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And one capitulate, and one resign: 2Oo
Peace courts his hand, but spreads her charms in vain;
“Think nothing gain'd,” he cries, “till naught remain,
On Moscow's walls till Gothic standards fly,
And all be mine beneath the polar sky.”
The march begins in military state, 295
And nations on his eye suspended wait;
Stern Famine guards the solitary coast,
And Winter barricades the realms of Frost:
He comes; nor want nor cold his course delay; —
Hide, blushing Glory, hide Pultowa's day: 210
The vanquish'd hero leaves his broken bands,
And shows his miseries in distant lands;
Condemn’d a needy supplicant to wait,
While ladies interpose and slaves debate.
But did not Chance at length her error mend?
Did no subverted empire mark his end? 216
Did rival monarchs give the fatal wound?
Or hostile millions press him to the ground?
His fall was destin'd to a barren strand,
A petty fortress, and a dubious hand. 22d
He left the name, at which the world grew pale,
To point a moral, or adorn a tale.
+ + + >k + k + But grant, the virtues of a temp'rate prime Bless with an age exempt from scorn or crime; An age that melts with unperceiv'd decay, And glides in modest innocence away; Whose peaceful day Benevolence endears, 295 Whose night congratulating Conscience cheers;
The gen'ral favorite as the gen'ral friend:
Such age there is, and who shall wish its end?
Yet ev'n on this her load Misfortune flings,
To press the weary minutes' flagging wings; 300
New sorrow rises as the day returns,
A sister sickens, or a daughter mourns.
Now kindred Merit fills the sable bier,
Now lacerated Friendship claims a tear.
Year chases year, decay pursues decay, 3o 5
Still drops some joy from with'ring life away;
New forms arise, and diff'rent views engage,
Superfluous lags the vet’ran on the stage,
Till pitying Nature signs the last release,
And bids afflicted worth retire to peace. 3 Io But few there are whom hours like these await,
Who set unclouded in the gulphs of Fate.
From Lydia's monarch should the search descend,
By Solon caution'd to regard his end,
In life's last scene what prodigies surprise — 315
Fears of the brave, and follies of the wise !
From Marlb’rough's eyes the streams of dotage
And Swift expires a driv'ler and a show.
Where then shall Hope and Fear their objects
Must dull Suspense corrupt the stagnant mind?
Must helpless man, in ignorance sedate, 345
Roll darkling down the torrent of his fate?
Must no dislike alarm, no wishes rise,
No cries invoke the mercies of the skies? —
Enquirer, cease; petitions yet remain,
Which heav'n may hear; nor deem religion
Still raise for good the supplicating voice,
But leave to heav'n the measure and the choice;
Safe in his pow'r, whose eyes discern afar
The secret ambush of a specious pray’r.
Implore his aid, in his decisions rest, 355
Secure, whate'er he gives, he gives the best.
Yet when the sense of sacred presence fires,
And strong devotion to the skies aspires,
Pour forth thy fervours for a healthful mind,
Obedient passions, and a will resign'd; 360
For love, which scarce collective man can fill;
For patience, sov’reign o'er transmuted ill;
For faith, that, panting for a happier seat,
Counts death kind Nature's signal of retreat:
These goods for man the laws of heav'n ordain; 365 These goods He grants, who grants the pow'r to
gain; With these celestial Wisdom calms the mind, And makes the happiness she does not find.
WILLIAM SHENSTONE (1714—1763)
WRITTEN AT AN INN AT HENLEY
To thee, fair freedom | I retire
From flattery, cards, and dice, and din;
Nor art thou found in mansions higher
Than the low cot, or humble inn. 4
'Tis here with boundless pow'r I reign;
And every health which I begin,
Converts dull port to bright champagne;
Such freedom crowns it, at an inn. 8
I fly from pomp, I fly from plate 1
I fly from falsehood's specious grin
Freedom I love, and form I hate,
And choose my lodgings at an inn. I 2
Here, waiter! take my sordid ore,
Which lacqueys else might hope to win;
It buys, what courts have not in store;
It buys me freedom at an inn. I6
Whoe'er has travell'd life's dull round,
Where'er his stages may have been,
May sigh to think he still has found
The warmest welcome, at an inn. 2O
FROM THE SCHOOL–MISTRESS IN IMITATION OF SPENSER
Ah me! full sorely is my heart forlorn, To think how modest worth neglected lies; While partial fame doth with her blasts adorn Such deeds alone, as pride and pomp disguise; Deeds of ill sort, and mischievous emprize: Lend me thy clarion, goddess! let me try To sound the praise of medit, erelit dies; Such as I oft, have chaunced to espy, Lost in the dreary shades of dull obscurity. 9
In ev'ry village mark'd with little spire, Embow'r'd in trees, and hardly known to fame, There dwells, in lowly shed, and mean attire, A matron old, whom we school-mistress name; Who boasts unruly brats with birch to tame; They grievensore, in piteous durance pent, Aw'd by the pow'r of this relentless dame; And oft-times, on vagaries idly bent, For unkempt hair, or talk unconn'd, are sorely shent. 18
And all in sight doth rise a birchen tree,
Which learning near her little dome did stowe;
Whilom a twig of small regard to see,
Tho' now so wide its waving branches flow;
And work the simple vassals mickle woe;
For not a wind might curl the leaves that blew, But their limbs shudder'd, and their pulse beat low; 25 And as they look'd they found their horror grew, And shap'd it into rods, and tingled at the view. + xk + x; -k +: >k A russet stole was o'er her shoulders thrown; A russet kirtle fenc'd the nipping air; 'Twas simple russet, but it was her own; 'Twas her own country bred the flock so fair; 'Twas her own labour did the fleece prepare; And, sooth to say, her pupils, rang'd around, Thro’ pious awe, did term it passing rare; For they in gaping wonderment abound, And think, no doubt, she been the greatest wight on ground. 7.2