[Nereides:] Eclogue IV.
1 From this high Cliff is an unusual View,
2 And here our Eyes uncommon Scenes persue.
3 I see the Verdure of yon distant Plains,
4 Where bleating Flocks are fed by tuneful Swains.
5 But ah! how wretched are those earth-born Slaves,
6 Compar'd with us, who cut thro' shining Waves?
7 They are expos'd to Cold, expos'd to Heat,
8 In different Seasons mourn a different Fate;
9 Uneasy still the wretched Caitiff moves
10 To breezy Mountains, or to shelt'ring Groves.
11 While we no cloathing need, no Change of Rules,
12 The Sea in Winter warms, in Summer cools.
13 I've seen the labouring Plowman's daily Toil
14 For a new Crop to fit the stubborn Soil,[Page 20]
15 While Heav'n supplies our Wants without our Sweat,
16 We ne'er are hungry, but we have to eat.
17 Why should we thus by partial Heaven be blest;
18 With neither Grief, nor Doubt, nor Toil opprest;
19 While those on Earth of Happiness despair,
20 In Pain, and Anguish die, and live in Care?
21 I've heard (for thus the wise Melampus said)
22 Two different Kinds of Men by Heav'n were made,
23 The one to swim, and sport in briny Seas,
24 Th'other to range on Earth, or sit at ease,
25 Under the Covert of the shadowing Trees.
26 To each a Guardian Spirit was assign'd
27 To guide their Passions, and inform their Mind:
28 But he on Earth, ingrate! would wildly rove,
29 Despis'd his Maker, and abus'd his Love.
30 Enraged at this the Guardian Dæmon flew,
31 And bid him his own blinded Will persue;[Page 21]
32 Thus earthy Men deserted by their Guide
33 Can't rule their giddy Thoughts, nor Stem the coming Tide;
34 But still are doom'd Slaves to their darling Lust,
35 Are all deceitful, cruel, and unjust;
36 Restless Desires their wearied Soul distract,
37 They know not what they are, nor, — why they act.
38 While we content with what the Gods approve,
39 Do nought but ever sing, and — ever love.
40 But see —
41 The Tide swells on the Shore, and forward creeps,
42 And with new Slime besmears the sandy Heaps.
43 What makes this constant Flux, I've often thought
44 The Cause is wond'rous, and in vain I sought.
45 The Cause is wond'rous plain; the wise will prove
46 The Nature of a Fluid is to move:
47 In every Liquid there's a constant Rowl;
48 An Eddy, tho' unseen, disturbs the whole. [Page 22]
49 The gliding Parts with secret Motion flow;
50 Were they at rest, they would to Hardness grow.
51 As Washings left in Rocks, by Winters Frost
52 Are fixt to solid Ice, and all the Motion's lost.
53 Happy are those who know the secret Cause
54 Of strange Effects, and Nature's hidden Laws.
55 But leave the Rocks; for rising Fogs appear,
56 And cold Land-breezes chill the troubled Air.