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Behold, ye fair, your lovely Queen!
'Tis not her jewels, but her mind;
A meeker, purer, ne'er was seen;
It is her Virtue charms mankind!
Isrorm me, Viarve! is it true!
Does Pleasure really dwell with you?
The sons of sense say, No.
They say, that all who mind your rules
Are gloomy superstitious fools,
And every joy forego.
They say, and openly maintain,
That your rewards are care and pain;
And while on heav'n you preach,
At best 'tis but a phantom fair,
The soul is mortal, melts in air,
And heav'n shall never reach.
Or tell me, PLEAsune' what you feel;
Speak honestly, nor aught conceal:
The matter is of weight.
Pleasune, sweet power, to Nature dear!
I never wish to be austere;
I seek the happiest state.
Pleasure replies with modest smile, “Let not a name thy heart beguile; My name the sons of sense Have oft assum'd: but, trust me, they From happiness are far astray; 'Tis all a mere pretence. “To me they boast alliance near; As men of pleasure, men of cheer, If you will them believe. Meanwhile they are of Circe's crew, Wretched, defil’d; with painted hue, Weak mortals to deceive.
“Circe, my rival, harlot base!
Her poison'd cup the human race
To phrensy can inflame:
Her blinded followers she betrays;
Her specious arts, her flowery ways,
Lead on to guilt and shame.
“Mine is a purer, nobler rise,
VIRTUE, my parent, from the skies
Came down to bless the earth
With me, the child she bore to Love;
A beauteous happy pair above,
And here of highest worth!
“WIRtue, I grant, is often tried
By sickness, sorrow, envy, pride;
Nor is asham'd to mourn.
But trial strengthens: conscience cheers,
Of death and woe prevents the fears:
Assaults to vict'ry turn.
“Of active life the hard turmoils,
The patriot's cares, the hero's toils,
In brighter triumphs end.
Of friendship, sympathy, the pains,
A gen'rous soul accounts her gains,
While all the good commend.
“But who can paint the heartfelt glow
Of holy love, of thought the flow
Faith's firm repose, hope's vision blight,
Of God's approving face the light,
Of prayer the raptorous tear?
“Nor deem such bliss an empty form;
'Tis solid, will defy the storiu,
And keep the breast serene;
When all the merriment of Vice,
A low-born vapour, sudden flies,
And leaves a void within,
“An aching void where nought can come,
But self-reproach, and secret gloom,
Earnest of future woe!
Let braggart sinners loudly boast:
To joy, to peace, to comfort lost,
True heart they do not know.
“They dare not face rich Folly's frown;
To saucy Greatness they bow down.
Held fast in Passion's chain
They talk of liberty: 'tis prate.
The slaves of appetite and fate,
They start at every pain.
“Lest Death their trembling souls should seize,
Their blood with mortal horrors freeze,
And all their prospects end.
At that inevitable hour,
My parent, Virtue, proves her power,
An everlasting Friend!
“In life, in death, I follow her;
She, she alone, can joys confer,
To fill the human heart:
From heav'n together first we came:
Constant we breathe one common flame,
And never, never part!”
Stens Winter now, by Spring repress'd,
Forbears the long-continued strife;
And Nature on her naked breast,
Delights to catch the gales of life.
Now o'er the rural kingdom roves
Soft Pleasure with her laughing train,
Love warbles in the vocal groves,
And Vegetation plants the plain.
Unhappy! whom to beds of pain
Arthritic tyranny consigns;
Whom smiling Nature courts in vain,
Though Rapture sings and Beauty shines.
Yet though my limbs disease invades,
Her wings Imagination tries,
And bears me to the peaceful shades
Where —'s humble turrets rise.
Here stop, my soul, thy rapid flight,
Nor from the pleasing groves depart,
Where first great Nature charm'd my sight,
Where Wisdom first inform'd my heart.