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My day's of love are over; me no more?
The charms of maid, wife, and still less of widow, Can make the fool of which they made before,
In short I must not lead the life I did do ;
The copious use of claret is forbid too,
Ambition was my idol, which was broken
Before the shrines of sorrow and of pleasure, And the two last have left me many a token
O'er which reflection may be made at leisure: Now, like Friar Bacon's brazen head, I've spoken,
« Time is, time was, time's past,» a chymic treasure Is glittering youth, which I have spent hetimesMy heart in passion, and my head on rhymes.
What is the end of fame ? 't is but to fill
A certain portion of uncertain paper; Some liken it to climbing up a hill,
Whose summit, like all hills, is lost in vapour : For this men write, speak, preach, and heroes kill,
And bards burn what they call their « midnight taper, » To have, when the original is dust, A name, a wretched picture, and worse bust.
What are the hopes of man? old Egypt's king
Cheops erected the first pyramid
To keep his memory whole, and mummy hid;
Burglariously broke his coffin's lid :
But I, being fond of true philosophy,
Say very often to myself, « Alas!
And flesh (which death mows down to hay) is grass; You've pass'd your youth not so unpleasantly,
And if you had it o'er again—'t would passSo thank
stars that matters are no worse, And read your bible, sir, and mind your purse. »
But for the present, gentle reader! and
Still gentler purchaser! the bard—that's IMust, with permission, shake you by the hand,
And so your humble servant, and good bye! We meet again, if we should understand
Each other; and if not, I shall not try Your patience further than by this short sample'T were well if others follow'd my example.
« Go, little book, from this my solitude !
I cast thee on the waters-go thy ways! And if, as I believe, thy vein be good,
The world will find thee after many days.» When Southey's read, and Wordsworth understood,
I can't help putting in my claim to praiseThe four first rhymes are Southey's every line : For God's sake! reader, take them not for mine.
END OF CANTO FIRST.
NOTES TO CANTO I.
Note 1, page 4, stanza v.
Note 2, page 8, stanza xvii. Save thine « incomparable oil,- Macassar! Description des vertus incomparables de l'huile de Macassar,»-See the Advertisement.
Note 3, page 17, stanza xlii.
Where the sublime soars forth on wings more ample; etc. See Longinus, Section 10, « ένα μή έν τι περί αυπήν πάθος φαινηται, παθών δε σύνοδος. »
Note 4, page 17, stanza xliv. They only add them all in an appendix, etc. Fact. There is, or was, such an edition, with all the obnoxious epigrams of Martial placed by themselves at the end.
Note 5, page 32, stanza LxxxvIII.
The bard I quote from does not sing amiss, etc. Campbell's Gertrude of Wyoming, (I think) the opening of Canto II; but quote from memory.