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See! while he builds, the gaudy vassals come,
VANITY OF HUMAN WISHES.
IN IMITATION OF THE TENTU SATIRE OF JUVENAL The polish'd marble and the shining plate, Orgilio sees the golden pile aspire,
LET observation, with extensive view, And hopes from angry Heav'n another fire.
Survey mankind from China to Peru; Couldst thou resign the park and play content, Remark each anxious toil, each eager strife, For the fair banks of Severn or of Trent;
And watch the busy scenes of crowded life; There might'st thou find some elegant retreat, Then say how hope and fear, desire and hate, Some hireling senator's deserted seat;
O'erspread with snares the clouded maze of fate, And stretch thy prospects o'er the smiling land, Where wav'ring man, betray'd by vent'rous pride For less than rent the dungeons of the Strand; To chase the dreary paths without a guide, There prune thy walk, support thy drooping As treach’rous phantoms in the mist delude, flowers,
Shuns fancied ills, or chases airy good ; Direct thy rivulets, and twine thy bowers;
How rarely reason guides the stubborn choice, And, while thy groupds a cheap repast afford, Rules the bold hand, or prompts the suppliant voice; Despise the dainties of a venal lord :
How nations sink by darling schemes oppress’d, There ev'ry bush with Nature's music rings,
When vengeance listens to the fool's request. There ev'ry breeze bears health upon its wings;
Fate wings with ev'ry wish th' afflictive dart, On all thy hours security shall smile,
Each gift of nature and each grace of art;
Impeachment stops the speaker's pow'rful breath, Some fiery fop, with new commission vain,
And restless fire precipitates on death. Who sleeps on brambles till he kills his man;
But, scarce observ'd, the knowing and the bold Some frolic drunkard, reeling from a feast,
Fall in the gen'ral massacre of gold; Provokes a broil, and stabs you for a jest.
Wide-wasting pest! that rages unconfin'd, Yet ev’n these heroes, mischievously gay ; And crowds with crimes the records of mankind. Lords of the street and terrors of the way; For gold his sword the hireling ruffian draws, Flush'd as they are with folly, youth, and wine, For gold the hireling judge distorts the laws; Their prudent insults to the poor confine ; Wealth heap'd on wealth, nor truth nor safety buys, Afar they mark the flambeau's bright approach, The dangers gather as the treasures rise. And shun the shining train, and golden coach.
Let hist’ry tell where rival kings command, In vain, these dangers past, your doors you close, And dubious title shakes the madded land, And hope the balmy blessings of repose ; When statutes glean the refuse of the sword, Cruel with guilt, and daring with despair, How much more safe the vassal than the lord; The midnight murd'rer bursts the faithless bar; Low skulks the hind beneath the rage of power, Invades the sacred hour of silent rest,
And leaves the wealthy traitor in the Tower, And leaves, unseen, a dagger in your breast.
Untouch'd his collage, and his slumbers sound, Scarce can our fields, such crowds at Tyburn die, Though confiscation's vultures hover round. With hemp the gallows and the fleet supply. The needy traveller, serene and gay, Propose your schemes, ye senatorian band, Walks the wild heath and sings his toil away. Whose ways and means support the sinking land, Does envy seize thee? crush th' upbraiding joy, Lest ropes be wanting in the tempting spring, Increase his riches, and his peace destroy ; To rig another convoy for the king.
Now fears in dire vicissitude invade, A single jail, in ALFRED's golden reign,
The rustling brake alarms, and quiv’ring shade, Could half the nation's criminals contain ;
Nor light nor darkness bring his pain relief, Fair Justice, then, without constraint ador’d,
One shows the plunder, and one hides the thief. Held high the steady scale, but sheath'd the sword;
Yet still one gen'ral cry the skies assails, No spies were paid, no special juries known,
And gain and grandeur load the tainted gales; Blest age! but ah! how diff'rent from our own!
Few know the toiling statesman's fear or care, Much could I add,—but see the boat at hand,
Th’insidious rival and the gaping heir.
See motley life in modern trappings dress’d,
caprice, Then shall thy friend, nor thou refuse his aid, Toil crush'd conceit, and man was of a piece ; Still foe to vice, forsake his Cambrian shade ; Where wealth unlov'd without a mourner died; In virtue's cause once more exert his rage,
And scarce a sycophant was fed by pride; Thy satire point, and animate thy page.
Where ne'er was known the form of mock debate, Or seen a new-made mayor's unwieldy state ; Where change of fav’rites made no change of laws And senates heard before they judgd a cause ; How wouldst thou shake at Britain's modish tribe Dart the quick taunt, and edge the piercing gibe ?
Attentive truth and nature to descry,
What murder'd Wentworth, and what exil'd Hyde And pierce each scene with philosophic eye, By kings protected, and to kings allied ? To thee were solemn toys, or empty show,
What but their wish indulg'd in courts to shine, The robes of pleasure, and the veils of woe: And pow'r too great to keep, or to resign. All aid the farce, and all thy mirth maintain, When first the college rolls receive his name, Whose joys are causeless, or whose griefs are vain. The young enthusiast quits his ease for fame;
Such was the scorn that fillid the sage's mind, Resistless burns the sever of renown, Renew'd at ev'ry glance on human-kind;
Caught from the strong contagion of the gown: How just that scorn ere yet thy voice declare, O'er Bodley's dome his future labors spread, Search ev'ry state, and canvass ev'ry pray'r.
And Bacon's mansion* trembles o'er his head. Unnumber'd suppliants crowd Preferment's gate, Are these thy views ? Proceed, illustrious youth, Athirst for wealth, and burning to be great ; And Virtue guard thee to the throne of Truth! Delusive Fortune hears th' incessant call,
Yet should thy soul indulge the gen'rous heat They mount, they shine, evaporate, and fall. Till caplive Science yields her last retreat ; On ev'ry stage the foes of peace altend,
Should reason guide thee with her brightest ray, Hate dogs their Night, and insult mocks their end. And pour on misty doubt resistless day; Love ends with hope, the sinking statesman's door Should no false kindness lure w loose delight, Pours in the morning worshipper no more ; Nor praise relax, nor difficulty fright; For growing names the weekly scribbler lies, Should tempting Novelty thy cell refrain, To growing wealth the dedicator flies ;
And Sloth effuse her opiate fumes in vain; From ev'ry room descends the painted face, Should Beauty blunt on fops her fatal dart, That hung the bright palladium of the place ;
Nor claim the triumph of a letter'd heart;
To better features yields the frame of gold; Nor Melancholy's phantoms haunt thy shade;
Yet hope not life from grief or danger free,
Nor think the doom of man revers'd for thee : The form distorted justifies the fall,
Deign on the passing world to turn thine eyes, And detestation rids th’indignant wall.
And pause awhile from letters to be wise ; But will not Britain hear the last appeal, There mark what ills the scholar's life assail, Sign her foes' doom, or guard her fav’rites' zeal ? Toil, envy, want, the patron, and the jail. Through Freedom's sons no more remonstrance See nations, slowly wise and meanly just, rings,
To buried merit raise the tardy bust. Degrading nobles and controlling kings ;
If dreams yet flatter, once again attend, Our supple tribes repress their patriot throats, Hear Lydiat's life, and Galileo's end. And ask no questions but the price of votes ; Nor deem, when Learning her last prize bestows, With weekly lihels and septennial ale,
The glittering eminence exempt from foes ; Their wish is full to riot and to rail.
See, when the vulgar 'scapes, despis'd or aw'd, In full-blown dignity, see Wolsey stand, Rebellion's vengeful talons seize on Laud. Law in his voice, and fortune in his hand : From meaner minds, though smaller fines content, To him the church, the realm, their pow'rs con- The plunder'd palace, or sequester'd rent: sign,
Mark'd out by dang'rous parts, he meets the shock, Through him the rays of regal bounty shine ; And fatal Learning leads him to the block: Turn'd by his nod the stream of honor flows, Around his tomb let Art and Genius weep, His smile alone security bestows :
But hear his death, ye blockheads, hear and sleep. Still to new heights his restless wishes tow'r, The festal blazes, the triumphal show, Claim leads to claim, and pow'r advances pow'r; The ravish'd standard, and the captive foe, Till conquest unresisted ceas'd to please,
The senate's thanks, the gazette's pompous tale, And rights submitted left him none to seize : With force resistless o'er the brave prevail. At length his sov'reign frowns—the train of state Such bribes the rapid Greek o'er Asia whirld, Mark the keen glance, and watch the sign to hate. For such the steady Roman shook the world ; Where'er he turns, he meets a stranger's eye,
For such in distant lands the Britons shine, His suppliants scorn him, and his followers Aly; And stain with blood the Danube or the Rhine; Now drops at once the pride of awful state, This pow'r has praise, that virtue scarce can warm The golden canopy, the glitt'ring plate,
Till fame supplies the universal charm. The regal palace, the luxurious board,
Yet Reason frowns on War's unequal game, The liv'ried army, and the menial lord.
Where wasted nations raise a single name ; With age, with cares, with maladies oppress’d, And mortgag'd states their grandsi res’ wreaths regret He seeks the refuge of monastic rest.
From age to age in everlasting debt; Grief aids disease, remember'd folly stings, Wreaths which at last the dear-bought right convey And his last sighs reproach the faith of kings. To rust on medals, or on stones decay.
Speak thou whose thoughts at humble peace repine, On what foundation stands the warrior's pride,
No dangers fright him, and no labors tire,
* There is a tradition, that the study of Friar Bacon, Why but to sink beneath misfortune's blow,
built on an arch over the bridge, will fall when a man With louder ruin to the gulfs below.
greater than Bacon shall pass under it. To prevent so What gave great Villiers to th' assassin's knife, shocking an accident, it was pulled down many years And fix'd disease on Harley's closing life?
O'er love, o'er fear, extends his wide domain, In vain their gists the bounteous seasons pour,
With listless eyes the dotard views the store, War sounds the trump, he rushes to the field; He views, and wonders that they please no more Behold surrounding kings their pow'rs combine, Now pall the tasteless meals, and joyless wines, And one capitulate, and one resign;
And Luxury with sighs her slave resigns. Peace courts his hand, but spreads her charms in vain; Approach, ye minstrels, try the soothing strain, “Think nothing gain’d,” he cries, “ull nought Diffuse the tuneful lenitives of pain: remain,
No sounds, alas! would touch th' impervious ear On Moscow's walls till Gothic standards fly, Though dancing mountains witness'd Orpheus And all be mine beneath the polar sky."
near; The march begins in military state,
Nor lute nor lyre his feeble pow'rs attend, And nations on his eye suspended wait;
Nor sweeter music of a virtuous friend;
But everlasting dictates crowd his tongue,
Perplex the fawning niece, and pamper'd guest, The vanquish'd hero leaves his broken bands, While growing hopes scarce awe the gath'ring sneer, And shows his miseries in distant lands;
And scarce a legacy can bribe to hear: Condemn'd a needy supplicant to wait,
The watchful guests still hint the last offence; While ladies interpose, and slaves debate. The daughter's petulance, the son's expense, But did not Chance at length her error mend ? Improve his heady rage with treach'rous skill, Did no subverted empire mark his end ?
And mould his passions till they make his will. Did rival monarchs give the fatal wound?
Unnumber'd maladies his joints invade, Or hostile millions press him to the ground? Lay siege to life, and press the dire blockade; His fall was destined to a barren strand,
But unextinguish'd av'rice still remains, A petty fortress, and a dubious hand;
And dreaded losses aggravate his pains; He left the name, at which the world grew pale, He turns, with anxious heart and crippled hands, To point a inoral, or adorn a tale.
His bonds of debt, and mortgages of lands; All times their scenes of pompous woes afford, Or views his coffers with suspicious eyes, From Persia's tyrant to Bavaria's lord.
Unlocks his gold, and counts it till he dies. In gay hostility and barb'rous pride,
But grant, the virtues of a temp'rate prime With half mankind embatiled at his side,
Bless with an age exempt from scorn or crime; Great Xerxes comes to seize the certain prey, An age that melts with unperceiv'd decay, And starves exhausted regions in his way ;
And glides in modest innocence away ;
To press the weary minutes' Ragging wings;
Year chases year, decay pursues decay.
Superfluous lags the vet'ran on the stage, Tries the dread summits of Cæsarean pow'r, Till pitying Nature signs the last release, With unexpected legions bursts away,
And bids afflicted worth retire to peace. And sees defenceless realms receive his sway: But few there are whom hours like these await Short sway! fair Austria spreads her mournful Who set unclouded in the gulfs of Fate. charms,
From Lydia's monarch should the search descend, The queen, the beauty, sets the world in arms; By Solon caution'd to regard his end, From hill to hill the beacon's rousing blaze In life's last scene what prodigies surprise, Spreads wide the hope of plunder and of praise; Fears of the brave, and follies of the wise! The fierce Croatian, and the wild Hussar,
From Marlb'rough's eyes the streams of dotage flow With all the sons of ravage crowd the war; And Swift expires a driv'ler and a show. The baffled prince, in honor's fatt'ring bloom The teeming mother, anxious for her race, Of hasty greatness, finds the fatal doom;
Begs for each birth the fortune of a face;
“Enlarge my life with multitude of days "" Ye nymphs of rosy lips and radiant eyes,
By day the frolic, and the dance by night;
Who frown with vanity, who smile with art, And shuts up all the passages of joy:
And ask the latest fashion of the heart;
What care, what rules, your heedless charms shall Vice always found a sympathetic friend; save,
They pleas'd their age, and did not aim to mend. Each nymph your rival, and each youth your slave? Yet bards like these aspir'd to lasting praise, Against your fame with fondness hate combines, And proudly hop'd to pimp in future days. The rival batters, and the lover mines.
Their cause was gen’ral, their supports were strong, With distant voice neglected Virtue calls,
Their slaves were willing, and their reign was long : Less heard and less, the faint remonstrance falls; Till Shame regain'd the post that Sense betray'd, Tir'd with contempt, she quits the slipp'ry rein, And Virtue callid Oblivion to her aid. And Pride and Prudence take her seat in vain. Then, crush'd by rules, and weaken'd as refin'd, In crowd at once, where none the pass defend, For years the pow'r of Tragedy declind; The harmless freedom, and the private friend. From bard to bard the frigid caution crept, The guardians yield, by force superior plied : Till Declamation roar'd whilst Passion slept ; To Int'rest, Prudence; and to Flatt'ry, Pride. Yet still did Virtue deign the stage to tread, Here Beauty falls betray'd, despis'd, distress'd, Philosophy remain'd, though Nature filed. And hissing Infamy proclaims the rest.
But forc'd, at length, her ancient reign to quit, Where then shall Hope and Fear their objects find? She saw great Faustus lay the ghost of Wit; Must dull Suspense corrupt the stagnant mind? Exulting Folly hail'd the joyful day, Must helpless man, in ignorance sedate,
And Pantomime and Song confirm’d her sway. Roll darkling down the torrent of his fate?
But who the coming changes can presage, Must no dislike alarm, no wishes rise,
And mark the future periods of the stage? No cries invoke the mercies of the skies?
Perhaps, if skill could distant times explore, Inquirer, cease ; petitions yet remain
New Behns, new Durseys, yet remain in store; Which Heav'n may hear, nor deem religion vain. Perhaps where Lear has rav'd, and Hamlet died, Still raise for good the supplicating voice,
On flying cars new sorcerers may ride : But leave to Heav'n the measure and the choice : Perhaps (for who can guess th' effects of chance ?) Safe in his pow'r, whose eyes discern afar Here Hunt may box, or Mahomet* may dance. The secret ambush of a specious pray'r;
Hard is his lot that, here by Fortune plac'd, Implore his aid, in his decisions rest,
Must watch the wild vicissitudes of taste; Secure, whate'er he gives, he gives the best. With every meteor of caprice must play, Yet, when the sense of sacred presence fires, And chase the new-blown bubbles of the day. And strong devotion to the skies aspires,
Ah! let not Censure term our fate our choice, Pour forth thy fervors for a healthful mind, The stage but echoes back the public voice ; Obedient passions, and a will resign'd;
The drama's laws, the drama's patrons give, For love, which scarce collective man can fill; For we that live to please, must please to live. For patience, sov'reign o'er transmuted ill;
Then prompt no more the follies you decry, For faith, that, panting for a happier seat,
As tyrants doom their tools of guilt to die ; Counts death kind Nature's signal of retreat : 'Tis yours, this night, to bid the reign commence These goods for man the laws of Heav'n ordain, Of rescued Nature and reviving Sense ; These goods he grants, who grants the pow'r to To chase the charms of sound, the pomp of show gain;
For useful mirth and salutary woe; With these celestial Wisdom calms the mind, Bid scenic Virtue form the rising age, And makes the happiness she does not find. And Truth diffuse her radiance from the stage.
DEATH OF MR. ROBERT LEVET,
A PRACTISER IN PHYSIC.
CONDEMN'D to Hope's delusive mine,
As on we toil from day to day, Existence saw him spurn her bounded reign,
By sudden blasts, or slow decline,
Our social comforts drop away.
Well tried through many a varying year,
Officious, innocent, sincere,
Of ev'ry friendless name the friend.
Yet still he fills affection's eye,
Obscurely wise, and coarsely kind; praise.
Nor, letter'd Arrogance, deny A mortal born, he met the gen'ral doom,
Thy praise to merit unrefin'd. But left, like Egypt's kings, a lasting lomb.
The wits of Charles found easier ways to fame, Nor wish'd for Jonson's art, or Shakspeare's flame. * Hunt, a famous boxer on the stage ; Mahomet, a rope. Themselves they studied, as they felt they writ; dancer, who had exhibited at Covent Garden theatre the Intrigue was plot, obscenity was wit.
winter before, said to be a Turk.