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HOPE the reader will forgive the liberty I'have
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 fuch 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. Dacieris 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 grace and favour to thy kindred show :
For what concerns the rest of human kind,
Choose out the man to virtue beft inclin'd;
Him to thy arms receive, him to thy bosom bind.
Poffelt of such a friend, preserve him still ;
-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, so 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 necessity 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 asiwage,
Thy gluttony, thy lloth, thy lust, 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,
Know that the day of great account will come,
When thy past life shall strictly be furvey'd,
Each word, each deed, be in the balance laid,
And all the good and all the ill most juftly be repaid.
For wealth, the perifhing, 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 sorrows 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 ralls Fortune is from God.
In what thou may'ft, from wisdom seek relief,
And let her healing hand afiwage 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 affict the good.
53 The reasoning art, to various ends apply'd, Is oft a fure, 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,
60 And sweet persuasion wins the easy to believe.
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 soul's immortal 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 talk before begun,
Left folly should the wretched work deface,
And mock thy fruitless labours with disgrace.
Fools huddle on, and always are in haste,
A&t 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 wise 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 Thall crown thy labours, and shall bless
Thy life with pleasure, and thy end with peace.
Nor let the body want its part, but Mare
A just proportion of thy tender care :
For health and welfare prudently provide,
And let its lawful wants be all supply'd.