee were solemy toys or empty show, The robes of pleasure and the veils of woe : All aid the farce, and all thy mirth maintain, Whose joys are causeless, or whose griefs are vain.
Such was the scorn that fill'd the sage's mind, Renew'd at every glance on human kind; How just that scorn ere yet thy voice declare, Search every state, and canvass every prayer.
Unnumber'd suppliants crowd Preferment's gate, Athirst for wealth, and burving to be great; Delusive Fortune hears the incessant call, They mount, they shine, evaporate, and fall. On every stage the foes of peace attend, Hate dogs their flight, and insult mocks their end. Love ends with hope, the sinking statesman's door Pours in the morning-worshipper no more; For growing names the weekly scribbler lies, To growing wealth the dedicator flies; From every room descends the painted face, That hung the bright Palladium of the place,
And smoked in kitchens, or in auctions sold,
But will not Britain hear the last appeal,
In full-blown dignity, see Wolsey stand,
advances power ; Till conquest unresisted ceased to please, And rights submitted, left him none to seize. At length his sovereign frowns—the train of state Mark the keen glance, and watch the sign to hate. Where'er he turns he meets a stranger's eye, His suppliants scorn him, and his followers fly; Al once is lost the pride of awful state, The golden canopy, the glittering plate, The regal palace, the luxurious board, The liveried army, and the menial lord. With age, with cares, with maladies oppress'd, He seeks the refuge of inonastic rest.