« PreviousContinue »
He chides the tardiness of ev'ry post,
475 Pants to be told of battles won or lost, Blames his own indolence, observes, though late, 'Tis criminal to leave a sinking state, Flies to the levee, and, receiv'd with grace, Kneels, kisses hands, and shines again in place, 480
Suburban villas, highway side retreats, That dread th' encroachment of our growing streets, Tight boxes neatly sash'd, and in a blaze With all a July sun's collected rays, Delight the citizen, who, gasping there,
485 Breathes clouds of dust, and calls it country air. O sweet retirement, who would balk the thought That could afford retirement, or could not ? 'Tis such an easy walk, so smooth and straiglit, The second milestone fronts the garden gate ; 490 A step if fair, and if a show'r approach, You find safe shelter in the next stage coach. There prison'd in a parlour snug and small, Like bottled wasps upon a southern wall, The man of business and his friends compross'd, 495 Forget their labours, and yet find no rest; But still 'tis rural-trees are to be seen From ev'ry window, and the fields are green: Ducks paddle in the pond before the door, And what could a remotor scene show more ? 500 A sense of elegance we rarely find The portion of a mean or vulgar mind, And ignorance of better things makes man, Who cannot much, rejoice in what he can; And he that deems his leisure well bestow'd 500 In contemplation of a turnpike road, Is occupied as well, employs his hours As wisely, and as much improves his pow'rs, As he that slumbers in pavilions grac'd With all the charms of an accomplish'd taste.
510 Yet hence, alas ! insolvencies; and hence The unpitied victim of ill-judg'il expense,
From all his wearisome engagements freed,
Your prudent grandmammas, ye modern belles, 515
520 In coaches, chaises, caravans, and hoys, Fly to the coast for daily, nightly joys, And all, impatient of dry land, agree With one consent to rush into the seaOcean exhibits, fathomless and broad,
525 Much of the pow'r and majesty of God. He swathes about the swelling of the deep, That shines and rests as infants smile and sleep ; Vast as it is, it answers as it flows The breathings of the lightest air that blows; 530 Curling and whitning over all the waste, The rising waves obey th' increasing blast, Abrupt and herrid as the tempest roars, Thunder and flash upon the steadfast shores, Till he that rides the wnirlwind, checks the rein, 535 Then all the world of waters sleep again. Nereids or Dryads, as the fashion leads, Now in the floods, now panting in the meads, Vot'ries of pleasure still, where'er she dwells, Near barren rocks, in palaces, or cells,
540 O grant a poét leave to recommend, (A poet fond of Nature, and your friend,) Her slighted works to your admiring view; Her works must needs excel, who fashion'd you. Would
ye, when rambling in your morning ride, 545 With some unmeaning coxcomb at your side, Condemn the prattler for his idle pains, To waste unheard the musick of his strains, And, deaf to all th' impertinence of tongue, That, while it courts, affronts and does you wrong, 550
Mark well the finish'd plan without a fault,
Anticipated rents, and bills unpaid, Force many a shining youth into the shade, 560 Not to redeem his time, but his estate, And play the fool, but at a cheaper rate. There, hid in loth'd obscurity, remov'd From pleasures left, but never more belov'd, He just endures, and with a sickly spleen
565 Sighs o'er the beauties of the charming scene ; Nature indeed looks prettily in rhyme ; Stroams tinkle sweetly in poetick chime; The warblings of the blackbird, clear and strong, Are musical enough in Thomson's song ;
570 And Cobham's groves, and Windsor's green retreats, When Pope describes them, have a thousand sweets ; He likes the country, but in truth must own, Most likes it, when he studies it in town.
Poor Jack-no matter who for when I blame, 575 I pity, and must therefore sink the name, Liv'd in his saddle, lov'd the chace, the course, And always, ere he mounted, kiss'd his horse. The estate his sires had own'd in ancient years, Was quickly distanc'd, match'd against a peer's. 580 Jack vanish’d, was regretted and forgot ; 'Tis wild good nature's never-failing lot. At length, when all had long suppos'd him dead, By cold submersion, razor, rope, or lead, My lord, alighting at his usual place,
585 The Crown, took notice of an ostler's face. Jack knew his friend, but hop'd in that disguise Ho might escape the most observing eyes;
And whistling, as if unconcern'd and gay,
GOO But knew no medium between guzzling beer, And his old stint-three thousand pounds a year.
Thus some retire to nourish hopeless wo: Some seeking happiness not found below; Some to comply with humour, and a mind 605 To social scenes by nature disinclin'd ; Some sway'd by fashion, some by deep disgust; Some self-impoverish'd, and because they must; But few, that court Retirement, are aware Of half the toils they must encounter there.
610 Lucrative offices are seldom lost For want of pow'rs proportion'd to the post : Give e'en a dunce th' employment he desiros, And he soon finds the talents it requires; A business with an income at its heels
615 Furnishes always oil for its own wheels. But in his arduous enterprise to close His active years with indolent repose, Ho finds the labours of that state exceed Fhis utmost faculties, scvere indeed.
620 'Tis easy to resign a toilsome place, But not to manage leisure with a grace ; Absence of occupation is not rest, A mind quite vacant is a mind distress d. The vet'ran steed, excus'd his task at length,
625 In kind compassion of his failing strength,
And turn'd into the park or mead to graze,
640 Nor yet the swarms that occupy the brain, Where dreams of dress, intrigue, and pleasure reign; Nor such as useless conversation breeds, Or lust engenders, and indulgence feeds. Whence, and what are we? to what end ordain'd : 645 What means the drama by the world sustain'd ? Business or vain amusement, care or mirth, Divide the frail irhabitants of earth. Is duty a mere sport, or an employ? Life an intrusted talent, or a toy?
* 650 Is there, as reason, conscience, Scripture say, Cause to provide for a great future day, When earth's assign'd duration at an end, Man shall be summon'd and the dead attend ? The trumpet-will it sound ? the curtain rise ? 055 And show the august tribunal of the skies, Where no prevarication shall avail, Where eloquence and artifice shall fạil, The pride of arrogant distinctions fall, And conscience and our conduct judge us all ? 660 Pardon me, ye that give the midnight oil To learned cares of philosophick toil, Though I revere your honourable names, Your useful labours and important aims,