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taken in translating these Verses somewhat at large, without which it would have been almost impossible to have given any kind of turn in English poetry to so dry a subject. The sense of the Author is, I hope, no where mistaken ; and if there seems in some places to be some additions in the English verses to the Greek text, they are only such as may be justified from Hierocles's Commentary, and delivered by him as the larger and explained sense of the Author's short precept. I have in some few places ventured to differ from the learned Mr. Dacier's French interpretation, as those that shall give themselves the trouble of a Strict comparison will find. How far I am in the right, is left to the reader to determine.
TIRST to the gods thy humble homage pay ;
The greatest this, and first of laws, obey :
Perform thy vows, observe thy plighted troth,
And let religion bind thee to thy oath.
The heroes next demand thy just regard,
Renown'd on earth, and to the stars preferr’d,
To light and endless life, their virtue's sure reward.
Due rites perform and honours to the dead,
To every wise, to every pious shade.
With lowly duty to thy parents bow,
and favour to thy kindred show :
For what concerns the rest of human kind,
Choose out the man to virtue best inclin'd;
Him to thy arms receive, him to thy bosom bind.
Poffest of such a friend, preserve him ftill ;
Nor thwart his counsels with thy stubborn will;
Pliant to all his admonitions prove,
And yield to all his offices of love :
Him from thy heart, fo true, so justly dear,
Let no rash word nor light offences tear.
Bear all thou canst, still with his failings strive,
And to the utmost still, and still forgive;
For strong necefüty alone explores
The secret vigour of our latent powers,
Rouzes and urges on the lazy heart,
Force, to itself unknown before, t'exert.
By use thy stronger appetites aslwage,
Thy gluttony, thy sloth, thy luít, thy rage :
From each dishonest act of shame forbear;
Of others, and thyself, alike beware.
Let reverence of thyself thy thoughts control,
And guard the sacred temple of thy soul.
Let justice o'er thy word and deed preside,
And reason ev’n thy meanest actions guide :
For know that death is man's appointed doom, 35
Know that the day of great account will come,
When thy past life shall strictly be survey'd,
Each word, each deed, be in the balance laid,
And all the good and all the ill most justly be repaid.
For wealth, the perishing, uncertain good,
Ebbing and flowing like the fickle flood,
That knows no sure, no fix'd abiding-place,
But wandering loves from hand to hand to pass ;
Revolve the getter's joy and loser's pain,
And think if it be worth thy while to gain. 45
Of all those forrows that attend mankind,
With patience bear the lot to thee assign'd;
Nor think it chance, nor murmur at the load;
For know what man calls Fortune is from God.
In what thou may'ft, from wisdom seek relief,
And let her healing hand afwage thy grief;
Yet still whate'er the righteous doom ordains,
What cause soever multiplies thy pains,
Let not those pains as ills be understood ;
For God delights not to affiict the good.
55 The reasoning art, to various ends applyöd, Is oft a sure, but oft an erring guide. Thy judgment therefore found and cool preserve, Nor lightly from thy resolution swerve; The dazzling pomp of words does oft deceive,
GO And sweet persuasion wins the easy to believe. B2
When fools and lyars labour to persuade,
Be dumb, and let the babblers vainly plead.
This above all, this precept chiefly learn,
This nearly does, and first, thyself concern;
Let not example, let no soothing tongue,
Prevail upon thee with a Syren's song,
To do thy foul's inmortal essence wrong.
Of good and ill by words or deeds exprest,
Choose for thyself, and always choose the best. 70
Let wary thought each enterprize forerun,
And ponder on thy task before begun,
Lest folly should the wretched work deface,
And mock thy fruitless labours with disgrace.
Fools huddle on, and always are in haste,
Act without thought, and thoughtless words they waste.
But thou, in all thou dost, with early cares
Strive to prevent at first a fate like theirs ;
That sorrow on the end may never wait,
Nor sharp repentance make thee wife too late,
Beware thy meddling hand in aught to try,
That does beyond thy reach of knowledge lie;
But ieek to know, and bend thy serious thought
To search the profitable knowledge out.
So joys on joys for ever shall increase,
Wisdom shall crown thy labours, and shall bless
Thy life with pleasure, and thy end with peace.
Nor let the body want its part, but thare
A just proportion of thy tender care :
For health and welfare prudently provide,
And let its lawful wants be all supply'd.
Let sober draughts refresh, and wholesome fare
Decaying nature's wasted force repair;
And sprightly exercise the duller spirits chear.
In all things still which to this care belong,
Observe this rule, to guard thy soul from wrong. 95
By virtuous use thy life and manners frame,
Manly and simply pure, and free from blame.
Provoke not envy's deadly rage, but fly
The glancing curse of her malicious
Seek not in needless luxury to waste
Thy wealth and substance with a spendthrift’s hafte.
Yet flying these, be watchful, left thy mind,
Prone to extremes, an equal danger find,
And be to fordid avarice inclin’d.
Distant alike from each, to neither lean,
105 But ever keep the happy Golden Mean.
Be careful still to guard thy soul from wrong, And let thy thought prevent thy hand and tongue.
Let not the stealing God of Sleep surprize, Nor creep in Numbers on thy weary eyes, Ere every action of the former day Strictly thou doft and righteously survey. With reverence at thy own tribunal stand, And answer justly to thy own demand. Where have I been? In what have I trangress’d? 115 What good or ill has this day's life express’d ? Where have I fail'd in what I ought to do? In what to God, to man, or to myself I owe? Inquire severe what-e'er from first to last, From morning's dawn, till evening's gloom, has past. 120