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LIFE.

(Occasion'd by some lines upon Death.)

1 Say, Delia, has not Death a pain
2 Beyond what mortals fear, or feign?
3 Beyond th' oppressor's scourge, or scorn?
4 Beyond what suff'ring worth may mourn?
5 Do not the wise, the learn'd, the great,
6 At his approach, appall'd, retreat?
7 Do not the brave with horror start,
8 And, shock'd, betray th' unconquer'd heart?
9 To Death for ease we fly in vain,
10 And pleasure lose for certain pain.
11 Nor is this all. The conscious mind
12 Connects an awful scene behind:
13 Where ev'ry crime shall be expos'd,
14 And ev'ry secret guilt disclos'd;
15 Where hearts unus'd to melt, shall bleed,
16 And sad remorse, with pangs succeed.
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17 Then cease awhile the doubtful strife,
18 And, reconcil'd, look back on life.
19 How full of smiles is it begun!
20 With what delight does youth glide on!
21 What pleasures sparkle in our eyes,
22 When first the infant passions rise!
23 If Love invades the sprightly veins,
24 With all its cares, and pleasing pains;
25 Tho' absence heighten the distress,
26 Or jealous fears disturb our peace;
27 Tho' the soft flame, with which we burn,
28 Be pay'd with pride, neglect, or scorn;
29 Slight he the nymph, or she the swain,
30 Yet there's a pleasure in the pain.
31 In Friendship what relief we find!
32 What ease, from int'rests thus combin'd;
33 By mutual ties of honour bound,
34 How kind, how faithful, Friends are found!
35 How full each word! how fair each deed!
36 (Save just in case of real need)
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37 Without reserve their joys they share,
38 And by dividing, lessen care.
39 What tho' dull moralists of old,
40 Strange tales of broken faith have told;
41 What tho' there were, for private ends,
42 Those who debas'd the name of friends;
43 Yet these were things done long ago,
44 The world is strangely mended now!
45 And in this upright age we see,
46 Friends are what they appear to be.
47 Next young Ambition smiling brings
48 Alternate joy to Slaves and Kings.
49 The Monarch, lo! in transports hurl'd,
50 Surveys in thought a conquer'd world.
51 The Peasant o'er his clod espies
52 Preferments, riches, honours rise;
53 Till, (what sometimes is vastly odd)
54 The vision flies, and leaves the clod:
55 Yet Expectation gilds his joys;
56 Fruition only cures, and cloys.
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57 Gay, blooming Expectation strays
58 To charming scenes, thro' charming ways;
59 With wondrous art it can foresee
60 What never was, nor e'er can be:
61 Yet who would wish to spy the cheat?
62 Or who'd not hug the dear deceit?
63 Since life's prime bliss, it is believ'd,
64 Consists in being well-deceiv'd.
65 Nor must we laugh at, nor may blame
66 The man who thirsts, or bleeds for Fame.
67 Renown, tho' late, at length succeeds,
68 To recompence his glorious deeds;
69 And tho' it comes not till his fall,
70 'Tis better late than not at all.
71 Observe the Man of dress, and lace:
72 How soft his air! how sweet his face!
73 The youth has lov'd, and learnt to dance:
74 And now he travels into France,
75 Fresh manners to import, and mark
76 The sword-knot of the Grand Monarque.
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77 Then, fine and finish'd, homeward roves,
78 Each taste corrects, refines, improves;
79 Admires awhile, and is admir'd;
80 And tiring others, till he's tir'd,
81 Walks off, a little sick of life,
82 And takes, by way of cure, a Wife:
83 Enquires whose house is to be let,
84 (His own being quitted for a debt)
85 Then, as his finances require,
86 To frugal Yorkshire does retire,
87 And ends a plain, contented 'Squire.
88 Nor Youth alone has joy in view,
89 Age has its satisfactions too.
90 Who envies not the miser's store?
91 Who seeming rich, and really poor,
92 Yet that one passion, lust of gain,
93 Supports him under ev'ry pain:
94 Amidst a thousand ills he'll thrive,
95 And think it worth his while to live.
96 The venerable Sage, who deals
97 In long, insipid, ancient tales,
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98 Who dwells on feats of former times,
99 And loudly taxes modern crimes;
100 Whose tedious lore at morn's begun,
101 And ends but with the setting sun;
102 At ninety odd, this happy man
103 Repines, that life is but a span!
104 That as the sparks fly upwards all,
105 So mortal man is doom'd to fall!
106 That flesh is grass; and like the flow'r,
107 Springs, blooms, and dies within an hour!
108 More truths, perhaps, he might unfold;
109 But ah! he dies; his tale is told.
110 Nor are these all the joys of age:
111 Love may exert its feebler rage
112 Thro' each re-animated vein,
113 Enliv'ning all the heart again:
114 Past scenes restoring to its view,
115 And warmth, as well as youth renew.
116 Nor this prepost'rous call, or strange;
117 Winter itself, grown old, will change,
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118 And put Spring's youthful liv'ry on,
119 Pervaded by the gen'rous sun.
120 Delia, if this is Life, and these
121 Can pass it off with so much ease;
122 Or all-enamour'd with the scene,
123 Would act it o'er and o'er again:
124 If these can taste the present hour,
125 What joys has Wisdom in her pow'r!
126 Who leads, with lasting pleasure blest,
127 Fair Virtue, ever-chearful guest!
128 The constant inmates of your breast.
129 With Delia, Love's a gentle flame,
130 Whose source is honour and esteem.
131 Her Friendship still is more refin'd,
132 A gen'rous sympathy of mind.
133 Ambitious only to excell,
134 And be supreme in doing well.
135 And hence, as a reward, may claim
136 Our just returns of Praise, and Fame.
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137 Live then, and condescend to taste,
138 Tho' you're digusted with the feast;
139 Live for your own, for Virtue's sake,
140 And Pleasure with the Wise partake:
141 And (if the fates so much decree)
142 A little longer live for Me.

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Title (in Source Edition): LIFE. (Occasion'd by some lines upon Death.)
Author: Mary Jones
Themes:
Genres: occasional poem

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Source edition

Miscellanies in Prose and Verse. By Mary Jones Oxford: Printed; and delivered by Mr. Dodsley in Pall-Mall, Mr. Clements in Oxford, and Mr. Frederick in Bath, MDCCL., 1750, pp. 143-150. vi,[1],xlv,[1],405p. (ESTC T115196)

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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.

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