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The Fall Of Greatness.

T N full-blown dignity see Wolsey stand,

-*- Law in his voice, and fortune in his hand:

To him the church, the realm, their powers consign,

Through him the rays of regal bounty shine:

Turned by his nod the stream of honour flows,

His smile alone security bestows:

Still to new heights his restless wishes tower,

Claim leads to claim, and power advances power;

Till conquest unresisted ceased to please,

And rights submitted left him none to seize:

At length his sovereign frowns—the train of state

Mark the keen glance, and watch the sign to hate.

Where'er he turns, he meets a stranger's eye,

His suppliants scorn him, and his followers fly;

Now drops at once the pride of awful state,

The golden canopy, the glittering plate,

The regal palace, the luxurious board,

The liveried army, and the menial lord.

With age, with cares, with maladies oppressed,

He seeks the refuge of monastic rest.

Grief aids disease, remembered folly stings,

And his last sighs reproach the faith of kings.

Speak thou whose thoughts at humble peace repine,

Shall Wolsey's wealth with Wolsey's end be thine?

Or liv'st thou now, with safer pride content,
The wisest justice on the banks of Trent?
For, why did Wolsey, near the steeps of fate,
On weak foundations raise th' enormous weight?
Why but to sink beneath misfortune's blow,
With louder ruin to the gulphs below.

What gave great Villiers to th' assassin's knife,
And fixed disease on Harley's closing life?
What murdered Went worth, and what exiled Hyde,
By kings protected, and to kings allied?
What but their wish indulged in courts to shine,
And power too great to keep, or to resign.
When first the college rolls receives his name,
The young enthusiast quits his ease for fame;
Resistless burns the fever of renown,
Caught from the strong contagion of the gown:
O'er Bodley's dome his future labours spread,
And Bacon's mansion trembles o'er his head.1
Are these thy views? Proceed, illustrious youth,
And Virtue guard thee to the throne of Truth!
Yet should thy soul indulge the generous heat
Till captive Science yields her last retreat;
Should Reason guide thee with her brightest ray,
And pour on misty doubt resistless day;
Should no false kindness lure to loose delight,
Nor praise relax, nor difficulty fright;
Should tempting Novelty thy cell refrain,
And Sloth effuse her opiate fumes in vain;
Should Beauty blunt on fops her fatal dart,
Nor claim the triumphs of a lettered heart;
Should no disease thy torpid veins invade,
Nor Melancholy's phantoms haunt thy shade;
Yet hope not life from grief or danger free,
Nor think the doom of man reversed for thee:

1 There is a tradition that the study of Friar Bacon, built on an arch over the bridge, will fall when a man greater than Bacon shall pass under it. To prevent such an accident it was pulled down many years since.

Deign on the passing world to turn thine eyes,
And pause awhile from letters to be wise;
There mark what ills the scholar's life assail,
Toil, envy, want, the patron, and the jail.
See nations, slowly wise and meanly just,
To buried merit raise the tardy bust.
If dreams yet flatter, once again attend,
Hear Lydiat's life, and Galileo's end.

On what foundation stands the warrior's pride,

How just his hopes, let Swedish Charles decide;

A frame of adamant, a soul of fire,

No dangers fright him, and no labours tire;

O'er love, o'er fear, extends his wide domain,

Unconquered lord of pleasure and of pain;

No joys to him pacific scepters yield,

War sounds the trump, he rushes to the field;

Behold surrounding kings their powers combine,

And one capitulate, and one resign;

Peace courts his hand, but spreads her charms in vain,

'Think nothing gained,' he cries, 'till nought remain,

On Moscow's walls till Gothic standards fly,

And all be mine beneath the polar sky.'

The march begins in military state,

And nations on his eye suspended wait,

Stern Famine guards the solitary coast,

And Winter barricades the realms of Frost;

He comes, nor want nor cold his course delay ;—

Hide, blushing Glory, hide Pultowa's day:

The vanquished hero leaves his broken bands,

And shows his miseries in distant lands;

Condemned a needy suppliant to wait,

While ladies interpose, and slaves debate.

But did not Chance at length her errour mend?

Did no subverted empire mark his end?

Did rival monarchs give the fatal wound?

Or hostile millions press him to the ground?

His fall was destined to a barren strand,

A petty fortress, and a dubious hand;

He left the name, at which the world grew pale,

To point a moral, or adorn a tale.

The bold Bavarian, in a luckless hour,

Tries the bold summits of Caesarian power,

With unexpected legions bursts away,

And sees defenceless realms receive his sway:

Short sway! fair Austria spreads her mournful charms,

The queen, the beauty, sets the world in arms;

From hill to hill the beacon's rousing blaze

Spreads forth the hope of plunder and of praise;

The fierce Croatian, and the wild Hussar,

With all the sons of ravage crowd the war;

The baffled prince, in honour's flattering bloom

Of hasty greatness, finds the fatal doom;

His foes' derision, and his subjects blame,

And steals to death, from anguish and from shame.

Vanity of Human Wishes.


William Collins.

Born 1721. Died 1759.

Ode On The Death Of Mr. Thomson.1

IN yonder grave a Druid lies,
Where slowly winds the stealing wave;
The year's best sweets shall duteous rise
To deck its poet's sylvan grave.

In yon deep bed of whispering reeds
His airy harp shall now be laid,
That he, whose heart in sorrow bleeds,
May love through life the soothing shade.

Then maids and youths shall linger here,
And, while its sounds at distance swell,
Shall sadly seem in pity's ear
To hear the woodland pilgrim's knell.

Remembrance oft shall haunt the shore
When Thames in summer wreaths is drest,
And oft suspend the dashing oar,
To bid his gentle spirit rest!

'The scene of the following stanzas is supposed to lie on the Thames, near Richmond.

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