POOR human life—perplex’d and painful span!
Tired, we exclaim, yet dread the hour of death,
Lament the evils of unhappy man,
Yet struggling, strive to gain a moment’s breath.
Breath! for what end?—To lengthen MISERY’s date
To grasp at false delights, that end in woe?
Opposing sickly HOPE to certain FATE,
That mocks our efforts to elude the blow?
Mark those who combat in the fields of FAME;
View those that aim at titles, wealth, and power:
Or those who feel, fond LOVE! thy gentle flame,
And seek soft transports in the nuptial bower.
Those who aspire to gain the praise of ART,
To guide the pencil, NATURE’s charms pourtray,
Employ the pen, truth, sciences, impart,
Or on poetic pinions wing their way.
Whate’er the OBJECT, still th’ attentive mind
This only difference learns in the event,
The MANY ceaseless seek, but never find,
The envied FEW that find—are not content!