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Though fools spurn Hymen's gentle powers,
We, who improve his golden hours,
By sweet experience know,
That marriage, rightly understood,
Gives to the tender and the good
A paradise below!
Our babes shall richest comforts bring;
If tutor'd right they'll prove a spring
Whence pleasures ever rise :
We'll form their mind with studious care,
To all that's manly, good, and fair,
And train them for the skies.
While they our wisest hours engage,
Tbey'll joy our youth, support our age,
And crown our hoary hairs ;
They'll grow in virtue every day,
And thus our fondest loves repay,
And recompense our cares.
No borrow'd joys! they're all our own,
While to the world we live unknown,
Or by the world forgot :
Monarchs ! we envy not your state,
We look with pity on the great,
And bless our humble lot.
Our portion is not large, indeed,
But then how little do we need,
For Nature's calls are few !
In this the art of living lies,
To want no more than may suffice,
And make that little do.
We'll therefore relish with content
Whate'er kind Providence has sent,
Nor aim beyond our power; For, if our stock be very small, 'Tis prudence to enjoy it all,
Nor lose the present huul.
To be resign'd when ills betide,
Patient when favours are denied,
And pleas'd with favours given;
Dear Chloe, this is wisdom's part,
This is that incense of the heart,
Whose fragrance smells to ileaven.
We'll ask no long-protracted treat,
Since winter-life is seldom sweet;
But, when our feast is o'er,
Grateful from table we'll arise,
Nor grudge our sons, with envious eyes,
The relics of our store.
Thus hand in hand through life we'll go ; Its chequer'd paths of joy and woe
With cautious steps we'll tread ; Quit its vain scenes without a tear, Without a trouble, or a fear,
And mingle with the dead.
While conscience, like a faithful friend,
Shall through the gloomy vale attend,
And cheer our dying breath;
Shall, when all other comforts cease,
Like a kind angel whisper peace,
And smooth the bed of death.
ATTEND My Visions, thoughtless youths !
Ere long you'll think them weighty truths:
Prudent it were to think so now;
Ere age has silver'd o'er your brow:
For he, who at his early years
Has sown in vice, shall reap in tears.
If folly has possess'd his prime,
Disease shall gather strength in time
Poison shall rage in every vein,-
Nor penitence dilute the stain :
And when each hour shall urge his fate,
Thought, like the doctor, comes too late.
The subject of my song is Health,
A good superior far to wealth.
Can the young mind distrust its worth?
Consult the monarchs of the earth :
Imperial czars and sultans own
No gem so bright, that decks their throne:
Each for this pearl his crown would quit,
And turn a rustic, or a cit.
Mark, though the blessing's lost with ease,
'Tis not recover'd when you please.
Say not that gruels shall avail,
For salutary gruels fail.
Say not, Apollo's sons succeed,
Apollo's son is Egypt's reed.
How fruitless the physician's skill,
How vain the penitential pill,
The marble monuments proclaim,
The humbler turf confirms the same !
Prevention is the better cure,
So says the proverb, and 'tis sure.
Would you extend your narrow span,
And make the most of life you can;
Would you, when med'cines cannot save,
Descend with ease into the grave;
Calmly retire, like evening light,
And cheerful bid the world good-night ?
Let Temperance constantly preside,
Our best physician, friend, and guide !
Would you to wisdom make pretence,
Proud to be thought a man of sense?
Let Temperance (always friend to fame)
With steady hand direct your aim ;
Or, like an archer in the dark,
Your random shaft will miss the mark :
For they who slight her golden rules
In wisdom's volume stand for fools.
But morals, unadorn'd by art,
Are seldom known to reach the heart.
I'll therefore strive to raise my theme
With all the scenery of dream.
Soft were my slumbers, sweet my rest,
Such as the infant's on the breast;
When Fancy, ever on the wing,
And fruitful as the genial spring,
Presented, in a blaze of light,
A new creation to my sight.
A rural landscape I descried,
Dress’d in the robes of summer pride ;
The herds adorn'd the sloping bills,
That glitter'd with their tinkling rills;
Below the fleecy mothers stray'd,
And round their sportive lambkins play'd.
Nigh to a murmuring brook I saw
An humble cottage thatch'd with straw;
Behind, a garden that supplied
All things for use, and none for pride :
Beauty prevail'd through every part,
But more of nature than of art.
Hail, thou sweet, calm, unenvied seat !
I said, and bless'd the fair retreat :
Here would I pass my remnant days,
Unknown to censure, or to praise ;
Forget the world, and be forgot,
As Pope describes his vestal's lot.
While thus I mus'd, a beauteous maid
Stept from a thicket's neighbouring shade;
Not Hampton's gallery can boast,
Nor Hudson paint so fair a toast
She claim'd the cottage for her own;
To Health a cottage is a throne.
The annals say (to prove her worth)
The Graces solemniz'd her birth.
Garlands of various flowers they wrought,
The orchard's blushing pride they brought :
Hence in her face the lily speaks,
And hence the rose which paints her cheeks;
The cherry gave her lips to glow,
Her eyes were debtors to the sloe;
And, to complete the lovely fair,
'Tis said, the chesnut stain'd her hair.
The virgin was averse to courts,
But often seen in rural sports :
When in her rosy vest the morn
Walks o'er the dew-bespangled lawn,
The nymph is first to form the race,
Or wind the horn, and lead the chase.
Sudden I heard a shouting train ;
Glad acclamations fill'd the plain :
Unbounded joy improv'd the scene,
For Health was loud proclaim'd a queen.
Two smiling cherubs grac'd her throne,
(To modern courts, I fear, unknown ;)
One was the nymph, that loves the light,
Fair Innocence, array'd in white ;
With sister Peace in close embrace,
And Heav'n all opening in her face.
The reign was long, the empire great,
And Virtue, minister of state.
In other kingdoms, every hour,
You hear of vice prefer'd to pow'r:
Vice was a perfect stranger here;
No knaves engross'd the royal ear ;
No fools obtain'd this monarch's grace ;
Virtue dispos'd of every place.
What sickly appetites are ours,
Still varying with the varying hours !
And though from good to bad we range,
“ No matter, (says the fool) 'tis change.”
Her subjects now express'd apace
Dissatisfaction in their face:
Some view the state with envy's eye,
Some were displeas'd, they knew not why:
When Faction, ever bold and vain,
With rigour tax'd their monarch's reign.
Thus, should an angel from above,
Fraught with benevolence and love,
Descend to earth, and here impart
Important truths to mend the heart;
Would not the instructive guest dispense
With passion, appetite, and sense ;
We should his heavenly lore despise,
And send him to his former skies.
A dangerous hostile power arose To Health, whose household were her foes : A harlot's loose attire she wore, And Luxury the name she bore. This princess of unbounded sway, (Whom Asia's softer sons obey) Made war against the queen of Health, Assisted by the troops of Wealth.
The queen was first to take the field, Arm'd with her helmet and her shield ; Temper'd with such superior art, That both were proof to every dart. Two warlike chiefs approach'd the green, Both, wondrous favourites with the queen ; Both were of Amazonian race ; Both, high in merit, and in place. Here Resolution march'a, whose soul No fear could shake, no power control : The heroine wore a Roman vest, A lion's heart inform'd her breast. There Prudence shone, whose bosom wrought With all the various plans of thought;