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The mean young man will condescend to seek
A rural Bashaw's seat; but for a week :
Th' indignant Landlord scorns, as well he might,
The proffer'd honour, as he scorn'd the slight
Which FLAVIUS show'd him when among the crowd
Of worldlings walk'd the coxcomb poor and proud.
All pride is littleness-but very low
The pride which unpaid tailors can bestow !—
The bigot for his narrow creed may have
Some reason, but a fool is fashion's slave;
Who, for a name's equivocal renown,
Would the best feelings of the heart disown.
Let brother triflers damn him as half-bred,
The charms of this much-boasted name are fled :
A word from fashion's high-priest,-sacred thing!
Will clip at once the young aspirant's wing.
Unhappy youth! whom fortune thus beguiles!
The lovely Peeress passes by, nor smiles.
The title "Exquisite" acquired with pain,
Like that of "Champion," is a doubtful gain.
The youth whose heart, replete with kindness, loved The world, whose generous acts that world approved, When all was new, and fancy gave a gloss
To life's realities that are but dross
In manhood, should his sanguine hopes be crost,
Is chill'd by apathy's unyielding frost ;
Save when arise some sudden gusts of spleen,
You scarce would guess that he had active been.
Dreary will be life's eve to SPORUS soon,
The black cloud of contempt o'erhangs his noon.
One moment's gaze on such a scene as this
Is worth whole years of artificial bliss.
When the sun gilds with his declining rays
The castle famed in great ELIZA's days,
I love to linger near its ruin'd walls,
Where ivy clusters, or luxuriant falls :
Then in my mind are suddenly revived
The days when SIDNEY, "flower of knighthood," lived.
That stainless hero! a propitious star
In peace; a splendid meteor in the war!
Th' unwearied light of valour on his crest
Shone, while in royal halls he look'd the best.
Such noble spirits to a higher sphere
Belong, and, ere we know them, disappear!
Now the calm sunset gives a mellow grace
To the vast pile; what pleasure 'tis to trace
The shadows of past greatness! not a sound
Is heard, while twilight gently steals around.
Here time appears resistless; but my soul
Says that one Power can time itself control:
The Power that hath reveal'd the promise sure,
That now, one boundless present, shall endure.
But what are works upraised by human skill?
Mere toys, Pride's splendid playthings, if you will.—
Nature, more prodigal, has always been
Most lavish of her treasures where unseen.
She, in vast solitudes delights to show
That without man's vain aid her nurslings grow
A giant brood; for there mimosas rise,
And the columnar cactus towers unto the skies;
There valleys look like worlds, o'er which the vast
Forests their shades interminably cast!
Where all is great, shall not man's heart expand,
Enlarging with the grandeur of the land?
There as the mind upsprings, from custom freed,
It scorns the courtier's fashionable creed,
Knowing itself how mean in Pride's abode,
How comprehensive 'mong the works of God.
The worst and best of passions there, the lust
Of wealth, the love of glory, give disgust;
And thought illimitable there would fain
The wisdom of earth's wisest sons disdain.
EUMOLPUS-child of Genius he-was made
To live "in the sun," and yet would seek the shade!
Thou dost remember well his fine dark eye,
Where shone enthroned the soul of Poesy;
His voice that silver-toned fit channel seem'd
For flow of wit with which his fancy teem'd;
His eloquent discourse now light, now full
Of thoughts profound and rare, but never dull.
Spite of these brilliant qualities that warm
The heart, and give to social life a charm,
This gifted being, to th' abodes of men
Preferr'd the mountain's height, or lonely glen.
But PSITTACUS, the bard, aspires to move
Among the rich and great, to court their love.
He labours every day to feel the effect
Of writing well, and trembles at neglect.
One might his highly polish'd wit compare
To the snow-diamond, beautiful and rare :
He knows indeed its worth; for every word
He asks the homage of the social board ;
And while his brilliants sparkle, Fame forbid
Their light should be beneath a bushel hid.
But though his Muse, in verse a very saint,
The beauties of a rural life can paint,
She ne'er with Nature's self communion held,
But felt that Power her energies had quell'd!
How few, while with their fellow-men they mix,
Write what they may, on Heaven their thoughts will fix!
Affections small but strong in union bind
With many threads to earth the giant mind;—
Then as man strays through Pleasure's flowery path,
Bursts on his head the vial of God's wrath !
Yet praise is dear to all—the world's, alas,
(As wet and dry affect the weather-glass)
Or given or withheld can raise or sink
The spirits; 'tis for that we act and think:
For that young DRUSUS, falling from his rank,
Into a wandering, would-be RosCIUS sank;
For that PATRICIUS would, a fruitless toil,
Enrich with German flowers his English soil;
E'en from his loved retreat the rural Bard
Seeks in the world's approval his reward.
Where's the Recluse, who, though it loudly strikes
His ear, the grateful voice of fame dislikes?
Thus rise from ROUSSEAU's genius, that illumes
The shrine of Nature, vanity's rank fumes.
The worshippers of glory, though sublime
Their maxims, are but great in prose and rhyme.
So weak is man, that when upraised at most,
The mind a partial flight can only boast:
Soon with a flagging wing 'twill stoop, and creep
Along the ground-Hear this, ye vain, and weep!
ANTIMACHUS (since such a name the muse
Reluctant for the wayward youth must choose)
Writes like an angel, but his actions stain
The else unsullied offspring of his brain.
He seems in contrarieties to take
Delight, at once Philosopher and Rake.
What Casuist dare affirm 'twixt good and bad
That aught like compromise can e'er be had,
Though many characters, so wills it strife,
Preserve no keeping on the stage of life?
The sentimentalist to-day, will quaff
Bumpers of wine to-morrow, jest and laugh.