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And all its jetty honours turn to snow;
Then let me rightly spell of Nature's ways ;
To Providence, to Him my thoughts I'd raise,
Who taught this vast machine its stedfast laws,
That first, eternal, universal cause ;
Search to what regions yonder star retires,
That monthly waning hides her paly fires,
And whence, anew revived, with silver light
Relumes her crescent orb to cheer the dreary night:
How rising winds the face of ocean sweep,
Where lie the eternal fountains of the deep,
And whence the cloudy magazines maintain
Their wintry war, or pour the autumnal rain ;
How flames perhaps, with dire confusion hurl'd,
Shall sink this beauteous fabric of the world ;
What colours paint the vivid arch of Jove;
What wondrous force the solid earth can move,
When Pindus' self approaching ruin dreads,
Shakes all his pines, and bows his hundred heads;
Why does yon orb, so exquisitely bright,
Obscure his radiance in a short-lived night ;
Whence the Seven-Sisters' congregated fires,
And what Bootes' lazy waggon tires ;
How the rude surge its sandy bounds control ;
Who measured out the year, and bade the seasons
If realms beneath those fabled torments know,
Pangs without respite, fires that ever glow,
Earth's monster brood stretch'd on their iron bed,
The hissing terrors round Alecto's head,
Scarce to nine acres Tityus' bulk confined,
The triple dog that scares the shadowy kind,
All angry heaven inflicts, or hell can feel,
The pendent rock, Ixion's whirling wheel,
Famine at feasts, or thirst amid the stream ;
Or are our fears the enthusiast's empty dream,
And all the scenes, that hurt the grave's repose,
But pictured horror and poetic woes.
These soft inglorious joys my hours engage ;
Be love my youth's pursuit, and science crown my age.
PROPERTIUS, LIB. II. ELEG. I. v. 17.
“Quod mihi si tantum, Mæcenas, fata dedissen ,' &c.
YET would the tyrant Love permit me raise
My feeble voice, to sound the victor's praise, To paint the hero's toil, the ranks of war, The laurell’d triumph and the sculptur'd car; No giant race, no tumult of the skies, No mountain-structures in my verse should rise, Nor tale of Thebes, nor Ilium there should be, Nor how the Persian trod the indignant sea ; Not Marius' Cimbrian wreaths would I relate, Nor lofty Carthage struggling with her fate. Here should Augustus great in arms appear, And thou Mæcenas, be my second care ; Here Mutina from flames and famine free, And there the ensanguined wave of Sicily, And sceptred Alexandria's captive shore, And sad Philippi, red with Roman gore :
Then, while the vaulted skies loud ïos rend,
In golden chains should loaded monarchs bend,
And hoary Nile with pensive aspect seem
To mourn the glories of his sevenfold stream,
that late in fierce encounter met,
Move through the sacred way and vainly threat,
Thee too the Muse should consecrate to fame,
And with her garlands weave thy ever-faithful name.
But nor Callimachus' enervate strain
May tell of Jove, and Phlegra's blasted plain ;
Nor I with unaccustomed vigour trace
Back to its source divine the Julian race.
Sailors to tell of winds and seas delight,
The shepherd of his flocks, the soldier of the fight.
A milder warfare I in verse display;
Each in his proper art should waste the day :
Nor thou my gentle calling disapprove,
To die is glorious in the bed of Love.
Happy the youth, and not unknown to fame,
Whose heart has never felt a second flame.
Oh, might that envied happiness be mine !
To Cynthia all my wishes I confine ;
Or if, alas ! it be my fate to try
Another love, the quicker let me die ;
But she, the mistress of my faithful breast,
Has oft the charms of constancy confest,
Condemns her fickle sex's fond mistake,
And hates the tale of Troy for Helen's sake.
Me from myself the soft enchantress stole ;
Ah ! let her ever my desires control,
Or if I fall the victim of her scorn,
From her loved door may my pale corse be borne.
The power of herbs can other harms remove,
And find a cure for every ill, but love.
The Lemnian's hurt Machaon could repair,
Heal the slow chief, and send again to war;
To Chiron Phænix owed his long-lost sight,
And Phæbus' son recall’d Androgeon to the light,
Here arts are vain, e'en magic here must fail,
The powerful mixture and the midnight spell
The hand that can my captive heart release,
And to this bosom give its wonted peace,
May the long thirst of Tantalus allay,
Or drive the infernal vulture from his prey.
For ills unseen what remedy is found ?
Or who can probe the undiscover'd wound ?
The bed avails not, nor the leech's care,
Nor changing skies can hurt, nor sultry air.
'Tis hard th' elusive symptoms to explore :
To-day the lover walks, to-morrow is no more ;
A train of mourning friends attend his pall,
And wonder at the sudden funeral.