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Should Reason guide thee with her brightest ray,
And pour on misty Doubt resistless day;
Should no false kindness lure to loose delight,
Nor praise relax, nor difficulty fright;
Should tempting Novelty thy cell refrain, 15
And Sloth effuse her opiate fumes in vain;
Should Beauty blunt on fops her fatal dart,
Nor claim the triumph of a letter'd heart;
Should no disease thy torpid veins invade,
Nor Melancholy's phantoms haunt thy shade; 20
Yet hope not life from grief or danger free,
Nor think the doom of man reversed for thee:
Deign on the passing world to turn thine eyes,
And pause awhile from letters, to be wise;
There mark what ills the scholar's life assail, 25
, envy, want, the patron, and the jail.
See nations slowly wise, and meanly just,
To buried merit raise the tardy bust.
If dreams yet flatter, once again attend,
Hear Lydiat’s life, and Galileo's end.
Nor deem, when Learning her last prize bestows,
The glittering eminence exempt from foes :
See when the vulgar 'scapes, despised or awed,
Rebellion's vengeful talons seize on Laud.
From meaner minds, though smaller fines content, 35
The plunder'd palace, or sequester'd rent;
Mark'd out by dangerous parts he meets the shock,
And fatal Learning leads him to the block:
Around his tomb let Art and Genius weep;
But hear his death, ye blockheads ! hear and sleep. 40
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 whirld, 5
For such the steady Roman shook the world!
For such in distant lands the Britons shine,
And stain with blood the Danube or the Rhine;
This power 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,
And mortgaged states their grandsires' wreaths regret,
From age to age in everlasting debt;
Wreaths which at last the dear-bought right convey 15
To rust on medals, or on stones decay.
On what foundation stands the warrior's pride,
How just his hopes, let Swedish Charles decide;
A frame of adamant, a soul of fire,
No dangers fright him, and no labours tire;
O'er love, o’er fear extends his wide domain,
Unconquer'd lord of pleasure and of pain;
No joys to him pacific sceptres yield,
War sounds the trump, he rushes to the field;
Behold surrounding kings their powers combine, 25
And one capitulate, and one resign;
Peace courts his hand, but spreads her charms in vain;
“Think nothing gain’d, (he cries) till nought remain ;
On Moscow's walls till Gothic standards fly,
And all be mine beneath the polar sky."
The march begins in military state,
And nations on his eye suspended wait;
Stern Famine guards the solitary coast,
: And winter barricades the realms of Frost:
He comes : not want nor cold his course delay ;- 35
Hide, blushing Glory, hide Pultowa's day:
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. 40
But did not Chance at length her error mend ?
Did no subverted empire mark his end ?
Did rival monarchs give the fatal wound ?
Or hostile millions press him to the ground ?
His fall was destined to a barren strand,
A petty fortress, and a dubious hand;
He left the name, at which the world grew pale,
To point a moral, or adorn a tale.
THROUGH groves sequester'd, dark, and still,
Low vales and mossy cells among,
In silent paths, the careless rill,
Which languid murmurs, steals along.
Awhile it plays with circling sweep,
And lingering leaves its native plain,
Then pours impetuous down the steep,
And mingles with the boundless main.
O, let my years thus devious glide,
Through silent scenes obscurely calm, Nor wealth nor strife pollute the tide,
Nor honour's sanguinary palm. When labour tires and pleasure palls,
Still let the stream untroubled be, As down the steep of age it falls, And mingles with eternity.
TO THE MEMORY OF SHENSTONE.
COME, shepherds, we 'll follow the hearse;
We'll see our loved Corydon laid:
Though sorrow may blemish the verse,
Yet let a sad tribute be paid.
They call’d him the pride of the plain;
In sooth he was gentle and kind!
He mark'd on his elegant strain
graces that glow'd in his mind. On purpose he planted yon trees,
That birds in the covert might dwell; He cultured his thyme for the bees,
But never would rifle their cell. Ye lambkins, that play'd at his feet,
Go bleat,—and your master bemoan: His music was artless and sweet,
His manners as mild as your own.
No verdure shall cover the vale,
No bloom on the blossoms appear; The sweets of the forest shall fail, And winter discolour the year;
20 No birds in our hedges shall sing,
(Our hedges so vocal before) Since he, that should welcome the spring,
Salutes the gay season no more. His Phyllis was fond of his praise,
25 And poets came round in a throng; They listen’d—they envied his lays,
But which of them equall’d his song ?
Ye shepherds, henceforward be mute,
For lost is the pastoral strain :
So give me my Corydon's flute,
And thus-let me break it in twain.
JOHN BARLEYCORN. THERE were three kings into the East,
Three kings both great and high, And they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn should die.
They took a plough and plough'd him down, 5
Put clods upon his head,
And they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn was dead.
But the cheerful spring came kindly on,
And showers began to fall;
John Barleycorn got up again,
And sore surprised them all.