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Regardless of their fate, rush on the toils
Inextricable ; nor will aught avail
Their arts, or arms, or shapes of lovely hue ;
The wasp insidious, and the buzzing drone,
And butterfly, proud of expanded wings
Distinct with gold, entangled in her snares,
Useless resistance make : with eager strides,
She tow'ring flies to her expected spoils :
Then, with envenom'd jaws, the vital blood
Drinks of reluctant foes, and to her cave
Their bulky carcases triumphant drags.
So pass my days. But, when nocturnal shades
This world enveloped, and th' inclement air
Persuades men to repel benumbing frosts
With pleasant wines and crackling blaze of wood,
Me, lonely sitting, nor the glimmering light
Of make-weight candle, nor the joyous talk
Of loving friend, delights : distressed, forlorn,
Amidst the horrors of the tedious night,
Darkling I sigh, and feed with dismal thoughts
My anxious mind; or sometimes mournful verse
Indite, and sing of groves and myrtle shades,
Or desperate lady near a purling stream,
Or lover pendent on a willow-tree.
Meanwhile I labour with eternal drought,
And restless wish, and rave : my parched throat
Finds no relief, nor heavy eyes repose :
But if a slumber haply does invade
My weary limbs, my fancy's still awake;
Thoughtful of drink, and eager, in a dream,
Tipples imaginary pots of ale
In vain ; awake, I find the settled thirst
Still gnawing, and the pleasant phantom curse.
Thus do I live, from pleasure quite debarr’d,
Nor taste the fruits that the sun's genial rays
Mature, John-apple, nor the downy peach,
Nor walnut in rough-furrow'd coat secure,
Nor medlar, fruit delicious in decay.
Afflictions great! yet greater still remain :
My galligaskins, that have long withstood
The winter's fury and encroaching frosts,
By time subdued (what will not time subdue !)
A horrid chasm disclosed with orifice
Wide, discontinuous; at which the winds
Eurus and Auster, and the dreadful force
Of Boreas, that congeals the Cronian waves,
Tumultuous enter with dire chilling blasts,
Portending agues. Thus, a well-fraught ship,
Long sail'd secure, or through th' Ægean deep,
Or the Ionian, till, cruising near
The Lilybean shore, with hideous crush
On Scylla or Charybdis (dangerous rocks !)
She strikes rebounding ; whence the shattered oak,
So fierce a shock unable to withstand,
Admits the sea ; in at the gaping side
The crowding waves gush with impetuous rage,
Resistless, overwhelming ! horrors seize The mariners; death in their eyes appears ;
They stare, they lave, they pump, they swear, they pray;
(Vain efforts !) still the battering waves rush in,
Implacable ; till, deluged by the foam,
The ship sinks foundering in the vast abyss.
[THOMAS PARNELL was born in Dublin, in 1679, and was educated! at Trinity College in that city. He took orders, and, in 1705, was promoted to the archdeaconry of Clogher. He obtained also a prebend in the cathedral of St. Patrick, and, through the interest of Swift, the vicarage of Finglass. Like Swift, he disliked Ireland, though, from circumstances, he was obliged to reside a good deal in it. His wife, an accomplished and beautiful woman, died soon after his marriage; and her death so preyed on his mind, which was never well balanced, that he fell into intemperance. He died in 1717.
Parnell was an excellent scholar, and a most pleasing companion. The following is his best piece.]
Far in a wild, unknown to public view,
From youth to age a reverend hermit grew;
The moss his bed, the cave his humble cell,
His food the fruits, his drink the crystal well;
Remote from men, with God he pass'd his days,
Prayer all his business, all his pleasure praise.
A life so sacred, such serene repose,
Seem'd heaven itself, till one suggestion rose-
That vice should triumph, virtue vice obey :
This sprung some doubt of Providence's sway;
His hopes no more a certain prospect boast,
And all the tenor of his soul is lost.
So, when a smooth expanse receives impress'd
Calm nature's image on its wat'ry breast,
Down bend the banks, the trees depending grow,
And skies beneath with answering colours glow ;
But, if a stone the gentle sea divide,
Swift ruffling circles curl on every side,
And glimmering fragments of a broken sun,
Banks, trees, and skies, in thick disorder run.
To clear this doubt, to know the world by sight,
To find if books, or swains, report it right
(For yet by swains alone the world he knew,
Whose feet came wandering o'er the nightly dew),
He quits his cell; the pilgrim-staff he bore,
And fix'd the scallop in his hat before ;
Then, with the rising sun, a journey went,
Sedate to think, and watching each event.
The morn was wasted in the pathless grass,
And long and lonesome was the wild to pass ;
But, when the southern sun had warm’d the day,
A youth came posting o'er a crossing way ;
His raiment decent, his complexion fair,
And soft in graceful ringlets waved his hair ;
Then, near approaching, “Father, hail !” he cried,
And, "Hail, my son!” the reverend sire replied.
Words follow'd words, from question answer flow'd,
And talk of various kind deceived the road ;
Till each with other pleased, and loth to part,
While in their age they differ, join in heart.
Thus stands an agèd elm in ivy bound,
Thus useful ivy clasps an elm around.