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With rapid motion turn'd the mansion round; With ceaseless noise the ringing walls resound: Not less in number were the spacious doors, Than leaves on trees, or sands upon the shores ; Which still unfolded stand, by night, by day, Pervious to winds, and open every way. As flames by nature to the skies ascend, As weighty bodies to the centre tend, As to the sea returning rivers roll, And the touch'd needle trembles to the pole; Hither, as to their proper place, arise All various sounds from earth, and seas, and skics, Or spoke aloud, or whisper'd in the ear; Nor ever silence, rest, or peace, is here. As on the smooth expanse of crystal lakes The sinking stone at first a circle makes; The trembling surface, by the motion stirr'd Spreads in a second circle, then a third ; Wide, and more wide, the floating rings advance, Fill all the watery plain, and to the margin dance: Thus every voice and sound, when first they brcak, On neighbouring air a soft impression make; Another ambient circle then they move; That, in its turn, impels the next above; Through undulating air the sounds are sent, And spread o'er all the fluid element.
There various news I heard of love and strife, Of peace and war, health, sickness, death, and life, Of loss and gain, of famine and of store, Of storms at sea, and travels on the shore, Of prodigies, and portents seen in air, Of fires and plagues, and stars with blazing hair Of turns of fortune, changes in the state, The falls of favourites, projects of the great, Of old mismanagements, taxations rew; All neither wholly false, nor wholly true.
Above, below, without, within, around Confused, unnumber'd multitudes are found,
Who pass, repass, advance, and glide away;
was sooner heard than told ;
When thus ripe lies are to perfection sprung, Full grown, and fit to grace a mortal tongue, Through thousand vents, impatient, forth they flow, And rush in millions on the world below, Fame sits aloft, and points them out their course, Their date determines, and prescribes their force : Some to remain, and some to perish soon; Or wane and wax alternate with the moon. Around, a thousand winged wonders fly, Borne by the trumpet's blast, and scatter'd through
the sky. There, at one passage, oft you might survey A lie and truth contending for the way ; And long 'twas doubtful, though so closely pent, Which first should issue through the narrow vent. At last agreed, together out they fly, Inseparable now the truth and lie; The strict companions are for ever join'd, And this or that unmix'd, no mortal e'er shall find
While thus I stood, intent to see and hear, One came, methought, and whisper'd in my ear:
What could thus high thy rash ambition raise? Art thou, fond youth, a candidate for praise ?'
''Tis true,' said I;‘not void of hopes I came; For who so fond as youthful bards of Fame? But few, alas! the casual blessing boast, So hard to gain, so easy to be lost. How vain that second life in others' breath, The estate which wits inherit after death! Ease, health, and life, for this they must resign, Unsure the tenure, but how vast the fine!) The great man's curse, without the gains, endure Be envied, wretched, and be flatter'd, poor; All luckless wits their enemies profess'd, And all successful, jealous friends at best: Nor Fame I slight, nor for her favours call; She comes unlook’d-for, if she comes at all. But if the purchase cost so dear a price As soothing folly, or exalting vice, Oh ! if the muse must flatter lawless sway, And follow still where fortune leads the way; Or if no basis bear my rising name, But the fallen ruins of another's fame; Then, teach me, Heaven! to scorn the guilty bays Drive from my breast that wretched lust of praise Unblemish'd let me live, or die unknown; Oh, grant an honest fame, or grant me none !
JANUARY AND MAY;
THERE lived in Lombardy, as authors write,
Of gentle manners, as of generous race,
But in due time, when sixty years were o'er,
These thoughts he fortified with reasons still (For none want reasons to confirm their will.) Grave authors say,
and witty poets sing,
Though fortune change, his constant spouse remains Augments his joys, or mitigates his pains.
But what so pure, which envious tongues will spare !
Our grandsire Adam, ere of Eve possess’d,
A wife! ah gentle deities, can he
These weighty motives, January the sage