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The hapless nymph with wonder saw; A whisker first, and then a claw,
With many an ardent wish, She stretch'd, in vain, to reach the prize. What female heart can gold despise ? What Cat's averse to fish?
Presumptuous maid! with looks intent Again she stretch'd, again she bent,
Nor knew the gulf between.
Eight times emerging from the flood,
No Dolphin came, no Nereid stirr'd:
From hence, ye beauties, undeceived, Know, one false step is ne'er retrieved, And be with caution bold.
Not all that tempts your wandering eyes And heedless hearts is lawful prize,
Nor all, that glisters, gold.
ON A DISTANT
PROSPECT OF ETON COLLEGE.
̓́Ανθρωπος, ἱκανὴ πρόφασις εἰς τὸ δυστυχεῖν.
YE distant spires, ye antique towers,
Ah, happy hills! ah, pleasing shade!
Where once my careless childhood stray'd
I feel the gales that from ye blow
*King Henry the Sixth, founder of the College,
As waving fresh their gladsome wing, My weary soul they seem to sooth, And, redolent of joy and youth, To breathe a second Spring.
Say, father Thames, for thou hast seen
The captive linnet which enthral ?
While some on earnest business bent,
Some bold adventurers disdain
And unknown regions dare descry:
Gay hope is theirs by fancy fed,
Less pleasing when possess'd; The tear forgot as soon as shed, The sunshine of the breast.
Theirs buxom health, of rosy hue,
And lively cheer, of vigour born;
That fly the approach of morn.
Alas! regardless of their doom,
And black Misfortune's baleful train! Ah, show them where in ambush stand, To seize their prey, the murderous band! Ah, tell them they are men!
These shall the fury Passions tear,
And Shame that skulks behind;
That inly gnaws the secret heart; And Envy wan, and faded Care, Grim-visaged comfortless Despair,
And Sorrow's piercing dart.
Ambition this shall tempt to rise,
To bitter Scorn a sacrifice,
And grinning Infamy.
That mocks the tear it forced to flow;
Lo! in the vale of years
To each his sufferings: all are men,
The tender for another's pain,
And happiness too swiftly flies?