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Distorted from it's use and just design,
Proof of a trifling and a worthless mind.
A. Hail Sternhold, then; and Hopkins, hail!
If flatt'ry, folly, lust, employ the pen;
If acrimony, slander, and abuse,
Give it a charge to blacken and traduce;
Though Butler's wit, Pope's numbers, Prior's ease,
One madrigal of theirs is worth them all.
A. "Twould thin the ranks of the poetic tribe,
To dash the pen through all that you proscribe. B. No matter we could shift when they were
And should, no doubt, if they were all forgot.
PROGRESS OF ERROUR.
Si quid loquar audiendum.-HOR. Lib. 4, Od. 2.
SING, muse (if such a theme, so dark, so long,
The serpent Errour twines round human hearts;
Not all, whose eloquence the fancy fills,
Like quicksilver, the rhet'ric they display
Shines as it runs, but grasp'd at slips away.
Plac'd for his trial, on this bustling stage,
Say to what bar amenable were man?
With nought in charge, he could betray no trust;
Divine authority within his breast
Brings ev'ry thought, word, action, to the test;
Warns him or prompts, approves him or restrains, As reason, or as passion, takes the reins.
Heav'n from above, and Conscience from within, Cries in his startled ear-Abstain from sin!
The world around solicits his desire,
And kindles in his soul a treach'rous fire;
While, all his purposes and steps to guard,
Man, thus endued with an elective voice,
Here various motives his ambition raise
Pow'r, pomp, and splendour, and the thirst of praise; There Beauty wooes him with expanded arms; Ev'n bacchanalian madness has it's charms.
Nor these alone, whose pleasures less refin'd Might well alarm the most unguarded mind, Seek to supplant his inexperienc'd youth, Or lead him devious from the path of truth; Hourly allurements on his passions press, Safe in themselves, but dang'rous in the excess. Hark! how it floats upon the dewy air!
O what a dying, dying close was there!
'Tis harmony from yon sequester'd bow'r,
Sweet harmony, that sooths the midnight hour! Long ere the charioteer of day had run
His morning course, th' enchantment was begun; And he shall gild yon mountain's height again, Ere yet the pleasing toil becomes a pain.
Is this the rugged path, the steep ascent,
That Virtue points to? Can a life thus spent