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Shall burning Ætna, if a sage requires, Forget to thunder, and recal her fires ? On air or sea new motions be imprest,
But still this world (so fitted for the knave)
say, Or he whose virtue sigh’d to lose a day?
• But sometimes virtue starves, while vice is fed.' What then : is the reward of virtue bread ? 150 That vice may merit, 'tis the price of toil ; The knave deserves it, when he tills the soil ; The kpave deserves it, when he tempts the main, Where folly fights for kings, or dives for gain. The good man may be weak, be indolent ; 155 Nor is his claim to plenty, but content. But grant him riches, your demand is o'er ? * No-shall the good want health, the good want pow'r ??
Add health, and pow'r, and ev'ry earthly thing ; • Why bounded pow'r ? why private : why no king; Nay, why external for internal giv’n ?
What nothing earthly gives, or can destroy,
175 Yet sigh’st thou now for apples and for cakes ? Go, like the Indian, in another life Expect thy dog, thy bottle, and thy wife : As well as dream such trifles are assign'd, As toys and empires, for a god-like mind ; 180 Rewards, that either would to virtue bring No joy, or be destructive of the thing : How oft by these at sixty are undone The virtues of a saint at twenty-one ! To whom can riches give repute or trust,
185 Content or pleasure; but the good and just ? Judges and senates have been bought for gold, Esteem and love were never to be sold. Oh fool! to think God hates the worthy mind, The lover and the love of human-kind,
190 Whose life is healthful, and whose conscience clear, Because he wants a thousand pounds a year. Honour and shame from no condition rise ; Act well your part, there all the honour lies. Fortune in men hath some small diff'rence made, 195 One flaunts in rags, one flutters in brocade,
The cobler apron'd, and the parson gown'd,
200 You'll find, if once the monarch acts the monk, Or, cobler-like, the parson will be drunk, Worth makes the man, and want of it, the fellow ; The rest is all but leather or prunello. Stuck o'er with titles, and hung round with strings,
205 That thou may?st be by kings, or whores of kings, Boast the pure blood of an illustrious race, In quiet flow from Lucrece to Lucrece, ; But by your father's worth if yours you rate, Count me those only who were good and great. 210 Go, if your ancient, but ignoble, blood Has crept through scoundrels ever since the flood, Go! and pretend your family is young ; Nor own your fathers have been fools so long. What can ennoble sots, or slaves, or cowards. 215 Alas! not all the blood of all the Howards.
Look next on greatness.; say where greatness lies ? * Where, but
the heroes and the wise ?? Heroes are much the same, the point's agreed, From Macedonia's madman to the Swede ; 220 The whole strange purpose of their lives, to find, Or make, an enemy of all mankind ! Not one looks backward, .onward still he goes, Yet ne'er looks forward farther than his nose. No less alike the politic and wise,
225 All sly slow things, with circumspective eyes : Men in their loose unguarded hours they take, Not that themselves are wise, but others weak. But grant that those can conquer, these can cheat ; 'Tis phrase absurd, to call a villain great : 230 Who wickedly is wise, or madly brave, Is but the more a fool, the more a knave.
Who poble ends by noble means obtains,
In parts superior what advantage lies ? Tell (for you can) what is it to be wise ? 260 "Tis but to know how little can be known ; To see all other's faults, and feel our own : Condemn’d in bus'ness, or in arts to drudge, Without a second, or without a judge. Truths would you teach, or save a sinking land ? 265 All fear, none aid you, and few understand. Painful pre-eminence ! yourself to view Above life's weakness, and its comforts too.
Bring then these blessings to a strict account ; Make fair deductions, see to what they 'mount, 270
How much of other each is sure to cost ;