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And as I wake, sweet music breathe
THE FOUR AGES.
THE GOLDEN AGE. THE Golden Age was first; when man, yet new, ) No rule but uncorrupted reason knew; And with a native bent did good pursue. Unforc'd by punishment, unaw'd by fear, His words were simple, and his soul fincere : Needless was written law, where none oppress’d; The law of man was written in his breast : No fuppliant crowds before the judge appear'd; No court erected yet, nor cause was heard ; But all was fate, for conscience was their guard. The mountain-trees in distant prospect please, Ere yet the pine descended to the seas; Ere fails were spread, new oceans to explore; And happy inortals, unconcern'd for more, Confind their wishes to their native shore. No walls were yet, nor fence, nor moat, nor mound, Nor drum was heard, nor trumpet's angry found: Nor swords were forg'd; but void of care and crime, The soft creation flept away their time. The teeming earth, yet guiltless of the plough; And, unprovok'd, did fruitful stores allow : Content with food, wh ch nature freely bred, On wildings and on strawberries they led;
Cornels and bramble-berries gave the reft,
THE SILVER AGE. But when good Saturn, hanifh'd from above, Was driv'n to hell, the world was under Jove. Succeeding times a Silver Age behold, Excelling brass, but more excell’d by gold. Then summer, autumn, winter, did appear, And spring was but a season of the year. The sun his annual course obliquely made, Good days contracted, and enlarg'd the bad. Then air with sultry heats began to glow, The wings of winds were clogg'd with ice and snow; And thiv'ring mortals into houses drivin, Sought Melter from th’inclemency of heav'n. Those houses'then were caves, or homely sheds, With twining ozier: fened and moss their beds. Then ploughs, for seed, the fruitful furrows broke, And oxen labour'd first beneath the yoke.
THE BRAZEN AGE.
To this came next in course the Braven Age,
THE IRON AGE. - HARD steel succeeded then; And stubborn as the metal were the men. Truth, Modesty, and Shame, the world forsook, Fraud, Avarice, and Force, their places took. Then fails were spread to every wind that blew, Raw were the sailors, and the depths were new ; Trees rudely hallow'd did the waves suftain; Ere ships in triumph plough'd the wat’ry plain. Then land-marks limited to each his right, For all before was common as the light. Nor was the ground alone requir'd to hear Her annual income to the crooked fare; But greedy mortals, rummaging her store, Digg'd from her entrails first the precious orc; Which next to hell the prudent Gods had laid; And that alluring ill to fight display'd. Thus cursed steel, and more accursed gold, Gave mischief birth, and made that mischief bold: And double death did wretched man invade, By steel affaulted, and by gold betray'd. Now (brandish'd weapons glittring in their hands), Mankind is broken loose froin moral bands. No rights of hospitality remain; The guest, by hun who harbour'd him is Nain : The fon-in-law pursues the father's life; The wife her husband murders, he the wife : The step-dame porfon for the fon prepares; The son inquires into his father's years. Faith flies, and Piety in exile mourns; And Justice, here opprest, to heav'n returns.
THE BEGINNING OF THE SECOND BOOK OF
"Tis pleasant safely to behold from fore
For Nature wisely Itints our appetite,