[Page 187]

To Mr. FOX, written at FLORENCE.

In Imitation of HORACE, Ode 4. Book 2.

Septimi, Gades aditure mecum.
[ed.] Horace, Carmina 2.6. (AH)
1 THOU dearest youth, who taught me first to know
2 What pleasures from a real friendship flow,
3 Where neither interest nor design have part,
4 But all the warmth is native of the heart;
5 Thou know'st to comfort, sooth, or entertain,
6 Joy of my health, and cordial of my pain.
7 When life seem'd failing on her latest stage,
8 And fell disease anticipated age,
9 When wasting sickness and afflicted pain,
10 By Esculapius' sons oppos'd in vain;
11 Forc'd me reluctant, desperate, to explore
12 A warmer sun, and seek a milder shore;
13 Thy steady love with unexampled truth,
14 Forsook each gay companion of thy youth,
15 Whate'er the prosp'rous or the great employs,
16 Bus'ness and int'rest, and love's softer joys,
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17 The weary steps of mis'ry to attend,
18 To share distress, and make a wretch thy friend,
19 If o'er the mountain's snowy height we stray,
20 Where Carthage first explor'd the vent'rous way;
21 Or thro' the tainted air of Rome's parch'd plains,
22 Where Want resides, and Superstition reigns;
23 Chearful and unrepining, still you bear
24 Each dangerous rigour of the various year;
25 And kindly anxious for thy friend alone,
26 Lament his suff'rings and forget thy own.
27 Oh! would kind Heav'n, these tedious suff'rings past,
28 Permit me Ickworth, rest, and health at last,
29 In that lov'd shade, my youth's delightful seat,
30 My early pleasure, and my late retreat,
31 Where lavish Nature's favourite blessings flow,
32 And all the seasons all their sweets bestow;
33 There might I trifle carelesly away
34 The milder evening of life's clouded day,
35 From bus'ness and the world's intrusion free,
36 With books, with love, with beauty, and with thee;
37 No farther want, no wish yet unpossess'd
38 Could e'er disturb this unambitious breast.
39 Let those who Fortune's shining gifts implore,
40 Who sue for glory, splendor, wealth, or power,
41 View this unactive state, with scornful eyes,
42 And pleasures they can never taste, despise;
43 Let them still court that goddess' falser joys,
44 Who, while she grants their pray'r, their peace destroys.
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45 I envy not the foremost of the great,
46 Not Walpole's self, directing Europe's fate;
47 Still let him load Ambition's thorny shrine,
48 Fame be his portion, and contentment mine.
49 But if the gods, sinister still, deny
50 To live in Ickworth, let me there but die;
51 Thy hand to close my eyes in death's long night,
52 Thy image to attract their latest sight:
53 Then to the grave attend thy poet's herse,
54 And love his mem'ry as you lov'd his verse.

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    About this text

    Title (in Source Edition): To Mr. FOX, written at FLORENCE. In Imitation of HORACE, Ode 4. Book 2.
    Themes: retirement
    Genres: heroic couplet
    References: DMI 34

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    Source edition

    A Collection of Poems in Six Volumes. By Several Hands. Vol. III. London: printed by J. Hughs, for R. and J. Dodsley, 1763 [1st ed. 1758], pp. 187-189. 6v.: music; 8⁰. (ESTC T131163; OTA K104099.003) (Page images digitized by the Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive from a copy in the archive's library.)

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    The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.