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A frame of adamant, a soul of fire,
All times their scenes of pompous woes afford, From Persia's tyrant to Bavaria's lord. In gay hostility and barb'rous pride, With half mankind embattled at his side, Great Xerxes comes to seize the certain prey, And starves exhausted regions in his way; Attendant Flatt'ry counts his myriads o’er, Till counted myriads sooth his pride no more ; Fresh praise is tried till madness fires his mind, The waves he lashes, and enchains the wind,
New pow'rs are claim'd, new pow'rs are still be
stow'd, Till rude resistance lops the spreading god; The daring Greeks deride the martial show, And heap their valleys with the gaudy foe; Th’ insulted sea with humbler thought he gains, A single skiff to speed his flight remains ; Th' encumber'd oar scarce leaves the dreaded coast Through purple billows and a floating host.
The bold Bavarian, in a luckless hour, Tries the dread summits of Cæsarean pow'r; With unexpected legions bursts away, And sees defenceless realms receive his sway: Short sway! fair Austria spreads her mournful
charms, The queen, the beauty, sets the world in arms; From hill to hill, the beacon's rousing blaze, Spreads wide the hope of plunder and of praise : The fierce Croatian and the wild Hussar, With all the sons of ravage, crowd the war; The baffled prince, in honour's flatt’ring bloom Of hasty greatness, finds the fatal doom; His foes' derision and his subjects' blame, And steals to death from anguish and from shame.
Enlarge my life with multitude of days !" In health, in sickness, thus the suppliant prays: Hides from himself its state, and shuns to know, That life protracted is protracted wo. Time hovers o'er, impatient to destroy, And shuts up all the passages of joy: In vain their gifts the bounteous seasons pour, The fruit autumnal, and the vernal flow'r; With listless eyes the dotard views the store, He views, and wonders that they please no more; Now pall the tasteless meats and joyless wines, And Luxury with sighs her slave resigns. Approach, ye minstrels, try the soothing strain, Diffuse the tuneful lenitives of pain; No sounds, alas! would touch th' impervious ear, Though dancing mountains witness'd Orpheus near;
Nor lute nor lyre his feeble pow'rs attend,
Unnumber'd maladies his joints invade,
But grant, the virtues of a temp’rate prime
Yet ev'n on this her load Misfortune flings,
But few there are whom hours like these await, Who set unclouded in the gulfs of Fate. From Lydia's monarch should the search descend, By Solon caution'd to regard his end, In life's last scene what prodigies surprise, Fears of the brave, and follies of the wise ! From Marlb’rough's eyes the streams of dotage flow, And Swift expires a driv'ler and a show.
The teeming mother, anxious for her race, Begs for each birth the fortune of a face ; Yet Vane could tell what ills from beauty spring, And Sedley cursed the form that pleased a king. Ye nymphs of rosy lips and radiant eyes, Whom pleasure keeps too busy to be wise ; Whom joys with soft varieties invite, By day the frolic, and the dance by night; Who frown with vanity, who smile with art, And ask the latest fashion of the heart; What care, what rules, your heedless charms shall
save, Each nymph your rival, and each youth your slave? Against your fame with fondness hate combines, The rival batters, and the lover mines. With distant voice neglected Virtue calls, Less heard and less, the faint remonstrance falls ; Tired with contempt, she quits the slipp’ry reign, And Pride and Prudence take their seat in vain. In crowd at once, where none the pass defend, The harmless freedom and the private friend. The guardians yield, by force superior plied : To Int'rest, Prudence; and to Flatt’ry, Pride. Here Beauty falls betray'd, despised, distress'd, And hissing Infamy proclaims the rest.
Where then shall Hope and Fear their objects find? Must dull Suspense corrupt the stagnant mind? Must helpless man, in ignorance sedate, Roll darkling down the torrent of his fate? Must no dislike alarm, no wishes rise, No cries invoke the mercies of the skies?
Inquirer, cease; petitions yet remain
John Scott. 1730–1783.
ODE ON HEARING THE DRUM.
I HATE that drum's discordant sound,
And when Ambition's voice commands,
I hate that drum's discordant sound,