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With much ado, his book before him laid,
And parchment with the smoother fide display'd;
He takes the papers; lays them down again;
And, with unwilling fingers, tries the pen:
Some peevish quarrel ftreight he strives to pick;
His quill writes double, or his ink's too thick;
Infuse more water; now 'tis grown fo thin
It finks, nor can the characters be feen.
O wretch, and still more wretched every day!
Are mortals born to sleep their lives away?
Go back to what thy infancy began,
Thou who wert never meant to be a man:
Eat pap and spoon-meat; for thy gewgaws cry:
Be fullen, and refuse the lullaby.
No more accufe thy pen: but charge the crime
On native floth, and negligence of time.
Think'st thou thy mafter, or thy friends, to cheat?
Fool, 'tis thyself, and that's a worse deceit.
Beware the public laughter of the town;
Thou fpring't a leak already in thy crown.
A flaw is in thy ill bak'd vessel found;
'Tis hollow, and returns a jarring found.
Yet, thy moist clay is pliant to command; Unwrought, and eafy to the potter's hand: Now take the mold; now bend thy mind to feel The first sharp motions of the forming wheel. But thou haft land; a country-feat, fecure By a just title; costly furniture; A fuming-pan thy Lares to appease: What need of learning, when a man's at ease?
If this be not enough to fwell thy foul,
Then please thy pride, and search the herald's roll,
Where thou shalt find thy famous pedigree
Drawn from the root of fome old Tuscan tree;
And thou, a thousand off, a fool of long degree.
Who, clad in purple, canft thy cenfor greet;
And, loudly, call him coufin, in the street.
Such pageantry be to the people shown :
There boast they horfe's trappings, and thy own:
I know thee to thy bottom; from within
Thy fhallow center, to the utmost skin :
Doft thou not blush to live fo like a beast,
So trim, fo diffolute, fo loosely dreft?
But 'tis in vain: the wretch is drench'd too deep;
His foul is ftupid, and his heart asleep;
Fatten'd in vice; fo callous, and so gross,
He fins, and fees not; fenfelefs of his lofs.
Down goes the wretch at once, unskill'd to swim,
Hopeless to bubble up, and reach the water's brim.
Great Father of the Gods, when, for our crimes,
Thou fend'st some heavy judgment on the times;
Some tyrant-king, the terror of his age,
The type, and true vicegerent of thy rage;
Thus punish him: fet virtue in his fight,
With all her charms adorn'd, with all her graces
But fet her diftant, make him pale to fee
His gains outweigh'd by loft felicity!
Sicilian tortures, and the brazen bull,
Are emblems, rather than exprefs the full
Of what he feels: yet what he fears is more :
The wretch, who fitting at his plenteous board,
Look'd up, and view'd on high the pointed sword
Hang o'er his head, and hanging by a twine,
Did with lefs dread, and more fecurely dine
Ev'n in his fleep he starts, and fears the knife,
And, trembling, in his arms takes his accomplice wife;
Down, down, he goes; and from his darling friend
Conceals the woes his guilty dreams portend.
When I was young, I, like a lazy fool,
Would blear my eyes with oil, to stay from school:
Averfe from pains, and loath to learn the part
Of Cato, dying with a dauntless heart:
Though much my master, that stern virtue prais',
Which o'er the vanquisher the vanquish'd rais'd:
And my pleas'd father came, with pride, to fee
His boy defend the Roman liberty.
But then my study was to cog the dice,
And dextrously to throw the lucky fice:
To fhun ames-ace, that swept my stakes away;
And watch the box, for fear they should convey
Falfe bones, and put upon me in the play.
Careful, befides, the whirling top to whip,
And drive her giddy, till she fell asleep.
Thy years are ripe, nor art thou yet to learn
What's good or ill, and both their ends difcern :
Thou in the stoick-porch, severely bred,
Haft heard the dogmas of great Zeno read :
There on the walls, by Polygnotus' hand,
The conquer'd Medians in trunk-breeches ftand.
Where the fhorn youth to midnight lectures rise,
Rouz'd from their slumbers to be early wife :
Where the coarse cake, and homely husks of beans,
From pampering riot the young ftomach weans :
And where the Samian Y directs thy steps to run
To Virtue's narrow steep, and broad-way Vice to shun.
And yet thou fnor'ft; thou draw'ft thy drunken breath,
Sour with debauch; and sleep'st the sleep of death:
Thy chaps are fallen, and thy frame disjoin'd;
Thy body is diffolv'd, as is thy mind.
Haft thou not, yet, propos'd fome certain end, To which thy life, thy every act, may tend? Haft thou no mark, at which to bend thy bow? Or like a boy purfueft the carrion crow
With pellets, and with stones, from tree to tree:
A fruitless toil, and liv'ft extempore?
Watch the disease in time: for, when within
The dropfy rages, and extends the skin,
In vain for Hellebore the patient cries,
And fees the doctor; but too late is wife :
Too late, for cure, he proffers half his wealth
Conquest and Guibbons cannot give him health.
Learn, wretches, learn the motions of the mind,
Why you were made, for what you were defign'd;
And the great moral end of human kind.
Study thyself: what rank or what degree
The wife Creator has òrdain'd for thee:
And all the offices of that estate
Perform; and with thy prudence guide thy fate.
Pray justly, to be heard: nor more defire
Than what the decencies of life require.
Learn what thou ow'ft thy country, and thy friend;
What 's requifite to fpare, and what to spend :
Learn this; and after, envy not the ftore
Of the greas'd advocate, that grinds the poor:
Fat fees from the defended Umbrian draws;
And only gains the wealthy client's cause.
To whom the Marfians more provifion fend,
Than he and all his family can spend.
Gammons, that give a relish to the taste,
And potted fowl, and fish, come in so fast,
That ere the first is out, the second stinks:
And mouldy mother gathers on the drinks.
But, here, fome captain of the land or fleet,
Stout of his hands, but of a foldier's wit;
Cries, I have fenfe to ferve my turn, in store;
And he's a rafcal who pretends to more.
Dammee, what-e'er those book-learn'd blockheads say,
Solon's the veryeft fool in all the play.
Top-heavy drones, and always looking down,
(As over-ballafted within the crown!)
Muttering betwixt their lips fome mystic thing,
Which, well examin'd, is flat conjuring,
Meer madmen's dreams: for what the fchools have
Is only this, that nothing can be brought
From nothing; and, what is, can ne'er be turn'd to