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worlds above worlds; subservient to his voice, who, veil'd in clouded majesty, alone
gives light to all; bids the great system move; and changeful seasons in their turns advance, unmov'd, unchang'd, himself; yet this at least, grant me propitious, an inglorious life, calm and serene, nor lost in false pursuits of wealth or honours; but enough to raise my drooping friends, preventing modest want that dares not ask. And if, to crown my joys, ye grant me health, that, ruddy in my cheeks, blooms in my life's decline; fields, woods, and streams, each towering hill, each humble vale below, shall hear my cheering voice.
AUTHOR OF THE ESSAY ON MAN,
Was ever work to such perfection wrought! how elegant the diction! pure the thought! not sparingly adorn'd with scatter'd rays, but one bright beauty, one collected blaze: so breaks the day upon the shades of night, enlivening all with one unbounded light.
To humble man's proud heart, thy great design; but who can read this wondrous work divine, so justly plann'd, and so politely writ, and not be proud, and boast of human wit? Yet just to thee, and to thy precepts true, let us know man, and give to God his due; his image we, but mix'd with coarse allay, our happiness to love, adore, obey! to praise him for each gracious boon bestow'd, for this thy work, for every lesser good,
with prostrate hearts before his throne to fall, and own the great Creator all in all.
The muse, which should instruct, now entertains, on trifling subjects, in enervate strains!
be it thy task to set the wanderer right,
as angels once, so now we mortals bold
TO MR. THOMSON,
ON THE FIRST EDITION OF HIS SEASONS.
So bright, so dark, upon an April day,
so smooth, so rough the sea that laves our shores,
nor would I rob thy brows to grace my own!
such arts are to my honest soul unknown.
I read thee over as a friend should read,
griev'd when you fail, o'erjoy'd when you succeed. Why should thy muse, born so divinely fair, want the reforming toilet's daily care? Dress the gay maid, improve each native grace, and call forth all the glories of her face: studiously plain, and elegantly clean, with unaffected speech, and easy mien, th' accomplish'd nymph, in all her best attire, courts shall applaud, and prostrate crowds admire. Discretely daring, with a stiffen'd rein,
firm in thy seat the flying steed restrain.
yet ev❜n those spots expunge with patient care,
soon shalt thou be the nation's joy and pride.
and new Parnassus shall at home create:
rules from thy works each future bard shall draw, thy works, above the critic's nicer law, and rich in brilliant gems without a flaw.
ADDRESS TO HIS ELBOW-CHAIR
My dear companion, and my faithful friend!
knaves are my scorn, and coxcombs are my sport. Once I beheld thee far less trim and
gay; ragged, disjointed, and to worms a prey; the safe retreat of every lurking mouse; derided, shunn'd; the lumber of my house! thy robe how chang'd from what it was before! thy velvet robe, which pleas'd my sires of yore! 't is thus capricious fortune wheels us round; aloft we mount, then tumble to the ground. Yet grateful then, my constancy I prov'd; I knew thy worth; my friend in rags I lov'd; I lov'd thee more; nor, like a courtier, spurn'd my benefactor, when the tide was turn'd. With conscious shame, yet frankly, I confess, that in my youthful days, I lov'd thee less. Where vanity, where pleasure call'd, I stray'd; and every wayward appetite obey'd. But sage experience taught me how to prize
myself; and, how this world: she bade me rise to nobler flights regardless of a race
of factious emmets; pointed where to place my bliss, and lodg'd me in thy soft embrace. Here on thy yielding down I sit secure; and, patiently, what heaven has sent, endure; from all the futile cares of business free; not fond of life, but yet content to be: here mark the fleeting hours; regret the past! and seriously prepare to meet the last.
So safe on shore the pension'd sailor lies! and all the malice of the storm defies: with ease of body blest, and peace of mind, pities the restless crew he left behind! whilst, in his cell, he meditates alone on his great voyage, to the world unknown.
Though close immur'd, poor captive maid!
amid the bright destruction smil'd,
The swan on Leda's whiter breast
with joy she clasp'd her downy guest,
What boon can faithful merit share,