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Or drag some dusty picture to the day,—
Cheap, if you have five hundred pounds to pay:
The picture, you remove the sacred dust,
Had better in its former station rust ;—
The book-how vast your agony of grief-
More precious than the Sibyl's, wants a leaf!
Tullius, whose well-stored library's a hive
Of sweets the varied flowers of genius give,
Is but a drone: from book to book he flies,
Tastes all, contributes nothing,—useless dies.
Where to support the poor, Bazaars are graced
With high-born dames behind the counter placed,
Fair Seraphina studiously displays
Her pretty wares for charity, or praise.
Works finish'd by her lovely hands attract
Attention-here a novel, there a tract:
These works her varied inclinations paint;
The Fair, as fashion wills, is blue, or saint!
This sickly feeling, that can never thrive,
Unless by Pleasure's aid 'tis kept alive—
Call you this Charity that He approves
Who knows the spring that every action moves?
This charity, that's borne, as Angels sing,
To God's eternal mount, on Seraph's wing?
Though Nature in her noblest mood has made
Sydney in camps, and Howard in the shade,
(Moral phenomena! more rare, I fear,
Than an Iago or Sir Giles are here)
Benevolence, pure element of good,
Is dash'd with grosser matter in our blood.
Orfellus gives you feasts, to glut his pride;
You ask a loan of him, he turns aside.
While Bavius prates of friendship in his verse,
Yet from the dearest friend withholds his purse.
The generous man-he whom the world commends—
Fills high the sparkling wine-cup for his friends;
And yet this hospitable reveller lives
For self-for self alone his banquet gives.
What though this Pharisee exalts his horn
On high, and views a brother's woes with scorn;
When placed before the judgment seat of Heaven,
The scorner may be lost, the scorn'd forgiven!
Fame cries that Appius, generous wight, but lives
To bless his neighbour: all he has he gives.
Though in subscriptions be his name enroll'd,
His virtue glitters-'tis not sterling gold:
prayer of those he has relieved by stealth Consecrates alms that trumpet forth his wealth.
Croesus for unimagined pleasure pants;
His very pain is that he nothing wants:
His life, a calm so sick'ning to the soul,
Were worse to many than the tempest's howl.
'Tis the pursuit that cheers us; when attain'd,
The object is as speedily disdain'd;
Of wealth unbounded, as in rank the first,
Croesus with fulness of enjoyment's curst.
Crassus, rich child of dulness, lives among High orators and mighty sons of song: Admitted to the table of the Gods, he's hit, Like Vulcan, by their frequent shafts of wit.
Strange are the qualities in Man commixt!
Firm in some things, in others how unfixt!
Can that Valerius, whose high worth is seen
In public actions, be in private mean?
Or can Ambrosius point beyond the grave
A Hell for sinners, and become a knave?
How the arch-tempter loves within his toils
To catch reluctant dragons-they are spoils.
The same imaginary sorrows vex
Unquiet spirits, the same cares perplex;
Go to the Court, what characters are there!
The same by Pope described, or La Bruyère.
Eugenius daily with unwearied zeal
Resumes his labours for the common weal;
Neglects his fine estate, with study pale
O'erworks his brains, and what does all avail?
The dullest idler may in public speak
Better than he-our Patriot's nerves are weak!
Ascanius, for his trade too honest, dives
Into the depths of policy, and strives
In sabbathless pursuit of fame to be
What never with his nature can agree.
Too good, though train'd up in the statesman's school,
To see through those whom selfish passions rule;
Too sensitive to bear against the blast
Of faction till its rage be overpast.
Each flying shade, each transient light will throw
Young Flaccus into fits of joy or woe;
The breath of censure, frown of scorn, will shake
His frame until his heart-strings almost break.
If but a feather's weight oppress his nerves,
The mind disjointed from its purpose swerves.
Scarce on his self-raised eminence appear'd
Publius; the harass'd sons of freedom cheer'd.
To him, as to the pillar'd fire that burn'd
At night before the Israelites, they turn'd.
Struggling 'gainst tyranny's recurring wave
They heard his voice, all-powerful to save;
(A voice that fulmining o'er Europe shamed
Power from attempting schemes that cunning framed,)
With energy renew'd then upwards sprung,
And firmly to their rock of safety clung.
As falls the mighty column in its pride,
Publius had reach'd Ambition's height, and died!
Perish'd a statesman as erect and great
As from its watch-tower e'er o'erlook'd the state.
Political Economy! how few
Through thy strange labyrinth can find a clue!
Soon as he enters it, the Tyro's lost,
On every side by turns of "value" crost.
Then let Ricardo, mighty guide, direct
His steps! let Malthus shout each different sect!
Dear is our country to us, dear our law,
As perfect as a gem without a flaw:
Were he alive the dicast-lashing bard,
Whose wit is brilliant, though 'tis somewhat hard,
Would Mitchell's great Apollo dart his gibe
At virtuous England's fee-receiving tribe?
While Justice with her well-poised balance stands,"
The weights pass slowly through a thousand hands.
Since some there are who, menaced with a jail,
Invent, by conscience unappall'd, a tale;
Who join a company whose traffic lies
In certain wares, that men call perjuries;
Who live begirt by knaves from day to day
On alms supplied them by the law's delay.