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He then inveighs against drinking, the common refource in diforders of this kind, and observes, that, tho' the intoxicating draught may relieve for a time; the pains will return with ten-fold rage. And this heillustrates with a beautiful fimile.
He then points out the mischiefs that attend drunkennefs ; fuch as lofing friends by unguarded words, or doing rash deeds that are never to be forgotten (but which may haunt a man with horror tohis grave) the loß of money, health and decay of parts ; and then pays a | grateful filial tribute to the memory of his father; whose advice on the condućt of life he thus recommends.
How to live happiest; how avoid the pains,
The disappointments, and disgusts of those
Who would in pleasure all their hours employ ;
The precepts here of a divine old man
I could recite. Tho' old, he still retained |
His manly fenfe, and energy of mind.
Much more had feen ; he studied from the life,
And in th' original perus'd mankind.
In the parts that follow are contain'd fome lefons for
the conduċt of life, from which we shall infert a few maxims.
With respećt to indolence and luxury we have this leffon, which concludes with a definition of virtue and fenfe, and their good effećts.
'Tis not for mortals always to be bleft.
But him the leaft the dull or painful hours
Of life oppress, whom fober fenfe condućts,
And virtue, thro’ this labyrinth we tread.
Virtue and fenfe I mean not to disjoin ;
Virtue and fenfe are one : and, truft me, he
Who has not virtue, is not truly wife.
Virtue (for mere good nature is a fool)
Is fenfe and spirit, with humanity ;
'Tis fometimes angry, and its frown confounds;
’Tis even vindićtive, but in vengeance just.
This is the folid pomp of prosperous days; .
The peace and shelter of adversity.
Thus, in his graver vein, the friendly fage
Sometimes declaim'd. Of right and wrong he taught
Truths as refin’d as ever Athens heard ;
And (strange to tell !) he praćtis'd what he preach'd.
Skili'd in the passions, how to check their fway
He knew, as far as reafon can controul
The lawless powers. But other cares are mine :
Form’d in the fchool of Paeon, I relate
What paffions hurt the body, what improve:
Avoid them, or invite them, as you may.
Know then, whatever chearful and ferene
Supports the mind, supports the body too.
Hence the most vital movement mortals feel.
Is hope ; the balm and life-blood of the foul.
It pleases, and it lasts. Indulgent heaven
Sent down the kind delusion, thro' the paths
Of rugged life to lead us patient on ;
And make our happiest state no tedious thing.
He then speaks of the good and bad effects of love, and with regard to consummation, he fays; .
Is health your care, or luxury your aim,
Be temperate still; when nature bids, obey ;
Her wild impatient fallies bear no curb :
But when the prurient habit of delight,
Or loofe imagination, fpurs you on
To deeds above your strength, impute it not
To nature : nature all compulsion hates.
'The poet then proceeds to other passions, and the de
fcription he has given us of anger and its dreadful effecis,
is very beautiful and very just.
But there's a pastion, whose tempestuous fway
Tears up each virtue planted in the breaft,
For pale and trembling anger rushes in,
With fault'ring speech, and eyes that wildly stare ;
Fierce as the tyger, madder than the feas,
Desperate, and arm’d with more than human strength.
How foon the calm, humane, and polish'd man
Forgets compunĉtion, and starts up a fiend !
Who pines in love, or wastes with filent cares,
Envy, or ignominy, or tender grief,
Slowly descends, and ling'ring, to the fhades ;
But he whom anger flings, drops, if he dies,
At once, and rushes apoplećtic down ;
Or a fierce fever hurries him away.
Such fates attend the rash alarm of fear,
And fudden grief, and rage, and fudden joy.
But there are constitutions to which these boisterous fits, these violent fallies of paffion, may be fometimes ferviceable.
For where the mind a torpid winter leads,
Wrapt in a body corpulent and cold,
And each clogg'd function lazily moves on ;
A generous fally spurns th' incumbent load,
Unlocks the breast, and gives a cordial glow.
And then offers fomething to the confideration of those whose turbulent tempers move them to feek revenge.
While choler works, good friend, you may be wrong;
Distrust yourself, and fleep before you fight.
'Tis not too late to-morrow to be brave ;
If honour bids, to-morrow kill or die.
The poet then feeks a remedy for thefe evils, fets the contrary pastions in opposition, fo that they may counter
aċt each other ; and at last recommends mufick as the
He then concludes the whole with an encomium
on the power of poetry and of music united, which
is enrich’d with allusions to ancient fables and historical
faċts ; materials that we have often recommended as
proper ornaments for these fort of poems.
But he the muse’s laurel justly shares,
A poet he, and touch'd with heaven’s own fire ;
Who, with bold rage or folemn pomp of founds,
Inflames, exalts, and ravishes the foul ;
Now tender, plaintive, sweet almost to pain,
In love diffolves you ; now in sprightly strains
Breathes a gay rapture thro' your thrilling breast ;
Or melts the heart with airs divinely fad ;
Or wakes to horror the tremendous strings.
Such was the bard, whose heavenly strains of old
Appeas'd the fiend of melancholy Saul.
Such was, if old and heathen fame fay true,
The man who bade the Theban domes ascend,
And tam'd the favage nations with his fong;
And fuch the Thracian, whose harmonious lyre,
Tun'd to foft woe, made all the mountains weep;
Sooth'd even th’inexorable powers of hell,
And half. redeem'd his loft Eurydice.
Music exalts each joy, allays each grief,
Expels difeafes, foftens every pain,
Subdues the rage of poifon, and the plague ;
And hence the wife of ancient days ador'd
One power of phyfic, melody, and fong.
We have dwelt long enough, perhaps too long, on this subjećt ; but as these poems are of fuch use, that what is taught in this agreeable manner will remain for ever fix’d on the memory, it feem'd the more necessary to be very particular and explicit in the rules, and to give variety of examples. We have only to add to what has been already faid, that the great art in the conduct of these poems is fo to adorn and enliven the precepts that they may agreeably strike the imagination ; and to deliver them in fuch an indirećt manner, that, the form of