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Discordant motives in one centre meet,
And each inclines its votary to retreat.
Some minds by nature are averse to noise,
And hate the tumult half the world enjoys,
The lure of av'rice, or the pompous prize,
That courts display before ambitious eyes,
The fruits that hang on pleasure's flow'ry stem,
Whate'er enchants them, are no snares to them. 180
To them the deep recess of dusky groves,
Or forest, where the deer securely roves,
The fall of waters, and the song of birds,
And hills that echo to the distant herds,
Are luxuries excelling all the glare
185 The world can boast, and her chief fav'rites share. With eager step and carelessly array'd, For such a cause the poet seeks the shade ; From all he sees he catches new delight, Pleas’d Fancy claps her pinions at the sight; 190 The rising or the setting orb of day, The clouds that flit, or slowly float away, Nature in all the various shapes she wears, Frowning in storms, or breathing gentle airs, The snowy robe her wintry state assumes,
195 Her summer heats, her fruits, and her perfumes, All, all alike transport the glowing bard, Success in rhyme his glory and reward. O Nature! whose Elysian scenes disclose His bright perfections, at whose word they rose, 200 Next to that pow'r who form’d thee and sustains, Be thou the great inspirer of my strains. Still as I touch the lyre, do thou expand Thy genuine charms, and guide an artless hand, That I may catch a fire but rarely known, 205 Give useful light, though I should miss renown; And poring on thy page, whose ev'ry line Bears proof of an intelligence divine, May feel a heart enrich'd by what it pays, That builds its glory on its Maker's praise.
Wo to the man, whose wit disclaims its use,
Glittring in vain, or only to seduce,
Who studies nature with a wanton eye,
Admires the work, but slips the lesson by;
His hours of leisure and recess employs
In drawing pictures of forbidden joys,
Retires to blazon his own worthless name,
Or shoot the careless with
The lover, too, shuns business and alarms,
Tender idolater of absent charms.
220 Saints offer nothing in their warmest pray’rs, That he devotes not with a zeal like theirs ; 'Tis consecration of his heart, soul, time, And ev'ry thought that wanders is a crime. In sighs he worships his supremely fair,
225 And weeps a sad libation in despair ; Adores a creature, and, devout in vain, Wins in return an answer of disdain. As woodbine weds the plant within her reach, Rough elm, or smooth-grain’d ash, or glossy beech, In spiral rings ascends the trunk, and lays 231 Her golden tassels on the leafy sprays, But does a mischief while she lends a grace, Strait’ning its growth by such a strict embrace ; So love, that clings around the noblest minds, 235 Forbids th' advancement of the soul he binds; The suitor's air, indeed, he soon improves, And forms it to the taste of her he loves, Teaches his eyes a language, and no less Refines his speech, and fashions his address! 240 But farewell promises of happier fruits ; Manly designs, and learning's grave pursuits ; Girt with a chain he cannot wish to break, His only bliss is sorrow for her sake , Who will may pant for glory and excel,
245 Her smile his aim, all higher aims farewell ! Thyrsis, Alexis, or whatever name May least offend against so pure a flame,
Though sage advice of friends the most sincere
Sounds harshly in so delicate an ear,
And lovers, of all creatures, tame or wild,
Can least brook management, however mild,
Yet let a poet, (poetry disarins
The fiercest animals with magick charms,)
Risk an intrusion on thy pensive mood,
And woo and win thee to thy proper good.
Pastoral images and still retreats,
Umbrageous walks and solitary seats,
Sweet birds in concert with harmonious streams,
Soft airs, nocturnal vigils, and day dreams,
Are all enchantments in a case like thine,
Conspire against thy peace with one design;
Sooth thee to make thee but a surer prey,
And feed the fire that wastes thy pow'rs away :
Up-God has form'd thee with a wiser view,
Not to be led in chains, but to subdue ;
Calls thec to cope with enemies, and first
Points out a conflict with thyself, the worst.
Woman, indeed, a gift he would bestow
When he design'd a Paradise below,
The richest earthly boon his hands afford,
Deserves to be belov'd, but not ador'd.
Post away swiftly to more active scenes,
Collect the scatter'd truths that study gleans,
Mix with the world, but with its wiser part,
No longer give an image all thine heart;
Its empire is not hers, nor is it thine,
"Tis God's just claim, prerogative divine.
Virtuous and faithful Heberden, whose skill
Attempts no task it cannot well fulfil,
Gives melancholy up to Nature's care,
And send the patient into purer air.
Look where he comes in this embower'd alcove
Stand close conceal'd, and see a statue move :
Lips busy, and eyes fix'd, foot falling slow,
Arms hanging idly down, hands clasp'd below,
Interpret to the marking eye distress,
Such as its symptoms can alone express.
That tongue is silent now; that silent tongue,
Could argue once, could jest or join the song,
Could give advice, could censure or commend,
Or charm the sorrows of a drooping friend.
Renounc'd alike its office, and its sport,
Its brisker and its graver strains fall short ;
Both fail beneath a fever's secret sway,
And like a summer brook are pass'd away.
This is a sight for pity to peruse,
Till she resemble faintly what she views,
Till Sympathy contract a kindred pain,
Pierc'd with the woes that she laments in vain.
This, of all maladies that man infest,
Claims most compassion, and receives the least :
Job felt it when he groan'd beneath the rod
And the barb’d arrows of a frowning God;
And such emollients as his friends could spare,
Friends such as his for modern Jobs prepáre.
Bless'd, rather cursd, with hearts that never feel,
Kept snug in caskets of close-hammer'd steel,
With mouths made only to grin wide and eat,
And minds that deem derided pain a treat,
With limbs of British oak, and nerves of wire,
And wit that puppet-prompters might inspire,
Their sovereign nostrum is a clumsy joke,
On pangs enforc'd with God's severest stroke.
But with a soul, that ever felt the sting
Of sorrow, sorrow is a sacred thing :
Not to molest, or irritate, or raise
A laugh at his expense, is slender praise :
He that has not usurp'd the name of man,
Does all, and deems too little all, he can,
T'assuage the throbbings of the fester'd part,
And stanch the bleedings of a broken heart.
'Tis not as heads that never ache suppose,
Forgery of fancy, and a dream of woes;
Man is a harp, whose chords elude the sight, 325
Each yielding harmony dispos’d aright;
The screws revers’d, (a task which if he please
God in a moment executes with ease,)
Ten thousand thousand springs at once go loose,
Lost, till he tune them, all their power and use. 330
Then neither heathy wilds, nor scenes as fair
As ever recompens’d the peasant's care,
Nor soft declivities with tufted hills,
Nor view of waters turning busy mills,
Parks in which Art preceptress Nature weds, 335
Nor gardens interspers’d with flow'ry beds,
Nor gales, that catch the scent of blooming groves,
And waft it to the mourner as he roves,
Can call up life into his faded eye,
That passes all he sees unheeded by ;
No wounds like those a wounded spirit feels,
No cure for such, till God, who makes them, heals.
And thou, sad suff'rer under nameless ill,
That yields not to the touch of human skill,
Improve the kind occasion, understand
345 A Father's frown, and kiss his chast'ning hand. To thee the day-spring and the blaze of noon, The purple ev'ning and resplendent moon, The stars that, sprinkled o'er the vault of night, Seem drops descending in a show'r of light, 350 Shine not, or undesir'd and hated shine, Seen through the medium of a cloud like thine ; Yet seek him, in his favour life is found, All bliss beside a shadow or a sound; Then Heav'n eclips'd so long, and this dull earth, 355 Shall seem to start into a second birth; Nature, assuming a more lovely face, Borrowing a beauty from the works of grace, Shall be despis'd and overlook'd no more, Shall fill thee with delights unfelt before,
360 Impart to things inanimate a voice, And bids her mountains and her hills rejoice;