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If happy their wife 1 hests mote them engage
To climb through knowledge to more noble praise :
And as they mount, enlighten every age
With the bright influence of fair Virtue's rays; Which from the aweful heights of Grandeur brighter blaze,
They, O perverse and base ingratitude !
Despising the great ends of Providence,
For which above their mates they were endued :?
With wealth, authority, and eminence,
To the low services of brutal sense
Abased the means of pleasures more refin'd,
Of knowledge, virtue, and beneficence;
And fettering on her throne th' immortal mind,
The guidance of her realm to passions wild resign'd.
Hence thoughtless, shameless, reckless, spiritless,
Nought worthy of their kind did they assay;
But or benumb'd with palfied Idleness
In meerly living loiter'd life away.
Or by false taste of pleasure led aftray,
For-ever wand'ring in the sensual bow'rs
Of feverish Debauch, and lustful Play,
Spent on ignoble toils their active pow'rs,
And with untimely blafts diseas'd their vernal hours,
Ev'n they to whom kind Nature did accord
A frame more delicate, and purer mind,
Though the foul brothel and the wine-stain'd board
Of beastly Comus loathing they declin’d,
Yet their soft hearts to idle joys resign'd;
Like painted insects, through the fummer-air
With random flight aye ranging unconfin'd;
And tasting every flower and blossom fair,
Withouten any choice, withouten any care.
For choice them needed none, who only sought
With vain amusements to beguile the day;
And wherefore should they take or care or thought,
Whom Nature prompts, and Fortune calls to play?
66 Lords of the earth, be happy as ye may !"
So learn'd, so taught the leaders of mankind;
Th' unreasoning vulgar willingly obey,
And leaving toil and poverty behind,
Ran forth by different ways the blissful boon to find.
Nor tedious was the search; for every where,
As nigh great Custom's royal tow'rs the Knight
Pass'd through th' adjoining hamlets, mote he hear
The merry voice of festival Delight
Saluting the return of morning bright
With matin-revels, by the mid-day hours
Scarce ended; and again with dewy night,
In cover'd theatres, or leafy bow'rs
Offering her evening-vows to Pleasure's joyous pow'rs.
And ever on the way mote he espy
Men, women, children, a promiscuous throng
Of rich, poor, wise and simple, low and high,
By land, by water, pafling aye along
With mummers, anticks, musick, dance and song,
To Pleasure's numerous temples, that befide
The gliftening streams, or tufted groves among,
To every idle foot stood open wide,
And every gay desire with various joys fupplied.
For there each heart with diverse charms to move,
The sly inchantress summoned all her train : -
Alluring Venus, queen of vagrant love,
The boon companion Bacchus loud and vain,
And tricking Hermes, god of fraudful gain,
Who, when blind Fortune throws, directs the die,
And Phabus tuning his soft Lydian strain
To wanton motions, and the lover's figh,
And thought-beguiling Thew, and making revelry.
Unmeet associates there for noble youth,
Who to true honour meaneth to aspire ;
And for the works of virtue, faith, and truth
Would keep his manly faculties entire.
The which avizing well, the cautious sire
From that soft firen-land of Pleafaunce vain,
With timely haste was minded to retire,
m Or ere the sweet contagion mote attain
His son's unpractic'd heart, yet free from vicious ftain.
So turning from that beaten road aside,
Through many a devious path at length he paced,
As that experienc'd Palmer did himn guide,
'Till to a mountain hoare they come at last;
Whose high-rais'd brows with silvan honours graced,
Majestically frown'd upon the plain,
And over-all an aweful horrour cast.
Seem'd as those villas gay it did disdain,
Which spangled all the vale like Flora's painted train.
The hill ascended strait, ere.while they came
To a tall grove, whose thick-embow'ring fhade,
Impervious to the sun's meridian flame
Ev'n af mid-noon a dubious twilight made ;
Like to that sober light, which disarray'd
Of all its gorgeous robe, with blunted beams,
Through windows dim with holy acts pourtray'd,
Along some cloister'd abby faintly gleams,
Abstracting therapt thought from vain earth-musing themes.
Beneath this high o'er-arching canopy
Of clust'ring oaks, a filvan colonnade,
Aye list’ning to the native melody
Of birds sweet-echoing through the lonely shade,
On to the centre of the grove they ftray'd ;
Which, in a spacious circle opening round,
Within it's shelt'ring arms fecurely laid,
Disclos'd to fudden view a vale profound,
With Nature's artless smiles and tranquil beauties crown'd:
There, on the basis of an ancient pile,
Whose cross surmounted spire o'erlook'd the wood,
A venerable MATRON they ere-while
Discover'd have, beside a murm'ring flood
Reclining in right sad and pensive mood.
Retir’d within her own abstracted breast,
! She seem'd o'er various woes by turns to brood ;
The which her changing chear by turns expreft, Now glowing with disdain, with grief now: " over-keft.
» Over-keft, for over-caft.