Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

The worst that can befal thee, measur'd right,
Is a found flumber, and a long good night,
Yet thus the fools, that would be thought the wits,
Disturb their mirth with melancholy fits :
When healths go round, and kindly brimmers flow,
Till the fresh 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;
Idiots with all that thought, to whom the worst
Of death, is want of drink, and endless thirst,
Or
any

fond desire as vain as these.
For, evin in sleep, the body wrapt in ease
Supinely lies, 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 rouze 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 last, suppose great Nature's voice should call
To thee, or me, or any of us all,
What dost thou mean, ungrateful wretch, thou vain
Thou mortal thing, thus idly to complain,
And sigh and sob, that thou shalt be no more?
For if thy life were pleasant heretofore,
If all the bounteous blessings, I could give,
Thou hast enjoy'd, if thou hast known to live,
And pleasure not leak'd thro' thee like a fieve;
Why doft thou not give thanks as at a plenteous feast,
Cramm’d to the throat with life, and rise and take thy reft?

But

a

a

}

But if my blessings thou hast thrown away,
If indigefted joys pass'd thro', and would not stay,
Why dost thou wish for more to squander still ?
If life be grown a load, a real ill,
And I would all thy cares and labours end,
Lay down thy burden, fool, and know thy friend.
To please thee, I have empty'd all my store,
I can invent, and can supply no more ;
But run the round again, the round I ran before.
Suppose thou art not broken yet with years,
Yet still the self-fame scene of things appears,
And would be ever, couldft thou ever live ;
For life is still but life, there's nothing new to give.
What can we plead against so just a bill?
We stand convicted, and our cause goes

ill.
But if a wretch, a man oppress'd by fate,
Should beg of nature to prolong his date,
She speaks aloud to him with more disdain,
Be still, thou martyr fool, thou covetous of pain.
But if an old decrepit sot lament;
What thou (the cries) who haft out-liv'd content!
Dost thou complain, who haft enjoy'd my store?
But this is still th’effect of wishing more.
Unsatisfy'd with all that Nature brings;
Loathing the present, liking absent things ;
From hence it comes thy vain desires at strife
Within themselves, have tantaliz'd thy life,
And ghaftly death appear'd before thy fight,
Ere thou hast gorg'd thy soul and senses with delight.
Now leave thofe joys, unsuiting to thy age,
To a fresh comer, and resign the stage.
Is nature to be blam'd if thus the chide ?
No fure : for 'tis ber business to provide
Against this ever-changing frame's decay.
New things to come, and old to pass away.

Qne

2 2

One being, worn, another being makes;
Chang’d, but not loft ; for nature gives and takes :
New matter must be found for things to come,
And these must waste like those, and follow Nature's doom.
All things, like thee, have time to rise and rot;
And from each other's ruin are begot:
For life is not confin'd to him or thee :
Tis given to all for use, to none for property.
Consider former ages past and gone,
Whose circles ended long ere thine begun,
Then tell me, fool, what part in them thou hast ?
Thus may'it thou judge the future by the past.
What horror feest thou in that quiet state,
What bugbear dreams to fright thee after fate!
No ghost, no goblins, that ftill passage keep;
But all is there serene, in that eternal sleep.
For all the dismal tales, that Poets tell,
Are verify'd on earth, and not in hell.
No Tantalus looks up with fearful eye,
Or dreads th’impending rock to crush him from on high:
But fear of chance on earth disturbs our easy hours,
Or vain imagin'd wrath of vain imagin’d pow'rs.
No Tityus torn by vultures lies in hell;
Nor could the lobes of his rank liver swell
To that prodigious mass, for their eternal meal :
Not tho' his monstrous bulk had cover'd o'er
Nine spreading acres, or nine thousand more ;

2
Not tho' the globe of earth had been the giant's floor,
Nor in eternal torments could he lie;
Nor could his corps sufficient food supply.
But he's the Tityus, who by love opprest,
Or tyrant passion preying on his breast,
And ever anxious thoughts, is robb’d of rest.
The Sisyphis is he, whom noise and strife
Seduce from all the soft retreats of life,

To

}

!

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

To vex the government, disturb the laws :
Drunk with the fumes of popular applause,
He courts the giddy crowd to make him great,
And sweats and toils in vain, to mount the sovereign feat.
For ftill to aim at pow'r and still to fail,
Ever to strive, and never to prevail,
What is it, but, in reason's true account,
To heave the stone against the rising mount.
Which urg'd, and labour'd, and forc'd up with pain,
Recoils, and rolls impetuous down, and smokes along the

plain.
Then still to treat thy ever-craving mind
With ev'ry blefling, and of ev'ry kind,
Yet never fill thy rav’ning appetite;
Tho' years and seasons vary thy delight,
Yet nothing to be seen of all the store,
But still the wolf within thee barks for more ;
This is the fable's moral, which they tell
Of fifty foolish virgins damn'd in hell
To leaky vessels, which the liquor spill;
To vessels of their sex, which none could ever fill.
As for the dog, the furies, and their snakes,
The gloomy caverns, and the burning lakes,
And all the vain infernal trumpery,
They neither are, nor were, nor e'er can be.
But here on earth the guilty have in view
The mighty pains to mighty mischiefs due ;
Racks, prisons, poisons, the Tarpeian rock,
Stripes, hangmen, pitch, and fuffocating smoke;
And last, and most, if thele were caft behind,
Th’avenging horror of a conscious mind,
Whose deadly fear anticipates the blow,
And fees no end of punishment and woe;
But looks for more, at the last gasp of breath :
This makes an hell on earth, and life a death.
2 3

Mean

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

}

BOOK of Mean-time when thoughts of death disturb thy head; Consider, Ancus great and good is dead; Ancus, thy better far, was born to die; And thou, dost thou bewail mortality ? So many monarchs with their mighty state, Who ruld the world, were over-ruld by fate. That haughty king, who lorded o'er the main, And whose stupendous bridge did the wild waves restrain, (In vain they foam’d, in vain they threatned wreck, While his proud legions march'd upon their back :) Him death ; a greater monarch, overcame; Nor spar'd his guards the more, for their immortal name The Roman chief, the Carthaginian dread, Scipio, the thunder-bolt of war, is dead, And, like a common Nave, by fate in triumph led. The founders of invented arts are loft ; And wits, who made eternity their boaft. Where now is Homer, who possess'd the throne ? Th’immortal work remains, the immortal author's gone, Democritus, perceiving age invade, His body weaken'd, and his mind decay'd, Obey'd the summons with a chearful face; Made haste to welcome death, and met him half the race, That stroke ev’n Epicurus could not bar, Tho' he in wit surpais'd mankind, as far As does the mid-day fun the mid-night star. And thou, dost thou disdain to yield thy breath, Whose

very

life is little more than death? More than one half by lazy feep poffeit; And when awake, thy soul but nod's at best, Day-dreams and fickly thoughts revolving in thy breat. Eternal troubles haunt thy anxious mind, Whose cause and cure thou never hop'lt to find; But ftill uncertain, with thyself at ftrife, Thou wander'st in the labyrinth of life. O, if the foolinh race of man, who find A weight of cares fill prefling on their mind,

}

. }

« FöregåendeFortsätt »