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Hope springs eternal in the human breast :
Man never Is, but always to be blest;
The soul, uneasy, and confined from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
Lo, the poor Indian! whose untutor’d mind
Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind;
His soul proud Science never taught to stray
Far as the solar walk, or milky way;
Yet simple Nature to his hope has given,
Behind the cloud-topt hill, an humbler heaven;
Some safer world in depths of woods embrac'd,
Some happier island in the watery waste,
Where slaves once more their native land behold,
No fiends torment, no Christians thirst for gold.
To be, contents his natural desire,
He asks no angel's wing, no seraph's fire;
But thinks, admitted to that equal sky,
His faithful dog shall bear him company.
Go, wiser thou ! and in thy scale of sense,
Weigh thy opinion against Providence;
Call imperfection what thou fanciest such ;
Say, here he gives too little, there too much :
Destroy all creatures for thy sport or gust,
Yet say, if man's unhappy, God's unjust;
If man alone engross not Heaven's high care,
Alone made perfect here, immortal there:
Snatch from his hand the balance and the rod,
Re-judge his justice, be the god of God.
In Pride, in reasoning Pride, our error lies ;
All quit their sphere, and rush into the skies.
Pride still is aiming at the blest abodes,
Men would be angels, angels would be gods.
Aspiring to be gods, if angels fell,
Aspiring to be angels, men rebel :
And who but wishes to invert the laws
Of order, sins against th' Eternal Cause.
ELEGY TO THE MEMORY OF AN UNFORTUNATE LADY..
What beckoning ghost, along the moon-light shade,
Invites my steps, and points to yonder glade ?
'Tis she !—but why that bleeding bosom gor'd,
Why dimly gleams the visionary sword?
Oh, ever beauteous, ever friendly! tell,
Is it, in heaven, a crime to love too well?
To bear too tender, or too firm a heart,
To act a lover's or a Roman's part?
Is there no bright reversion in the sky,
For those who greatly think, or bravely die?
Why bade ye else, ye powers ! her soul aspire
Above the vulgar Aight of low desire ?
The glorious fault of angels and of gods :
Thence to their images on Earth it flows,
And in the breasts of kings and heroes glows.
Most souls, 'tis true, but peep out once an age,
Dull sullen prisoners in the body's cage :
Dim lights of life, that burn a length of years,
Useless, unseen, as lamps in sepulchres ;
Like eastern kings a lazy state they keep,
And, close confin'd to their own palace, sleep.
From these perhaps (ere Nature bade her die)
Fate snatch'd her early to the pitying sky.
As into air the purer spirits flow,
And separate from their kindred dregs below;
So flew the soul to its congenial place,
Nor left one virtue to redeem her race.
But thou, false guardian of a charge too good,
Thou, mean deserter of thy brother's blood ?
See on these ruby lips the trembling breath,
These cheeks now fading at the blast of death ;
Cold is that breast which warm'd the world before,
And those love-darting eyes must roll no more.
Thus, if eternal Justice rules the ball,
Thus shall your wives, and thus your children fall:
On all the line a sudden vengeance waits,
And frequent hearses shall besiege your gates;
There passengers shall stand, and pointing say,
(While the long funerals blacken all the way,)
“ Lo! these were they, whose souls the Furies steel'd,
And curst with hearts unknowing how to yield.”
Thus unlamented pass the proud away,
The gaze of fools, and pageant of a day !
So perish all, whose breast ne'er learn'd to glow
For others' good, or melt at others' woe.
What can atone, oh, ever-injur'd shade!
Thy fate unpitied, and thy rites unpaid ?
No friend's complaint, no kind domestic tear
Pleas'd thy pale ghost, or grac'd thy mournful bier :
By foreign hands thy dying eyes were clos’d,
By foreign hands thy decent limbs compos'd;
By foreign hands thy humble grave adorn’d,
By strangers honour'd, and by strangers mourn'd!
What though no friends in sable weeds appear,
Grieve for an hour, perhaps, then mourn a year,
And bear about the mockery of woe
To midnight dances, and the public show?
What though no weeping Loves thy ashes grace,
Nor polish'd marble emulate thy face?
What though no sacred earth allow thee room,
Nor hallow'd dirge be muttered o’er thy tomb?
Yet shall thy grave with rising flowers be dress’d,
And the green turf lie lightly on thy breast :
There shall the morn her earliest tears bestow,
There the first roses of the year
shall blow; While angels with their silver wings o'ershade The ground now sacred by thy reliques made.
So, peaceful rests, without a stone, a name, What once had beauty, titles, wealth, and fame, How lov’d, how honour'd once, avails thee not, To whom related, or by whom begot; A heap of dust alone remains of thee, 'Tis all thou art, and all the proud shall be !
Poets themselves must fall, like those they sung, Deaf the prais'd ear, and mute the tuneful tongue. Ev'n he, whose soul now melts in mournful lays, Shall shortly want the generous tear he pays; Then from his closing eyes thy form shall part, And the last pang shall tear thee from his heart; Life's idle business at one gasp be o'er, The Muse forgot, and thou belov'd no more!
FROM THE EPISTLE TO DR, ARBUTHNOT.
Curst be the verse, how well soe'er it flow, That tends to make one worthy man my foe, Give virtue scandal, innocence a fear, Or from the soft-ey'd virgin steal a tear! But he who hurts a harmless neighbour's peace, Insults fall'n worth, or beauty in distress, Who loves a lie, lame slander helps about, Who writes a libel, or who copies out:
That fop, whose pride affects a patron's name,
Yet absent, wounds an author's honest fame:
Who can your merit selfishly approve,
And show the sense of it without the love;
Who has the vanity to call you friend,
Yet wants the honour, injur'd, to defend;
Who tells whate'er you think, whate'er you say,
And, if he lie not, must at least betray :
Who to the dean and silver bell can swear,
And sees at Cannons what was never there;
Who reads but with a lust to misapply,
Make satire a lampoon, and fiction lie ;
A lash like mine no honest man shall dread,
But all such babbling blockheads in his stead.
Let sporus tremble--A. What ? that thing of silk,
Sporus, that mere white curd of ass's milk?
Satire or sense, alas ! can Sporus feel ?
Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel ?
P. Yet let me flap this bug with gilded wings,
This painted child of dirt, that stinks and stings;
Whose buzz the witty and the fair annoys,
Yet wit ne'er tastes, and beauty ne'er enjoys:
So well-bred spaniels civilly delight
In mumbling of the game they dare not bite.
Eternal smiles his emptiness betray,
As shallow streams run dimpling all the way.
Whether in florid impotence he speaks,
And, as the prompter breathes, the puppet squeaks ;
Or at the ear of Eve, familiar toad,
Half froth, half venom, spits himself abroad,
In puns, or politics, or tales, or lies,
Or spite, or smut, or rhymes, or blasphemies.
His wit all see-saw, between that and this,
Now high, now low, now master up, now miss,
And he himself one vile Antithesis.
Amphibious thing ! that, acting either part,
The trifling head l or the corrupted heart !
Fop at the toilet, flatterer at the board,
Now trips a lady, and now struts a lord.
Eve's tempter thus, the Rabbins have exprest,
A cherub's face, a reptile all the rest.
Beauty that shocks you, parts that none will trust,
Wit that can creep, and pride that licks the dust.
Not Fortune's worshipper, nor Fashion's fool, Not Lucre's madman, nor Ambition's tool, Not proud, nor servile; be one poet's praise, That, if he pleas'd, he pleas'd by manly ways: That flattery, ev'n to kings, he held a shame, And thought a lie in verse or prose the same; That not in fancy's maze he wander'd long, But stoop'd to Truth, and moraliz'd his song: That not for fame, but Virtue's better end, He stood the furious foe, the timid friend, The damning critic, half-approving wit, The coxcomb hit, or fearing to be hit; Laugh'd at the loss of friends he never had, The dull, the proud, the wicked, and the mad; The distant threats of vengeance on his head, The blow unfelt, the tear he never shed; The tale 'reviv'd, the lie so oft o'erthrown, Th' imputed trash, and dulness not his own; The morals blacken'd when the writings 'scape, The libeld person and the pictur'd shape; Abuse, on all he lov'd, or lov'd him, spread, A friend in exile, or a father dead; The whisper, that, to greatness still too near, Perhaps, yet vibrates on his sovereign's earWelcome for thee, fair Virtue! all the past : For thee, fair Virtue! welcome ev'n the last !
PROLOGUE TO MR. ADDISON'S TRAGEDY OF CATO.
To wake the soul by tender strokes of art,
To raise the genius, and to mend the heart;
To make mankind in conscious virtue bold,
Live o'er each scene, and be what they behold :
For this the Tragic Muse first trod the stage,
Commanding tears to stream through every age;
Tyrants no more their savage nature kept,
And foes to Virtue wonder'd how they wept.
Our author shuns by vulgar springs to move
The hero's glory, or the virgin's love;
In pitying Love, we but our weakness show,
And wild ambition well deserves its woe.