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Farewell! When youth, and health, and fortune
THE VANITY OF HUMAN WISHES.
In Imitation of the Tenth Satire of Juvenal. L.
ET observation with extensive view,
Survey mankind, from China to Peru; Remark each anxious toil, each eager strife, And watch the busy scenes of crowded life; Then say how hope and fear, desire and hate, O’erspread with snares the clouded maze of fate, Where wavering man, betray'd by venturous pride, To tread the dreary paths without a guide ; As treacherous phantoms in the mist delude, Shuns fancied ills, or chases airy good. How rarely reason guides the stubborn choice, Rules the bold hand, or prompts the suppliant voice; How nations sink, by darling schemes oppress'd, When vengeance listens to the fool's request. Fate wings with every wish the' afflictive dart, Each gift of nature, and each grace of art; With fatal heat impetuous courage glows, With fatal sweetness elocution flows, Impeachment stops the speaker's powerful breath, And restless fire precipitates on death.
But scarce observ'd, the knowing and the bold Fall in the general massacre of gold; Wide-wasting pest! that rages unconfin'd, And crowds with crimes the records of mankind; For gold his sword the bireling ruffian draws, For gold the hireling judge distorts the laws ;
Wealth heap'd on wealth, nor truth nor safety buys,
Let history tell where rival kings command,
The needy traveller, serene and gay,
Yet still one general cry the skies assails,
Once more, Democritus, arise on earth,
To thee were solemn toys or empty show,
Such was the scorn that fillid the sage's mind,
Unnumber'd suppliants crowd Preferment's gate, Athirst for wealth, and burning to be great ; Delusive Fortune hears the' incessant call, They mount, they shine, evaporate, and fall. On every stage the foes of peace attend, Hate dogs their flight, and insult mocks their end. Love ends with hope, the sinking statesman's door Pours in the morning-worshipper no more; For growing names the weekly scribbler lies, To growing wealth the dedicator flies ; From every room descends the painted face, That hung the bright Palladium of the place, And smok'd in kitchens, or in auctions sold, To better features yields the frame of gold; For now no niore we trace in every line Heroic worth, benevolence divine : The form distorted justifies the fall, And detestation rids the indignant wall.
But will not Britain hear the last appeal, Sign her foe's doom, or guard her favourite's zeal ? Through Freedom's sons no more remonstrance rings, Degrading nobles and controlling kings; Our supple tribes repress their patriot throats, And ask no questions but the price of votes; With weekly libels and septennial ale, Their wish is full to riot and to rail.
In full-blown dignity, see Wolsey stand, Law in his voice, and fortune in his hand : To him the church, the realm, their pow'rs consign, Through him the rays of regal bounty shine, Still to new heights his restless wishes tow'r, Claim leads to claim, and pow'r advances pow'r;
Till conquest unresisted ceas'd to please,
Speak thou, whose thoughts at humble peace repine,
What gave great Villiers to the assassin's knife, And fix'd disease on Harley's closing life? What murder'd Wentworth, and what exil'd Hyde, By kings protected, and to kings allied ? What but their wish indulg'd in courts to shine, And pow'r too great to keep, or to resign?
When first the college-rolls receive his name, The young enthusiast quits his ease for fame ; Through all his veins the fever of renown Spreads from the strong contagion of the gown; O'er Bodley's dome his future labours spread, And Bacon's mansion trembles o'er his head. Are these thy views ? proceed, illustrious youth, And Virtue guard thee to the throne of Truth! Yet should thy soul indulge the generous heat, Till captive Science yields her last retreat ; Should Reason guide thee with her brightest ray, And pour on misty Doubt resistless day;
Should no false Kindness lure to loose delight,
Nor deem, when Learning her last prize bestows,
The festal blazes, the triumphal show, The ravish'd standard, and the captive foe, The senate's thanks, the gazette's pompous tale, With force resistless o'er the brave prevail. Such bribes the rapid Greek o'er Asia whirl'd, For such the steady Romans shook the world; For such in distant lands the Britons shine, And stain with blood the Danube or the Rhine ; This pow'r has praise that virtue scarce can warm, Till fame supplies the universal charm. Yet Reason frowns on War's unequal game, Where wasted nations raise a single name,