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Nature, through all her works, in great degree,
Borrows a blessing from variety.
Music itself her needful aid requires
To rouse the soul, and wake our dying fires.
No tribute is laid on castles in the air.
- [Castles in the Air]
No two on earth in all things can agree;
All have some darling singularity;
Women and men, as well as girls and boys,
In gewgaws take delight, and sigh for toys,
Your sceptres and your crowns, and such like things,
Are but a better kind of toys for kings.
In things indifferent reason bids us choose,
Whether the whim's a monkey or a muse.
Old Age, a second child, by nature curst
With more and greater evils than the first,
Weak, sickly, full of pains: in ev'ry breath
Railing at life, and yet afraid of death.
- [Old Age]
On the four aces doom'd to roll.
Ourselves are to ourselves the cause of ill.
Quick-circulating slanders mirth afford; and reputation bleeds in every word.
Satire, whilst envy and ill-humor sway
The mind of man, must always make her way;
Nor to a bosom, with discretion fraught,
Is all her malice worth a single thought.
The wise have not the will, nor fools the power,
To stop her headstrong course; within the hour
Left to herself, she dies; opposing strife
Gives her fresh vigor, and prolongs her life.
So gentle, yet so brisk, so wondrous sweet,
So fit to prattle at a lady's feet.
So lightly walks, she not one mark imprints,
Nor brushes off the dews, nor soils the tints.
Spite of all the criticising elves, those who make us feel must feel themselves.
Sweet nurse of nature, over the senses creep.
The most haste, ever the worst speed.
The stage I chose--a subject fair and free--
'Tis yours--'tis mine--'tis public property.
All common exhibitions open lie,
For praise or censure, to the common eye.
Hence are a thousand hackney writers fed;
Hence monthly critics earn their daily bread.
This is a general tax which all must pay,
From those who scribble, down to those who play.
The surest road to health, say what they will,
Is never to suppose we shall be ill.
Most of those evils we poor mortals know
From doctors and imagination flow.
The villager, born humbly and bred hard,
Content his wealth, and poverty his guard,
In action simply just, in conscience clear,
By guilt untainted, undisturb'd by fear,
His means but scanty, and his wants but few,
Labor his business, and his pleasure too,
Enjoys more comforts in a single hour
Than ages give the wretch condemn'd to power.
The virtuous to those mansions go
Where pleasures unembitter'd flow,
Where, leading up a jocund band,
Vigor and Youth dance hand in hand,
Whilst Zephyr, with harmonious gales,
Pipes softest music through the vales,
And Spring and Flora, gaily crown'd,
With velvet carpet spread the ground;
With livelier blush where roses bloom,
And every shrub expires perfume.
There's a strange something, which without a brain
Fools feel, and which e'en wise men can't explain,
Planted in man, to bind him to that earth,
In dearest ties, from whence he drew his birth.
Think not for wrongs like these unscourged to live;
Long may ye sin, and long may Heaven forgive;
But when ye least expect, in sorrow's day,
Vengeance shall fall more heavy for delay.
This a sacred rule we find
Among the nicest of mankind,
(Which never might exception brook
From Hobbes even down to Bolingbroke,)
To doubt of facts, however true,
Unless they know the causes too.
Those who fear not guilt yet start at shame.
Those who raise envy will easily incur censure.
Those who would make us feel must feel themselves.
Though folly, robed in purple, shines,
Though vice exhausts Peruvian mines,
Yet shall they tremble and turn pale
When satire wields her mighty flail.
Thy danger chiefly lies in acting well;
No crime's so great as daring to excel.
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