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HORACE, BOOK I.
TO MR. MURRAY.
THIS piece is the most finished of all his imitations, and exe
cuted in the high manner the Italian painters call Con Amore. By which they mean, the exertion of that principle, which puts the faculties on the stretch, and produces the supreme degree of excellence. For the poet had all the warınth of affection for the great lawyer to whom it is addressed; and, indeed, no man ever more deserved to have a poet for his friend.' In the obtaining of which, as neither vanity, party, nor fear, had any share, so he supported his title to it by all the offices of true friendship.
Nor to admire, is all the art I know To make men happy, and to keep them so.' (Plain truth, dear Murray! needs no flow'rs of
speech, So take it in the very words of Creech.) This vault of air, this congregated ball,
5 Self-centred sun, and stars, that run and fall, There are, my Friend! whose philosophic eyes Look through, and trust the Ruler with his skies ; To him commit the hour, the day, the year, And view this dreadful All without a fear.
10 | Admire we then what earth's low entrails hold, Arabian shores, or Indian seas infold; All the mad trade of fools and slaves for gold ?
Or popularity? or stars, and strings ?
great our homage of amaze ?
20 In either case believe me we admire : Whether we joy, or grieve, the same the curse, Surpris’d at better, or surpris'd at worse. Thus good, or bad, to one extreme betray Th' unbalanc'd mind, and snatch the man away : 25 For virtue's self may too much zeal be had; The worst of madmen is, a saint run mad.
Go then, and if you can, admire the state Of beaming diamonds and reflected plate ; Procure a taste to double the surprise, 30 And gaze on Parian charms with learned eyes; Be struck with bright brocade, or Tyrian dye, Our birth-day nobles' splendid livery. If not so pleas'd, at council-board rejoice To see their judgments hang upon thy voice; 35 From morn to night, at Senate, Rolls, and Hall, Plead much, read more, dine late, or not at all. But wherefore all this labor, all this strife ? For fame, for riches, for a noble wife ? Shall one whom Nature, learning, birth, conspir'd To form, not to admire, but be admir’d, 41 Sigh, while his Chloe, blind to wit and worth, Weds the rich dulness of some son of carth?
Yet time ennobles, or degrades each line;
Rack'd with sciatics, martyr'd with the stone, Will any mortal let himself alone ?
55 See Ward, by batter'd beaux invited over, And desp’rate Misery lays hold on Dover. The case is easier in the mind's disease; There all men may be cur'd whene'er they please. Would ye be bless’d? despise low joys, low gains;
60 Disdain whatever Cornbury disdains ; Be virtuous; and be happy for your pains.
But art thou one whom new opinions sway, One who believes as Tindal leads the way, Who virtue, and a church alike disowns, 65 Thinks that but words, and this but brick and
stones ? Fly then on all the wings of wild desire, Admire whate'er the maddest can admire. Is wealth thy passion? hence! from pole to pole, Where winds can carry, or where waves can
For Indian spices, for Peruvian gold,
But if to pow's, and place, your passion lie,
Tell at your levee, as the crowds approach, To whom to nod, whom take into your coach ; Whom honor with your hand; to make remarks, Who rules in Cornwall, or who rules in Berks : • This may be troublesome, is near the chair; 105 • That makes three members, this can chuse a
may’r.' Instructed thus, you bow, embrace, protest, · Adopt him son, or cousin, at the least, Then turn about, and laugh at your own jest.
Or if your life be one continu'd treat, 110 If to live well, means nothing but to eat ; Up, up! cries Gluttony, 'tis break of day, Go drive the deer, and drag the finny prey ; With hounds and horns go hunt an appetiteSo Russel did, but could not eat at night ; 115 Callid, happy dog! the beggar at his door ; And envy'd thirst and hunger to the poor.
Or shall we every decency confound, Through taverns, stews, and bagnios, take our
round ? Go dine with Chartres, in each vice outdo 120 ' K's lewd cargo, or Ty-my's crew, From Latian Syrens, French Circæan feasts, Return'd well travell’d, and transform'd to beasts ; Or for a titled punk, or foreign flame, Renounce our country, and degrade' our name?
If, after all, we must with Wilmot own 126 The cordial drop of life is Love alone,