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From abstinence's shallow tide
Into a stream that overflow'd
With sweets, so long debarr'd from tasting,
Poor Ver-Vert too abruptly hasting
(His skin with sugar being wadded,
With liquid fires his entrails burn'd),
Beheld at once his roses faded,
And to funereal cypress turn'd.
The nuns endeavour'd, but in vain,
His fleeting spirit to detain :
But sweet excess had hasten'd fate;
And, whilst around the fair ones cried,
Of love a victim fortunate,
On pleasure's downy breast he died;
His dying words their bosoms fired,
And will for ever be admired.
Venus herself his eyelids closed,
And in Elysium placed his shade,
Where hero parrots safe reposed
that never fade, Near him, whose fate and fluent tongue Corinna's lover wept and sung.
What tongue sufficiently can tell How much bemoan'd our hero fell! The nun, whose office 'twas, invited The bearers to the illustrious dead; And letters circular indited, In which this mournful tale I read. But, to transmit his image down To generations yet unknown, A painter, who each beauty knew, His portraiture from nature drew; And many a hand, guided by love, O'er the stretch'd sampler’s canvass plain,
In broidery's various colours strove
To raise his form to life again ;
Whilst grief, to'assist each artist, came
And painted tears around the frame.
All rites funereal they bestow'd,
Which erst to birds of high renown
The band of Helicon allow'd,
When from the body life was flown.
Beneath a verdant myrtle's shade,
Which o'er the mausoleum spread,
A small sarcophagus was laid,
To keep the ashes of the dead.
On porphyry graved in characters
Of gold, with sculptured garlands graced,
These lines, exciting pity's tears,
Our convent Artemisias placed :
"Ye novice nuns, who to this grove repair,
To chat by stealth, unawed by age's frown;
Your tongues one moment, if you can, forbear,
Till the sad tale of our affliction's known.
If 'tis too much that organ to restrain,
Use it to speak what anguish death imparts:
One line this cause for sorrow will explain ;
Here Ver-Vert lies; and here lie all our hearts.'
'Tis said however (to pursue
My story but a word or two)
The soul of Ver-Vert is not pent
Within the aforesaid monument,
But, by permission of the fates,
Some holy sister animates;
And will in transmigration run
From time to time, from nun to nun,
Transmitting to all ages hence
In them his deathless eloquence.
Melpomene ; or, The Melancholy.
-Reason thus with life;
If I do lose thee, I do lose a thing,
That none but fools would weep.
SHAKSP. Measure for Measure.
OFFSPRING of folly and of noise,
Fantastic train of airy joys,
Cease, cease your vain delusive lore,
And tempt my serious thoughts no more,
Ye horrid forms, ye gloomy throng,
Who hear the bird of midnight's song,
Thou too, Despair, pale spectre, come
From the self-murderer's haunted tomb,
While sad Melpomene relates
How we're afflicted by the fates.
What's all this wish'd-for empire, life?
A scene of misery, care, and strife;
And make the most, that's all we have
Betwixt the cradle and the grave.
The being is not worth the charge:
Behold the estimate at large.
Our youth is silly, idle, vain;
is full of care and pain;
From wealth accrues anxiety ;
Contempt and want from poverty;
What trouble business has in store !
How idleness fatigues us more;
To reason the’ ignorant are blind;
The learned's eyes are too refined;
Each wit deems every wit his foe,
Each fool is naturally so;
Meet justly with disapprobation.
Say, man, is this the boasted state,
Where all is pleasant, all is great?
Alas! another face
Take off the veil of vanity.
Is aught in pleasure, aught in power,
Has wisdom any gift in store,
To make thee stay a single hour?
Tell me, ye youthful, who approve The' intoxicating sweets of love, What endless nameless throbs arise, What heartfelt anguish and what sighs, When jealousy has gnaw'd the root Whence love's united branches shoot? Or grant that Hymen lights his torch, To lead you to the nuptial porch, Behold! the long'd-for rapture o'er! Desire begins to lose its power, Then cold indifference takes place, Fruition alters quite the case; And what before was ecstasy, Is scarcely pow civility,
Your children bring a second care;
If childless then you want an heir;
So that in both alike
find The same perplexity of mind.
Do power or wealth more comfort own?
Behold yon pageant on a throne,
Where silken swarms of flattery
Obsequious wait his asking eye.
But view within his tortured breast,
No more the downy seat of rest,
Suspicion casts her poison'd dart,
And guilt, that scorpion, stings bis heart.
Will knowledge give us happiness?
In that, alas! we know there's less,
For every pang of mental woe
Springs from the faculty to know.
Hark! at the death-betokening knell
Of yonder doleful passing bell,
Perhaps a friend, a father's dead,
Or the loved partner of thy bed!
Perhaps thy only son lies there,
Breathless upon the sable bier!
Say, what can ease the present grief,
Can former joys afford relief?
Those former joys remember'd still,
The more augment the recent ill,
And where you seek for comfort, gain
Additional increase of pain.
What woes from mortal ills accrue!
And what from natural ensue!
Disease and casualty attend
Our footsteps to the journey's end;
The cold catarrh, the gout and stone,
The dropsy, jaundice, join'd in one,