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What are thou life, that we fhould court thy ftay?
A breath, one fingle gasp must puff away!
A fhort-liv'd flower, that with the day must fade ?
A fleeting vapour, and an empty shade!
A ftream, that filently but fwiftly glides
To meet eternity's immeafur'd tides!
A being, loft alike by pain or joy!
A fly can kill it, or a worm destroy!
Impair'd by labour, and by ease undone,
Commenc'd in tears, and ended in a groan!
Ev'n while I write, the tranfient Now is past,
And death more near this fentence, than the laft!
As fome weak Ifthmus feas from feas divides,
Beat by rude waves, and fap'd by rushing tides,
Torn from its bafe, no more their fury bears,
At once they clofe, at once it disappears :
Such, fuch is life! the mark of mifery plac'd
Between two worlds, the future and the past ;
To time, to ficknefs, and to death a prey,
It finks, the frail poffeffion of a day!
As fome fond boy, in sport, along the shore
Builds from the fands a fabric of an hour;
Proud of his fpacious walls, and stately rooms,
He ftyles the mimic cells imperial domes:
The little monarch fwells with fancy'd sway :
Till fome wind rifing puffs the dome away;
So the poor reptile, man! an heir of woe,
The lord of earth and ocean, fwells in fhow;
He plants, he builds, aloft the walls arife!
The noble plan he finishes, and-dies.
Swept from the earth, he shares the common fate,
His fole diftinction now, to rot in state!
Thus bufy to no end till out of breath,
Tir'd we lie down, and close up all in death.
Then bleft the man whom gracious heaven has led
Through life's blind mazes to th' immortal dead !
Who fafely landed on the blissful shore,
Nor human folly feels nor frailty more!
O! Death, thou cure of all our idle ftrife!
End of the gay, or ferious farce of life!
Wish of the juft, and refuge of th' oppreft!
Where poverty, and where ev'n kings find rest!
Safe, from the frowns of power! calm, thoughtful
And the rude infults of the fcornful great!
The grave is facred! wrath and malice dread
To violate its peace, and wrong the dead:
But, life, thy name is woe! to death we fly
To grow immortal!-into life we die!
Then wifely heaven in filence has confin'd
The happier dead, left none should stay behind.
What though the path be dark that must be trod,
Though man be blotted from the works of God,
Though the four winds his fcatter'd atoms bear
To earth's extremes through all th' expanfe of air;
Yet bursting glorious from the filent clay,
He mounts triumphant to eternal day,
So when the fun rolls down th' ethereal plain, Extinct his fplendors in the whelming main:
A tranfient night earth, air, and heaven invades,
Eclips'd in horrers of furrounding shades:
But foon, emerging with a fresher ray,`
He starts exultant, and renews the day.
MY eyes with floods of tears o'erflow,
My bofom heaves with conftant woe;
Thofe eyes, which thy unkindness fwells,
That bofom, where thy image dwells!
How could I hope fo weak a flame
Could ever warm that matchlefs dame,
When none Elyfium muft behold,
Without a radiant bough of gold?
"Tis hers, in fpheres to fhine,
At distance to admire, is mine:
Doom'd, like th' enamour'd * youth, to groan
For a new goddess form'd of ftone.
While thus I fpoke, Love's gentle power
Defcended from th' æthereal bower;
A quiver at his shoulder hung,
A fhaft he grafp'd, and bow unftrung.
All nature own'd the genial God,
And the fpring flourish'd where he trod :
My heart, no stranger to the guest,
Flutter'd, and labour'd in
*Polydorus, who pined to death for the love of a
When, with a fmile that kindles joy
Ev'n in the Gods, began the boy :
How vain thefe tears! is man decreed,
By being abject, to fucceed?
Hop'st thou by meagre looks to move?
Are women frighten'd into love?
He most prevails who nobly dares ;
In love an hero, as in wars:
Ev'n Venus may be known to yield,
But 'tis when Mars difputes the field:
Sent from a daring hand my dart
Strikes deep into the fair-one's heart :
To winds and waves thy cares bequeath,
A figh is but a waste of breath:
What though gay youth, and every grace
That beauty boafts, adorn her face,
Yet Goddeffes have deign'd to wed,
And take a mortal to their bed:
And heaven, when gifts of incense rise,
Accepts it, though it cloud their skies.
Mark! how this marygold conceals
Her beauty, and her bosom veils,
How from the dull embrace the flies
Of Phoebus, when his beams arife;
But when his glory he displays,
And darts around his fiercer rays,
Her charms fhe opens, and receives
The vigorous God into her leaves,
Who was once the glory of the plain,
The fairest virgin of the virgin train,
Am now (by thee, O ! faithless man, betray'd!)
A fall'n, a loft, a miferable maid.
Ye winds, that witness to my deep defpair,
Receive my fighs, and waft them through the air,
And gently breathe them to my Damon's ear!
Curft, ever curst be that unlucky day,
When trembling, fighing, at my feet he lay,
I trembled, figh'd, and look'd my heart away!
Why was he form'd, ye powers, his fex's pride,
Too falfe to love, too fair to be deny'd ?
Ye heedlefs virgins, gaze not on his eyes;
Lovely they are, but she that gazes dies!
O fly his voice, be deaf to all he says,
Charms has his voice, but charming it betrays!
At every word, each motion of his eye,
A thousand loves are born, a thousand lovers die.
Say, gentle youths, ye bleft Arcadian fwains,
Inhabitants of thefe delightful plains,
Say, by what fountain, in what rofy bower,
Reclines my charmer in the noon-tide hour!
To you, dear fugitive, where'er you stray,
Wild with despair, impatient of delay,