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Were future happiness and pain
A mere contrivance of the brain ;
As atheists argue, to entice
And fit their proselytes for vice
(The only comfort they propose,
To have companions in their woes):
Grant this the case ; yet fure 'tis hard
That virtue, styl'd its own reward,
And by all sages understood
To be the chief of human good,
Should acting die; nor leave behind
Some lasting pleasure in the mind,
Which by remembrance will allwage
Grief, sickness, poverty, and age,
And strongly shoot a radiant dart.
To shine through life's declining part.
Say, Stella; feel you no content,
Reflecting on a life well-spent ?
Your skilful hand employ'd to save
Despairing wretches froin the grave;
And then supporting with your store
"Those whom you draggd from death before ?
So Providence' on mortals waits,
Preserving what it first creates.
Your generous boldness to defend
An innocent and absent friend;
which can make you just
To merit humbled in the dust;
The detestation you express
For vice in all its glittering dress ;
That patience under tottering pain,
"Where stubborn Stoicks would complain;
Muft these like empty fhadows pass,
Or forms reflected from a glass?
Or mere-chimeras in the mind,
That fly, and leave no marks behind?
Does not the body thrive and grow
By food of twenty years ago?
And, had it not been still supply'd,
It must a thousand times have died.
Then who with reason can maintain
That no effects of food remain ?
And is not virtue in mankind
The nutriment that feeds the mind;
*Upheld by each good action part,
And still continued by the last ?
Then, who with-reason, can pretend
That all effects of virtue end ?
Believe me, Stella, when you flow
"That true contempt for things belowing
Nor prize your life for other ends
Than merely to oblige your friends;
Your former actions claim their part,
And join to fortify your leart.
For Virtue in her daily race,
Like Janus, bears a double-face ;
Look's back with joy where she has gone,
And therefore goes with courage on :
She-at your fickly couch will wait,
And guide you to a better stare,
O then, whatever Heaven intends,
Take pity on your pitying friends !
your ills affect
To fancy they can be unkind.
Me, surely me, you ought to spare,
Who gladly would your suffering share ;
Or give my scrap of life to you,
And think it far beneath your due ;
You, to whose care so oft I owe
That I 'm alive to tell you so.
Paraphrased, and inscribed to IRELAND. 1726.
Poor floating isle, tost on ill-fortune's waves,
Ordain’d by fate to be the land of Naves;
Shall moving Delos now deep-rooted stand :
Thou, fix'd of old, be now the moving land?
Although the metaphor be worn and stale,
Betwixt a state, and vessel under fail ;
Let me suppose thee for a ship a-while,
And thus address thee in the sailor's style :
UNHAPPY 1hip, thou art return'd in vain :
New waves shall drive thee to the deep again. Look to thyself, and be no more the sport of giddy winds, but make some friendly port.
Loit are the oars, that usd the courte to guide,
Like faithral cez os on erther tide.
Thy matt, which like ione aged patriae itaod
The tisgle pilar for his country's good,
To lead chee, as a ftatif directs the blind,
Behold it cracks br Foa rough eagern wind.
Your cables burii, and you muit quickly feel
The waves impetuous enter at your keel.
Thus commonwealths receive a foreign yoke,
When the strong cords of union once are broke.
Torn by a sudden tempest is thy fail,
Expanded to invite a milder gale.
As when some writer in a public cause
His pen, to save a Grking nation, draws,
While all is calm, his arguments prevail ;
The people's voice expands his paper-sail;
Till power, discharging all her stormy bags,
Flutters the feeble pamphlet into rags.
The nation scar'd, the author doom'd to death,
Who fondly put his trust in popular breath.
A larger sacrifice in vain you vow;
There is not a power above will help you now :
A nation thus, who ofi' Heaven's call neglects,
In vain from injur'd Heaven relief expects.
'Twill not avail, when thy strong fides are broke,
That thy descent is from the Britif oak;
Or, when your name and family you boast,
From fleets triumphant o'er the Gallic coast.
Such was lerne's claim, as just as chine,
Her fons descended from the British line;
Her matchless fons, whofe valour still remains.
On French records for twenty long campaigns:
Yet, from an emprefs now a captive grown,
She fav'd Britannia's rights, and lost her own
In ships décay'd no mariner confides,
Lurd by the gilded stern and painted fides-;
Yet at a ball unthinking fools delight
In the gay trappings of a birth-day night :
They on the gold brocades and fattins-ravid,
And quite forgot their country was enflav'd.
Dear vessel, still be to thy fteerage just,
Nor change thy course with every sudden gults
Like fupplè patriots of the modern fort,
Who turn with every gale that blows from court..
Weary and sea-sick when in thee confin'd,
Now for thy fafety cares distract my mind;
As those who long have stood the storms of state.
Retire, yet still bemoan their country's fate.
Beware, and when you hear the surges roar,
Avoid the rocks on Britain's angry fhore.
They lie, alas ! too easy to be found ;
For thee alone they lie the island round.