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"Ye Muses, skill'd in every winning art, Teach me more deeply to engage her heart; Ye nymphs, to her your freshest roses bring, And crown her with the pride of all the Spring: On all her days let health and peace attend ; May she ne'er want, nor ever lose, a friend! May some new pleasure every hour employ : But let her Damon be her highest joy!
"With thee, my love, for ever will I stay,
All night caress thee, and admire all day;
In the same field our mingled flocks we 'll feed,
To the same spring our thirsty heifers lead,
Together will we share the harvest toils,
Together press the vine's autumnal spoils.
Delightful state, where Peace and Love combine,
To bid our tranquil days unclouded shine!
Here limpid fountains roll through flowery meads;
Here rising forests lift their verdant heads;
Here let me wear my careless life away,
And in thy arms insensibly decay.
"When late old age our heads shall silver o'er,
And our slow pulses dance with joy no more;
When Time no longer will thy beauties spare,
And only Damon's eye shall think thee fair;
Then may the gentle hand of welcome Death,
At one soft stroke, deprive us both of breath!
May we beneath one common stone be laid,
And the same cypress both our ashes shade!
Perhaps some friendly Muse, in tender verse,
Shall deign our faithful passion to rehearse ;
And future ages, with just envy mov'd,
Be told how Damon and his Delia lov'd."
TO THE REVEREND DR. AYSCOUGH,
SAY, dearest friend, how roll thy hours away?
What pleasing study cheats the tedious day?
Dost thou the sacred volumes oft explore
Of wise Antiquity's immortal lore,
Where virtue, by the charms of wit refin'd,
At once exalts and polishes the mind?
How different from our modern guilty art,
Which pleases only to corrupt the heart;
Whose curst refinements odious vice adorn,
And teach to honour what we ought to scorn!
Dost thou in sage historians joy to see
How Roman greatness rose with liberty:
How the same hands that tyrants durst control
Their empire stretched from Atlas to the Pole;
Till wealth and conquest into slaves refin'd
The proud luxurious masters of mankind?
Dost thou in letter'd Greece each charm admire,
Each grace, each virtue, Freedom could inspire;
Yet in her troubled state see all the woes,
And all the crimes, that giddy Faction knows;
Till, rent by parties, by corruption sold,
Or weakly careless, or too rashly bold,
She sunk beneath a mitigated doom,
The slave and tutoress of protecting Rome?
Does calm Philosophy her aid impart,
To guide the passions, and to mend the heart?
Taught by her precepts, hast thou learnt the end
To which alone the wise their studies bend;
For which alone by Nature were design'd
The powers of thought to benefit mankind?
Not, like a cloister'd drone, to read and doze,
In undeserving, undeserv'd, rèpose;
But reason's influence to diffuse; to clear
Th' enlighten'd world of every gloomy fear;
Dispel the mists of errour, and unbind
Those pedant chains that clog the free-born mind.
Happy who thus his leisure can employ !
He knows the purest hours of tranquil joy;
Nor vext with pangs that busier bosoms tear,
Nor lost to social virtue's pleasing care;
Safe in the port, yet labouring to sustain
Those who still float on the tempestuous main.
So Locke the days of studious quiet spent ;
So Boyle in wisdom found divine content;
So Cambray, worthy of a happier doom,
The virtuous slave of Louis and of Rome.
Good Wor'ster* thus supports his drooping age, Far from court-flattery, far from party-rage; He, who in youth a tyrant's frown defy'd, Firm and intrepid on his country's side,
Her boldest champion then, and now her mildest guide!
O generous warinth! O sanctity divine!
To emulate his worth, my friend, be thine :
Learn from his life the duties of the gown;
Learn, not to flatter, nor insult the crown;
Nor, basely servile, court the guilty great,
Nor raise the church a rival to the state:
* Bishop Hough.
To errour mild, to vice alone severe,
Seek not to spread the law of love by fear.
The priest who plagues the world can never mend:
No foe to man was e'er to God a friend.
Let reason and let virtue faith maintain;
All force but theirs is impious, weak, and vain.
Me other cares in other climes engage,
Cares that become my birth, and suit my age;
In various knowledge to improve my youth,
And conquer prejudice, worst foe to truth;
By foreign arts domestic faults to mend,
Enlarge my notions, and my views extend ;
The useful science of the world to know,
Which books can never teach, or pedants show.
A nation here I pity and admire,
Whom noblest sentiments of glory fire,
Yet taught, by custom's force and bigot fear,
To serve with pride, and boast the yoke they bear :
Whose nobles, born to cringe and to command,
(In courts a mean, in camps a generous band,)
From each low tool of power, content receive
Those laws, their dreaded arms to Europe give.
Whose people (vain in want, in bondage blest;
Though plunder'd, gay; industrious, though op-
With happy follies rise above their fate,
The jest and envy each wiser state.
Yet here the Muses deign'd awhile to sport
In the short sunshine of a favouring court:
Here Boileau, strong in sense and sharp in wit,
Who, from the ancients, like the ancients writ,
Permission gain'd inferior vice to blame,
By flattering incense to his master's fame.
Here Moliere, first of comic wits, excell'd
Whate'er Athenian theatres beheld;
By keen, yet decent, satire skill'd to please,
With morals mirth uniting, strength with ease.
Now, charm'd, I hear the bold Corneille inspire
Heroic thoughts, with Shakspeare's force and fire!
Now sweet Racine, with milder influence, move
The soften'd heart to pity and to love.
With mingled pain and pleasure, I survey
The pompous works of arbitrary sway;
Proud palaces, that drain'd the subjects' store,
Rais'd on the ruins of th' opprest and poor;
Where ev'n mute walls are taught to flatter state,
And painted triumphs style Ambition GREAT.
With more delight those pleasing shades I view,
Where Condé from an envious court withdrew † ;
Where, sick of glory, faction, power, and pride,
(Sure judge how empty all, who all had tried!)
Beneath his palms the weary chief repos'd,
And life's great scene in quiet virtue clos'd.
With shame that other fam'd retreat I see,
Adorn'd by art, disgrac'd by luxury ‡ :
Where Orleans wasted every vacant hour,
In the wild riot of unbounded power;
Where feverish debauch and impious love
Stain'd the mad table and the guilty grove.
With these amusements is thy friend detain❜d,
Pleas'd and instructed in a foreign land;
* The victories of Louis the Fourteenth, painted in the galleries of Versailles.