A Fit of the SPLEEN.
In Imitation of SHAKESPHEAR.
1 FAREWEL, vain world! and thou its vainest part,
2 O lovely woman! fram'd for man's destruction!
3 Beauty, like nightshade to the teeming wife,
4 If seen, gives wishes restless, endless longings;
5 If tasted, death. Too hard decree of fate,
6 That life must be a burthen, or must end!
7 Farewel, vain world! dwelling of ills and fears,
8 Full of fond hopes, false joys, and sad repentance;
9 For tho' sometimes warm Fancy lights a fire,
10 That mounting upwards darts its pointed head
11 Up, thro' the unopposing air, to heav'n,
12 Yet then comes Thought, and cold Consideration,
13 Lame Afterthought with endless scruples fraught,
14 Benumm'd with Fears, to damp the goodly blaze.
15 Farewel, vain world! — Yet, ere I die, I'll find
16 Contentment's seat, unknown to guilt or sorrow;
17 Haste then, for nimble Death pursues me close,
18 Methinks I hear his steps, tho' trod in air;[Page 203]
19 My fluttering soul seems like a bird entrapp'd,
20 That beats his wings against the prison walls,
21 And fain wou'd be at liberty again;
22 And oft the death-watch with ill-boding beats
23 Hath warn'd me that my time wou'd soon expire,
24 And that life's thread, ne'er to be wound up more,
25 Wou'd by the spring of fate be quickly drawn
26 To its full stretch — Haste then, and let me find
27 A shelter, that may shut out noise and light,
28 Save one dim taper, whose neglected snuff,
29 Grown higher than the flame, shall with its bulk
30 Almost extinguish it; no noise be there,
31 But that of water, ever friend to thought.
32 Hail, gloomy shade! th' abode of modesty
33 Void of deceit; no glittering objects here
34 Dazzle the eyes; and thou, delightful Silence,
35 Silence, the great Divinity's discourse!
36 The angels' language, and the hermits' pride,
37 The help of waking wisdom, and its food;
38 In thee philosophers have justly plac'd
39 The sovereign good; free from the broken vows,
40 The calumnies, reproaches, and the lies
41 Of which the noisy babbling world complains.
* These four lines are said to be added by Mr. POPE. So the struck deer, with some deep wound opprest,
43 Lies down to die, the arrow in his breast;
44 There hid in shades, and wasting day by day,
45 Inly he bleeds, and pants his life away.