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Great changes and new manners have occurr'd, And blest reforms, that I have never heard, And she may now be as discreet and wise, As once absurd in all discerning eyes. Sobriety perhaps may now be found, Where once Intoxication press'd the ground; The subtle and injurious may be just, And he grown chaste, that was the slave of lust; Arts once esteem'd may be with shame dismiss'd; Charity may relax the miser's fist : The gamester may have cast his cards away, Forgot to curse, and only kneel to pray. It has indeed been told me (with what weight, How credibly, 'tis hard for me to state) That fables old, that seem'd for ever mute, Reviv'd, are hast’ning into fresh repute, And gods and goddesses, discarded long Like useless lumber, or a stroller's song, Are bringing into vogue their heathen train, And Jupiter bids fair to rule again ; That certain feasts are instituted now, Where Venus hears the lover's tender vow; That all Olympus through the country roves, To consecrate our few remaining groves, And Echo learns politely to repeat The praise of names for ages
obsolete : That having prov'd the weakness, it should seem, Of revelation's ineffectual beam, To bring the passions under sober sway, And give the moral springs their proper play, They mean to try what may at last be done, By stout substantial gods of wood and stone, And whether Roman rites may not produce The virtues of old Rome for English use.
May such success attend the pious plan,
Digression is so much in modern use,
And first, let no man charge me, that I mean To close in sable ev'ry social scene, And give good company a face severe, As if they met around a father's bier; For tell some men, that pleasure all their bent, And laughter all their work, is life misspent, Their wisdom bursts into this sage reply, Then mirth is sin, and we should always cry. To find the medium asks some share of wit, And therefore 'tis a mark fools never hit. But though life's valley be a vale of tears, A brighter scene beyond that vale appears, Whose glory with a light, that never fades, Shoots between scatter'd rocks and op’ning shades, And while it shows the land the soul desires, The language of the land she seeks inspires. Thus touch'il, the tongue receives a sacred cure Of all that was absurd, profane, impure; Held within modest bounds, the tide of speech Pursues the course, that Truth and Nature teach; No longer labours merely to produce The pomp of sound, or tinkle without use: Where'er it winds, the salutary stream, Sprightly and fresh, enriches ev'ry theme, While all the happy man possess'd before, The gift of nature, or the classic store, Is made subservient to the grand design, For which Heav'n form’d the faculty divine. So should an idiot, while at large he strays, Find the sweet lyre, on which an artist plays, With rash and awkward force the chords he shakes, And grins with wonder at the jar he makes; But let the wise and well-instructed hand Once take the shell beneath his just command,
In gentle sounds it seems as it complain'u
studiis florens ignobilis oti.
VIRG. Gcor. Lib. 4.
HACKNEY'D in business, wearied at that oar,