The Castle of Indolence/K
"It was not by vile Loitering in Eaſe,
"That Greece obtain'd the brighter Palm of Art,
"That ſoft yet ardent Athens learn'd to pleaſe,
"To keen the Wit, and to ſublime the Heart,
"In all ſupreme! compleat in every Part!
"It was not thence majeſtic Rome aroſe,
"And o'er the Nations ſhook her conquering Dart:
"For Sluggard's Brow the Laurel never grows;
"Renown is not the Child of indolent Repoſe.
"Had unambitious Mortals minded Nought,
"But in looſe Joy their Time to wear away;
"Had they alone the Lap of Dalliance ſought,
"Pleas'd on her Pillow their dull Heads to lay:
"Rude Nature's State had been our State To-day;
"No Cities e'er their towery Fronts had rais'd,
"No Arts had made us opulent and gay;
"With Brother-Brutes the Human Race had graz'd;
"None e'er had ſoar'd to Fame, None honour'd been, None prais'd.
"Great Homer's Song had never fir'd the Breaſt,
"To Thirſt of Glory, and heroic Deeds;
"Sweet Maro's Muſe, ſunk in inglorious Reſt,
"Had ſilent ſlept amid the Mincian Reeds:
"The Wits of modern Time had told their Beads,
"And monkiſh Legends been their only Strains;
"Our Milton's Eden had lain wrapt in Weeds,
"Our Shakespear ſtroll'd and laugh'd with Warwick Swains,
"Ne had my Maſter Spenser charm'd his Mulla's Plains.
"Dumb too had been the ſage Hiſtoric Muſe,
"And periſh'd all the Sons of antient Fame;
"Thoſe ſtarry Lights of Virtue, that diffuſe
"Through the dark Depth of Time their vivid Flame,
"Had All been loſt with Such as have no Name.
"Who then had ſcorn'd his Eaſe for others' Good?
"Who then had toil'd rapacious Men to tame?
"Who in the Public Breach devoted ſtood,
"And for his Country's Cauſe been prodigal of Blood?
"But ſhould to Fame your Hearts impervious be,
"If right I read, you Pleaſure All require:
"Then hear how beſt may be obtain'd this Fee,
"How beſt enjoy'd this Nature's wide Deſire.
"Toil, and be glad! Let Induſtry inſpire
"Into your quicken'd Limbs her buoyant Breath!
"Who does not act is dead; abſorpt intire
"In miry Sloth, no Pride no Joy he hath:
"O Leaden-hearted Men, to be in Love with Death!
"Better the toiling Swain, oh happier far!
"Perhaps the happieſt of the Sons of Men!
"Who vigorous plies the Plough, the Team, or Car;
"Who houghs the Field, or ditches in the Glen,
"Delves in his Garden, or ſecures his Pen:
"The Tooth of Avarice poiſons not his Peace;
"He toſſes not in Sloth's abhorred Den;
"From Vanity he has a full Releaſe;
"And, rich in Nature's Wealth, he thinks not of Increaſe.
"Good Lord! how keen are his Senſations all!
"His Bread is ſweeter than the Glutton's Cates;
"The Wines of France upon the Palate pall,
"Compar'd with What his ſimple Soul elates,
"The native Cup whoſe Flavour Thirſt creates;
"At one deep Draught of Sleep he takes the Night;
"And for that Heart-felt Joy which Nothing mates,
"Of the pure nuptial Bed the chaſte Delight,
"The Loſel is to him a miſerable Wight.
"But what avail the largeſt Gifts of Heaven,
"When ſickening Health and Spirits go amiſs?
"How taſteleſs then Whatever can be given?
"Health is the vital Principle of Bliſs,
"And Exerciſe of Health. In Proof of This,
"Behold the Wretch, who ſlugs his Life away,
"Soon ſwallow'd in Diſeaſe's ſad Abyſs;
"While he whom Toil has brac'd, or manly Play,
"Has light as Air each Limb, each Thought as clear as Day.
"O who can ſpeak the vigorous Joys of Health!
"Unclogg'd the Body, unobſcur'd the Mind:
"The Morning raiſes gay; with pleaſing Stealth,
"The temperate Evening falls ſerene and kind.
"In Health the wiſer Brutes true Gladneſs find.
"See! how the Younglings friſk along the Meads,
"As May comes on, and wakes the balmy Wind;
"Rampant with Life, their Joy all Joy exceeds:
"Yet what ſave high-ſtrung Health this dancing Pleaſaunce breeds?
"But here, inſtead, is foſter'd every Ill,
"Which or diſtemper'd Minds or Bodies know.
"Come then, my kindred Spirits! do not ſpill
"Your Talents here. This Place is but a Shew,
"Whoſe Charms delude you to the Den of Woe:
"Come, follow me, I will direct you right,
"Where Pleaſure's Roſes, void of Serpents, grow,
"Sincere as ſweet; come, follow this good Knight,
"And you will bleſs the Day that brought him to your Sight.
"Some he will lead to Courts, and Some to Camps;
"To Senates Some, and public ſage Debates,
"Where, by the ſolemn Gleam of Midnight-Lamps,
"The World is pois'd, and manag'd mighty States;
"To high Diſcovery Some, that new-creates
"The Face of Earth; Some to the thriving Mart;
"Some to the Rural Reign, and ſofter Fates;
"To the ſweet Muſes Some, who raiſe the Heart:
"All Glory ſhall be yours, all Nature, and all Art!
"There are, I ſee, who liſten to my Lay,
"Who wretched ſigh for Virtue, but deſpair.
"All may be done, (methinks I hear them ſay)
"Even Death deſpis'd by generous Actions fair;
"All, but for Thoſe who to theſe Bowers repair,
"Their every Power diſſolv'd in Luxury,
"To quit of torpid Sluggiſhneſs the Lair,
"And from the powerful Arms of Sloth get free.
"'Tis riſing from the Dead—Alas!—It cannot be!
"Would you then learn to diſſipate the Band
"Of theſe huge threatning Difficulties dire,
"That in the weak Man's Way like Lions ſtand,
"His Soul appall, and damp his riſing Fire?
"Reſolve! reſolve! and to be Men aſpire!
"Exert the nobleſt Priviledge, alone,
"Here to Mankind indulg'd: controul Deſire;
"Let Godlike Reaſon, from her ſovereign Throne,
"Speak the commanding Word—I will!—and it is done.
"Heavens! can you then thus waſte, in ſhameful wiſe,
"Your few important Days of Tryal here?
"Heirs of Eternity! yborn to riſe
"Through endleſs States of Being, ſtill more near
"To Bliſs approaching, and Perfection clear,
"Can you renounce a Fortune ſo ſublime,
"Such glorious Hopes, your backward Steps to ſteer,
"And roll, with vileſt Brutes, through Mud and Slime?
"No! No!—Your Heaven-touch'd Hearts diſdain the piteous Crime!"
"Enough! enough! they cry'd"—Strait, from the Croud,
The better Sort on Wings of Tranſport fly.
As when amid the lifeleſs Summits proud
Of Alpine Cliffs, where to the gelid Sky
Snows pil'd on Snows in wintry Torpor lie,
The Rays divine of vernal Phœbus play;
Th' awaken'd Heaps, in Streamlets from on high,
Rous'd into Action, lively leap away,
Glad-warbling through the vales, in their new Being gay.
Not leſs the Life, the vivid Joy ſerene,
That lighted up theſe new-created Men,
Than That which wings th'exulting Spirit clean,
When, juſt deliver'd from this fleſhly Den,
It ſoaring ſeeks its native Skies agen.
How light its Eſſence! how unclogg'd its Powers!
Beyond the Blazon of my mortal Pen:
Even ſo we glad forſook theſe ſinful Bowers,
Even ſuch enraptur'd Life, ſuch Energy was ours.