Page images



Ill-busied man! why should’st thou take such care
To lengthen out thy life's short calendar?
When every spectacle thou look’st upon
Presents and acts thy execution.

Each drooping season and each flower doth cry,
• Fool! as I fade and wither, thou must die.'

The beating of thy pulse (when thou art well)
Is just the tolling of thy passing-bell:
Night is thy hearse, whose sable canopy
Covers alike deceased day and thee.

And all those weeping dews which nightly fall
Are but the tears shed for thy funeral.

Dr. King's Poems, p. 138.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]


The lopped tree in time may grow again,
Most naked plants renew both fruit and flower:
The sorriest wight may find release of pain,
The driest soil suck in some moist ning shower.
Times go by turns, and chances change by course
From foul to fair, from better hap to worse.

The sea of Fortune doth not ever flow,
She draws her favours to the lowest ebb;
- Her tides have equal times to come and go,
Her loom doth weave the fine and coarsest web.
No joy so great but runneth to an end,
No hap so hard but may in fine amend.

Not always fall of leaf, nor ever spring,
No endless night, nor yet eternal day;
The saddest birds a season find to sing,
The roughest storm a calm may soon allay.
Thus with succeeding turns God tempereth all,
That man may hope to rise, yet fear to fall.

A chance may win that by mischance was lost,
That net that holds no great takes little fish;
In some things all, in all things none are crost,
Few all they need, but none have all they wish.
Unmeddled joys here to no man befal,
Who least hath some, who most hath never all.



The wisest men that nature e'er could boast,
For secret knowledge of her power, were lost,
Confounded, and in deep amazement stood,
In the discovery of the chiefest good :
Keenly they hunted*, beat in every brake,
Forwards they went, on either hand, and back
Return’d they counter; but their deep-mouth'd art
(Though often challeng'd sént) yet ne'er could start,
In all th' enclosures of philosophy,
That game, from squat, they term, Felicity:
They jangle, and their maxims disagree,
As many men, so many minds there be.

One digs to Pluto's throne, thinks there to find
Her grace, rak'd up in gold : another's mind
Mounts to the courts of Kings, with plumes of honour
And feather'd hopes, hopes there to seize upon her;
A third, unlocks the painted gates of pleasure,
And ransacks there, to find this peerless treasure;
A fourth, more sage, more wisely melancholy,
Persuades himself, her deity's too holy

* Keenly they hunted, &c.] To this and the succeeding lines may with jus be applied what Dr. Warton has observed of some lines of Pope : “ The metaphors in the succeeding lines, drawn from the fieldsports of setting and shooting, seem below the dignity of the subject.”

Essay on Pope, Vol. II. p. 124.

« PreviousContinue »