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-doceas iter, et sacra ostea pandas.
VIRG. En. 6.
Ask what is human life--the sage replies,
A painful passage o'er a restless flood,
A scene of fancied bliss and heart-felt care,
Closing at last in darkness and despair.
inur'd to drudg'ry and distress,
Act without aim, think little, and feel less,
So shifting and so various is the plan,
By which Heav'n rules the mix'd affairs of man:
By repetition pall'd, by age obtuse.
Youth lost in dissipation, we deplore,
Through life's sad remnant, what no sighs restore; Our years, a fruitless race without a prize,
Too many, yet too few to make us wise.
Dangling his cane about, and taking snuff, Lothario cries, What philosophic stuff
O querulous and weak!—whose useless brain
Once thought of nothing, and now thinks in vain;
o'er all the past,
Whose prospect shows thee a disheart'ning waste;
Would age in thee resign his wintry reign,
And youth invigorate that frame again,
Renew'd desire would grace with other speech
See Nature gay, as when she first began
She spreads the morning over eastern hills,
To fling his glories o'er the robe she wears; Banks cloth'd with flow'rs, groves fill'd with sprightly sounds,
The yellow tilth, green meads, rocks, rising
Streams edg'd with osiers, fatt'ning ev'ry field
Where'er they flow, now seen and now conceal'd;
From the blue rim where skies and mountains
Down to the very turf beneath thy feet,
Ten thousand charms, that only fools despise,
All speak one language, all with one sweet voice Cry to her universal realm, Rejoice!
Man feels the spur of passions and desires,
And she gives largely more than he requires;
Not that his hours devoted all to Care,
The wretch may pine, while to his smell, taste, sight,
But gently to rebuke his awkward fear,
that what she gives, she gives sincere,
To banish hesitation, and proclaim
His happiness, her dear, her only aim.
"Tis grave Philosophy's absurdest dream,
That Heav'n's intentions are not what they seein,
That only shadows are dispens'd below,
And Earth has no reality but wo.
Thus things terrestrial wear a diff'rent hue,
As youth or age persuades; and neither true: 70 So Flora's wreath through colour'd crystal seen, The rose or lily appears blue or green,
But still th' imputed tints are those alone
The medium represents, and not their own.
To rise at noon, sit slipshod and undress'd, To read the news, or fiddle, as seems best, Till half the world comes rattling at his door, To fill the dull vacuity till four;
And, just when ev'ning turns the blue vault gray,
To spend two hours in dressing for the day;
Through mere necessity to close his eyes
Just when the larks and when the shepherds rise;
Is such a life, so tediously the same,
So void of all utility or aim,
That poor JONQUIL, with almost ev'ry breath
Sighs for his exit, vulgarly call'd death;
For he, with all his follies, has a mind
Not yet so blank, or fashionably blind,