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To Mr. MASON.

I.
1 BELIEVE me, MASON, 'tis in vain
2 Thy fortitude the torrent braves;
3 Thou too must bear th' inglorious chain;
4 The world, the world will have its slaves.
5 The chosen friend, for converse sweet,
6 The small, yet elegant retreat,
7 Are peaceful unambitious views
8 Which early fancy loves to form,
9 When aided by th' ingenuous Muse,
10 She turns the philosophic page,
11 And sees the wise of every age
12 With Nature's dictates warm.
II.
13 But ah! to few has Fortune given
14 The choice, to take or to refuse;
15 To fewer still indulgent Heaven
16 Allots the very will to chuse.
17 And why are varying schemes prefer'd?
18 Man mixes with the common herd,
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19 By custom guided to pursue
20 Or wealth, or honors, fame, or ease;
21 What others wish he wishes too,
22 Nor, from his own peculiar choice,
23 'Till strengthen'd by the public voice,
24 His very pleasures please.
III.
25 How oft, beneath some hoary shade
26 Where Cam glides indolently slow,
27 Hast thou, as indolently laid,
28 Prefer'd to Heav'n thy fav'rite vow:
29 "Here, here forever let me stay,
30 "Here calmly loiter life away,
31 "Nor all those vain connections know
32 "Which fetter down the free-born mind
33 "The slave of interest, or of shew;
34 "Whilst yon gay tenant of the grove,
35 "The happier heir of Nature's love,
36 "Can warble unconfin'd. "
IV.
37 Yet sure, my friend, th' eternal plan
38 By truth unerring was design'd;
39 Inferior parts were made for man,
40 But man himself for all mankind.
41 Then by th' apparent judge th' unseen;
42 Behold how rolls this vast machine
43 To one great end, howe'er withstood,
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44 Directing its impartial course.
45 All labour for the general good.
46 Some stem the wave, some till the soil,
47 By choice the hold, th' ambitious toil,
48 The indolent by force.
V.
49 That bird, thy fancy frees from care,
50 With many a fear, unknown to thee,
51 Must rove to glean his scanty fare
52 From field to field, from tree to tree:
53 His lot, united with his kind,
54 Has all his little joys confin'd;
55 The Lover's and the Parent's ties
56 Alarm by turns his anxious breast;
57 Yet, bound by fate, by instinct wise,
58 He hails with songs the rising morn,
59 And pleas'd at evening's cool return
60 He sings himself to rest.
VI.
61 And tell me, has not nature made
62 Some stated void for thee to fill,
63 Some spring, some wheel which asks thy aid
64 To move, regardless of thy will?
65 Go then, go feel with glad surprize
66 New bliss from new connections rise;
67 'Till, happier in thy wider sphere,
68 Thou quit thy darling schemes of ease;
69 Nay, glowing in the full career
70 Ev'n wish thy virtuous labours more;
71 Nor 'till the toilsome day is o'er
72 Expect the night of peace.

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    About this text

    Title (in Source Edition): To Mr. MASON.
    Themes: retirement; virtue; vice
    Genres: address
    References: DMI 27945

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    Source edition

    A Collection of Poems in Six Volumes. By Several Hands. Vol. VI. London: printed by J. Hughs, for R. and J. Dodsley, 1763 [1st ed. 1758], pp. 312-314. 6v.: music; 8⁰. (ESTC T131163; OTA K104099.006)

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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.