Against repining at FORTUNE
Tho' in my narrow bounds of rural toil,
No obelisk or splendid column rise;
Tho' partial Fortune still averts her smile,
And views my labours with comdemning eyes;
Yet all the gorgeous vanity of state
I can contemplate with a cool disdain;
Nor shall the honours of the good and great
E'er wound my bosom with an envious pain.
Avails it ought the grandeur of their halls,
With all the glories of the pencil hung,
If Truth, fair Truth! within th' unhallow'd walls
Hath never whisper'd with her seraph tongue?
Avails it ought, if music's gentle lay
Hath oft been echo'd by the sounding dome;
If music cannot soothe their griefs away,
Or change a wretched to a happy home?
Tho' Fortune should invest them with her spoils,
And banish poverty with look severe,
Enlarge their confines, and decrease their toils,
Ah! what avails if she increase their care?
Tho' fickle she disclaim my moss-grown cot,
Nature, thou look'st with more impartial eyes:
Smile thou, fair Goddess! on my sober lot;
I'll neither fear her fall, nor court her rise.
When early larks shall cease the matin song;
When Philomel at night resigns her lays;
When melting numbers to the owl belong,
Then shall the reed be silent in thy praise.
Can he, with whom the tide of Fortune sails,
More pleasure from the sweets of nature share?
Do Zephyrs waft him more ambrosial gales,
Or do his groves a gayer livery wear?
To me the heav'ns unveil as pure a sky;
To me the flow'rs as rich a bloom disclose;
The morning beams as radiant to my eye,
And darkness guides me to as sweet repose.
In luxury their lavish dainties piles,
And still attends upon their sated hours,
Doth health reward them with her open smiles,
Or exercise enlarge their feeble pow'rs?
'Tis not in richest mines of Indian gold,
That man this jewel happiness can find,
If his unfeeling breast, to virtue cold,
Denies her entrance to his ruthless mind.
Wealth, pomp and honour are but gaudy toys;
Alas! how poor the pleasures they impart!
Virtue's the sacred source of all the joys
That claim a lasting mansion in the heart.