Page images

Phoebus difdains to hear the fruitless prayer,

Driv'n by the winds, and loft in empty air:

More fit perhaps, to wage the wordy war,
And guide the labours of the wrangling bar ;

Or deep involv'd in metaphyfic lore,
Nature thro' all her mazes to explore,
With toil minute each fecret cause explain,

And trace each link of the mysterious chain:
Yet have we known determin'd zeal aspire

To native warmth, and light the facred fire.
Not leaft the task, till riper years may bear
Thy flames, O Love, thy iron yoke severe,
From the fweet youth to turn the pois'nous dart,
And cautious guard his inexperienc'd heart:
For oft, too soon, the raging smart he feels;
Oft to his inmost foul the venom fteals,
Each bard neglected, once his fav'rite theme,
He taftes no more the pure Caftalian stream; ›




But fighs, with care confum'd, the livelong day; 570

Round his pale flumbers nightly phantoms play;
The virgin vifion fwims before his eyes,

And more inflames the wound by which he dies.

In ills like these, what arts fuccefsful prove!

What draught can heal the wafting pains of love! 575
In vain shall foothing friendfl-ip's pious care,
Pæonian juice and healing herbs prepare;

Not Poefy, fweet maid, his griefs can charm;
Far other flames his anxious bofom warm;
Fierce jealousy, by turns, and dark despair,


[blocks in formation]

To form the bard, no science shall disdain

It's aid, and waken an immortal ftrain.

But chief fhall tuneful Tully's fplendid page,


That world of eloquence, his cares engage;

Rome's other ftar, whom Latium proud to own,
Mourns the fad fate of her exalted fon ;

Father of speech, who from th' exhaustless stores

Of his rich mine the learned treasure pours; 595

To ev'ry name as much fuperior known,

As mighty Rome the proftrate world outshone.

Worthy the toil, nor flender were the praise,

To study man, and mark his various ways;

From books, and charts, and travellers to know 600

[ocr errors]

What climes are found, what empires here below;

What stately cities ftrew the spacious ball;

What laws prevail, what manners reign in all;

Though better ftill to fee the wond'rous whole,

And follow wisdom to the diftant pole.


[ocr errors]

Some we have known, who ftudious to declare

In equal ftrains, the horrid pomp

of war,

Have not difdain'd in cumb'rous arms t' appear,

The fword to wield, or poise the glitt'ring fpear;

Thro' lifted fields, with martial rage to go,
And hurl the iron tempeft on the foe.

But fate withstands, nor life's contracted span
Grants perfect knowledge to imperfect man.

Since in each art no mortal e'er may gain


Perfection's height, the fond attempt were vain : 615
Enough in fome to touch upon the fhore,

And here and there the various coaft explore;

While others a more strict attention claim,

Study is wisdom here, and science fame.

"Tis not for him who in pursuit of gain,


Trufts the frail bark, and tempts th' inconstant main,

Through ev'ry clime to urge

his various way,

And idly there, in fearch of wonders ftray:

Enough, if coafting with propitious winds

From shore to fhore, the destin'd port he finds; 625

Left, like Ulyffes, plung'd by adverse fate,

In all the horrors of the

vagrant ftate;

Far from his country and his native home,

Condemn'd in hopeless mifery to roam,

Scarce have his children met his longing eyes, 630

When funk in death the wretched wand'rer lies.

Still as the orb of day his courfe renews,

Or fhadowy eve returns furcharg'd with dews,

Still let each hallow'd bard your thoughts employ,

Your daily study and your nightly joy;


Still to their copious ftream inceffant bring

The fond defire, and haunt the Muse's spring;

And as you turn the tuneful pages o'er,

Draw from their fountain, and increase your store,

To fome important theme your cares confine, 640

Of useful moral and approv'd defign,

« PreviousContinue »