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Attentive truth and nature to descry,
And pierce each scene with philosophick eye;
To thee were solemn toys, or empty show,
The robes of pleasure, and the veils of woe:
All aid the farce, and all thy mirth maintain,
Whose joys are causeless, or whose griefs are vain.
Such was the scorn that fill’d the sage's mind,
Renew'd at ev'ry glance on human kind;
How just that scorn, ere yet thy voice declare,
Search ev'ry state, and canvass ev'ry pray'r.
Unnumber'd suppliants crowd preferment's gate,
Athirst for wealth, and burning to be great;
Delusive fortune hears th' incessant call,
They mount, they shine, evaporate, and fall.
On ev'ry stage the foes of peace attend,
Hate dogs their flight, and insult mocks their end.
Love ends with hope, the sinking statesman's door
Pours in the morning worshipper no more ;
For growing names the weekly scribbler lies,
To growing wealth the dedicator flies ;
From ev'ry room descends the painted face,
That hung the bright palladium of the place;
And, smok'd in kitchens, or in auctions sold,
To better features yields the frame of gold;
For now no more we trace in ev'ry line
Heroick worth, benevolence divine :
The form, distorted, justifies the fall,
And detestation rids th' indignant wall.
But will not Britain hear the last appeal, Sign her foes' doom, or guard her fav’rites' zeal ? Through freedom's sons no more remonstrance rings, Degrading nobles and controling kings; Our supple tribes repress their patriot throats, And ask no questions but the price of votes ; With weekly libels and septennial ale, Their wish is full to riot and to rail.
In full-blown dignity, see Wolsey stand, Law in his voice, and fortune in his hand;
To him the church, the realm their pow'rs consign,
Through him the rays of regal bounty shine ;
Turn'd by his nod the stream of honour flows,
His smile alone security bestows.
Still to new heights his restless wishes tow'r,
Claim leads to claim, and pow'r advances pow'r;
Till conquest, unresisted, ceas'd to please,
And rights, submitted, left him none to seize.
At length his soy'reign frownsthe train of state
Mark the keen glance, and watch the sign to hate.
Where'er he turns, he meets a stranger's eye,
His suppliants scorn him, and his followers fly;
Now drops, at once, the pride of awful state,
The golden canopy, the glittring plate,
The regal palace, the luxurious board,
The liv'ried army, and the menial lord.
With age, with cares, with maladies oppress’d,
He seeks the refuge of monastick rest:
Grief aids disease, remember'd folly stings,
And his last sighs reproach the faith of kings.
Speak thou, whose thoughts at humble peace repine,
Shall Wolsey's wealth, with Wolsey's end, be thine?
Or liv'st thou now, with safer pride content,
The wisest justice on the banks of Trent?
For, why did Wolsey, near the steeps of fate,
On weak foundations raise th’ enormous weight?
Why but to sink beneath misfortune's blow,
With louder ruin to the gulfs below?
"What gave great Villiers to th' assassin's knife,
And fix'd disease on Harley's closing life?
What murder'd Wentworth, and what exil'd Hyde,
By kings protected, and to kings allied ?
What but their wish indulg'd in courts to shine,
And pow'r too great to keep, or to resign?
When first the college rolls receive his name,
The young enthusiast quits his ease for fame;
# The richest landlord.
I Ver. 108–113. m Ver. 114-132.
No sounds, alas! would touch th' impervious ear,
Though dancing mountains witness'd Orpheus near;
Nor lute nor lyre his feeble pow'rs attend,
Nor sweeter musick of a virtuous friend;
But everlasting dictates crowd his tongue,
Perversely grave, or positively wrong.
The still returning tale, and ling’ring jest,
Perplex the fawning niece and pamper'd guest,
While growing hopes scarce awe the gath'ring sneer,
And scarce a legacy can bribe to hear;
The watchful guests, still hint the last offence;
The daughter's petulance, the son's expense,
Improve his heady rage with treach'rous skill,
And mould his passions till they make his will.
Unnumber'd maladies his joints invade,
Lay siege to life, and press the dire blockade;
But unextinguish'd av’rice still remains,
And dreaded losses aggravate his pains ;
He turns, with anxious heart and crippled hands,
His bonds of debt, and mortgages of lands;
Or views his coffers with suspicious eyes,
Unlocks his gold, and counts it till he dies.
But grant, the virtues of a temp'rate prime
Bless with an age exempt from scorn or crime ;
An age that melts with unperceiv'd decay,
And glides in modest innocence away;
Whose peaceful day benevolence endears,
Whose night congratulating conscience cheers;
The gen'ral fav’rite as the gen’ral friend;
Such age there is, and who shall wish its end?
Yet e'en on this her load misfortune flings,
To press the weary minutes' flagging wings;
New sorrow rises as the day returns,
A sister sickens, or a daughter mourns.
Now kindred merit fills the sable bier,
Now lacerated friendship claims a tear ;
Year chases year, decay pursues decay,
Still drops some joy from with’ring life away;
New forms arise, and diff'rent views engage,
Superfluous lags the vetran on the stage,
Till pitying nature signs the last release,
And bids afflicted worth retire to peace.
But few there are whom hours like these await,
Who set unclouded in the gulfs of fate.
From Lydia's monarch should the search descend,
By Solon caution'd to regard his end,
In life's last scene what prodigies surprise,
Fears of the brave, and follies of the wise !
From Marlb'rough's eyes the streams of dotage flow,
And Swift expires a driv'ller and a show.
• The teeming mother, anxious for her race,
Begs for each birth the fortune of a face;
Yet Vane could tell what ills from beauty spring ;
And Sedley curs’d the form that pleas'd a king.
Ye nymphs of rosy lips and radiant eyes,
Whom pleasure keeps too busy to be wise ;
Whom joys with soft varieties invite,
By day the frolick, and the dance by night;
Who frown with vanity, who smile with art,
And ask the latest fashion of the heart;
What care, what rules, your heedless charms shall save,
Each nymph your rival, and each youth your slave?
Against your fame with fondness hate combines,
The rival batters, and the lover mines.
With distant voice neglected virtue calls,
Less heard and less, the faint remonstrance falls ;
Tir'd with contempt, she quits the slipp’ry reign,
And pride and prudence take her seat in vain.
In crowd at once, where none the pass defend,
The harmless freedom, and the private friend.
The guardians yield, by force superiour ply'd :
To intrest, prudence; and to flattry, pride,
Here beauty falls, betray'd, despis'd, distress'd,
And hissing infamy proclaims the rest.
"Where then shall hope and fear their objects fird?
Must dull suspense corrupt the stagnant mind?
Must helpless man, in ignorance sedate,
Roll darkling down the torrent of his fate?
Must no dislike alarm, no wishes rise,
No cries invoke the mercies of the skies?
Inquirer, cease; petitions yet remain
Which heav'n may hear; nor deem religion vain.
Still raise for good the supplicating voice,
But leave to heav'n the measure and the choice.
Safe in his pow'r, whose eyes discern afar
The secret ambush of a specious pray'r ;
Implore his aid, in his decisions rest,
Secure, whate'er he gives, he gives the best.
Yet, when the sense of sacred presence fires,
And strong devotion to the skies aspires,
Pour forth thy fervours for a healthful mind,
Obedient passions, and a will resign'd;
For love, which scarce collective man can fill;
For patience, sov'reign o'er transmuted ill;
For faith, that, panting for a happier seat,
Counts death kind nature's signal of retreat:
These goods for man the laws of heav'n ordain ;
These goods he grants, who grants the pow'r to gain ;
With these celestial wisdom calms the mind,
And makes the happiness she does not find.