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Even round the sprightly muse it flies,
And taints the numbers as they rise.
If life you want undashed with woe,
Serene enjoy the instant now;
Nor ills you left behind deplore,
Nor eye the giant grief before ;
If Fortune shines, enjoy the ray,
And smile her very gloom away:
Let tempests sweep and billows roar,
The storm of life shall soon be o'er.
Some perish in their youthful bloom ;
With age some wither to the tomb;
Heaven, as a curse, to some supplies
The years to others it denies ;
What can the longest liver do,
But see a greater train of woe ?
Be yours in public life to shine,
With all the glory of your line;
To rule the battle's noisy tide,
Or Britain's great concerns to guide ;
Teach virtue to a venal throng,
While senates listen to your tongue.
To me my fortune more severe,
Has only given a mind sincere;
A spark of genius to pass o'er
The tedious dulness of the hour; .
A soul that can a knave despise,
And eye the great with careless eyes.
When tempests sweep and billows roll,
And winds contend along the pole;
When o'er the deck ascends the sea,
And half the sheet is torn away;
Shew me the man among the crew,
Who would not change his place with you;
Prefer the quiet of the plain
To all the riches of the main.
Thrice happy he! and he alone,
Who makes the golden mean his own;
Whose life is neither ebb nor flow,
Nor rises high nor sinks too low :
He prides not in the envied wall,
Nor pines in Want's deserted hall;
His careless eyes with ease behold
The star, the string, and hoarded gold.
Unlike the venal sons of power;
They rise, but rise to fall the more.
When faction rends the public air,
And Pitt shall tumble from his sphere,
In privacy secluded, you
Scarce feel which way the tempest blew.
Storms rend the lofty tower in twain,
And bow the poplar to the plain ;
The hills are wrapt in clouds on high,
And feel th' artillery of the sky;
When not a breath the valley wakes,
Or curls the surface of the lakes.
When storms on Fortune's ocean lowr,
And rolling billows lash the shore;
When loved allies return to clay,
And paltry riches wing their way;
The faithless mobs, the perjured whore,
That hovered round thy pelf before,
Fall gradual down the ebbing tide;
Thy dog, the last, forsakes thy side:
Retire within; enjoy thy mind;
There, what they all denied thee, find.
When Fortune threats to fly, be gay,
And puff the fickle thing away.
Nor still it lowrs; the tempest Aies,
The golden sun descends the skies;
The gale is living ir the grass,
In gentler surges r`il the seas'.
But wisely thou contract the sail,
And catch but half the breathing gale ;
Be cautious still of Fortune's wiles,
Avoid the siren when she smiles;
With prudence laugh her gloom away,
And trust her least when she looks gay,
The tempest flies,
The golden sun descends the skies ;
The gale is living in the grass,
In gentler surges roll the seas.] These lines alone would be sufficient to appropriate the poem to the father of Ossian, were it not evident that the piece proceeds from the same pen with the former translation.
Dip Fortune, what to few she'll give,
Allow me make my choice to live ;
I would not seek an envied seat,
Or daily visits of the great;
Nor yet would my ambition fall
To meagre Want's deserted hall";
To each extreme alike a foe,
Too low for high, too high for low.
For use, not shew, my house would stand
Amid a spot of fertile land;
A lake below; around a wood;
Here bend a rock; there rush a flood.
A mountain would in prospect rise,
And bear the grey mist to the skies.
When in some dark retreat I sit,
Be near a friend, a man of wit,
Of heart sincere, and converse free,
The lover of mankind and me;
Who, should the world tumultuous roar,
Could calmly see the storm ashore,
Nor e'er admit a longing sigh
To vex my privacy and I.
. Here would I pass my blameless days,
Beloved of virtue, and of ease ;
Here die in peace, and lie unknown
Without a monument or stone.
My friend might shed one pious tear;
My image in his bosom bear;
Might breathe, in verse, his tender moan,
But breathe unto himself alone ;
I envy to the world my name,
And puff away the strumpet Fame.