Page images
PDF
EPUB

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,
Shakes hands with business, and retires indeed.

Your prudent grandmammas, ye modern belles, 515
Content with Bristol, Bath, and Tunbridge wells,
When health requir'd it would consent to roam,
Else more attach'd to pleasures found at home.
But now alike, gay widow, virgin, wife,
Ingenious to diversify dull life,

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,
The seas globose and huge, th' o'erarching vault,
Earth's millions daily fed, a world employ'd,
In gath’ring plenty yet to be enjoy’d.
Till gratitude grew vocal in the praise

555
Of God benoficent in all his ways;
Grac'd with such wisdom, how would beauty shine ?
Ye want but that to seem indeed divine.

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,
Curried his nag, and look'd another way.

590
Convinc'd at last, upon a nearer view,
'Twas ho, the same, the very Jack he knew,
O'orwhelm'd at once with wonder, grief, and joy,
He press'd him much to quit his base employ ;
His countenance, his purse, his heart, his hand, 535
Influence and pow'r, were all at his command :
Peers are not always gen'rous as well-bred,
But Granby was, meant truly what he said.
Jack bow'd, and was oblig'd-confess'd 'twas strange,
That so retir'd he should not wish a change,

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,
Exeinpt from future service all his days,
There feels a pleasure perfect in its kind,
Ranges at liberty, and snuffs the wind :

630
But when his lord would quit the busy road,
To taste a joy like that he had bestow'd,
He proves, less happy than his favour'd brute,
A life of ease a difficult pursuit.
Thought, to the man that never thinks, may seom 635
As natural as when asleep to dream;
But reveries, (for human minds will act)
Specious in show, impossible in fact,
Those flimsy webs, that break as soon as wrought,
Attain nct to the dignity of thought :

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,

« PreviousContinue »