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Oh, happy times! when no such thing as coin
E’er tempted friends to part, or foes to join !
Cattle or corn, among
those harmless men,
Was all their wealth, the gold and silver then:
Corn was too bulky to corrupt a tribe,
And bell'wing herds would have betray'd the bribe.
Ev’n traffick now is intercourse of ill,
And ev'ry wind brings a new mischief still;
By trade we flourish in our leaves and fruit,
But av’rice and excess devour the root.
Thus far the muse unwillingly has been
Fix'd on the dull, less happy sorts of sin;
But, now more pleas'd, the views the diff'rent ways
Of luxury, and all its charms surveys.
Dear luxury thou soft, but sure deceit!
Rise of the mean, and ruin of the great!
Thou sure presage of ill-approaching fates!
The bane of empires, and the change of states !
Armies in vain resist thy mighty pow'r;
Not the worst conduct would confound them more.
Thus Rome herself, while o'er the world she flew,
And did by virtue all that world subdue,
Was by her own victorious arms oppress’d,
And catch'd infection from the conquer'd East;
Whence all those vices came, which soon devour
The best foundations of renown and pow'r.
But oh! what need have we abroad to roam,
Who feel too much the sad effects at home,
Of wild excess ? which we fo plainly find,
Decays the body, and impairs the mind.
But yet grave fops must not presume from hence
To fight the sacred pleasures of the fende:
Our appetites are nature's laws, and giv’n Under the broad authentick seal of heav'n. Let pedants wrangle, and let bigots fight, To put restraint on innocent delight; But heav'n and nature's always in the right; They would not draw poor wretched mortals in, Or give desires that shall be doom'd for fin. Yet, that in height of harmless joys we may Last to old age, and never lose a day ; Amidst our pleasures we ourselves should spare, And manage all with temperance and The Gods forbid but we sometimes may steep Our joys in wine, and lull our cares asleep. It raises natyre, ripens seeds of worth, As moist’ning pictures calls the colours forth; But if the varnish we too oft apply, Alas! like colours, we grow faint and die. Hold, bold, impetuous muse: I would restrain Her over-eager heat, but all in vain; Abandon’d to delights, she longs to rove; I check her here, and now she flies to love; Shews me fome rural nymph by shepherd chas'd, Soon overtaken, and as soon embrac': The grass by her, as she by him is press’d; For shame, my muse, let fancy guess the rest: At such a point fancy can never stay, But flies beyond whatever you can say. Behold the silent shades, the am'rous grove, The dear delights, the very act of love. This is his lowest sphere, his country scene, Where love is humbl·, and his fare but mean ;
Yet springing up without the help of art,
Leaves a sincerer relish in the heart,
More healthfully, tho'not so finely fed,
And better thrives than where more nicely bred.
But 'tis in courts where most he makes a show,
And high enthron'd, governs the world below;
For tho' in histories learn’d ignorance
Attributes all to cunning, or to chance ;
Love will in those disguises often smile,
And knows, the cause was kindness all the while.
What story, place, or person cannot prove
The boundless influence of mighty love?
Where-e'er the sun can vig'rous heat inspire,
Both sexes glow, and languish with desire.
The weary'd swain fast in the arms of sleep
Love can awake, and often sighing keep;
And busy gown-men, by fond love disguis'd,
Will leisure find to make themselves despis’d.
The proudest kings submit to beauty's sway;
Beauty itself, a greater prince than they,
Lies fometimes languishing with all its pride
By a belov’d, tho' fickle lover's side.
I mean to Night the soft enchanting charm,
But, oh! my head and heart are both too warm,
I doat on womankind with all their faults;
Love turns my satire into softest thoughts;
of all that passion which our peace destroys,
Instead of mischiefs, I describe the joys.
But sort will be his reign; (I fear too short)
And present cares shall be my future sport.
Then love's bright torch put out, his arrows broke,
Loose from kind chains, and from th'engaging yoke.
To all fond thoughts I'll sing such counter-charms,
The fair shall listen in their lovers arms.
Now the enthusiastick fit is spent,
I feel my weakness, and too late repent.
As they who walk in dreams, oft climb too high
For sense to follow with a waking eye;
And in such wild attempts are blindly bold,
Which afterwards they tremble to behold:
So I review these fallies of my pen,
And modest reason is return'd agen;
My confidence I curse, my fate accuse,
Scarce hold from censuring the sacred muse.
No wretched poet of the railing pit,
No critick curs’d with the wrong side of wit,
Is more fevere from ignorance and spite,
Than I with judgment against all I write.
On Mr. HOBBS, and his Writings.
UCH is the mode of these cenforious days,
Poets are envious now, and fools alone
Admire at wit, because themselves have none.
Yet whatsoe'er is by vain criticks thought,
Praising is harder much than finding fault;
In homely pieces ev’n the Dutch excel,
Italians only can draw beauty well.
As strings, alike wound up, fo equal prove,
That one resounding makes the other move;
From such a cause our fatires please fo much,
We sympathize with each ill-natur'd touch ;
And as the sharp infection spreads about,
The reader's malice helps the writer out.
To blame, is easy; to commend, is bold;
Yet, if the muse inspires it, who can hold?
To merit we are bound to give applause,
Content to fuffer in so just a cause.
While in dark ignorance we lay afraid
of fancies, ghosts, and ev'ry empty shade;
Great Hobbs appear’d, and by plain reason's light
Put such fantastick forms to shameful Alight.
Fond is their fear, who think men needs must be
To vice enllay'd, if from vain terrors free;
The wife and good, morality will guide,
And superstition all the world beside.
In other authors, tho' the thought be good, 'Tis not sometimes so eas'ly understood;