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The worth that dazzles in the tulip's stains,
Sleep's downy god, averse to war's alarms,
She ceas'd ; and on a lily'd bank reclin'd, Her flowing robe wav'd wanton with the wind : One tender hand her drooping head sustains ; One points, expressive, to the flowery plains. Soon the fond youth perceiv'd her influence roll, Deep in his breast, to melt his manly soul : As when Favonius joins the solar blaze, And each fair fabric of the frost decays. Soon, to his breast, the soft harangue convey'd Resolves too partial to the specious maid. He sigh’d, he gaz'd, so sweetly smild the dame; Yet, sighing, gazing, seem'd to scorn his flame, And, oft as virtue caught his wandering eye, A crimson blush condemn'd the rising sigh. 'Twas such the lingering Trojan's shame betray'd, When Maia's son the frown of Jove display'd : When wealth, fame, empire, could no balance prove, For the soft reign of Dido, and of love. Thus ill with arduous glory love conspires ; Soft tender flames with bold impetuous fires !
Some hovering doubts his anxious bosom mov'd, And virtue, zealous fair! those doubts improv’d.
Fly, fly, fond youth, the too indulgent maid,
Each thorn that threatens, ev'n the weed that
But grant we sloth the scene herself has drawn,
gay Pomona slight the plains around,
mossy grots, nor flowery lawns could please;
Pomona's luscious gifts avail, The sound harmonous, or the spicy gale.
Seest thou yon rocks in dreadful pomp arise,
Nor I alone to such extend my care :
One ready offering suits euch neighbouring shrine; And all obey their laws, who practise mine.
But health averse from sloth's smooth region flies; And, in her absence, pleasure droops and dies. Her bright companions, mirth, delight, repose, Smile where she smiles, and sicken when she goes. A galaxy of powers! whose forms appear For ever beauteous, and for ever near.
Nor will soit sleep to sloth's request incline, He from her couches flies unbid to mine.
Vain is the sparkling bowl, the warbling strain, Th' incentive song, the labour'd viand vain! Where she relentless reigns without controul, And checks each gay excursion of the soul : Unmuv'd, though beauty, deck'd in all its charms, Grace the rich couch, and spread the softest arms: Till joyless indolence suggests desires; Or drugs are sought to furnish languid fires : Such languid fires as on the vitals prey, Barren of bliss, but fertile of decay. As artful heats apply'd to thirsty lands, Produce no flowers, and but debase the sands.
But let fair health her cheering smiles impart, How sweet is nature, how superfluous art! 'Tis she the fountain's ready draught commends, And smooths the flinty couch which fortune lends. And when my hero from his toils retires, Fills his gay bosom with unusual fires, And, while no check th' unbounded joy reprove, Aids and refines the genuine sweets of love. His fairest prospect rising trophies frame; His sweetest music is the voice of fame; Pleasures to sloth unknown ! she never found How fair the prospect, or how sweet the sound.
See fame's gay structure from yon summit charnis, And fires the manly breast to arts or arms; Nor dread the steep ascent, by which you
rise From grovelling vales to towers which reach the skies.
Love, fame, esteem, 'tis labour must acquire;
That wondering Greece your portrait may admire,
'Twas slow experience, tedious mistress ! taught
On active worth the laurel war bestows:
See far below such grovelling scenes of shame,
who in her cause engage,
Serene, and sate from passion's stormy rage, How calm they glide into the port of age ! Of the rude voyage less depriv'd than eas'd; More tir'd than pain'd, and weaken'd than diseas'd. For health on age, 'tis temperance must bestow; And peace from piety alone can flow; And all the incense bounteous Jove requires, Has sweets for him who feeds the sacred fires.
Sloth views the towers of fame with envious eyes ; Desirous still, still impotent to rise. Oft, when resolv'd to gain those blissful towers, The pensive queen the dire ascent explores, Comes onward, wafted by the balmy trees, Some sylvan music, or some scented breeze: She turns her head, her own gay realm she spies, And all the short-liv'd resolution dies. Thus some fond insect's faultering pinions wave, Clasp'd in its favourite sweets a lasting slave : And thus in vain these charming visions please The wretch of glory, and the slave of ease : Doom'd ever in ignoble state to pine, Boast her own scenes, and languish after mine.
But shun her snares : nor let the world exclaim, Thy birth, which was thy glory, prov'd thy shame. With early hope thine infant actions fir'd; Let manhood crown what infancy inspir'd. Let generous toils with health reward thy days, Prolong thy prime, and eternise thy praise. The bold exploits that charms th' attesting age, To latest times shall generous hearts engage ; And with that myrtle shall thy shrine be crown'd, With which, alive, thy graceful brows were bound : Till time shall bid thy virtues freely bloom, And raise a temple were it found a tomb.
Then in their feasts thy name shall Grecians join; Shall pour the sparkling juice to Jove's and thine. Thine, us'd in war, shall raise their native fire; Thine, us'd in peace, their mutual faith inspire. Dulness perhaps, through want of sight, may blame, And spleen, with odious industry, defame; And that, the honours given, with wonder view, And this, in secret sadness, own them due: