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In one brief day, thoughts rapidly succeed
Each other, varying as we act or read :
As mutable as Claudia's love, that veers
From heirs for wealth plebeian famed to peers;
Or those opinions that in proper season
Conviction brings against our staggering reason;
Conviction, as self-interest rules the hour,
Has opportunely a resistless power.
What are the secret links uniting thought
With thought? Here metaphysics teach us nought;
The mind, but lately pleased with idle things,
Is teeming now with vast imaginings;
(Not that of Quintus, which, except the news
That clubs can give, no subject can amuse.)
The voice, but lately bland, in fearful tone,
Now bids the oppressor tremble on his throne;
And hearts indignant with responsive beat
Throb, and impatient crowds their shouts repeat.
Thus a great actor shows upon the stage
Alternate fits of tenderness and rage;
Who a few minutes since among his guests
Threw rapidly his laughter-moving jests.
Imagination is to mortals given
That they may sometimes catch a glimpse of heaven,
But not to be an erring guide—at strife
With all the sober principles of life;
To cheat us, as a Prospero with his wand
Creates and then dissolves a fairy band.
Yet what are all the pleasures as we pass
Through life, that cheer our pilgrimage, alas!
Beauty attracts us with her smiles, and Love
Is a most busy god, where idlers move,
Thronging those gardens gay of which the flowers
Transcend the choicest that adorn our bowers;
There glow in summer's lighter garb array'd
The loveliest forms that ever nature made;
The roseate bloom of youth is on their cheeks:
In their sweet looks mind eloquently speaks.
(Yet taste laments that Tullia's shape is gone;
Among her fair compeers she brightly shone.)
Eyes that with tears were filled but yesternight
For a lost Almack's, sparkle with delight.
Come, thou enchantress, Music, with thy strains
Alternate wake delight, or calm our pains!
Thou canst attune the heart to every change
Of feeling as thy fancy loves to range:
Thou art, mysterious Harmony, by Heaven
To man a solace for his sorrows given.
The Hermit dreams of music in his cell,
Of voices heard in Heaven the choral swell :
The Pilgrim hears the vesper bell at close
Of day, and nears the city of repose,
Cheerful yet pensive; while the minstrels come
With merry sounds to cheer the Burgher's home.
Now rouse the warrior's soul; now in the lute
With thy fine touch the lover's ear salute.
A ballet at the Opera it seems
Is what a poet fancies when he dreams:
Oh what a world of poesy is there!
What delicate spirits people earth and air!
Angels of light, too fine for Man's embrace-
They are, if Angels, then a fallen race.
What are these beings of ethereal mould
By whom the "Muses' tales are truly told?”
Young Claudius knows, whose heart such beauty warms, That these all-glorious sprites have venal charms.
But Freedom here can show a nobler prize
Than loveliest nymph, if Claudius will be wise;
Fortune and birth, be he but blest with sense,
Will give him more than labour'd eloquence!
What though deficient he in Grattan's fire,
Canning's fine irony, Grey's noble ire,
Let him but heed the People's genuine voice,
Their boundless love will make his heart rejoice:
Soon will he thank his God that gratitude
Can warm a peasant's heart, however rude!
Smiles that light up fair woman's face impart
Joy to the senses, sunshine to the heart:
While gay good humour laughs from Clara's eyes,
Her brow is more serene than summer skies:
A wit offends, soon anger in her frown,
Like thunder sleeping in a cloud, is shown:
Hapless the wight on whom it chance to burst;
What devil than a scold is more accurst?
Metella, Fashion's most prevailing star,
Brilliant as Venus rising in her car ;
Metella (scorn sits lovely on her lips)
Frowns, can another's radiance her's eclipse?
A purse-proud rival, not in loveliness
Dares to surpass her, but in wealth's excess.
Shall then the Day-God's flower that flaunting shows
Its yellow hue, raise envy in the rose?
Oh, no! Metella's splendour far outshines
Her rival's grandeur, were she queen of mines.
Taste, birth's obedient fairy, waves her wand
Through her saloon-Gold cannot taste command.
Turn we from scenes like these; and long and loud
The Preacher's voice is heard above the crowd,
Denouncing all those vanities that late
Gladden'd our spirits: these awhile we hate,
Though Saints far more attractive to the eye
Than Guido's fair Madonnas near us sigh.
One act of real virtue bears the impress
Of Deity upon it, nothing less,
Outlasting all the glittering gauds that Pride
Delights the fool with, aye, the wise beside.
So says the Preacher: trembling, we believe
His words, but still again ourselves deceive;
Still to the world return, with zest increased,
Like parting coursers in the field released.
Though timid Cocknies scorn (a nerveless race)
That life of life, the madness of the chase,
The draw, the find, the soul-exciting burst,
The burning emulation to be first;
These are delights-but sports must lose their zest,
When days are blank, and spirits are deprest.
Lucilius, burden'd with superfluous coin,
Pants the kind sharers in his wealth to join,
Where Crockford's palace glares upon his eyes,
As a proud harlot sense of shame defies.
How true the proverb, "Cobwebs that enfold
The less, on greater reptiles loose their hold."
Wondering that men can thus their money lose ;
Sons of vertù, a better part you choose.
Some book, it matters not in prose or rhyme,
You buy,-we'll call it "Pleasure's rare Passe-tyme;