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What are thou life, that we should court thy stay?
A breath, one single gasp must puff away!
A short-liv'd flower, that with the day muft fade!
A fleeting vapour, and an empty shade!
A stream, that filently but swiftly glides
To meet eternity's immeasur’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 transient now is past,
And death more near this fentence, than the last !
As some weak Isthmus feas from seas divides,
Beat by rude waves, and fap'd by rushing tides,
Torn from its base, no more their fury bears,
At once they close, at once it disappears :
Such, such is life! the mark of misery plac'd
Between two worlds, the future and the past;
To time, to sickness, and to death a prey,
It finks, the frail poffeffion of a day !
As some fond boy, in sport, along the more
Builds from the fands a fabric of an hour;
Proud of his spacious walls, and stately rooms,
He styles the mimic cells imperial domes:
The little monarch fwells with fancy'd sway :
Till some wind rising puffs the dome away;
So the poor reptile, man! an heir of woe,
The lord of earth and ocean, swells in show;
He plants, he builds, aloft the walls arise!
The noble plan he finishes, and dies.
Swept from the earth, he shares the common fate,
His sole distinction now, to rot in ftate !
Thus busy to no end till out of breath,
Tir'd we lie down, and close up all in death.
Then blest the man whom gracious heaven has led
Through life's blind mazes to th' immortal dead!
Who safely landed on the blissful shore,
Nor human folly feels nor frailty more!
0! Death, thou cure of all our idle (trife!
End of the gay, or serious farce of life!
Wish of the just, and refuge of th' opprest!
Where poverty, and where ev'n kings find rest!
Safe, from the frowns of power! calm, thoughtful
And the rude insults of the fcornful great!
The grave is sacred! wrath and malice dread
To violate its peace, and wrong the dead :
But, life, thy name is woe! to death we fly
Το grow immortal into life we die!
Then wisely heaven in silence has confin'd
The happier dead, lest 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 scatter'd atoms bear
To earth's extremes through all th' expanse of air;
Yet bursting glorious from the filent clay,
He mounts triumphant to eternal day.
So when the sun rolls down th' etliereal plain,
Extinct his fplendors in the whelming main :
A transient night earth, air, and heaven invades,
Eclips'd in horrors of surrounding lades :
But soon, emerging with a fresher ray,
He starts exultant, and renews the day.
My eyes with foods of tears o'erflow,
My bosom heaves with constant woe;
Those eyes, which thy unkindness swells,
That bosom, where thy image dwells !
How could I hope so weak a flame
Could ever warm that matchlefs dame,
When none Elysium must behold,
Without a radiant bough of gold ?
"Tis hers, in spheres to shine,
At distance to admire, is mine:
Doom'd, like th’enamour'd * youth, to groan
For a new goddess form’d of stone.
While thus I spoke, Love's gentle power
Descended from th' athereal bower ;
A quiver at his shoulder hung,
A shaft he grasp'd, and bow unstrung.
All nature own’d the genial God,
And the spring flourish'd where he trod :
My heart, no ftranger to the guest,
Flutter'd, and labour'd in my breast
* Polydorus, who pined to death for the love of a beautiful ftatue. 3
When , with a smile that kindles joy
Ev’n in the Gods, began the boy :
How vain these tears ! is man decreed,
By being abject, to succeed ?
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 disputes the field :
Sent from a daring hand my dart
Strikes deep into the fair-one's heart :
To winds and wayes thy cares bequeath,
A sigh is but a waste of breath :
What though gay youth, and every grace
That beauty boasts, adorn her face,
Yet Goddesses 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 she flies
Of Phæbus, when his beams arise ;
But when his glory he displays,
And darts around his fiercer rays,
Her charms she 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 fallin, a loft, a miserable maid.
Ye winds, that witness to my deep despair,
Receive my sighs, and waft them through the air,
And gently breathe them to my Damon's ear!
Curst, ever curst be that unlucky day,
When trembling, fighing, at my feet he lay,
I trembled, figh’d, and look'd my heart
Why was he form’d, ye powers, his fex's pride,
Too false to love, too fair to be deny'd ?
Ye heedless virgins, gaze not on his eyes ;
Lovely they are, bụt 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 blest Arcadian swains,
Inhabitants of these delightful plains,
Say, by what fountain, in what rosy bower,
Reclines my charmer in the noon-tide hour!
To you, dear fugitive, where'er you stray,
Wild with despair, impatient of delay,