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Or spoke aloud, or whisper'd. in the ear;
Nor ever silence, rest, or peace is here.
As on the smooth expanse of crystal lakes
The sinking stone at first a circle makes;
The trembling surface, by the motion stirr'd.
Spreads in a second circle, then a third;
Wide, and more wide, the floating rings advance,
Fill all the watery plain, and to the margin dance:
Thus every voice aud sound, when first they break,
Ou neighbouring air a soft impression make;
Another ambient circle then they move;
That, in its turn, impels the next above;
Through undulating air the sounds are sent,
And spread o'er all the fluid element.
There various news I heard of love and strife.
Of fires and plagues, and stars with blazing hair,
Above, below, without, within, around,
And all who heard it made enlargements too,
In every ear it spread, on every tongue it grew.
Thus flying east and west, and north and south,
When thus ripe lies are to perfection sprung,
There, at one passage, oft you might survey A lie and truth contending for the way; And long 'twas doubtful, though so closely pent, Which first should issue through the narrow vent. At last agreed, together out they fly. Inseparable now the truth and lie; The strict companions are for ever join'd, And this or that unmix'd, no mortal e'er shall find.
While thus I stood, intent to see and hear, One came, me thought, and whisper'd in my ear: * What could thus high thy rash ambition raise? Art thon, 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, Th' 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, endure, Be envy'd, wretched, and beftatter'd, poor;
AH luckless wits their enemies profest,
And all successful, jealous friends at best,
Nor Fame I slight, nor for.her favours 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, Heaven! 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;
THE MERCHANTS TALE.
FTlHEliE liv'd in Lombardy, as author's write.
But in due time, when sixty years were o'er,
These thoughts he fortify'd with reasons still, (For none want reasons to confirm their will). Grave authors say, and witty poets sing, That honest wedlock is a glorious thing: But depth of judgement most in him appears, Who wisely weds ia his maturer years. Then let uim choose a damsel young and fair, To bless his age, and bring a worthy heir; To sooth his cares, and, free from noise and strife. Conduct him gently to the verge of life.
Let sinful bachelors their woes deplore,
Full well they merit all they feel, and more:
Unaw'd by precepts human or divine,
Like birds and beasts promiscnously they join:
Nor know to make the present blessing last,
To hope the future, or esteem the past:
But vainly boast the joys they uever try'd,
And find divulg'd the secrets they would hide.
The marry'd man may bear his yoke with ease,
Secure at once himself and Heaven to please;
And pass his inoffensive hours away,
In bliss all night, and innocence all day:
Though fortune change, his constant spouse remains,
Augments his joys, or mitigates his patns.
But what so pure which envious tongues will spare? •
Some wicked wits have libel I'd all the fair.
With matchless impndence they style a wife
The dear-bought curse, and lawful plague of life;
A bosom-serpent, a domestic evil,
A night invasion, and a mid-day devil.
Let not the wise these slanderous words regard,
But curse the bones of every living bard.
All other goods by fortune's hand are given,
A wife is the peculiar gift of Heaven.
Vain fortune's favours, never at a stay,
Like empty shadows, pass, and glide away;
One solid comfort, our eternal wife,
Abundantly supplies us all our life r
This blessing lasts (if those who try say true)
As long as heart can wish—and longer too.
Our grandsire Adam, ere of Eve possess'd, 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 i