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ON LEAVING HARROW SCHOOL.
O dulces comitum valete cœtus,
Longè quos simul a domo profectos
Diverse variæ viæ reportant.
As evening shades in summer calm the light,
Thus thoughts of future temper wild delight.
Through Hope's delusive glass bright scenes we view,
By many fancied-realised to few.
All are pre-doom'd to taste the cup of woe,
To war with griefs which here they never know.
In youth's gay spring, the soul, devoid of care,
Forebodes no cloud-life seems in prospect fair;
Soon withers on the cheek the rose of health;
Soon is consumed anticipated wealth.
When sickness wastes the frame, disgrace the heart,
Untimely death alone can ease impart.
How relative is happiness!—e'en now,
When with unusual warmth my spirits glow,
Some fondly dream o'er days of boyhood past,
And fain would wish them, if renew'd, to last;
Till memory wakes in age a transient joy,
The world's worn pilgrim seems again a boy.
Ye dear companions of my early years,
Oh may these prove but visionary fears!
Yet should the world, with meretricious wiles,
Contract the heart, deform fair Friendship's smiles—
Should lawless passions frighten Reason down,
Then seat themselves alternate on her throne;
When each might lord it with unruly power,
The petty tyrant of the passing hour-
Say, which were best, Orbilius * to obey,
Or thus to wild affections fall a prey!
To cheer reflection, Science shines afar,
Her will I follow as my polar star!
She will conduct me to the blest retreats
Of classic taste-the Muse's sacred seats.
Still shall this hill, with Wisdom's nurslings blest,
Wake many a fond remembrance in my breast.
Here, oft, with unavailing zeal, I sought
To body forth in verse the fleeting thought,
That charm'd the fancy while it mock'd the mind,
Then fled-too volatile to be confined.
Here throbb'd my anxious breast 'twixt hope and fear,
As peal'd the warning bell upon my ear:
*Orbilius is the name of the schoolmaster of Horace. licence makes it synonymous with that of any schoolmaster.
Here, beckon'd on by Freedom's lawless smile,
I wander'd forth to pass the well-known mile;
Some chiding "voice in every breeze" I heard;
Now onwards ran-now trembling, scarcely stirr'd:
Here Superstition raised no local dread,
With careless step I roved among the dead;
Laugh'd at the quaint memorials of our doom
That, carved on wood, adorn'd the rustic's tomb.
Here have I tasted innocent delight;
No conscious guilt disturb'd my rest at night:
May no sad contrast to these happy times
Add weight to woe, or aggravate my crimes.
Scenes of my youth, farewell! nor thou refuse
This tributary effort of my Muse;
Thou, whom no more 'tis flattery to commend,
My guide-excuse a fonder term-my friend.
Still prune with care the student's vagrant lays;
Sweeten the toil of early worth with praise;
Bid Genius kindle at a poet's name,
And young Ambition emulate thy fame.
But the long pomp, the midnight masquerade,
With all the freaks of wanton wealth array'd;
In these, ere triflers half their wish obtain,
The toiling pleasure sickens into pain.
GOLDSMITH'S Deserted Village.
How swiftly pass our early years away!
Youth seems the short-lived phantom of a day :*
Childhood is gone, that fairy scene is o'er;
The sports of infancy now please no more;
On past delights remembrance loves to dwell,
While sighs break forth to calm the bosom's swell.
You smile, perchance, at such a mournful strain ;
"Mine are the joys of life, why thus complain?"
Though Fashion beckons from the splendid hall,
Though Pleasure seems to triumph at the ball,
*Festinat enim decurrere velox,
Flosculus angustæ miseræque brevissima vitæ
Portio dum bibimus, dum serta, unguenta, puellas,
Poscimus, obrepit non intellecta senectus.-Juv., Sat. ix.
Think not that real happiness is there,
Nor trust, my Mary, wealth's imposing glare.
Of all the motley crew who crowd the town,
How few there are who can exist alone!
Some fly to gaieties to banish grief:
Can flippant nonsense give the heart relief?
Some to conceal their narrow range of thought;
These look intelligence, yet talk of nought:
No airy visions o'er their fancy sweep,
Their souls are chain'd in one perpetual sleep.
Such fools are solemn mountebanks at best,
Outcasts of Nature, though by Fortune blest,
Compared with him whose bosom Genius fires,
Whom Science brightens, or the Muse inspires!
Youth's freshening aspect, Beauty's faultless form,
Shrink from the searching blast of Sorrow's storm;
But Intellect, that deity within,
Will soften grief; nay more, may conquer sin.
It gathers strength through each successive year,
More amiable in age its charms appear;
While Pleasure's surfeit palls upon the heart,
And Fashion's fair illusions soon depart.