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Or spoke aloud, or whisper'd in the ear;
There various news I heard of love and strife,
Above, below, without, within, around, Confus'd, unnumber'd multitudes are found, Who pass, repass, advance, and glide away; Hosts rais'd by fear, and phantoms of a day: Astrologers, that future fates foreshew, Projectors, quacks, and lawyers not a few; And priests, and party zealots, numerous bands, With home-born lies, or tales from foreign lands; Each talk'd aloud, or in some secret place, And wild impatience star'd in every face. The flying rumours gather'd as they roll'd, Scarce any tale was sooner heard than told; And all who told it added something new, And all who heard it made enlargements too, In every ear it spread, on every tongue it grew.
Thus Aying east and west, and north and south,
When thus ripe lies are to perfection sprung,
the sky. There, at one passage, oft you might survey A lie and truth contending for the way; And long 'twas doubtful, though so closely pent, Which first should issue through the narrow vent. At last agreed, together out they fly, Inseparable now the truth and lie; The strict companions are for ever join'd, And this or that unmix'd, no mortal e'er shall find.
While thus I stood, intent to see and hear, One came, methought, and whisper'd in my ear : • What could thus high thy rash ambition raise? Art thou, fond youth, a candidate for praise ?
"'Tis true,' said I,‘not void of hopes I came, For who so fond as youthful bards of Fame? But few, alas ! the casual blessing boast, So hard to gain, so easy to be lost. How vain that second life in others' breath, Th' estate which wits inherit after death! Ease, health, and life, for this they must resign, (Unsure the tenure, but how vast the fine!) The great man's curse, without the gains, endure, Be envy'd, wretched, and be flatter'd, poor;
All luckless wits their enemies profest,
THERE liv'd in Lombardy, as author's write,
In days of old, a wise and worthy knight; Of gentle manners, as of generous race, Blest with much sense, more riches, and some grace; Yet, led astray, by Venus' soft delights, He scarce could rule some idle appetites : For long ago, let priests say what they could, Weak sinful laymen were but flesh and blood,
But in due time, when sixty years were o'er, He vow'd to lead this vicious life no more : Whether pure holiness inspir'd his mind, Or dotage turn'd his brain, is hard to find; But his high courage prick'd him forth to wed, And try the pleasures of a lawful bed. This was his nightly dream, his daily care, And to the heavenly powers his constant prayer, Once ere he died, to taste the blissful life Of a kind husband and a loving wife.
These thoughts he fortify'd with reasons still, (For none want reasons to confirm their will). Grave authors say, and witty poets sing, That honest wedlock is a glorious thing : But depth of judgement most in him appears, Who wisely weds in his maturer years. Then let kim choose a damsel young and fair, To bless his age, and bring a worthy heir; To sooth his cares, and, free from noise and strife, Conduct him gently to the verge of life,
Let sinful bachelors their woes deplore,
Our grandsire Adam, ere of Eve possessid, Alone, and ev'n in Paradise unbless'd, With mournful looks the blissful scenes survey'd, And wander'd in the solitary shade: The Maker saw, took pity, and bestow'd Woman, the last, the best reserv'd of God.
A wife! ah, gentle deities, can he That has a wife, e'er feel adversity ?