« PreviousContinue »
Taught by experience, soon you may discern
Or much diminish or too much increase
Led by sagacious taste, the ruthless king
Misled from pleasure even in quest of joy,
Is this for pleasure? Learn a juster taste!
For want of use the kindest aliment
So Heaven has form'd us to the general taste
Gross riot treasures up a wealthy fund
Whose praise is fame. Form'd of such clay as yours, What nature well can bear: and one extreme
Ne'er without danger meets its own reverse.
But other ills th' ambiguous feast pursue,
But would you long the sweets of health enjoy,
But though the two (the full and the jejune)
Perhaps a fast so seasonable starves
A generous pulp: the cocoa swells on high The latent seeds of woe, which rooted once With milky riches; and in horrid mail Might cost you labor. But the day return'd The crisp ananas wraps its poignant sweets, Of festal luxury, the wise indulge
Earth's vaunted progeny ; in ruder air Most in the tender vegetable breed :
Too coy to flourish, even too proud to live; Then chiefly when the summer beams inflame Or hardly rais'd by artificial fire The brazen Heavens; or angry Sirius sheds To vapid life. Here with a mother's smile A feverish taint through the still gulf of air. Glad Amalthea pours her copious horn. The moist cool viands then, and flowing cup Here buxom Ceres reigns: the autumnal sea From the fresh dairy-virgin's liberal hand, In boundless billows fluctuates o'er their plains. Will save your head from harm, tho'round the world What suils the climate best, what suits the men, The dreaded causos* roll his wasteful fires. Nature profuses most and most the taste Pale humid Winter loves the generous board, Demands. The fountain, edg'd with racy wine The meal more copious, and the warmer fare ; Or acid fruit, bedews their thirsty souls. And longs with old wood and old wine to cheer The breeze eternal breathing round their limbs His quaking heart. The seasons which divide Supports in else intolerable air: Th'empires of heat and cold; by neither claim'd, While the cool palm, the plantain, and the grove Induenc'd by both ; a middle regimen
That waves on gloomy Lebanon, assuage Impose. Through Autumn's languishing domain The torrid Hell that beams upon their heads. Descending, Nature by degrees invites
Now come, ye Naiads, to the fountains lead; To glowing luxury. But from the depth Now let me wander through your gelid reign. Of Winter, when th' invigorated year
I burn to view th' enthusiastic wilds Emerges; when Favonius, fush'd with love, By mortal else untrod. I hear the din Toyful and young, in every breeze descends Of waters thund'ring o'er the ruin'd cliffs. More warm and wanton on his kindling bride ; With holy reverence I approach the rocks Then, shepherds, then begin to spare your flocks; Whence glide the streams renown'd in ancient song. And learn, with wise humanity, to check
Here from the desert down the rumbling steep The lust of blood. Now pregnant earth commits First springs the Nile; here bursts the sounding Po A various offspring to the indulgent sky: In angry waves; Euphrates hence devolves Now bounteous Nature feeds with lavish hand A mighty flood to water half the East : The prone creation ; yields what once suffic'd And there, in Gothic solitude reclin'd, I'heir dainty sovereign, when the world was young; The cheerless Tanais pours his hoary um. Ere yet the barbarous thirst of blood had seiz'd What solemn twilight! what stupendous shades The human breast.—Each rolling month matures Enwrap these infant floods! through every nerve The food that suits it most; so does each clime. A sacred horror thrills, a pleasing fear
Far in the horrid realms of Winter, where Glides o'er my frame. The forest deepens round Th' establish'd ocean heaps a monstrous waste And more gigantic still th' impending trees Of shining rocks and mountains to the Pole, Stretch their extravagant arms athwart the gloon There lives a hardy race, whose plainest wants Are these the confines of some fairy world ! Relentless Earth, their cruel stepmother,
A land of genii? Say, beyond these wilds Regards not. On the waste of iron fields, What unknown nations ? if, indeed, beyond Untam'd, intractable, no harvests wave:
Aught habitable lies. And whither leads, Pomona hates them, and the clownish god To what strange regions, or of bliss or pain, Who tends the garden. In this frozen world That subterraneous way? Propitious maids, Such cooling gifts were vain: a fitter meal Conduct me, while with fearful steps I tread Is earn'd with ease ; for here the fruitful spawn This trembling ground. The task remains to sing Of ocean swarms, and heaps their genial board Your gists (so Pæon, so the powers of health With generous fare and luxury profuse.
Command) to praise your crystal element: These are their bread, the only bread they know: The chief ingredient in Heaven's various works : These, and their willing slave the deer that crops Whose flexile genius sparkles in the gem, The shrubby herbage on their meagre hills. Grows firm in oak, and fugitive in wine; Girt by the burning zone, not thus the South The vehicle, the source, of nutriment Her swarthy sons in either Ind maintains : And life, to all that vegetate or live. Or thirsty Libya ; from whose fervid loins
O comfortable streams! with eager lips The lion bursts, and every fiend that roams And trembling band the languid thirsty quafi Th' affrighted wilderness. The mountain-herd, New life in you; fresh vigor fills their veins. Adust and dry, no sweet repast affords ;
No warmer cups the rural ages knew; Nor does the tepid main such kinds produce, None warmer sought the sires of human-kind. So perfect, so delicious, as the shoals
Happy in temperate peace! their equal days Of icy Zembla. Rashly where the blood
Felt not th' alternate fits of feverish mirth, Brews feverish frays; where scarce the tubes sustain And sick dejection. Still serene and pleas'd, Its tumid fervor, and tempestuous course; They knew no pains but what the tender soul Kind Nature tempts not to such gifts as these. With pleasure yields 10, and would ne'er forget. But here in livid ripeness melts the grape : Blest with divine immunity from ails, Here, finish'd by invigorating suns,
Long centuries they liv'd; their only fate Through the green shade the golden orange glows: Was ripe old age, and rather sleep than death. Spontaneous here the turgid melon yields Oh! could those worthies from the world of gods
Return to visit their degenerate sons, * The burning fever.
How would they scorn the joys of modern time,
With all our art and toil improv'd to pain! Say how, unseason’d to the midnight frays
With Centaurs long to hardy deeds inur'd?
The brows of care, indulge your sestive vein Is best: the lightest then; what ars the touch In cups by well-inform'd experience found Of fire the least, and soonest mounts in air; The least your bane ; and only with your friends. The most insipid ; the most void of smell.
There are sweet follies; frailties to be seen Such the rude mountain from his horrid sides By friends alone, and men of generous minds. Pours down; such waters in the sandy vale
Oh! seldom may the fated hours return For ever boil, alike of winter frosts
of drinking deep! I would not daily taste, And summer's heat secure. The crystal stream, Except when life declines, even sober cups. Through rocks resounding, or for many a mile Weak withering age no rigid law forbids, O'er the chafd pebbleshurl'd, yields wholesome, pure, With frugal nectar, smooth and slow with balm, And mellow draughts; except when winter thaws, The sapless habit daily to bedew, And half the mountains melt into the tide. And gives the hesitating wheels of life Though thirst were e'er so resolute, avoid Gliblier to play. But youth has better joys: The sordid lake, and all such drowsy floods And is it wise, when youth with pleasure flows, As fill from Lethe Belgia's slow canals ;
To squander the reliefs of age and pain? (With rest corrupt, with vegetation green;
What dextrous thousands just within the goal Squalid with generation, and the birth
Of wild debauch direct their nightly course! Of little monsters ;) till the power of fire Perhaps no sickly qualms bedim their days, Has from profane embraces disengag'd
No morning admonitions shock the head. The violated lymph. The virgin stream
But, ah! what woes remain! life rolls a pace, In boiling wastes its finer soul in air.
And that incurable disease, old age, Nothing like simple element dilutes
In youthful bodies more severely felt, The food, or gives the chyle so soon to flow. More sternly active, shakes their blasted prime; But where the stomach, indolent and cold,
Except kind Nature by some hasty blow Toys with its duty, animate with wine
Prevent the lingering fates. For know, whate'er Th' insipid stream: though golden Ceres yields Beyond its natural fervor hurries on A more voluptuous, a more sprightly draught; The sanguine tide; whether the frequent bowl, Perhaps more active. Wine unmix'd, and all High-season'd fare, or exercise to toil The gluey floods that from the ver'd abyss Protracted; spurs to its last stage tired life, Of fermentation spring; with spirit fraught, And sows the temples with untimely snow. And furious with intoxicating fire;
When life is new, the ductile fibres feel Retard concoction, and preserve unthaw'd The heart's increasing force; and, day by day Th'embodied mass. You see what countless years, The growth advances : till the larger tubes Embalm'd in fiery quintessence of wine,
Acquiring (from their elemental veins* The puny wonders of the reptile world,
Condens'd to solid chords) a firmer tone, The lender rudiments of life, the slim
Sustain, and just sustain, th’impetuous blood. Unravellings of minute anatomy,
Here stops the growth. With overbearing pulse Maintain their texture, and unchang'd remain. And pressure, still the great destroy the small;
We curse not wine: the vile excess we blame; Still with the ruins of the small grow strong. More fruitful than th'accumulated board,
Life glows meantime, amid the grinding force Of pain and misery. For the subtle draught of viscous fluids and elastic tubes; Faster and surer swells the vital tide ;
Its various functions vigorously are plied And with more active poison than the floods By strong machinery; and in solid health Of grosser crudity convey, pervades
The man confirm'd long triumphs o'er disease. The far remote meanders of our frame.
But the full ocean ebbs: there is a point, Ah! sly deceiver! branded o'er and o'er, By Nature fix'd, when life must downward tend. Yet still believ'd! exulting o'er the wreck
For still the beating tide consolidates Of sober vows —But the Parnassian maids The stubborn vessels, more reluctant still Another time, perhaps, shall sing the joys,t To the weak throbs of th’ill-supported heart. The fatal charms, the many woes of wine ; This languishing, these strength’ning by degrees Perhaps its various tribes and various powers.
Meantime, I would not always dread the bowl, Nor every trespass shun. The feverish strife, Rous'd by the rare debauch, subdues, expels * In the human body, as well as in those of other ani. The loitering crudities that burden life;
mals, the larger blood vessels are composed of smaller And, like a torrent full and rapid, clears
ones; which, by the violent motion and pressure of the Th' obstructed tubes. Besides, this restless world
fluids in the large vessels, lose their cavities by degrees, Is full of chances, which, by habit's power,
and degenerate into impervious chords or fibres. In pro. To learn to bear is easier than to shun.
portion as these small vessels become solid, the larger
must of course become less extensile, more rigid, and Ah! when ambition, meagre love of gold,
make a stronger resistance to the action of the heart, and Or sacred country calls, with mellowing wine
force of the blood. From this gradual condensation of To moisten well the thirsty suffrages;
the smaller vessels, and consequent rigidity of the larger
ones, the progress of the human body from infancy to old Hippocrates.
+ See Book IV. age is accounted for.
To hard unyielding unelastic bone,
Such the reward of rude and sober life; Through tedious channels the congealing flood Of labor such. By health the peasant's toil Crawls lazily, and hardly wanders on ;
Is well repaid ; if exercise were pain It loiters still; and now it stirs no more.
Indeed, and temperance pain. By arts like these This is the period few attain; the death
Laconia nurs'd of old her hardy sons ; Of Nature; thus (80 Heav'n ordain'd it) life And Rome's unconquer'd legions urg'd their way Destroys itself; and could these laws have chang'a, Unhurt, through every toil, in every clime. Nestor might now the fates of Troy relate;
Toil, and be strong. By toil the flaccid nerves And Homer live immortal as his song.
Grow firm, and gain a more compacted tone; What does not fade ? the tower that long had stood The greener juices are by toil subdu'd, The crush of thunder and the warring winds, Mellow'd and subtiliz'd; the vapid old Shook by the slow, but sure destroyer, Time, Expell’d, and all the rancor of the blood. Now hangs in doubtful ruins o'er its base. Come, my companions, ye who feel the charms And finty pyramids, and walls of brass,
of Nature and the year; come, let us stray Descend: the Babylonian spires are sunk; Where chance or fancy leads our roving walk. Achaia, Rome, and Egypt moulder down.
Come, while the soft voluptuous breezes san Time shakes the stable tyranny of thrones, The fleecy Heavens, enwrap the limbs in balm, And toitering empires crush by their own weight. And shed a charming languor o'er the soul. This huge rotundity we tread grows old; Nor when bright Winter sows with prickly frost And all those worlds that roll around the Sun, The vigorous ether, in unmanly warmth The Sun himself, shall die ; and ancient Night Indulge at home; nor even when Eurus' blasts Again involve the desolate abyss :
This way and that convolve the lab'ring woods. 'Till the great Father through the lifeless gloom My liberal walks, save when the skies in rain Extend his arm to light another world,
Or fogs relent, no season should confine And bid new planets roll by other laws.
Or to the cloister'd gallery or arcade. For through the regions of unbounded space,
Go, climb the mountain; from th' ethereal source Where unconfin'd Omnipotence has room,
Imbibe the recent gale. The cheerful morn Being, in various systems, fluctuates still Beams o'er the hills; go, mount th' exulting steed. Between creation and abhorr'd decay:
Already, see, the deep-mouth'd beagles cacth
The tainted mazes; and, on eager sport
Delight you more, go chase the desperate deer;
And through its deepest solitudes awake
The vocal forest with the jovial horn.
But if the breathless chase o'er hill and dale EXERCISE.
Exceed your strength, a sport of less fatigue,
Not less delightful, the prolific stream Through various toils th' adventurous Muse has Affords. The crystal rivulet, that o'er past;
A stony channel rolls its rapid maze, But half the toil, and more than half, remains. Swarms with the silver fry. Such, through the bounds Rude is her theme, and hardly fit for song; of pastoral Stafford, runs the brawling Trent; Plain, and of little ornament; and I
Such Eden, sprung from Cumbrian mountains ; such But little practis'd in th' Aonian arts.
The Esk, o'erhung with woods; and such the Yet not in vain such labors have we tried,
stream If aught these lays the fickle health confirm. On whose Arcadian banks I first drew air, To you, ye delicate, I write ; for you
Liddel; till now, except in Doric lays 1 tame my youth to philosophic cares,
Tun'd to her murmurs by her love-sick swains, And grow still paler by the midnight lamps. Unknown in song; though not a purer stream, Not io debilitate with timorous rules
Through meads more flowery, more romantic groves, A hardy frame; nor needlessly to brave
Rolls toward the western main. Hail, sacred flood! Inglorious dangers, proud of mortal strength, May still thy hospitable swains be blest Is all the lesson that in wholesome years In rural innocence; thy mountains still Concerns the strong. His care were ill bestow'd Teem with the fleecy race; thy tuneful woods Who would with warm effeminacy nurse
For ever flourish ; and thy vales look gay The thriving oak which on the mountain's brow With painted meadows, and the golden grain! Bears all the blasts that sweep the wint’ry Heaven. Oft, with thy blooming sons, when life was new,
Behold the laborer of the glebe, who toils Sportive and petulant, and charm'd with toys, In dust, in rain, in cold and sultry skies ! In thy transparent eddies have I lav'd : Save but the grain from mildews and the flood, Oft trac'd with patient steps thy fairy banks, Nought anxious he what sickly stars ascend. With the well-imitated fly to hook He knows no laws by Esculapius given; The eager trout, and with the slender line He studies none. Yet him nor midnight fogs And yielding rod solicit to the shore Infest, nor those envenom'd shafts that fly The struggling panting prey: while vernal clouds When rabid Sirius fires th' autumnal noon. And tepid gales obscur'd the ruffled pool, His habit pure with plain and temperate meals, And from the deeps callid forth the wanton swarms Robust with labor, and by custom steel'd
Form'd on the Samian school, or those of Ind, To every casualty of varied life;
There are who think these pastimes scarce humane Serene he bears the peevish eastern blast, Yet in my mind (and not relentless I) And uninfected breathes the mortal south. His life is pure that wears no fouler stains.
But if through genuine tenderness of heart, His vacant fancy most: the toil you hate
Fatigues you soon, and scarce improves your limbs. You shun the glories of the chase, nor care
As beauty still has blemish, and the mind
Few bodies are there of that happy mould
But some one part is weaker than the rest : Or tame its savage genius to the grace
The legs, perhaps, or arms refuse their load, Of careless sweet rusticily, that seems
Or the chest labors. These assiduously, The amiable result of happy chance,
But gently, in their proper arts employ'd, Is to create ; and gives a godlike joy,
Acquire a vigor and springy activity, Which every year improves. Nor thou disdain To which they were not born. But weaker parts To check the lawless riot of the trees,
Abhor fatigue and violent discipline. To plant the grove, or turn the barren mould. Begin with gentle toils; and as your nerves O happy he! whom, when his years decline, Grow firm, to '
hardier by just steps aspire ; (His fortune and his fame by worthy means The prudent, even in every moderate walk, Attain'd, and equal to his moderate mind; At first but saunter, and by slow degrees His life approv'd by all the wise and good, Increase their pace. This doctrine of the wise Even envied by the vain,) the peaceful groves Well knows the master of the flying steed. Or Epicurus, from this stormy world,
First from the goal the manag'd coursers play Receive to rest; of all ungrateful cares
On bended reins; as yet the skilful youth Absolv’d, and sacred from the selfish crowd. Repress their foamy pride; but every breath Happiest of men! if the same soil invites The race grows warmer, and the tempest swells, A chosen few, companions of his youth,
Till all the fiery mettle has its way,
When all at once from indolence to toil
Are tir'd and crack'd, before their unctuous coats, Or jealousy, or pain to be outdone.
Compressid, can pour the lubricating balm.
Asthma, and feller peripneumonyt,
Th'athletic fool, to whom what Heaven denied
Oft from his rage, or brainless frolic, feels With soft domestic arts the hours beguile,
His vegetation and brute force decay. And pleasing talk that starts no timorous fame, The men of better clay and finer mould With witless wantonness to hunt it down:
Know nature, feel the human dignity, Or through the fairy-land of tale or song
And scorn to vie with oxen or with apes. Delighted wander, in fictitious fates
Pursu'd prolixly, even the gentlest toil Engag'd, and all that strikes humanity :
Is waste of health: repose by small fatigue Till lost in fable, they the stealing hour
Is earn'd, and (where your habit is not prone
But when the hard varieties of life
Or the warm deeds of some important day:
Hot from the field, indulge not yet your limbs The native zest and flavor of the fruit,
In wish'd repose ; nor court the fanning gale, Where sense grows wild, and tastes of no manure) Nor taste the spring. O! by the sacred tears The decent, honest, cheerful husbandman
Of widows, orphans, mothers, sisters, sires, Should drown his labor in my friendly bowl; Forbear! no other pestilence has driven And at my table find himself at home.
Such myriads o'er th' irremeable deep. Whate'er you study, in whate'er you sweat, Why this so fatal, the sagacious Muse Indulge your taste. Some love the manly foils ; Through nature's cunning labyrinths could trace : The tennis some; and some the graceful dance. But there are secrets which who knows not now, Others, more hardy, range the purple heath, Must, ere he reach them, climb the heapy Alps Or naked stubble; where, from field to field, of science; and devote seven years to toil. The sounding coveys urge their laboring flight; Besides, I would not stun your patient ears Eager amid the rising cloud to pour
With what it little boots you to attain. The gun's unerring thunder: and there are He knows enough, the mariner, who knows Whom still the meed* of the green archer charms. Where lurk the shelves, and where the whirlpools He chooses best, whose labor entertains
What signs portend the storm: to subtler minds * This word is much used by some of the old English poets, and signifies reward or prize.
† The inflammation of the lungs,