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But if a sweeter voice, and one design'd
doceas iter, et sacra otia pandas.
Virg. Æn. 6.
ASK what is huma life-the sage replies, With disappointment lowering in his eyes, A painful passage o'er a restless food, A vain pursuit of fugitive false good, A scene of fancied bliss and heart-felt care, Closing at last in darkness and despair. The poor, inured to drudgery and distress, Act without aim, think little, and feel less, And no where, but in feign'd Arcadian scenes, Taste happiness, or know what pleasure means. Riches are pass'd away from hand to hand, As fortune, vice, or folly may command; As in a dance the pair that take the lead Turn downward, and the lowest pair succeed, So shifting and so various is the plan, By which Heaven rules the mix'd affairs of man; Vicissitude wheels round the motley crowd, The rich grow poor, the poor become purse-proud; Business is labour, and man's weakness such, Pleasure is labour too, and tires as much, The very sense of it foregoes its use, By repetition pall'd, by age obtuse. Youth lost in dissipation we deplore,
Through life's sad reninant, what po sighs restore; Our years, a fruitless race without a prize, Too many, yet too few to make us wise.
Dangling his cane about, and taking souff, Lothario cries, What philosophic stuff
O querulous and weak-whose useless brain
For lift thy palsied head, shake off the glooin That overhangs the borders of thy toinb, See Nature gay, as when she first began With smiles alluring her admirer man; She spreads the morning over eastern hills, Earth glitters with the drops the night distils; The sun obedient at her call appears, To fling his glories o'er the robe she wears; Banks clothed with flowers, groves fill?d with
sprightly sounds, Thy yellow tilth, green meads, rocks, rising grounds, Streams edged with osiers, fattening every field, Where'er they flow, now seen and now conceal'd; From the blue rim, where skies and mountains
'Tis grave philosophy's absurdest dream,
Thus things terrestrial wear a different hue,
To rise at noon, sit slipshod and undress'd, To read the news, or fiddle, as seems best, Till half the world co mes rattling at his door, To fill the dull vacuity till four; And, just when evening turns the blue vault gray, To spend two hours in dressing for the day; To make the sun a bauble without use, Save for the fruits his heavenly beams produce; Quite to forget, or deem it worth no thought, Who bids him shine, or if he shine or not; Through mere necessity to close his eyes Just when the larks and when the shepherds rise ; Is such a life, so tediously the same, So void of all utility or aim, That poor Jonquil, with almost every breath Sighs for his exit, vulgarly call'd death: For he, with all his follies, has a mind Not yet so blank, or fashionably blind, But now and then perhaps a feeble ray Of distant wisdom shoots across his way, By which he reads, that life without a plan, As useless as the moment it began, Serves merely as a soil for discontent To thrive in; an encumbrance ere half spent. Oh weariness beyond what asses feel, That tread the circuit of the cistern wheel; A dull rotation, never at a stay, Yesterday's face twin-image of to-day; While conversation, an exhausted stock, Grows drowsy as the clicking of a clock.
No need, he cries, of gravity stuffd out
That remedy, not hid in deeps profound,