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And-prithee, lead me in;
There take an inventory of all I have,
To the last penny; 'tis the king's.
And my integrity to heaven, is all
I now dare call my own.
Oh Cromwell, Cromwell,
Had I but serv'd my God with half the zeal
I serv'd my king, He would not in my age
Have left me naked to mine enemies.
ODE ON A DISTANT PROSPECT OF
YE distant spires, ye antique towers,
That crown the wat'ry glade,
Where grateful Science still adores
Her Henry's holy shade:
And ye that from the stately brow
Of Windsor's heights th' expanse below
Of grove, of lawn, of mead, survey,
Whose turf, whose shade, whose flowers, among
Wanders the hoary Thames along
His silver-winding way.
Ah, happy hills! ah, pleasing shade!
Ah, fields belov'd in vain,
Where once my careless childhood stray'd,
A stranger yet to pain!
I feel the gales that from ye blow,
A momentary bliss bestow,
As waving fresh their gladsome wing,
My weary soul they seem to sooth,
And redolent of joy and youth,
To breathe a second spring.
Say, father Thames (for thou hast seen
Full many a sprightly race,
Disporting on thy margent green,
The paths of pleasure trace)
Who foremost now delight to cleave,
With pliant arms, thy glassy wave?
The captive linnet, which enthral ?
What idle progeny succeed
To chase the rolling circle's speed,
Or urge the flying ball?
While some, on earnest business bent,
Their murm'ring labours ply
'Gainst graver hours, that bring constraint To sweeten liberty:
Some bold adventurers disdain
The limits of their little reign,
And unknown regions dare descry:
Still as they run they look behind,
They hear a voice in every wind,
And snatch a fearful joy.
Gay hope is theirs, by fancy fed,
Less pleasing when possess'd;
The tear forgot as soon as shed,
The sunshine of the breast;
Theirs buxom health, of rosy hue,
Wild wit, invention ever new,
And lively cheer of vigour born;
The thoughtless day, the easy night,
The spirits pure, the slumbers light,
That fly th' approach of morn.
Alas, regardless of their doom,
The little victims play!
No sense have they of ills to come,
No care beyond to-day:
how all around them wait The ministers of human fate,
And black Misfortune's baleful train! Ah, show them where in ambush stand To seize their prey, the murd'rous band; Ah, tell them, they are men!
These shall the fury passions tear,
The vultures of the mind;
Disdainful Anger, pallid Fear,
And Shame that skulks behind;
Or pining Love shall waste their youth,
Or Jealousy with rankling tooth,
That inly gnaws the secret heart;
And Envy wan, and faded Care,
Grim-visag'd comfortless Despair,
And Sorrow's piercing dart.
Ambition this shall tempt to rise;
Then whirl the wretch from high,
To bitter scorn a sacrifice,
And grinning infamy.
The stings of Falsehood those shall try,
And hard Unkindness' alter'd eye,
That mocks the tear it forc'd to flow; And keen Remorse, with blood defil'd, And moody Madness, laughing wild Amid severest woe.
Lo! in the vale of years beneath
A grisly troop are seen,
The painful family of Death,
More hideous than their queen;
This racks the joints, this fires the veins,
That every labouring sinew strains,
Those in the deeper vitals rage:
Lo, Poverty, to fill the band,
That numbs the soul with icy hand,
And slow-consuming Age.
To each his sufferings: all are men,
Condemn'd alike to groan;
The tender for another's pain,
Th' unfeeling for his own.
Yet ah! why should they know their fate?
Since sorrow never comes too late,
And happiness too swiftly flies;
Thought would destroy their paradise.
No more-where ignorance is bliss,
'Tis folly to be wise.
ODE TO POVERTY.
HAIL! mighty power! who o'er my lot
Presidest uncontroll'd and free;
Sole ruler of the rural cot,
I bid thee hail, dread Poverty!
Thine aid I crave to guide my strain,
Nor shall I supplicate in vain.
When on this world of woe and toil,
A helpless stranger I was cast,
Like mariner on desert isle,
The sport and victim of the blast,
Thy russet robe was o'er me flung,
And to thy cold, lean hand I clung.
In youth I felt thy guardian care,
Each saving, self-denying rule,
Awful for those of fortune spare,
I learnt and practis'd in thy school;
And of my lengthen'd life at large,
Thou still hast taken special charge.
Much have I seen much more I've heard, Of chance and change in this vain world; The low to high estate preferr❜d
From high estate the haughty hurl'd;
But chance or change ne'er pass'd o'er me-
I'm still thy subject, Poverty!
(Oh how unwise are they who scorn
Thy homely garb and homely fare;
Who scale the tropic's burning bourne,
Ideal happiness to share;
They tread the wild, and plough the wave,
In quest of gold—but find a grave.)
There are who know thee but by name,
Who spurn thy salutary laws,
And count thy badge a mark of shame,
And hold it sin to own thy cause.
Fools that they are! they never knew
Thy guiltless pride—thy spirit true.
Full oft in danger's darkest day
Thy sons have prov'd their country's shield, When wealth's effeminate array
Appear'd not on the battle field:
'Twas theirs to grasp the patriot brand,
That dropp'd from luxury's nerveless hand.