« EelmineJätka »
Fortune, we most unjustly partial call,
a mistress free, who bids alike to all;
but on such terms as only suit the base,
honour denies and shuns the foul embrace.
The honest man, who starves and is undone,
nor fortune, but his virtue keeps him down.
Had Cato bent beneath the conquering cause,
he might have liv'd to give new senates laws;
but on vile terms disdaining to be great,
he perish'd by his choice, and not his fate.
Honours and life, th' usurper bids, and all
that vain mistaken men good-fortune call,
virtue forbids, and sets before his eyes
an honest death, which he accepts, and dies:
O glorious resolution! noble pride!
more honour'd, than the tyrant liv'd, he dy'd;
more lov'd, more prais'd, more envy'd in his doom,
than Cæsar trampling on the rights of Rome.
The virtuous nothing fear, but life with shame,
and death's a pleasant road that leads to fame.
On bones, and scraps of dogs let me be fed,
my limbs uncover'd, and expos'd my head
to bleakest colds, a kennel be my bed.
This, and all other matyrdom for thee,
seems glorious, all, thrice beautious honesty!
judge me, ye powers! let fortune tempt or frown
I stand prepar'd, my honour is my own.
Ye great disturbers, who in endless noise,
in blood and rapine seek unnatural joys;
for what is all this bustle but to shun
those thoughts with which you dare not be alone?
As men in misery, opprest with care,
seek in the rage of wine to drown despair. Let others fight, and eat their bread in blood,
regardless if the cause be bad or good;
or cringe in courts, depending on the nods
of strutting pigmies who would pass for gods.
For me, unpractis'd in the courtiers' school,
who loathe a knave, and tremble at a fool;
who honour generous Wycherley opprest,
possest of little, worthy of the best,
rich in himself, in virtue that outshines
all but the fame of his immortal lines,
more than the wealthiest lord, who helps to drain the famish'd land, and rolls in impious gain: what can I hope in courts? Or how succeed? tygers and wolves shall in the ocean breed, the whale and dolphin fatten on the mead; and every element exchange it's kind, ere thriving honesty in courts we find. Happy the man, of mortals happiest he, whose quiet mind from vain desires is free; whom neither hopes deceive, nor fears torment, but lives at peace, within himself content, in thought, or act, accountable to none, but to himself, and to the gods alone: O sweetness of content! seraphic joys! which nothing wants, and nothing can destroy. Where dwells this peace, this freedom of the mind! where, but in shades remote from human kind; in flowery vales, where nymphs and shepherds meet, but never comes within the palace gate.
Farewell then cities, courts, and camps, farewell, welcome, ye groves, here let me ever dwell,
cares, from business, and mankind remove,
all but the muses, and inspiring love:
how sweet the morn! how gentle is the night! how calm the evening! and the day how bright!
From hence, as from a hill, I view below the crowded world, a mighty wood in show, where several wanderers travel day and night, by different paths, and none are in the right.
Corinna, in the bloom of youth
was coy to every lover,
regardless of the tenderest truth,
no soft complaint could move her.
Mankind was her's, all at her feet
lay prostrate and adoring;
the witty, handsome, rich and great,
in vain alike imploring.
But now grown old, she would repair
her loss of time, and pleasure;
with willing eyes, and wanton air,
inviting every gazer.
But love's a summer flower, that dies
with the first weather's changing,
the lover, like the swallow, flies
from sun to sun still ranging.
Myra, let this example move
your foolish heart to reason;
youth is the proper time for love,
and age is virtue's season.
MEDITATION ON DEATH.
Enough, enough, my soul, of worldly noise, of aëry pomps, and fleeting joys; what does this busy world provide at best,
but brittle goods that break like glass, but poison'd sweets, a troubled feast,
and pleasures like the winds, that in a moment pass? thy thoughts to nobler meditations give,
and study how to die, not how to live.
How frail is beauty? Ah! how vain, and how short-liv'd those glories are, that vex our nights and days with pain, and break our hearts with care!
in dust we no distinction see,
such Helen is, such, Myra, thou must be.
How short is life? why will vain courtiers toil,
and crowd a vainer monarch, for a smile?
what is that monarch, but a mortal man,
his crown a pageant, and his life a span?
with all his guards and his dominions, he
must sicken too, and die as well as we.
Those boasted names of conquerors and kings
are swallow'd, and become forgotten things:
one destin'd period men in common have,
the great, the base, the coward, and the brave,
all food alike for worms, companions in the grave.
The prince and parasite together lie,
no fortune can exalt, but death will climb as high.
Since truth and constancy are vain,
since neither love nor sense of pain,
nor force of reason can persuade,
then let example be obey'd.
In courts and cities, could you see
how well the wanton fools agree;
were all the curtains drawn, you'd find
not one, perhaps, but who is kind,
Minerva, naked from above,
with Venus and the wife of Jove,
exposing ev'ry beauty bare,
descending to the Trojan heir;
yet this was she whom poets name
goddess of chastity and fame.
Penelope, her lord away,
gave am'rous audiences all day;
now round the bowl the suitors sit,
with wine, provoking mirth and wit,
then down they take the stubborn bow,
their strength, it seems, she needs must know.
Thus twenty cheerful winters past,
she's yet immortaliz'd for chaste.
Smile Myra, then, reward my flame,
and be as much secure of fame;
by all those matchless beauties fir'd,
by my own matchless love inspir'd;
so will I sing, such wonders write,
that when th' astonish'd world shall cite
a nymph of spotless worth and fame,
Myra shall be th' immortal name.