« ForrigeFortsett »
Chins fallen, and not an eye-ball to be seen.
Still I insist, though music heretofore
Has charmed me much, not even Occiduus more,
Love, joy, and peace make harmony more meet
For Sabbath evenings, and perhaps as sweet.
Will not the sickliest sheep of every flock
Resort to this example as a rock,
There stand and justify the foul abuse
Of Sabbath hours, with plausible excuse?
If apostolic gravity be free
To play the fool on Sundays, why not we?
If he the tinkling harpsichord regards
As inoffensive, what offence in cards?
Strike up the fiddles ! let us all be gay!
Laymen have leave to dance, if parsons play.
O Italy! Thy Sabbaths will be soon
Our Sabbaths, closed with mummery and buffoon,
Preaching and pranks will shaie the motley scene,
Ours parcelled out, as thine have ever been,
God's worship and the mountebank between.
What says the prophet? Let that day be blest
With holiness and consecrated rest.
Pastime and business both it should exclude,
And bar the door the moment they intrude,
Nobly distinguished above all the six,
By deeds in which the world must never mix.
Hear him again. He calls it a delight,
A day of luxury observed aright,
When the glad soul is made heaven's welcome guest,
Sits banqueting, and God provides the feast.
But triflers are engaged and cannot come;
Their answer to the call is—Not at home.
Oh, the dear pleasures of the velvet plain, The pamted tablets, dealt and dealt again. Cards with what rapture, and the polished die, The yawning chasm of indolence supply; Then to the dance, and make the sober moon Witness of joys that shun the sight of noon. Blame, cynic, if you can, quadrille or ball, The snug close party, or the splendid hall, Where night down-stooping from her ebon throne, Views constellations brighter than her own. 'Tis innocent, and harmless, and refmed, The balm of care, elysium of the mind. Innocent!—Oh, if venerable time Slain at the foot of pleasure be no crime, Then with his silver beard and magic wand, Let Comus rise Archbishop of the land, Let him your rubric and your feasts prescribe, Grand metropolitan of all the tribe.
Of manners rough, and coarse athletic caft, The rank debauch suits Clodio's filthy taste.
Rufillus, exquisitely formed by rule,
Not of the moral, but the dancing school,
Wonders at Clodio's follies, in a tone
As tragical, as others at his own.
He cannot drink five bottles, bilk the score,
Then kill a constable, and drink five more;
But he can draw a pattern, make a tart,
And has the ladies' etiquette by heart.
Go, fool, and arm in arm with Clodio plead
Your cause before a bar you little dread;
But know, the law that bids the drunkard die
Is far too just to pass the trifler by.
Both baby-featured and of infant size,
Viewed from a distance, and with heedless eyes,
Folly and innocence are so alike,
The difference, though essential, (ails to strike.
Yet folly ever has a vacant stare,
A simpering countenance, and a trifling air;
But innocence, sedate, serene, erect,
Delights us, by engaging our respect.
Man, Nature's guest by invitation sweet,
Receives from her both appetite and treat;
But if he play the glutton and exceed,
His benefactress blushes at the deed.
For nature, nice, as liberal to dispense,
Made nothing but a brute the slave of sense.
Daniel ate pulse by choice, —example rare!
Heaven blessed the youth, and made him fresh and fair.
Gorgonius sits abdominous and wan,
Like a fat squab upon a Chinese fan;
He snuffs far off the anticipated joy,
Turtle and venison all his thoughts employ,
Prepares for meals, as jockeys take a sweat,
Oh, nauseous ! an emetic for a whet,—
Will providence o'erlook the wasted good?
Temperance were no virtue if he could.
That pleasures, therefore, or what such we call,
Are hurtful, is a truth confessed by all.
And some that seem to threaten virtue less,
Still hurtful, in the abuse, or by the excess.
Is man then only for his torment placed,
The centre of delights he may not taste?
Like fabled Tantalus condemned to hear
The precious stream still purling in his ear,
Lip-deep in what he longs for, and yet curst
With prohibition and perpetual thirst?
No, wrangler,—destitute of shame and sense!
The precept that enjoins him abstinence,
Forbids him none but the licentious joy,
Whose fruit, though fair, tempts only to destroy.
Remorse, the fatal egg by pleasure laid
In every bosom where her nest is made,
Hatched by the beams of truth, denies him rest,
And proves a raging scorpion in his breast.
No pleasure? Are domestic comforts dead?
Are all the nameless sweets of friendship fled?
Has time worn out, or fashion put to shame
Good sense, good health, good conscience, and good fame?
All these belong to virtue, and all prove
That virtue has a title to your love.
Have you no touch of pity, that the poor
Stand starved at your inhospitable door?
Or if yourself, too scantily supplied,
Need help, let honest industry provide.
Earn, if you want; if you abound, impart;
These both are pleasures to the feeling heart.
No pleasure? Has some sickly eastern waste
Sent us a wind to parch us at a blast?
Can British paradise no scenes afford
To please her sated and indifferent lord?
Are sweet philosophy's enjoyments run
Quite to the lees? And has religion none?
Brutes capable, should tell you 'tis a lie,
And judge you from the kennel and the sty.
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 impression wear away.
So coin grows smooth, in traffic current passed,
'Till Caesar's image is effaced at last.
The breach, though small at first, soon opening wide,
In rushes folly with a full moon tide.
Then welcome errors of whatever size,
To justify 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
Sin's rotten trunk, concealing its defects.
Mortals whose pleasures are their only care,
First wish to be imposed on, and then are;
And lest the fulsome artifice should fail,
Themselves will hide its coarseness with a veil.
Not more industrious arc the just and true
To give to virtue what is virtue's due,
The praise of wisdom, comeliness, and worth,
And call her charms to public notice forth,
Than vice's mean and disingenuous race
To hide the shocking features of her face:
Her form with dress and lotion they repair,
Then kiss their idol, and pronounce her fair.
The sacred implement I now employ
Might prove a mischief, or at best a toy,
A trifle if it move but to amuse,
Hut if to wrong the judgment and abuse,
Worse than a poniard in the basest hand,
It stabs at once the morals of a land.
Ye writers of what none with safety reads,
Footing it in the dance that fancy leads,
Ye novelists, who mar what ye would mend,
Snivelling and drivelling fully without end,
Whose corresponding misses fdl the ream
With sentimental frippery and dream,
Caught in a delicate soft silken net
By some lewd earl or rakc-hcll baronet;
Ye pimps, who, under virtue's fair pretence,
Steal to the closet of young innocence,
And teach her, inexperienced yet and green,
To scribble as you scribble, at fifteen;
Who kindling a combustion of desire,
With some cold moral think to quench the fire,
Though all your engineering proves in vain,
The dribbling stream ne'er puts it out again;
Oh, that a verse had power, and could command
Far, far away these flesh-flies of the land,
Who fasten without mercy on the fair,
And suck, and leave a craving maggot there.
Howe'er disguised the inflammatory tale,
And covered with a fme-spun specious veil,
Such writers and such readers owe the gust
And relish of their pleasure all to lust.
But the muse, eagle-pinioned, has in view
A quarry more important still than you;
Down, down the wind she swims and sails away,
New 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 slab in her own breast.
Abhorred the sacrifice, and cursed the priest.
Thou polished and high-finished foe to truth,
Gray-beard corrupter of our listening youth,
To purge and skim away the filth of vice,
That so refmed it might the more entice,
Then pour it on the morals of thy son
To taint his heart, was worthy of thine mun.
Now while the poison all high life pervades,
Write if thou canst one letter from 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.
'Tis granted, and no plainer truth appears,
Our most important are our earliest years.
The mind impressible and soft, with ease
Imbibes and copies what she hears and sees,
And through life's labyrinth holds fast the clue
That education gives her, false or true.
Plants raised with tenderness are seldom strong;
Man's coltish disposition asks the thong,
And without discipline the favourite child,
Like a neglected forester, runs wild.
But we, as if good qualities would grow
Spontaneous, take but little pains to sow;
We give some Latin and a smatch of Greek,
Teach him to fence and figure twice a week,
And having done, we think, the best we can,
Praise his proficiency and dub him man.
From school to Cam or Isis, and thence home,
And thence with all convenient speed to Rome,
With reverend tutor clad in habit lay,
To tease for cash, and quarrel with all day;
With memorandum-book for every town,
And every post, and where the chaise broke down;
His stock, a few French phrases got by heart,
With much to learn, but nothing to impart,
The youth, obedient to his sire's commands,
Sets off a wanderer into foreign lands:
Surprised at all they meet, the gosling pair
With awkward gait, stretched neck, and silly stare,
Discover huge cathedrals built with stone,
And steeples towering high much like our own,
But show peculiar light by many a grin
At Popish practices observed within.
Ere long some bowing, smirking, smart Abbe
Remarks two loiterers that have lost their way,
And being always primed with politesse
For men of their appearance and address,
With much compassion undertakes the task,
To tell them more than they have wit to ask.
Points to inscriptions wheresoe'er they tread,
Such as when legible were never read,
But being cankered now, and half worn out,
Craze antiquarian brains with endless doubt:
Some headless hero or some Ctcsar shows,
Defective only in his Roman nose;