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"But virtue can itself advance
"To what the fav'rite fools of chance
"By fortune feem'd defign'd:
"Virtue can gain the odds of fate,
"And from itfelf fhake off the weight
Y the blue taper's trembling light,
No more I waste the wakeful night,
Intent with endless view to pore
The schoolmen and the fages o'er:
Their books from wisdom widely stray,
Or point at best the longest way.
I'll feek a readier path, and go
Where wisdom's furely taught below.
How deep yon azure dies the sky!
Where orbs of gold unnumber'd lye,
While thro' their ranks in filver pride
The nether crefcent feems to glide.
The flumb'ring breeze forgets to breathe,
The lake is smooth and clear beneath,
Where once again the fpangled fhow
Defcends to meet our eyes below.
The grounds which on the right aspire,
In dimnefs from the view retire:
The left prefents a place of graves,
Whofe wall the filent water laves.
That fteeple guides thy doubtful fight
Among the livid gleams of night.
There pass with melancholy state,
By all the folemn heaps of fate ;
And think, as foftly-fad you tread
Above the venerable dead,
Time was, like thee they life poffeft,
And time fhall be, that thou shalt rest.
Thofe graves, with bending ofier bound,
That nameless heave the crumbled ground,
Quick to the glancing thought difclose,
Where toil and poverty repofe.
The flat smooth ftones that bear a name,
The chiffel's flender help to fame,
(Which ere our fet of friends decay
Their frequent fteps may wear away ;)
A midile race of mortals own,
Men, half ambitious, all unknown.
The marble tombs that rife on high,
Whofe dead in vaulted arches lie,
Whofe pillars fwell with fculptur'd ftones,
Arms, angels, epitaphs, and bones;
Thefe, all the poor remains of ftate,
Adorn the rich, or praise the great;
Who, while on earth, in fame they live,
Are fenfelefs of the fame they give.
Ha! while I gaze, pale Cynthia fades,
The bursting earth unveils the shades!
All flow, and wan, and wrapt with shrouds,
They rife in vifionary crowds;
And all with fober accent cry,
Think, mortal, what it is to die.
Now from yon black and fun'ral yew,
That bathes the charnel-house with dew,
Methinks, I hear a voice begin;
(Ye ravens, cease your croaking din,
Ye tolling clocks, no time refound
O'er the long lake and midnight ground.)
It fends a peal of hollow groans,
Thus fpeaking from among the bones.
When men my fcythe and darts fupply,
How great a king of fears am I !
They view me like the laft of things;
They make, and then they dread my flings;
Fools! if you lefs provok'd your fears,
No more my spectre-form appears.
Death's but a path that must be trod,
If man would ever pass to God:
port of calms, a ftate of ease
From the rough rage of fwelling seas.
Why then thy flowing fable ftoles,
Deep pendent cyprefs, mourning poles,
Loofe fcarfs to fall athwart thy weeds,
Long palls, drawn herfes, cover'd steeds,
And plumes of black, that as they tread,
Nod o'er the 'fcutcheons of the dead?
Nor can the parted body know,
Nor wants the foul, thefe forms of woe:
As men who long in prifon dwell,
With lamps that glimmer round the cell,
When-e'er their fuff'ring years are run,
Spring forth to greet the glitt'ring fun :
Such joy, tho' far tranfcending fenfe,
Have pious fouls at parting hence.
On earth, and in the body plac'd,
A few, and evil, years they waste :
But when their chains are caft afide,
See the glad fcene unfolding wide,
Clap the glad wing, and tow'r away,
And mingle with the blaze of day.
But (truft me Gentles!) never yet
Was dight a masquing half so neat,
Or half fo rich before:
The country lent the sweet perfumes,
The fea the pearl, the fky the plumes,
The town its filken ftore.
Now whilst he gaz'd, a gallant dreft,
In flaunting robes above the rest,
With awful accent cry'd ;
What mortal of a wretched mind,
Whofe fighs infect the balmy wind,
Has here prefum'd to hide ?
At this the fwain, whofe vent'rous foul
No fears of magic art controul,
Advanc'd in open fight;
"Nor have I caufe of dreed, he faid,
"Who view by no presumption led "Your revels of the night.
""Twas grief, for scorn of faithful love, "Which made my steps unweeting rove, "Amid the nightly dew."
'Tis well the gallant cries again,
We fairies never injure men
Who dare to tell us true.