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Why but to sink beneath misfortune's blow,
What gave great Villiers to th' assassin's knife,
When first the college-rolls receive his name, The young enthusiast quits his ease for fame; Through all his veins the fever of renown Spreads from the strong contagion of the gown; O'er Bodley's dome his future labours spread, And Bacon's* mansion trembles o'er his head. Are these thy views ? proceed, illustrious youth, And Virtue guard thee to the throne of Truth! Yet should thy soul indulge the generous heat, Till captive Science yields her last retreat; Should Reason guide thee with her brightest ray, And pour on misty Doubt resistless day; Should no false Kindness lure to loose delight, Nor Praise relax, nor Difficulty fright; Should tempting Novelty thy cell refrain, And Sloth effuse her opiate fumes in vain; Should Beauty blunt on fops her fatal dart, Nor claim the triumph of a letter'd heart; Should no Disease thy torpid veins invade, Nor Melancholy's phantoms haunt thy shade; Yet hope not life from grief or danger free, Nor think the doom of man revers'd for thee:
* There is a tradition, that the study of Friar Bacon, built on an arch over the bridge, will fall, when a man greater than Bacon shall pass under it.
Deign on the passing world to turn thine eyes,
Nordeem, when Learning her last prize bestows
The festal blazes, the triumphal show, The ravish'd standard, and the captive foe, The senate's thanks, the gazette's pompous tale, With force registless o'er the brave prevail. Such bribes the rapid Greek e'er Asia whirld, For such the steady Romans shook the world; For such in distant lands the Britons shine, And stain with blood the Danube or the Rhine; This pow'r has praise that virtue scarce can warm Till fáme supplies the universal charm. Yet Reason frowns on War's unequal game, Where wasted nations raise a single name, And mortgag'd states their grandsires wreaths reFroin age to age in everlasting debt; (gret, Wreaths which at last the dear-bought right convey To rust on medals, or on stones decay.
On what foundation stands the warrior's pride, How just his hopes let Swedish Charles decide; A frame of adamant, a soul of fire, No dangers fright him, and no labours tire ; O'er love, o'er fear, extends his wide domain, Unconquer'd lord of pleasure and of pain ; No joys to him pacific sceptres yield, War sounds the trump, he rushes to the field; Behold surrounding kings their pow'rs combine, And one capitulate, and one resign; (vain; Peace courts his hand, but spreads her charms in "Think nothing gain'd,' he cries, 'till nought reOn Moscow's walls till Gothic standards fly, (main; And all be mine beneath the polar sky.' The march begins in military state, And nations on his eye suspended wait; Stern Famine guards the solitary coast, And Winter barricades the realms of Frost; He comes, not want and cold his course delay; Hide, blushing Glory, hide Pultowa's day: The vanquish'd hero leaves his broken bands, And shows his miseries in distant lands; Condemn'd a needy supplicant to wait While ladies interpose, and slaves debate. But did not Chance at length her error mend? , Did no subverted empire mark his end ? Did rival monarchs give the fatal wound ? Or hostile millions press him to the ground ? His fall was destin'd to a barren strand, A petty fortress, and a dubious hand; He left the name, at which the world grew pale, To point a moral, or adorn a tale.
All times their scenes of pompous woes afford, From Persia's tyrant to Bavaria's lord.
In gay hostility, and barbarous pride,
The bold Bavarian, in a luckless hour, Tries the dread summits of Cæsarean pow'r; With unexpected legions bursts away, And sees defenceless realms receive his sway; Short sway! fair Austria spreads her mournful
Enlarge my life with multitude of days,
Hides from himself his state, and shuns to know, That life protracted is protracted wo. Time hovers o'er, impatient to destroy, And shuts up all the passages of joy: In vain their gifts the bounteous Seasons pour, The fruit autumnal, and the vernal flow'r, With listless eyes the dotard views the store, He views, and wonders, that they please no more ; Now pall the tasteless meats, and joyless wines, And Luxury with sighs her slave resigns. Approach, ye minstrels, try the soothing strain, And yield the tuneful lenitives of pain : No sounds, alas! would touch th’impervious ear, Though dancing mountains witness'dOrpheus near; Nor lute nor lyre his feeble pow'r attend, Nor sweeter music of a virtuous friend, But everlasting dictates crowd his tongue, Perversely grave, or positively wrong. The still-returning tale, and lingering jest, Perplex the fawning niece and pamper'd guest, While growing hopes scarce awe the gathering And scarce a legacy can bribe to hear; (sneer, The watchful guests still hint the last offence, The daughter's petulance, the son's expense, Improve his heady rage with treacherous skill, And mould his passions till they make his will.
Unnumber'd maladies his joints invade, Lay siege to life, and press the dire blockade ; But unextinguish'd Avarice still remains, And dreaded losses aggravate his pains; He turns, with anxious heart and crippled hands, His bonds of debt, and mortgages of lands; Or views his coffers with suspicious eyes, Unlocks his gold, and counts it till he dies.