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Curling and whit'ning over all the waste,
The rising waves obey the increasing blast,
Abrupt and horrid as the tempest roars,
Thunder and Aush upon the steadfast shores,
Till he, that rides the whirlwind, checks the rein,
Then all the world of waters sleeps again.
Nereids or Dryads, as the fashion leads,
Now in the floods, now panting in the meads,
Vot'ries of Plensure still, where'er she dwells,
Near barren rocks, in palaces, or cells,
O grunt a poet leave to recommend
(A poet fond of Nature, and your friend)
Her slighted works to your admiring view ;
Her works must needs excel, who fashion'd you
Would ye, when rambling in your morning ride,
With some unmeaning coxcomb at your side,
Condemn the prattler for his idle pains,
To waste unheard the music of his strains,
And, deaf to all the' impertinence of tongue,
That, while it courts, affronts and does you wrong,
Mark well the finishi'd plan without a fault,
The seas globose and huge, the' o'erarching vault,
Earth's millions daily fed, a world employ'd
In gath'ring plenty yet to be enjoy'd,
Till gratitude grew vocal in the praise
of God, beneficent in all his ways ;
Grac'd with such wisdom, how would beauty shine'
Ye want but that to seem indeed divine.
Anticipated rents, and bills unpaid,
Porce many a shining youth into the shade,
Not to redeem his time, but his estate,
And play the fool, but at a cheaper rate.
There, hid in loath'd obscurity, remov'd
From pleasures left, but never more belov'd,
He just endures, and with a sickly spleen
Highe o'er the beauties of the charming scene.
Nature indeed looks prettily in rhyme ;
Streams tinkle sweetly in poetic chime:
The warblings of the blackbird, clear and strong,
Are musical enough in Thomson's song :
And Cobham's groves, and Windsor's green retreats,
When Pope describes them, have a thousand sweets;
He likes the country, but in truth inust own,
Most likes it, when he studies it in town.
Poor Jack-no matter who--for when I blame,
I pity, and must therefore sink the name,
Liv'd in his saddle, lov'd the chase, the course,
And always, ere be mounted, kiss'd his horse.
The' estute, his sires had own'd in ancient years,
Was quickly distanc'd, match'd against a peer's.
Jack vanislı'd, was regretted and forgot ;
"Tis wild good-nature's never-failing lot.
At length, when all had long suppos'd him dead,
By cold submersion, razor, rope, or lead,
My lord, alighting at bis usual place,
The Crown, took notice of an ostler's face.
Jack knew his friend, but hop'd in that disguise
He might escape the most observing eyes,
And whistling, as if unconcern’d and gay,
Curried his nag, and look'd another way.
Convinc'd at last, upon a nearer view,
"T'was he, the same, the very Jack he knew,
O'erwhelm'd at once with wonder, grief, and joy,
lle prems'd him much to quit his base employ:
His countenance, his purse, his heart, his hand,
Influence and pow'r, were all at his command:
Peers are not always gen'rous as wellbred,
But Granby was, meant truly what he said.
Jack bow'd and was oblig'dm-confess'd 'twas strange,
That so retir'd he should not wish a change,
But knew no medium between guzzling beer,
And his old stintthree thousand pounds a year.
Thus some retire to nourish hopeless woe;
Some seeking bappiness not found below;
Some to comply with humour and a mind
To social scenes by nature disinclin'd;
Some sway'd by fashion, some by deep disgusti
Some self-impov'rish'd, and because they must
But few, that court Retirement, ure aware
Of half the toils they must encounter there.
Lucrative offices are seldom lost
For want of pow'rs proportion'd to the post :
Give ev'n a dunce the employment he desires,
And he soon finds the talents it requires ;
A business with an income ut its heels
Purnishes always oil for its own wheels.
But in his arduous enterprise to close
His active years with indolent repose,
He finds the labours of that state exceed
His utmost faculties, severe indeed.
"T'is easy to resign a toilsome place,
But not to manage leisure with a grace ;
Absence of occupution is not rest,
A mind quite vacant is a mind distress'd.
The vet'ran steed, excus'd his task at length,
In kind compassion of his failing strength,
And turn'd into the park or mead to graze,
Exempt from future service all his days,
There feels a pleasure perfect in its kind,
Ranges at liberty, and snuff's the wind :
But when his lord would quit the busy roud,
To taste a joy like that he had bestow'd,
He proves less happy than his favour'd brute,
A life of ease a difficult pursuit.
Thought, to the man that never thinks, may seem
As natural as when asleep to dream ;
But reveries (for human minds will act)
Specious in show, impossible in fact,
Those flimsy webs, that break as soon as wrought,
Attain not to the dignity of thought:
Nor yet the swarms, that occupy the brain,
Where dreams of dress, intrigue, and pleasure reign,
Nor such as useless conversation breeds,
Or lust engenders, and indulgence feeds.
Whence, and what are we? to what end ordain'd?
What means the drama by the world sustain'd?
Business or vain amusement, care or mirth,
Divide the frail inhabitants of Earth.
Is duty a mere sport, or an employ?
Life an intrusted talent, or a toy?
Is there, as reason, conscience, Scripture, say,
Cause to provide for a great future day,
When, Earth's assign'd duration at an end,
Man shall be summon'd and the dead attend?
The trumpet-will it sound ? the curtain rise ?
And show the’ august tribunal of the skies,
Where no prevarication shall avail,
Where eloquence and artifice shall fail,
The pride of arrogant distinctions fall,
And conscience and our conduct judge us all?
Pardon me, ye that give the midnight oil
To learned cares or philosophic toil,
Though I revere your honourable names,
Your useful labours and important aims,
And hold the world indebted to your aid,
Enrich'd with the discor'ries ye have made ;
Yet let me stand excus'd, if I esteem
A mind employ'd on so sublime a theme,
Pushing her bold inquiry to the date
And outline of the present transient state,
And, after poising her advent’rous wings,
Settling at last upon eternal things,
Far more intelligent, and better taught
The strenuous use of profitable thought,
Than ye, when happiest, and enlighten'd most,
And highest in renown, can justly boast.
A mind unnerv’d, or indispos’d to bear
The weight of subjects worthiest of her care,
Whatever hopes a change of scene inspires,
Must change her nature, or in vain retires.
An idler is a watch, that wants both hands;
As useless if it goes, as when it stands.
Books therefore, not the scandal of the shelves,
In which lewd sensualists print out themselves;
Nor those in which the stage gives vice a blow,
With what success let modern manners show;
Nor bis, who, for the bane of thousands born,
Built God a church, and laugh'd his word to scorn,
Skilful alike to seem devout and just,
And stab religion with a sly side-thrust;
Nor those of learn'd philologists, who chasc
A panting syllable through time and space,
Start it at home, and hunt it in the dark,
To Gaul, to Greece, and into Noah's ark;
But such as Learning without false pretence,
The friend of Truth, the associate of sound Sense,
And such as, in the zeal of good design,
Strong judgment lab’ring in the Scripture mine,
All such as manly and great souls produce,
Worthy to live, and of eternal use :