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He knew the various ills that wait
Our infant and meridian state;
That toys our earliest thoughts engage,
And different toys maturer age;
That grief at every stage appears,
But different griefs at different years;
That vanity is seen, in part,
Inscribed on every human heart:
In the child's breast the spark began,
Grows with his growth, and glares in man.
But when in life we journey late,
If follies die, do griefs abate?
Ah! what is life at fourscore years ? (tears!
One dark rough road of sighs, groans, pains, and
Perhaps you

'll think I act the same
As a sly sharper plays his game:
You triumph every deal that's pass’d,
He's sure to triumph at the last;
Who often wins some thousands more
Than twice the sum you won before.
But I'm a loser with the rest,
For Life is all a deal at best;
Where not the prize of wealth or fame
Repays the trouble of the game
(A truth no winner e'er denied,
An hour before that winner died).
Not that with me these prizes shine,
For neither fame nor wealth are mine.
My cards !-a weak plebeian band,
With scarce an honour in my hand.
And, since my trumps are very few,
What have I more to boast than you!
Nor am I gainer by your

fall! That harlot Fortune bubbles all.

"Tis truth (receive it ill or well), 'Tis melancholy truth I tell. Why should the preacher take your pence, And smother truth to flatter sense? I'm sure physicians have no merit, Who kill through lenity of spirit.

That Life's a game, divines confess, This says

at cards, and that at chess :
But if our views be centred here,
'Tis all a losing game, I fear.

Sailors, you know, when wars obtain,
And hostile vessels crowd the main,
If they discover from afar
A bark as distant as a star,
Hold the perspective to their eyes,
To learn its colours, strength, and size;
And when this secret once they know,
Make ready to receive the foe.
Let
you

and I from sailors learn Important truths of like concern.

I closed the day, as custom led, With reading, till the time of bed; Where Fancy, at the midnight hour, Again display'd her magic power (For know, that Fancy, like a sprite, Prefers the silent scenes of night). She lodged me in a neighbouring wood, No matter where the thicket stood; The Genius of the place was nigh, And held two pictures to my eye. The curious painter had portray'd Life in each just and genuine shade. They who have only known its dawn May think these lines too deeply drawn,

But riper years, I fear, will shew,
The wiser artist paints too true.

One piece presents a rueful wild,
Where not a summer's sun had smiled:
The road with thorns is cover'd wide,
And Grief sits weeping by the side;
Her tears with constant tenor flow,
And form a mournful lake below;
Whose silent waters, dark and deep,
Through all the gloomy valley, creep.

Passions that flatter, or that slay, Are beasts that fawn, or birds that prey. Here Vice assumes the serpent's shape; There Folly personates the ape; Here Avarice gripes with harpy's claws; There Malice grins with tigers' jaws; While sons of Mischief, Art, and Guile, Are alligators of the Nile.

E'en Pleasure acts a treacherous part, She charms the sense, but stings the heart; And when she gulls us of our wealth, Or that superior pearl, our health, Restores.us nought but pains and woe, And drowns us in the lake below.

There a commission'd angel stands, With desolation in his hands! He sends the all-devouring flame, And cities hardly boast a name: Or wings the pestilential blast, And lo! ten thousands breathe their last: He speaks-obedient tempests roar, And guilty nations are no more: He speaks--the fury Discord raves, And sweeps whole armies to their graves :

Or Famine lifts her mildew'd hand,
And Hunger howls through all the land.

Oh! what a wretch is man, I cried,
Exposed to death on every side!
And sure as born, to be undone
By evils which he cannot shun!
Besides a tho and baits to sin,
A thousand traitors lodged within !
For soon as Vice assaults the heart,
The rebels take the demon's part.

I sigh, my aching bosom bleeds;
When straight the milder plan succeeds.
The lake of tears, the dreary shore,
The same as in the piece before.
But gleams of light are here display'd,
To cheer the eye, and gild the shade.
Afiction speaks a softer style,
And Disappointment wears a smile.
A
group

of Virtues blossom near, Their roots improve by every tear.

Here Patience, gentle maid! is nigh, To calm the storm, and wipe the eye; Hope acts the kind physician's part, And warms the solitary heart; Religion nobler comfort brings, Disarms our griefs, or blunts their stings; Points out the balance on the whole, And Heaven rewards the struggling soul.

But while these raptures I pursue, The Genius suddenly withdrew.

IX.

DEATH.

VISION THE LAST.

'Tis thought my Visions are too grave";
A proof I'm no designing knave.
Perhaps if Interest held the scales,
I had devised quite different tales;
Had join'd the laughing low buffoon,
And scribbled satire and lampoon;
Or stirr'd each source of soft desire,
And fann'd the coals of wanton fire;
Then had my paltry Visions sold,
Yes, all my dreams had turn’d to gold;
Had proved the darlings of the town,
And I-a poet of renown!

Let not my awful theme surprise;
Let no unmanly fears arise.
I wear no melancholy hue,
No wreaths of cypress or of yew.
The shroud, the coffin, pall, or hearse,
Shall ne'er deform my softer verse:
Let me consign the funeral plume,
The herald's paint, the sculptured tomb,
And all the solemn farce of graves
To undertakers and their slaves.

You know that moral writers say
The world's a stage, and life a play;
That in this drama to succeed,
Requires much thought and toil indeed!
2 See the Monthly Review of New Books, for Feb. 1751.

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