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CHORUS OF YOUTHS AND VIRGINS.
O tyrant Love! hast thou possest
The prudent, learn'd, and virtuous breast?
Wisdom and wit in vain reclaim,
And arts but soften us to feel thy flame.
Love, soft intruder, enters here,
But entering learns to be sincere.
Marcus with blushes owns he loves,
And Brutus tenderly reproves.
Why, virtue, dost thou blame desire
Which nature hath imprest ?
Why, nature, dost thou soonest fire
The mild and generous breast ?
Love's purer flames the gods approve;
The gods and Brutus bend to love:
Brutus for absent Porcia sighs,
And sterner Cassius melts at Junia's eyes.
What is loose love? a transient gust,
Spent in a sudden storm of lust,
fed from wild desire,
A wandering, self-consuming fire.
But Hymen's kinder flames unite,
And burn for ever one ;
Chaste as cold Cynthia's virgin light,
Productive as the sun.
O source of every social tie,
United wish, and mutual joy!
What various joys on one attend,
As son, as father, brother, husband, friend ?
Whether his hoary sire he spies,
While thousand grateful thoughts arise ;
Or meets his spouse's fonder eye,
Or views his smiling progeny ;
What tender passions take their turns
What home-felt raptures move!
His heart now melts, now leaps, now burns,
With reverence, hope, and love.
Hence guilty joys, distastes, surmises,
Hence false tears, deceits, disguises,
Dangers, doubts, delays, surprises,
Fires that scorch, yet dare not shine!
Purest love's unwasting treasure,
Constant faith, fair hope, long leisure,
Days of ease, and nights of pleasure,
Sacred Hymen! these are thine.
Such were the notes thy once lov’d poet sung,
Till death untimely stopp'd his tuneful tongue.
Oh, just beheld and lost! admir'd and mourn'd!
With softest manners, gentlest arts, adorn'd!
Bless'd in each science ! bless'd in every strain!
Dear to the Muse! to Harley dear-in vain !
For him thou oft hast bid the world attend,
Fond to forget the statesman in the friend;
For Swift and him despis’d the farce of state,
The sober follies of the wise and great,
Dexterous the craving, fawning crowd to quit,
And pleas' to 'scape from flattery to wit.
. Absent or dead, still let a friend be dear
(A sigh the absent claims, the dead a tear);
Recall those nights that clos’d thy toilsome days,
Still hear thy Parnell in his living lays;
Who, careless now of interest, fame, or fate,
Perhaps forgets that Oxford e’er was great ;
Or deeming meanest what we greatest call,
Beholds thee glorious only in thy fall.
And sure if aught below the seats divine
Can touch immortals, 'tis a soul like thine ;
A soul supreme, in each hard instance tried,
Above all pain, all passion, and all pride,
The rage of power, the blast of public breath,
The lust of lucre, and the dread of death.
In vain to deserts thy retreat is made ;
The Muse attends thee to thy silent shade;
'Tis hers the brave man's latest steps to trace,
Rejudge his acts, and dignify disgrace.
When Interest calls off all her sneaking train,
And all th' oblig'd desert, and all the vain,
She waits, or to the scaffold or the cell,
When the last lingering friend has bid farewell.
E’en now she shades thy evening walk with bays
(No hireling she, no prostitute to praise);
E’en now, observant of the parting ray,
Eyes the calm sunset of thy various day,
Through fortune's cloud one truly great can see,
Nor fears to tell that Mortimer is he.
EPISTLE TO JAMES CRAGGS, ESQ.
A soul as full of worth as void of pride,
Which nothing seeks to show, or needs to hide,
Which nor to guilt nor fear its caution owes,
And boasts a warmth that from no passion flows;
A face untaught to feign; a judging eye,
That darts severe upon a rising lie,
And strikes a blush through frontless flattery-
All this thou wert; and being this before,
Know, kings and fortune cannot make thee more.
Then scorn to gain a friend by servile ways,
Nor wish to lose a foe these virtues raise;
But candid, free, sincere, as you began,
Proceed—a minister, but still a man.
Be not (exalted to whate'er degree)
Asham'd of any friend, not e'en of me:
The patriot's plain but untrod path pursue;
If not, 'tis I must be asham'd of
WITH DRYDEN'S TRANSLATION OF FRESNOY'S ART OF
This verse be thine, my friend, nor thou refuse
This from no venal or ungrateful Muse.
Whether thy hand strike out some free design,
Where life awakes, and dawns at every line,
Or blend in beauteous tints the colour'd mass,
And from the canvas call the mimic face,
Read these instructive leaves, in which conspire
Fresnoy's close art and Dryden's native fire;
And reading wish, like theirs, our fate and fame,
So mix'd our studies, and so join'd our name;