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Ан! who can tell how hard it is to climb

The steep, where Fame's proud temple shines afar?

Ah! who can tell how many a soul sublime

Has felt the influence of malignant star,

And waged with Fortune an eternal war?

Checked by the scoff of Pride, by Envy's frown, And Poverty's unconquerable bar,

In life's low vale remote has pined alone,

Then dropt into the grave, unpitied and unknown!



And yet, the languor of inglorious days
Not equally oppressive is to all.

Him, who ne'er listened to the voice of praise,

The silence of neglect can ne'er appal.

There are, who, deaf to mad Ambition's call,
Would shrink to hear the obstreperous trump of Fame;
Supremely blest, if to their portion fall

Health, competence, and peace. Nor higher aim Had he, whose simple tale these artless lines proclaim.


This sapient age disclaims all classic lore;
Else I should here, in cunning phrase, display,
How forth THE MINSTREL fared in days of yore,
Right glad of heart, though homely in array ;
His waving locks and beard all hoary grey :
And, from his bending shoulder, decent hung
His harp, the sole companion of his way,
Which to the whistling wind responsive rung:
And ever as he went some merry lay he sung.


Fret not yourselves, ye silken sons of pride,
That a poor Wanderer should inspire my strain.
The Muses fortune's fickle smile deride,

Nor ever bow the knee in Mammon's fane ;

For their delights are with the village-train,
Whom Nature's laws engage, and Nature's charms :
They hate the sensual, and scorn the vain;
The parasite their influence never warms,

Nor him whose sordid soul the love of wealth alarms.


Though richest hues the peacock's plumes adorn,
Yet horror screams from his discordant throat.
Rise, sons of harmony! and hail the morn,
While warbling larks on russet pinions float;
Or seek, at noon, the woodland scene remote,
Where the grey linnets carol from the hill.
O let them ne'er, with artificial note,

To please a tyrant, strain the little bill!

But sing what heaven inspires, and wander where they will.

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