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From thence to look below on humane kind,
Bewilder'd in the Maze of Life, and blind :
To see vain fools ambitiously contend
For Wit and Pow'r; their last endeavours bend
T'out-shine each other, waste their cime and health
In search of honour, and pursuit of wealth.
O wretched Man! in what a mist of Life,
Inclos'd with dangers and with noisie strife,
He spends his little Span: And overfeeds
His cramm'd defires, with more than Nature needs:
For Nature wisely stints our appetite,
And craves no more than undisturb'd Delight;
Which Minds unmix'd with cares and fears obtain;
A Soul serene, a Body void of Pain.
So little this corporeal Frame requires ;
So bounded are our natural Desires,
That wanting all, and setting Pain aside,
With bare Privation, Sense is satisfy'd.
If Golden Sconces hang not on the Walls,
To light the costly Suppers and the Balls ;
If the proud Palace shines not with the State
Of burnish'd Bowls, and of reflected Plate,
If well tun'd Harps, nor the more pleasing Sound
Of Voices, from the 'vaulted Roofs rebound;
Yet on the Grass beneath a poplar shade
By the cool Stream, our careless Limbs are lay'd,
With cheaper Pleasures innocently bleft,
When the warm Spring with gawdy flow’rs is drest.
Nor will the raging Feaver's fire abate,
With Golden Canopies and Beds of State:
But the poor Patient will as soon be found
On the hard mattress, or the Mother ground.
Then fince our Bodies are not eas'd the more
By Birth, or Pow’r, or Fortune's wealthy store,
'Tis plain, these useless Toys of every kind
As little can relieve the lab'ring Mind:
Unless we cou'd suppose the dreadful sight
of marshalld Legions moving to the fight,
Could, with their Sound and terrible array, [way;
Expel our fears, and drive the thoughts of Death a-
But, since the supposition vain appears,
Since clinging Cares, and trains of inbred Fears,
Are not with Sounds to be affrighted thence,
But in the midst of Pomp pursue the Prince,
Not aw'd by Arms, but in the Presence bold,
Without respect to Purple, or to Gold;
Why should not we these pageantries despise ;
Whose worth but in our want of Reason lyes?
For Life is all in wandring Errors led;
And just as Children are surpriz'd with dread,
And tremble in the dark, so riper Years
Ev’n in broad day-light are pofseft with fears :.
And shake at fhadows fanciful and vain,
As those which in the Breasts of Children réign.
These bugbears of the Mind, this inward Hell,
No rays of outward sunshine can dispel ;
But Nature and right Reason must display [to day.
Their Beams abroad, and bring the darkfone Soul
Translation of the latter Part of the
Third Book of LUCRETIUS; against the Fear of Death.
By Mr. DRYDEN. Hat has this Bugbear Death to frighten Man, For, as before our Birth we felt no pain When Punick Arms infefted Land and Main, When Heav'n and Earth were in confusion hurl'd For the debated Empire of the World, Which aw'd with dreadful Expectation lay, Sure to be Slaves, uncertain who fhould sway:
So, when our mortal frame shall be disjoin'd,
The lifeless Lump, uncoupled from the Mind,
From sense of Grief and Pain we shall be free ;
We shall not feel, because we shall not Be.
Though Earth in Seas, and Seas in Heav'n were loft,
We should not move, we only should be tost.
Nay, ey'n fuppose when we have suffer'd Fate,
The Soul could feel in her divided State,
What's that to us? for we are only we
While Souls and Bodies in one frame agree.
Nay, tho' our Atoms should revolve by chance,
And matter leap into the former dance;
Tho' time our Life and Motion could restore,
And make our Bodies what they were before,
What gain to us would all this bustle bring ?
The new-made Man would be another thing;
When once an interrupting Pause is made,
That individual Being is decay’d.
We, who are dead and gone, shall bear no part
In all the Pleasures, nor fall feel the sinart,
Which to that other Mortal mall accrue,
Whom of our Matter Time fhall mould anew.
For backward if you look, on that long space
Of Ages past, and view the changing Face
Of Matter, tost and variously combin'd
In sundry shapes, 'tis easie for the Mind
From thencet infer, that Seeds of things have been
In the same Order as they now are seen :
Which yet our dark remembrance cannot trace,
Because a pause of Life, a gaping space
Has come betwixt, where memory lies dead,
And all the wandring Motions from the sense are fied.
For whosoe'er shall in Misfortunes live,
Must Be, when those Misfortunes shall arrive;
And since the Man who Is not, feels not woe,
(For death exempts him, and wards off the blow,
Which we, the living, only feel and bear)
What is there left for us in death to fear
When once that pause of Life has come between,
Tis just the same as we had never been.
And therefore if a Man bemoan his Lot,
That after death his mouldring Limbs shall rot,
Or flames, or jaws of Beasts devour his Mals,
Know he's an unsincere, unthinking Ass.
A secret Sting remains within his Mind,
The fool is to his own cast offals kind;
He boats no sense.can after death remain,
Yet makes himself a part of life again;
As if some other He could feel the pain.
If, while he live, this Thought moleft his Head,
What Wolf or Vulture shall devour me dead:
He wastes his days in idle Grief, nor can
Distinguish ’twixt the Body and the Man:
But thinks himself can still hinself survive;
And what when dead he feels not, feels alive.
Then he répines that he was born to die,
Nor knows in death there is no other He,
No living He remains his Grief to vent,
And o'er his senseless Carcass to lament.
if after death 'tis painful to be torn
By Birds and Beatts, then why not so to burn,
Or drench'd in floods of Honey to be soak’d,
Imbalm’d to be at once presery'd and choak’d;
Or on an airy Mountain's top to lye,
Expos'd to cold and Heav'ns inclemency;
Or crowded in a Tomb to be opprest
With monumental Marble on thy Breast?
But to be snatch'd from all thy houshold Joys,
From thy.chaft wife, and thy dear prattling Boys,
Whose little Arms about thy Legs are cast,
And climbing for a Kiss prevent their Mother's hafte,
Inspiring secret Pleasure thro' thy Breast,
All these thall be.no more: thy Friends oppreft,
Thy Care and Courage now no more shall free:
Ah Wretch, thou cry?tt, ah! miserable me,
One wofal day sweeps Children, Friends and Wife,
And all the brittle Blessings of my Life!
'Add one thing more, and all thou say'st is true ;
Thy want and wish of them is vanish'd too,
Which well consider'd were a quick relief,
To all thy vain imaginary Grief.
For thou shalt sleep and never wake again, :
And quitting Life, fhalt quit thy living pain.
But we thy Friends shall all those sorrows find,
Which in forgetful death thou leav'st behind,
No time shall dry our Tears, nor drive thee from
The worft that can befal thee, measur'd right,
Is a: sound lumber, and a long good Night.
Yet thus the Fools, that would be thought the Wits,
Disturb cheir Mirth with melancholy fits,
When healths go round, and kindly brimmers flow,
Till the freth Garlands on their Foreheads glow,
They whine, and cry, let us make hafte to live,
Short are the joys that human Life can give.
Eternal Preachers, that corrupt the draught,
And pall the God that never thinks, with thought;
Ideots with all that thought, to whom the worst
Of death, is want of drink, and endless thirst,
Or any fond defire as vain as these.
For ev'n in sleep, the body wrapt in ease,
Supinely lyes, as in the peaceful Grave,
And wanting nothing, nothing can it crave.
Were that sound sleep eternal, it were death,
Yet the first Atoms then, the Seeds of breath
Are moving near to sense, we do but shake
And rouse that sense, and straight we are awake.
Then death to us, and death's anxiety
Is less than nothing, if a less could be.
For then our Atoms, which in order lay,
Are scatter'd from their heap, and puff'd away,
And 'never can return into their place,
When once the pause of Life has left an empty space,
And laft, fuppose great Nature's Voice thould call
To thee, or me, or any of us all,