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Without a soil to' invite the tiller's care,
Or blade that might redeem it from despair.
Yet Time at length (what will not time achieve?)
Clothes it with earth, and bids the produce live.
Once more the spiry myrtle crowns the glade,
And ruminating flocks enjoy the shade.
O bliss precarious, and unsafe retreats,
O charming Paradise of shortlived sweets!
The selfsame gale that wafts the fragrance round
Brings to the distant year a sullen sound;
Again the mountain feels the' imprison'd foe,
Again pours ruin on the vale below.
Ten thousand swains the wasted scene deplore,
That only future ages can restore.
Ye monarchs, whom the lure of honour draws, Who write in blood the merits of your cause, Who strike the blow, then plead your own defence, Glory your aim, but justice your pretence, Behold in Etna's emblematic fires
The mischiefs your ambitious pride inspires!
Fast by the stream that bounds your just domain,
And tells you where ye have a right to reign,
A nation dwells, not envious of your throne,
Studious of peace, their neighbours', and their own.
Ill fated race! how deeply must they rue
Their only crime, vicinity to you!
The trumpet sounds, your legions swarm abroad,
Through the ripe harvest lies their destined road;
At every step beneath their feet they tread
The life of multitudes, a nation's bread!
Earth seems a garden in its loveliest dress
Before them, and behind a wilderness.
Famine, and Pestilence, her firstborn son,
Attend to finish what the sword begun;
And echoing praises, such as fiends might earn,
And Folly pays, resound at your return.
A calm succeeds-but Plenty, with her train
Of heartfelt joys, succeeds not soon again,
years of pining indigence must show
What scourges are the gods that rule below.
Yet man, laborious man, by slow degrees
(Such is his thirst of opulence and ease),
Plies all the sinews of industrious toil,
Gleans up the refuse of the general spoil,
Rebuilds the towers that smoked upon
And the sun gilds the shining spires again.
Increasing commerce and reviving art
Renew the quarrel on the conqueror's part;
And the sad lesson must be learn'd once more
That wealth within is ruin at the door.
What are ye, monarchs, laurel'd heroes, say,
But Etnas of the suffering world ye sway?
Sweet Nature, stripp'd of her embroider'd robe,
Deplores the wasted regions of her globe;
And stands a witness at Truth's awful bar,
To prove you there destroyers as ye are.
O, place me in some Heaven-protected isle,
Where Peace, and Equity, and Freedom smile;
Where no volcano pours his fiery flood,
No crested warrior dips his plume in blood;
Where Power secures what Industry has won:
Where to succeed is not to be undone;
A land that distant tyrants hate in vain,
In Britain's isle, beneath a George's reign!
Amicitia nisi inter bonos esse non potest.
WHAT virtue, or what mental grace,
But men unqualified and base
Will boast it their possession?
Profusion apes the noble part
Of liberality of heart,
And dulness of discretion.
If every polish'd gem we find,
Illuminating heart or mind,
Provoke to imitation;
No wonder Friendship does the same,
That jewel of the purest flame,
Or rather constellation.
No knave but boldly will pretend
The requisites that form a friend,
A real and a sound one;
any fool he would deceive,
But prove as ready to believe,
And dream that he had found one.
Candid, and generous, and just,
Boys care but little whom they trust;
An error soon corrected-
For who but learns in riper years,
That man, when smoothest he appears, Is most to be suspected?
But here again a danger lies,
Lest, having misapplied our eyes,
And taken trash for treasure,
We should unwarily conclude
Friendship a false ideal good,
A mere Utopian pleasure.
An acquisition rather rare
Is yet no subject of despair;
Nor is it wise complaining,
If either on forbidden ground,
Or where it was not to be found,
We sought without attaining.
No friendship will abide the test,
That stands on sordid interest,
Or mean self love erected; Nor such as may awhile subsist Between the sot and sensualist,
For vicious ends connected.
Who seeks a friend should come disposed To' exhibit in full bloom disclosed
The graces and the beauties That form the character he seeks; For 'tis a union that bespeaks Reciprocated duties.
Mutual attention is implied,
And equal truth on either side,
And constantly supported:
'Tis senseless arrogance to' accuse
Another of sinister views,
Our own as much distorted.
But will sincerity suffice?
It is indeed above all price,
And must be made the basis;
But every virtue of the soul
Must constitute the charming whole,
All shining in their places.
A fretful temper will divide
The closest knot that may be tied,
By ceaseless sharp corrosion; A temper passionate and fierce May suddenly your joys disperse At one immense explosion.
In vain the talkative unite
In hopes of permanent delight—
The secret just committed,
Forgetting its important weight,
They drop through mere desire to prate,
And by themselves outwitted.
How bright soe'er the prospect seems,
All thoughts of friendship are but dreams,
If envy chance to creep in;
An envious man, if you succeed,
May prove a dangerous foe indeed,
But not a friend worth keeping.
As Envy pines at good possess'd,
So Jealousy looks forth distress'd
On good that seems approaching; And, if success his steps attend, Discerns a rival in a friend,
And hates him for encroaching.