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And steal unfelt the sultry hours away.
The lovely young LAVINIA once had friends ;
But is when unadorn'd, adorn'd the most.
“ What pity! that so delicate a form,
Whom yet my fruitless search could never find.
When, strict enquiring, from herself he found
“ And art thou then AcAsTo's dear remains ? She, whom my restless gratitude has sought, So long in vain? O heavens! the very same, The softened image of my noble friend, Alive bis ev'ry look, his ev'ry feature, More elegantly touch’d. Sweeter than spring! Thou sole surviving blossom from the root That nourish'd up my fortune! Say, ah! where, In what sequester'd desert, hast thou drawu The kindest aspect of delighted Heaven ! Into such beauty spread, and blown so fair; Though poverty's cold wind, and crushing rain, Beat keen, and heavy on thy tender years? Oh, let me now, into a richer soil, Transplant thee safe! where vernal suns and showers, Diffuse their warmest, largest influence : And of my garden be the pride, and joy! Ill it befits thee, oh, it ill befits Acasto's daughter, his whose open stores, Though vast, were little to his ampler heart, The father of a country, thus to pick The very refuse of those harvest-fields, Which from his bounteous friendship I enjoy. Then throw that shameful pittance from thy hand, But ill apply'd to such a rugged task; The fields, the master, all, my fair, are thine, If to the various blessings which thy house Has on me lavish'd, thou wilt add that bliss, That dearest bliss, the power of blessing thee!"
Here ceas'd the youth ; yet still his speaking eye Express’d the sacred triumph of his soul,
With conscious virtue, gratitude, and love,
ON THE VANITY OF RICHES.
Riches make themselves wings and flee away.—Prov. xxiii. 5. WE are 100 prone to imagine the condition of others preferable to our own: we change, it may be, our situation, but therein find not the happiness we expected, and yet remain unconvinced of our folly. We pursue, vainly pursue, the fleeting phantoms which enfeebled hope raises in the distempered imagination, although disappointment attends every step, and mocks every endeavour. We either find the objects of our wishes recede in proportion to our advances, or, if possessed, that they prove inadequate to our sanguine expectations.
One of the most deceitful bubbles that ever danced before the eye of human vanity, is wealth. It glitters at a distance, and appears replete with every requisite essential to terrestrial felicity. Ii attracts the attention of numbers from every other object, and kindles, in the breasts of its candidates, an inextinguishable ardour to acquire it. By weak minds it is considered as the highest sublunary good; and therefore to attain it, is to exclude every want, and to possess every satisfaction.
But, alas! wealth often tries the pursuer, and in the end, leaves him tired, languid, and disappointed with the fruitless chace. To some indeed, she grants her favours with peculiar liberality, and admits them to rifle her golden
treasury. But are these in " a spot to real happiness confined ?". No surely; they find, by unprofitable experience, that the possession of riches falls far short of their fond expectations.
Riches are not able to confer that felicity they promise, or to avert those evils which they are supposed capable of preventing. They are unable to limit the licentiousness of desire, to fill the grasp of avarice, to guard the avenues through which afflictions enter, or to afford that happiness which is expected from them. The possession of wealth introduces wants not less numerous, not less importunate, than those we complain of in a state of poverty. They are, indeed, different in kind, but not less destructive of that felicity we vainly seek after in this imperfect state. We are very apt to conclude, that those are exempt from unhappiness, on whom prosperity beams her radiance, and whose dwellings are circumfused with affluence. In the erring estimation of short-sighted mortals, “ their lines are cast in pleasant places;" but a little reflection will convince us, that they are “ encompassed with many sorrows."
View the men who have free access to the temple of riches, and you will not find them happier than others : they have still numerous wants, which increase with their acquisitions ; and still more numerous fears, arising from their very possessions, to which those in humbler stations are utter strangers. Some find their desires strengthened by the increase of their wealth, and the more they inherit, the more unbounded is their grasp. Were it possible for such to accumulate all the treasures of the earth, they would still be unsatisfied ; and, like Alexander, weep because there was no other world within their reach to plunder. Others, whose desires are more circumscribed, and who appear contented with their present possessions, are not less unhappy. Men cannot essentially possess more than they enjoy ; the rest, like a cipher on the left hand of a figure, is of no value: unprofitable as to any useful purpose, it is only a barren splendour, which, like the glare of a comet, although it shines at a distance, yet affords no warmth to invigorate him who gazes on it: he may contemplate it with barren admiration, but cannot render it subservient to any of the most valuable purposes of life.
Such, therefore, as possess more wealth than is sufficient to furnish the reasonable wants of humanity, are generally employed in a laborious search after pleasures yet untasted, in which they hope to find unmixed happiness. There is,