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And woods impervious to the breeze,
Thick phalanx of embodied trees,
From hills thro'plains in dusk array
Extended far, repel the day.
Here stillness, height, and solemn shade
Invite, and contemplation aid :
Here nymphs from hollow oaks relate
The dark decrees and will of fate,
And dreams beneath the spreading beech
Inspire, and docile fancy teach,
While soft as breezy breath of wind,
Impulses rustle thro' the mind :
Here Dryads, scorning Phæbus' ray,
While Pan melodious pipes away,
In measur'd motions frisk about,
'Till old Silenus puts them out.
There see the clover, pea, and bean,
Vie in variety of green;
Fresh pastures speckled o'er with sheep,
Brown fields their fallow sabbaths keep,
Plump Ceres golden treffes wear,
And poppy-top-knots deck her hair,
And filver-streams through meadows stray,
And Naiads on the margin play,
And lesser nymphs on fide of hills
From play-thing urns pour down the rills.
Thus shelter'd, free from care and strife,
May I enjoy a calm thro' life;
See faction, safe in low degree
As men at land see forms at sea,
And laugh at miserable elves,
Not kind, so much as to themselves,
Curs'd with such souls of base alloy,
As can possess, but not enjoy ;
Debar'd the pleasure to impart
By av'rice, sphincter of the heart,
Who wealth, hard earn'd by guilty cares,
Bequeath untouch'd to thankless heirs.
May I, with look ungloom'd by guile,
And wearing Virtue's liv'ry-smile,
Prone the distressed to relieve,
And little trespasses forgive,
With income not in Fortune's pow'r,
And skill to make a busy hour,
With trips to town life to amuse,
To purchase books, and hear the news,
To see old friends, brush off the clown,
And quicken taste at coming down,
Unhurt hy sickness' blasting rage,
And slowly mellowing in age,
When Fate extends its gathering gripe,
Fall off like fruit grown fully ripe,
Quit a worn being without pain,
Perhaps to blossom soon again.
But now more serious see me grow,
And what I think, my Memmius, krow.
Th’ enthullal's hopes, and raptures wild Have never yet my reason foil'd. His springy foul dilates like air, When free from weight of ambient care, And, hush'd in meditation deep, Slides into dreams, as when asleep ; Then, fond of new discoveries grown, ; Proves a Columbus of her own, Disdains the narrow bounds of place, And thro' the wilds of endless space, Borne up on metaphyfick wings, Chases light forms, and shadowy things, And in the vague excurfion caught, Brings home fome rare exotick thought: The melancholy man such dreams, As brightest evidence, esteems; Fain would he fee fome diftant scene Suggested by his restless Spleen, And Fancy's telescope applies With tinctur'd glass to cheat his eyes. Such thoughts, as love the gloom of night; I close examine by the light; For who, tho’ brib'd by gain to lie, Dare sun-beam-written truths deny, And execute plain common sense On faith's mere hearsay evidence ?
That superftition mayn't create, And club its ill with those of fate,
-I many a notion take to talk,
Made dreadful by its vifor-mask.
Thus fcruple, spasin of the mind,
Is cur'd, and certainty I find,
Since optick reason shews me plain,
I dreaded spectres of the brain,
And legendary fears are gone,
Tho'in tenacious childhood fown.
Thus in opinions I commence
Freeholder in the proper fense,
And neither suit nor service do,
Nor homage to pretenders fhew,
Who boast themselves by spurious roll
Lords of the manor of the foul;
Preferring sense, from chin that's bare,
To nonsense thron'd in whisker'd hair.
To thee, Creator uncreate,
O Entium Ens ! divinely great!
Held, Muse, nor melting pinions try,
Nor near the blazing glory ily,
Nor straining break thy feeble bow,
Unfeather'd arrows far to throw :
Thro' fields unknown nor madly stray,
Where no ideas mark the way.
With tender eyes, and colours faint,
And trembling hands forbear to paint.
Who features veild by light can hit ?
Where can, what has no outline, fit?
My soul, the vain attempt forego,
Thyself, the fitter subject, know.
He wisely shuns the bold extreme,
Who foon lays by th' unequal theme,
Nor runs, with wisdom's Sirens caught,
On quicksands swall'wing shipwreck'd thought ;
But, conscious of his diftance, gives
Mute praise, and humble negatives.
In one, no object of our fight,
Immutable and infinite,
Who can't be cruel, or unjust,
Calm and resign’d, I fix my trust;
To him my past and present state
I owe, and must my future fate.
A ftranger into life I'm come,
Dying may be our going home,
Transported here by angry Fate,
The convicts of a prior state.
Hence I no anxious thoughts bestow
On matters, I can never know;
Thro’ life's foul way, like vagrant passid,
He'll grant a settlement at last,
And with sweet ease the wearied crown,
By leave to lay his being down.
If doom'd to dance th' eternal round
Of life no sooner loft but found,
And dissolution foon to come,
Like spunge, wipes out life's present sum,