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Conceal'd around whose treach'rous land,
Lurk the dire rock, and dang’rous sand;
The pilot warns, with sail and oar,
To shun the much-suspected shore,
In vain; the tide, too subtly strong,
Still bears the wrestling bark along,
Till, found'ring, she resigns to fate,
And sinks, o'erwhelm’d, with all her freight.
So, baffling ev'ry bar to sin,
And heav'n's own pilot plac'd within,
Along the devious, smooth descent,
With pow'rs increasing as they went,
The dames, accustom'd to subdue,
As with a rapid current drew
And o'er the fatal bounds convey'd,
The lost, the long reluctant maid.
Here stop, ye fair ones, and beware,
Nor send your fond affections there ;
Yet, yet your darling now deplor'd,
May turn, to you and heav'n, restor'd.
Till then with weeping Honour wait
The servant of her better fate;
With Honour left upon the shore,
Her friend, and handmaid, now no more;
Nor, with the guilty world, upbraid
The fortunes of a wretch betray'd ;
But o'er her failings cast a veil,
Rememb’ring you yourselves are frail.
And now, from all-inquiring light,
Fast fled the conscious shades of night;
The damsel, from a short repose,
Confounded at her plight, arose.
As when, with slumb'rous weight oppressid,
Some wealthy miser sinks to rest,
Where felons eye the glitt'ring prey,
And steal his hoard of joys away;
He, borne where golden Indus streams,
Of pearl, and quarry'd di'mond dreams,
Like Midas, turns the glebe to ore,
And stands all wrapt amidst his store;
But wakens, naked, and despoil'd
Of that for which his years had toil'd:
So far'd the nymph, her treasure flown,
And turn'd, like Niobe, to stone;
Within, without, obscure and void,
She felt all ravag'd, all destroy'd.
And, O thou curs'd, insidious coast !
Are these the blessings thou canst boast ?
These, Virtue! these the joys they find,
Who leave thy heav'n-topt hills behind ?
Shade me, ye pines, ye caverns, hide,
Ye mountains, cover me, she cry'd !
Her trumpet Slander rais'd on high,
And told the tidings to the sky;
Contempt discharg'd a living dart,
A side-long viper to her heart;
Reproach breath'd poisons o'er her face,
And soil'd and blasted ev'ry grace;
Officious Shame, her handmaid new,
Still turn'd the mirror to her view.
What should she do ? Attempt once more
To gain the late deserted shore?
So trusting, back the mourner flew,
As fast the train of fiends pursue.
Again the farther shore's attain'd,
Again the land of Virtue gain'd;
But Echo gathers in the wind,
And shews her instant foes behind.
Amaz’d, with headlong speed she tends,
Where late she left a host of friends;
Alas ! those shrinking friends decline,
Nor longer own that form divine;
With fear they mark the following cry,
And from the lonely trembler fly;
Or backward drive her on the coast,
Where peace was wreck’d, and honour lost.
From earth thus hoping aid in vain,
To heav'n not daring to complain ;
No truce by hostile clamour giv’n,
And from the face of friendship driv'n,
The nymph sunk prostrate on the ground,
With all her weight of woes around.
Enthron’d within a circling sky,
Upon a mount, o'er mountains high,
All radiant sate, as in a shrine,
Virtue, first effluence divine;
Far, far above the scenes of woe,
That shut this cloud-wrapt world below;
Superior goddess, essence bright,
Beauty of uncreated light,
Whom should mortality survey,
As doom'd upon a certain day,
The breath of frailty must expire,
The world dissolve in living fire :
The gems of heav'n, and solar flame,
Be quench'd by her eternal beam,
And nature, quick’ning in her eye,
To rise a new-born phonix, die.
Hence, unreveal'd to mortal view,
veil around her form she threw ; which three sad sisters of the shade, Pain, Care, and Melancholy made.
Through this her all-inquring eye,
Attentive from her station high,
Beheld, abandon'd to despair,
The ruins of her fav’rite fair ;
And with a voice, whose awful sound
Appall'd the guilty world around,
Bid the tumultuous winds be still,
To numbers bow'd each list’ning hill;
Uncurl'd the surging of the main;
And smooth'd the thorny bed of pain ;
The golden harp of heav'n she strung,
And thus the tuneful goddess sung :-
• Lovely penitent, arise,
Come, and claim thy kindred skies ;
Come, thy sister angels say,
Thou hast wept thy stains away.
• Let experience now decide
'Twixt the good and evil try'd ;
In the smooth, enchanted ground,
Say, unfold the treasures found.
• Structures, rais'd by morning dreams,
Sands, that tript the flitting streams;
Down, that anchors on the air,
Clouds, that paint their changes there:
Seas, that smoothly dimpling lie,
While the storm impends on high ;
Shewing, in an obvious glass,
Joys, that in possession pass;
• Transient, fickle, light and gay,
Flatt'ring only to betray;
What, alas ! can life contain ?
Life! like all its circles- -vain.
• Will the stork, intending rest,
On the billow build her nest ?
Will the bee demand his store
From the bleak and bladeless shore ?
• Man alone, intent w stray,
Ever turns from wisdum's way;
Lays up wealth in foreign land,
Sows the sea, and ploughs the sand.
• Soon this elemental mass,
Soon th' incumb'ring world shall pass ;
Form be wrapt in wasting fire,
Time be spent, and life expire.
• Then, ye boasted works of men,
Where is your asylum then ?
Sons of pleasure, sons of care,
Tell me, mortals, tell me where?
• Gone, like traces on the deep,
Like a sceptre grasp'd in sleep;
Dews exhal'd from morning glades,
Melting snows, and gliding shades.
• Pass the world, and what 's behind ?
Virtue's gold, by fire refin'd;
From a universe deprav’d,
From the wreck of nature sav'd.
· Like the life-supporting grain,
Fruit of patience, and of pain,
On the swain's autumnal day,
Winnow'd from the chaff away.
• Little trembler, fear no more,
Thou hast plenteous crops in store ;
Seed, by genial sorrow sown,
More than all thy scorners own.
• What, though hostile earth despise ? Heav'n beholds with gentler eyes ; Heav'n thy friendless steps shall guide, Cheer thy hours, and guard thy side.
· When the fatal trump shall sound,
When th' immortals pour around,
Heav'n shall thy return attest,
Hail'd by myriads of the bless'd.
• Little native of the skies,
Lovely penitent, arise :
Calm thy bosom, clear thy brow,
Virtue is thy sister now.
• More delightful are my woes,
Than the rapture pleasure knows ;
Richer far the weeds I bring,
Than the robes that grace a king.
• On my wars, of shortest date, Crowns of endless triumph wait, On my cares, a period bless'd; On my toils eternal rest.
• Come, with Virtue at thy side, Come, be ev'ry bar defy'd, Till we gain our native shore. Sister, come, and turu no mure.'