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Plump Ceres golden tresses wear,
Thus shelter'd, free from care and strife, May I enjoy a calm through life; See faction, safe in low degree, As men at land see storms at sea, And laugh at miserable elves, Not kind, so much as to themselves, Curs'd with such souls of base alloy, As can possess, but not enjoy; Debarr'd the pleasure to impart By av'rice, sphincter of the heart; Who wealth, hard earn'd by guilty cares, Bequeath untouch'd to thankless heirs. May I, with look ungloom'd by guile, And wearing virtue's liv'ry-smile, Prone the distressed to relieve, And little trespasses forgive, With income not in fortune's pow'r, And skill to make a busy hour, With trips to town life to amuse, To purchase books, and hear the news, To see old friends, brush off the clown, And quieken taste at coming down, Unhurt by sickness' blasting rage, And slowly mellowing in age,
When Fate extends its gathering gripe,
But now more serious see me grow, And what I think, my Memmius, know.
Th' enthusiast's hope, and raptures wild, Have never yet my reason foil'd. His springy soul dilates like air, When free from weight of ambient care, And, hush'd in meditation deep, Slides into dreams, as when asleep; Then, fond of new discoveries grown, Proves a Columbus of her own, Disdains the narrow bounds of place, And through the wilds of endless space, Borne up on metaphysic wings, Chases light forms and shadowy things, And, in the vague excursion caught, Brings home some rare exotic thought. The melancholy man such dreams, As brightest evidence, esteems; Fain would he see some distant scene Suggested by his restless Spleen, And Fancy's telescope applies With tinctur'd glass to cheat his eyes. Such thoughts, as love the gloom of night, I close examine by the light;
For who, though brib'd by gain to lie,
That superstition mayn't create, And club its ills with those of fate, I many a notion take to task, Made dreadful by its visor-mask. Thus scruple, spasm of the mind, Is cur'd, and certainty I find; Since optic reason shews me plain, I dreaded spectres of the brain ; And legendary fears are gone, Though in tenacious childhood sown. Thus in opinions I commence Freeholder in the proper sensé, And neither suit nor service do, Nor homage to pretenders shew, Who boast themselves by spurious roll Lords of the manor of the soul; Preferring sense, from chin that's bare, To nonsense thron'd in whisker'd hair.
To thee, Creator uncreate, O Entium Ens! divinely great! Hold, Muse, nor melting pinions try, Nor near the blazing glory fly, Nor straining break thy feeble bow, Unfeather'd arrows far to throw;
Through fields unknown nor madly stray,
and colours faint,
If doom'd to dance th: eternal round
Thus, thus I steer my bark, and sail On even keel with gentle gale; At helm I make my reason sit, My crew of passions all submit. If dark and blust'ring prove some nights, Philosophy puts forth her lights ; Experience holds the cautious glass, To shun the breakers, as I pass, And frequent throws the wary lead, To see what dangers may be hid: And once in seven years I'm seen At Bath or Tunbridge, to careen. Though pleas'd to see the dolphins play, I mind my compass and my way.