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Dare to despise magnificence, my friend,
[The Episode of Venus and Vulcan omitted.)
OVID. TRIST. LIB. V. ELEG. XII.
Scribis, ut oblectem. You bid me write to amuse the tedious hours, And save from withering my poetic powers ; Hard is the task, my friend, for verse should flow From the free mind, not fettered down by woe. Restless amidst unceasing tempests tossed, Whoe'er has cause for sorrow, I have most. Would you bid Priam laugh, his sons all slain ; Or childless Niobe from tears refrain, Join the gay dance, and lead the festive train ? Does grief or study most befit the mind To this remote, this barbarous nook confined ? Could you impart to my unshaken breast The fortitude by Socrates possessed, Soon would it sink beneath such woes as mine, For what is human strength to wrath divine? Wise as he was, and Heaven pronounced him so, My sufferings would have iaid that wisdom low. Could I forget my country, thee and all, And e'en the offence to which I owe my fall, Yet fear alone would freeze the poet's vein, While hostile troops swarm o'er the dreary plain, Add that the fatal rust of long disuse Unfits me for the service of the Muse. Thistles and weeds are all we can expect From the best soil impoverished by neglect; Unexercised, and to his stall confined, The fleetest racer would be left behind : The best built bark that cleaves the watery way, Laid useless by, would moulder and decay,
No hope remains that time shall me restore,
HOR. LIB. I. ODE IX.
The streams, congealed, forget to flow; Come, thaw the cold, and lay a cheerful pila
Of fuel on the hearth;
With seasonable mirth.
If Jove coinmand, the winds shall sieer
The works of ancient bards divine,
Aulus, thou scorn'st to read ; And should posterity read thine,
It would be strange indeed!
WHEN little more than boy in age,
SUNSET AND SUNRISE. CONTEMPLATE, when the sun declines,
Thy death, with deep reflection ; And when again he rising shines,
Thy day of resurrection !
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