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Some never seem so wide of their intent,
870 And first, let no man charge me, that I mean To clothe in sable ev'ry social scene, And give good company a face severe, As if they met around a father's bier ; For tell some men, that pleasure all their bent, 875 And laughter all their work, is life mispent ; Their wisdom bursts into this sage reply, Then mirth is sin, and we should always cry. To find the medium asks some share of wit, And therefore 'tis a mark fools never hit.
880 But though life's valley be a vale of tears, A brighter scene beyond that vale appears, Whose glory with a light that never fades, Shoots between scatter'd rocks and op'ning shades, And while it shows the land the soul desires, 885 The language of the land she seeks inspires. Thus touch'd, the tongue receives a sacred cure Of all that was absurd, profane, impure; Held within modest bounds, the tide of speech Pursues the course that truth and nature teach ; 890 No longer labours merely to produce The pomp of sound or tinkle without use; Where'er it winds, the salutary stream, Sprightly and fresh, enriches every theme,
While all the happy man possess'd before, 806
-studiis florens ignobilis oti.
VIRG. Georg. Lib. 4."
HACKNEY'D in business, wearied at that oar Which thousands, once fast chain'd to, quit no moro But which, when life at ebb runs weak and low, All wish, or seem to wish, they could forego; The statesman, lawyer, merchant, man of trade, 5 Pants for the refuge of some rural shade, Where, all his long anxieties forgot Amid the charms of a sequester'd spot, Or recollected only to gild o'er, And add a smile to what was sweet before,
10 He may possess the joys he thinks he sees, Lay his old age upon the lap of ease, Improve the remnant of his wasted span, And, having liv'd a trifler, die a man. Thus Conscience pleads her cause within the breast, Though long rebell’d against, not yet suppress’d, 16 And calls a creature form'd for God alone, For Heav'n's high purposes, and not his own, Calls him away from selfish ends and aims, From what debilitates and what inflames, From cities humming with a restless crowd, Sordid as active, ignorant as loud,
Whose highest praise is that they live in vain,
45 If, ere we yet discern life's evening star, Sick of the service of a world that feeds Its patient drudges with dry chaff and weeds, We can escape from custom's idiot sway, To serve the Sov'reign we were born t'obey. Then sweet to muse upon his skill display'd, (Infinite skill,) in all that he has made ! To trace in nature's most minute design The signature and stamp of pow'r divine, Contrivance intricate, express'd with ease,
55 Where unassisted sight no beauty sees, The shapely limb and lubricated joint, Within the small dimensions of a point, Muscle and nerve miraculously spun, His mighty work, who speaks and it is done, 60
Th’invisible in things scarce seen reveal'd,
85 And with a rapture like his own exclaim, These are thy glorious works, thou source of good, How dimly seen, low faintly understood ! Thine, and upheld by thy paternal care, This universal frame, thus wondrous fair:
90 Thy pow'r divine, and bounty beyond thought, Ador'd and prais'd in all that thou hast wrought Absorb’d in that immensity I see, I shrink abas’d, and yet aspire to thee; Instruct me, guide me to that heavenly day, 95 Thy words mo clearly than thy works display