WHY do thine hours, thy days, thy years, O TIME!
Unmark’d, in silent, swift, succession fly,
Blest as the bloomy SPRING of youthful prime,
Bright as the love-fraught glance of BEAUTY’s eye?
Why fade not NATURE’s charms in ACHMED’s sight?
Why do the Heavens still smile serenely fair?
Why fail’d the gloom-clouds of AFFLICTION’s night,
To shroud his solitude in dark DESPAIR?
Children of dust! your cares, your sorrows flow,
Like troubled fountains, from a soil impure;
Tinged in their native bed, they ne’er forego
A taint that must thro’ all their course endure.
Winding thro’ shades impervious to the day,
They add dire increase to the stagnant fen,
From whence black PESTILENCE oft takes her way,
On sluggish wing, to blast the haunts of men.
Like her foul train, what fury passions rise
In every form that can distract the soul:
Even in the bosoms of the good and wise,
LOVE, TRUTH, and REASON, dread their fierce controul.
The sun of FORTUNE,* SLOTH’s seductive calm,
With VICE’s locust squadrons, lend their aid,
To spread those noxious powers no earthly balm
Can conquer, where their influence is convey’d.
WEALTH ask thy vot’ries, POWER thy giant arm
That wields at once the sceptre and the sword.
Do you possess the talismanic charm,
That makes EXISTENCE, like her GOD, adored?
NATURE admired and loved?—Her joys invite?
And all her gifts throughout their wide increase,
Bloom like the TREE of temperate delight,
Whose root’s CONTENTMENT, and whose fruit is PEACE?
Know, that deluded by the world’s false love,
AMBITION’s wild chimeras, FORTUNE’s toys,
The captive mind, in their enchanted grove
Shall only find A DEMON that destroys.
O blest ADVERSITY! to thy stern power
I owe that FREEDOM which I here possess,
That heartfelt joy which brightens every hour,
With the mild beam of mental happiness.
HEALTH’s balmy breeze breathes round my lone abode,
And all things speak the presence of their GOD.