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And long 'twas donbtful, both so closely pent,
While thus I stood, intent to see and hear, One came, methought, and whisperd in my ear: • What could thus high thy rash ambition raise ? Art thou, fond youth, a candidate for praise?'
« 'Tis true, (said I) not void of hopes I came, For who so fond as youthful bards of fame? But few, alas! the casual blessing boast, So hard to gain, so easy to be lost. How vain that second life in others' breath, The estate which wits inherit after death! Ease, health, and life, for this they must resign, (Unsure the tenure, but how vast the fine !) The great man's curse, without the gains, endare, Be envied, wretched; and be flatter'd, poor; All Inckless wits their enemies professid, And all successful, jealous friends at best. Nor fame I slight, nor for her favour's call; She comes unlook'd for, if she comes at all. But if the purchase costs so dear a price, As soothing folly, or exalting vice; Oh! if the Muse must flatter lawless sway, And follow still where fortune leads the way ; Or if no basis bear my rising name, But the fall’n ruins of another's fame; Then teach me, Heav'ıı! to scorn the guilty bays, Drive from my breast that wretched lust of praise; Unblemish'd let me live, or die unknown : Oh, grant an honest fame; or grant me none !
JANUARY AND MAY.
THERE liv'd in Lombardy, as authors write,
But in due time, when sixty years were o'er,
These thoughts he fortified with reasons still
Then let him choose a damsel young and fair,
But what so pure which envioustongues willspare?
Our grandsire Adam, ere of Eve possessid, Alone, and ev’n in Paradise unbless'd, With mournful looks the blissful scenes survey'd, And wander'd in the solitary shade. The Maker saw, took pity, and bestow'd Woman, the last, the best reserv'd of God.
A wife! ah, gentle deities ! can he That has a wife e'er feel adversity ? Would men but follow what the sex advise, All things would prosper, all the world grow wisc. 'Twas by Rebecca's aid that Jacob won His father's blessing from an elder son: Abusive Nabal ow'd his forfeit life To the wise conduct of a prudent wife : Heroic Judith, as old Hebrews show, Preserv'd the Jews, and slew the' Assyrian foe: At Hester's suit the persecutiog sword Was sheatlid, and Israel liv'd to bless the Lord.
These weighty motives January the sage Maturely ponder'd in his riper age : And, charm'd with virtuous joys, and sober life, Would try that christian comfort, call'd a wife. His friends were sunmon’d on a point so nice To pass their judgment, and to give advice; But fix'd before, and well resolu'd was he, (As men tliat ask advice are wont to be).
• My friends,' he cried, (and cast a mournful look Around the room,
and sigh'd before he spoke), • Beneath the weight of threescore years I bend, And, worn with cares, am hastening to my end; How I have liv'd, alas ! you know too well, In worldly follies which I blush to tell; But gracious Heav'n has op'd my eyes at last, With due regret I view my vices past,
And, as the precept of the church decrees, '.
• One caution yet is needful to be told
! Conceive me, sirs, nor take my sense amiss; 'Tis what concerns my soul's eternal bliss ; Since if I found no pleasure in my spouse, As flesh is frail, and who (God help me) knows? Then should I live in lewd adultery, And sink downright to Satan when I die : Or were I curs'd with an unfruitful bed, The righteous end were lost for which I wed; To raise up seed to bless the pow'rs above, Aud not for pleasure only, or for love. Think not I dote; 'tis time to take a wife, When vigorous blood forbids a chaster life: Those that are bless'd with store of grace divine, May live like saints by Heav'n's consent and mine.