To Mr. J. H. at the TEMPLE, occasioned by a Translation of an Epistle of HORACE.
1 TIME flies — so you and Horace sing,
2 From whence you many a moral bring,
3 To teach us how to steer our lives,
4 T' enjoy our bottles and our wives.
5 Young man, I will approve your notions,
6 And wholly am at your devotions.
7 I hate your sour, canting rascals,
8 That talk of Ember-weeks and Pascals;
9 Black villains, who desire to wean us,
10 From Bacchus' pleasures, and from Venus',
11 To gain themselves a larger share,
12 And fob us off with fast and prayer:
13 And tell us none to Elysium go,
14 Who do not plague themselves below.
15 Can mis'ry raise the grateful heart,
16 Or tuneful songs of praise impart?
17 The great Creator's work we view
18 And trace it out by [Wisdom's] clue;
19 Nothing is good but what is true. [Page 245]
20 With cautious and with thankful eye
21 We scan the great variety:
22 Each good within our reach we taste,
23 And call our neighbour to the feast.
24 Our souls do gen'rously disown
25 All pleasure that's confin'd to one;
26 The only rational employment
27 Is, to receive and give emjoyment:
28 To ev'ry pleasure we attend,
29 Not to enjoy is to offend.
30 But still, amidst the various crowd
31 Of goods, that call with voices loud,
32 Our nat'ral genius, education,
33 Parents, companions, or our station,
34 Direct us to some single choice,
35 In which we chiefly must rejoice.
36 Pleasures are ladies — some we court
37 To pass away an hour in sport:
38 We like them all for this or that,
39 For silence some, and some for chat;
40 For ev'ry one, as Cowley sings,
41 Or arrows yields, or bows, or strings.
42 But, after all this rambling life,
43 Each man must have his proper wife.
44 You know my meaning — some one good,
45 Felt, heard, or seen, or understood,
46 Will captivate the heart's affection,
47 And bring the rest into subjection.
48 Pray mind the tenor of my song;
49 It holds together, tho' 'tis long.
50 You've made an early choice, and wise one;
51 The best I know within th' horizon.
52 My lady Law is rich and handsome:
53 May she be worth you a king's ransom!
54 But I must tell you, (you'll excuse
55 My friendly, tho' plain dealing Muse)
56 In her own hands is all her dower;
57 There's not a groat within your power;
58 And yet you're whoring with the Nine;
59 With them you breakfast, sup and dine,
60 With them you spend your days and nights —
61 Is't fitting she shou'd bear such slights?
62 Beggarly, ballad-singing carrions,
63 Can they advance you to the barons?
64 You've made me too an old Tom Dingle,
65 And I, forsooth, must try to jingle.
66 Your lady wou'd not do you wrong;
67 She owns you're tender yet, and young —
68 She'd wink at now and then a song:
69 But still expects to share the time,
70 Which now is all bestow'd on rhime.
71 Read in the morning Hobbes de Homine,
72 At noon, e'en sport with your Melpomene.
73 Youngster, I've something more to say,
74 To wean you from this itch of play.[Page 247]
75 In his Officiis old Marc Tully,
76 'Mongst certain points he handles fully,
77 (A book I ever must delight in
78 Far beyond all that since is written!) —
79 He tells us there, our parents' praise
80 Their children's virtue ought to raise:
81 Their worth and praise shou'd prick us on
82 To labour after like renown.
83 Who but thy father has been able,
84 Since Hercules, to cleanse a stable?
85 About his ears how strange a rattle!
86 Who ever stood so tough a battle?
87 H' has tam'd the most unruly cattle. —
88 Just two such jobbs as yet remain
89 To be dispatch'd by you and B—.
90 Your father with Herculean club
91 The tyrants of our souls did drub;
92 B — for our bodies, you our chattels,
93 Must undertake the self-same battles.
94 The world on you have fix'd their eyes,
95 'Tis you must quell these tyrannies:
96 So shall some title, now unknown,
97 Bangorian-like your labours crown.
98 Ravish'd, methinks, in thought I see
99 The universal liberty.
100 But after all, I know what's in you:
101 You'll do't, a thousand to one guinea.[Page 248]
102 Time flies — the work and pleasure's great;
103 Begin, before it grows too late.
104 Where the plays stand the statutes lodge;
105 And dance not, 'till you dance a judge;
106 Then, tho' you are not half so taper,
107 My Lord, you'll cut a higher caper.