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ODE TO A FRIEND. 1758.

I.

WHY

HY so tim'rous, gentle friend?

Pri’thee, banish care and dread; Of harmless pleasure, know no end,

Till thou’rt number'd with the dead.

II.

What can keep thee from the

grave, If it please th’ Almighty pow'r ? What destroy thee if he'll save,

Or rob thee of the passing hour?

What should move the pow'r divine,

Thee, good mortal, to destroy ? Then, with me, right-pleasing join,

To gild the wing'd time with joy.

IV.

But not in pleasure's Syren-charms,

I mean to lose the heart :
I know that mirth has fad alarms

Where wisdom has no part.

V. But

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But let passion's easy gale,

Thy bark with rapture sweep,
While powerful reason shall prevail

And guide her o'er the deep.

VI.

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Then chearful flow thy transient breath,

With courage arm thy heart;
Immortal life begins in death,

And smiles at his grim dart.

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EPISTOLARY ODE

To A FRI E N D.

1.

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L!

IKE as Lybia's burning sand,

Or the parch'd Arabian plain, Which gentle Eurus never fann’d,

Wou'd drink th' unfathomable main So is the wretch who endless craves,

And restless pines in ev'ry stateO place him with the worst of Naves,

Whether in high or low estate. Heap him around with massy wealth,

High-throne him on the seat of pow'r; Each gen’rous joy he'll use by stealth,

While want shall prey on ev'ry hour. Let glitt'ring pomp allure his soul,

Or nobler fame his mind dilate ; Thro' complicated plagues he'll roll

, And dire vexations still create. The first-born mortal upon earth,

When round him smiling Nature play'd,
With discontent was void of mirth,
Tho' he o’er ev'ry creature sway'd.
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II. HC

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II.

He who contented spends his days

Calm as the clear unruffled stream,
His life in gentle current strays,

Mild as the maiden's silver dream.
Be he born to till the field,
Or in war the sword to wield;
If he o'er the midnight oil,
Wastes his life in learned toil,
Studious to instruct mankind
Where true happiness to find;
Or if o'er the lawless main,
He roams in search of sordid gain ;
Or forts with nobles in proud ease,
Or humble swains in cottages;
Be he with content but bleft-
He's the happy man confest!

III.

Listen, dear Strephon to my song

O herd not with ambitious slaves, Nor join thou with the vulgar throng

Their joys unstable as the waves. Strephon, thrice blest with fruitful plains,

The lover of a fapient theme; Strephon, whose sweetly-foothing strains

Flow gently as thy native stream

o leave

O leave the ruthless scenes of war,

Unfit art thou for rude alarms, Beside thy gentle * Delaware,

Come, Strephon, seek more pleasing charms. Here, while o’er the fertile vallies

Thou shalt tuneful stray along, I will make repeated sallies,

To catch the transport of thy song; Then mutual joy shall swell our soul,

Attendant to bright wisdom's strain, While we shall quaff the friendly bowl

Far from the noisy and the vain.

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