Imágenes de páginas

"Had unambitious mortals minded nought

But in loose joy their time to wear away;
Had they alone the lap of dalliance sought,
Pleased on her pillow their dull heads to lay;
Rude Nature's state had been our state to-day :
No cities e'er their towering fronts had raised,
No arts had made us opulent and gay;

With brother brutes the human race had grazed;
None e'er had soared to fame, none honour'd been, none praised.

“Great Homer's song had never fired the breast

To thirst of glory and heroic deeds ;
Sweet Maro's Muse, sunk in inglorious rest,
Had silent slept amid the Mincian reeds ;
The wits of modern time had told their beads,
And monkish legends been their only strains ;
Our Milton's Eden had lain wrapp'd in weeds,

Our Shakspeare stroll’d and laugh'd with Warwick swains, Ne had my master Spenser charm'd his Mulla's plains.


“ Dumb, too, had been the sage Historic Muse,

And perish'd all the sons of ancient fame;
Those starry lights of virtue, that diffuse
Through the dark depth of time their vivid flame,
Had all been lost with such as have no name.
Who then had scorn'd his ease for other's good ?
Who then had toiled rapacious men to tame ?

Who in the public breach devoted stood,
And for his country's cause been prodigal of blood ?

“But should to fame your hearts unfeeling be,
If right I read, you pleasure all require :
Then hear how best may be obtain'd this fee,
How best enjoy'd this Nature's wide desire.
Toil, and be glad! let Industry inspire

your quicken'd limbs her buoyant breath!
Who does not act, is dead ; absorb’d entire

In miry sloth, no pride, no joy he hath:
Oh, leaden-hearted men, to be in love with death!

“Better the toiling swain: Oh, happier far!

Perhaps the bappiest of the sons of men !
Who vigorous plies the plough, the team, the car;
Who houghs the field, or ditches in the glen,
Delves in bis garden, or secures his fen.
The tooth of avarice poisons not his peace;
He tosses not in Sloth's abhorred den;

From vanity he has a full release;
And, rich in Nature's wealth, he thinks not of increase.

How keen are his sensations all!
His bread is sweeter than the glutton's cates :
The wines of France upon the palate pall,
Compared with what his simple soul elates ;
The native сир, , whose flavour thirst creates.
At one deep draught of sleep he takes the night:
And for that bearttelt joy which nothing mates,

Of the pure nuptial bed the chaste delight,
The losel is to him a miserable wigbt.

“Ah! what avail the largest gifts of Heaven,

When drooping health and spirits go amiss ?
How tasteless then whatever can be given !
Health is the vital principle of bliss;
And exercise, of health. In proof of this,
Behold the wretch who slugs his life away,
Soon swallow'd in disease's sad abyss;

While he whom toil has braced, or manly play,
Has light as air each limb, each thought as clear as day.

"Oh, who can speak the vigorous joys of health ?

Unclogg'd the body, unobscured the mind :
The morning rises gay, with pleasing stealth;
The temperate evening falls serene and kind.
In health the wiser brutes true gladness find.
See how the younglings frisk along the meads,
As May comes on, and wakes the balmy wind;

Rampant with life, their joy all joy exceeds :
Yet what but high-strung health this dancing pleasaunce breeds?
There are, I see, who listen to my lay;'
Who, wretched, sigh for virtue, but despair.
All may done,' methinks I hear them say,
• Even death despised by generous actions fair;
All but for those who to these bowers repair !
Their every power dissolved in luxury,
To quit of torpid sluggishness the lair,

And from the powerful arms of Sloth get free, 'Tis rising from the dead : alas ! it cannot be!'

“Would you, then, learn to dissipate the band

Of these huge threatening difficulties dire,
That in the weak man's way like lions stand,
His soul appal, and damp his rising fire ?
Resolve, resolve, and to be men aspire.
Exert that noblest privilege alone
Here to mankind indulged: control desire:

Let godlike Reason, from her sovereign throne,
Speak the commanding word, 'I will!' and it is done.

Can you, then, thus waste in shameless wise
Your few important days of trial here?
Heirs of eternity, yborn to rise
Through endless states of being, still more near
To bliss approaching, and perfection clear!

you renounce a fortune so sublime,
Such glorious hopes, your backward steps to steer,

And roll, with vilest brutes, through mud and slime ?
No, no ! your heaven-touch'd hearts disdain the sordid crime!"

LXIV. "Enough! enough!" they cried : straight from the crowd

The better sort on wings of transport fy:
As when, amid the lifeless summits proud
Of Alpine cliffs, where to the gelid sky
Snows piled on snows in wint'ry torpor lie,
The rays divine of vernal Phæbus play:
Th' awaken'd heaps, in streamlets from on high,

Roused into action, lively leap away,
Glad-warbling through the vales, in their new being gay.

Not less the life, the vivid joy serene,
That lighted up these new-created men,
Than that which wings the exulting spirit clean,
When, just deliver'd from this fleshly den,
It soaring seeks its native skies agen.
How light its essence ! how unclogg'd its powers,
Beyond the blazon of my mortal pen!

Even so we glad forsook these sinful bowers;
Even such enraptured life, such energy was ours.

-Canto II.

SIGNS. Now and then signs contained a witty shaft directed against every spectator. At a pretty little village on the

orders of Wales, such a sign has given its name to the place : it is called the “ Loggerheads !” The sign represents two clownish heads grinning, and beneath is written :

“ We three

Loggerheads be.” The spectator, in reading it aloud, finds that the third loggerhead is necessarily himself, as the painting represents but two. -Sharpe, Vol. vii., 42.

[ocr errors]

THE truest characters of ignorance
Are vanity, and pride, and arrogance ;
As blind men use to bear their noses higher
Than those that have their eyes and sight entire.

-xiv., 64.


And thou hast walk'd about how strange a story !)

In Thebes' streets three thousand years ago,
When the Memnonium was in all its glory,

And time had not begun to overthrow
Those temples, palaces, and piles stupendous,
Of whicb the very ruins are tremendous.

Speak! for thou long enough hast acted dummy;

Thou hast a tongue-come, let us hear its tune; Thou’rt standing on thy legs, above ground, Mummy!

Revisiting the glimpses of the moon, Not like thin ghosts or disembodied creatures, But with thy bones and flesh, and limbs, and features. Tell us—for doubtless thou canst recollect

To whom should we assign the Sphinx's fame?
Was Cheops or Cephrenes architect

Of either pyramid that bears his name?
Is Pompey's Pillar really a misnomer?
Had Thebes a hundred gates, as sung by Homer ?
Perhaps thou wert a mason, and forbidden

By oath to tell the mysteries of thy trade;
Then say what secret melody was hidden

In Memnon's statue which at sunrise play'd ? Perhaps thou wert a priest—if so, my struggles Are vain, for priestcraft never owns its juggles. Perchance that very hand, now pinion'd flat,

Has hob-a-nobb'd with Pharaob glass to glass ;
Or dropp'd a halfpenny in Homer's hat,

Or doff'd thine own to let Queen Dido pass ;
Or held, by Solomon's own invitation,
A torch at the great Temple’s dedication.
I need not ask thee, if that hand, when arm'd,

Has any Roman soldier maul'd and knuckled;
For thou wert dead, and buried, and embalm’d,

Ere Romulus and Remus had been suckled :
Antiquity appears to have begun
Long after thy primeval race was run.
Since first thy form was in this box extended,

We have above ground seen some strange mutations ; The Roman empire has begun and ended ;

New worlds have risen—we have lost old nations, And countless kings have into dust been humbled, While not a fragment of thy flesh has crumbled. Didst thou not hear the pother o'er thy head

When the great Persian conqueror, Cambyses, March'd armies o'er thy tomb with thund'ring tread,

O’erthrew Osiris, Orus, Apis, Isis,
And shook the pyramids with fear and wonder,
When the gigantic Memnon fell asunder?

« AnteriorContinuar »