YE, who beneath rich canopies of state,
Mid circling slaves, that bend with servile awe,
Sit idly great; in SULTAN pomp elate,
Your wild-will JUSTICE, and your passions LAW.
Lo! costly odours, and the richest wine,
To crown your banquets from far realms are borne,
And all the treasures of the East combine
To make your splendors emulate the morn.
Tho’ melting sounds of music’s vocal strains,
With the soft lute in harmony combined,
Or dance of WANTON BEAUTY strive, in chains
Light as her step, to hold the captive mind.
Ev’n, tho’ a thousand sensual ARTS unite
To raise the enervated sould to joy;
Say, pass you in the HARAM OF DELIGHT*
Your listless languid hours without annoy?
In LUXURY’s vale, or FLATTERY’s fertile field,
What crops of tares reward the tiller’s toil!
What acid grapes your mental vineyards yield!
What rank and poisonous weeds o’erspread the soil!
Will SLOTH (that hag unknown to NATURE) lead
Your half-form’d weary thoughts to sweet repose;
Or with false appetites and passions plead,
Along the stream from FOLLY’s fount that flows,
Hasty and foul, to swell the troubled lake
Of PREJUDICE, or stagnate round the root
Of PRIDE’s cloud-piercing tree, whose branches ache,
Bending beneath a load of vapid fruit?
Once, like yourselves, in flowery fetters bound,
To soft desires of sense I captive fell;
Smiled on the margin of that gulf profound,
Whose giddy whirlpools sink to DEATH and HELL.
Deem’d it a bliss to bear delusion’s chain;
Spurn’d at those truths that WISDOM’s voice displays;
’Till blest ADVERSITY assumed her reign,
And oped mine eyes to HEAVEN’s all beauteous rays:
Scourged me with thorns from LUXURY’s soft abode,
Tore me from man, and raised my soul to GOD.