« EelmineJätka »
Aftrologers, that future fates forefhew,
Projectors, quacks, and lawyers not a few;
And priests, and party zealots, numerous bands
With home-born lies, or tales from foreign lands; 465
Each talk'd aloud, or in some secret place,
And wild impatience ftar'd in every face.
The flying rumors gather'd as they roll'd,
Scarce any tale was fooner heard than told;
And all who told it added fomething new,
And all who heard it made enlargements too,
In every ear it spread, on every tongue it
Thus flying east and weft, and north and south,
News travel'd with increase from mouth to mouth.
So from a fpark, that kindled first by chance,
With gathering force the
Till to the clouds their curling heads afpire,
And towers and temples fink in floods of fire.
When thus ripe lies are to perfection fprung,
Full grown, and fit to grace a mortal tongue,
Through thousand vents, impatient, forth they
And rush in millions on the world below,
Fame fits aloft, and points them out their course,
Their date determines, and prescribes their force :
Some to remain, and some to perish soon;
Or wane and wax alternate like the moon.
Around, a thousand winged wonders fly,
Borne by the trumpet's blast, and scatter'd through the
There, at one paffage, oft you might furvey
A lie and truth contending for the way;
And long 'twas doubtful, both so closely pent,
Which firft fhould iffue through the narrow vent:
At laft agreed, together out they fly,
Inseparable now, the truth and lyé;
The ftrict companions are for ever join'd,
And this or that unmix'd, no mortal e'er fhall find.
While thus I ftood, intent to fee and hear,
One came, methought, and whisper'd in my ear:
What could thus high thy rash ambition raise ?
Art thou, fond youth, a candidate for praise ?
'Tis true, faid I, not void of hopes I came,
For who so fond as youthful bards of Fame ?
But few, alas! the casual bleffing boast,
So hard to gain, so easy to be loft.
How vain that fecond life in others breath,
Th' eftate which wits inherit after death!
Eafe, health, and life, for this they must resign, (Unfure the tenure, but how vast the fine!)
The great man's curfe, without the gains, endure,
Be envy'd, wretched, and be flatter'd, poor;
All luckless wits their enemies profeft,
And all fuccessful, jealous friends at best.
Ver. 489. There, at one paffage, &c.]
And fometime I faw there at once,
A leifing and a fad footh faw
That gonnen at adventure draw
Out of a window forth to pace-
And no man, be he ever fo wrothe,
Shall have one of these two, but bothe, &c.
Nor Fame I flight, nor for her favours call;
She comes unlook'd-for, if fhe comes at all.
But if the purchase costs so dear a price
As foothing Folly, or exalting Vice:
Oh! if the Muse must flatter lawless sway,
And follow still where fortune leads the way;
Or if no bafis bear my rifing name,
But the fall'n ruins of another's fame;
Then, teach me, heaven! to fcorn the guilty bays,
Drive from my breast that wretched luft of praise,
Unblemish'd let me live, or die unknown;
Oh grant an honest fame, or grant me none !
THERE liv'd in Lombardy, as Authors write,
In days of old, a wife and worthy Knight;
Of gentle manners, as of generous race,
Bleft with much fenfe, more riches, and fome grace;
Yet, led aftray by Venus' foft delights,
He scarce could rule fome idle appetites :
For long ago, let Priests fay what they cou'd,
Weak finful laymen were but flesh and blood.
But in due time, when fixty years were o'er,
He vow'd to lead this vicious life no more;
Whether pure holiness inspir'd his mind,
Or dotage turn'd his brain, is hard to find ;
But his high courage prick'd him forth to wed,
And try the pleasures of a lawful bed.
This was his nightly dream, his daily care,
And to the heavenly powers his constant prayer,
Once ere he dy'd, to tafte the blissful life
Of a kind husband and a loving wife.
These thoughts he fortify'd with reasons ftill, (For none want reasons to confirm their will.)
Grave authors fay, and witty poets fing,
That honest wedlock is a glorious thing :
But depth of judgment most in him appears,
Who wifely weds in his maturer years.
Then let him chuse a damfel young and fair,
To blefs his age, and bring a worthy heir;
To footh his cares, and, free from noise and ftrife,
Conduct him gently to the verge of life.
Let finful batchelors their woes deplore,
Full well they merit all they feel, and more:
Unaw'd by precepts human or divine,
Like birds and beafts promifcuously they join:
Nor know to make the present blessing last,
To hope the future, or esteem the past:
But vainly boaft the joys they never try'd,
And find divulg'd the fecrets they would hide.
The marry'd man may bear his yoke with ease,
Secure at once himself and heaven to please;
And pass his inoffenfive hours away,
In bliss all night, and innocence all day :
Though fortune change, his conftant spouse remains, Augments his joys, or mitigates his pains.
But what fo pure, which envious tongues will spare? Some wicked wits have libel'd all the fair.
With matchless impudence they style a wife
The dear-bought curfe, and lawful plague of life;
A bofom-ferpent, a domeftic evil,
A night-invasion, and a mid-day devil.
Let not the wife these flanderous words regard,
But curfe the bones of every lying bard.