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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.
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,
Health, competence, and peace. Nor higher aim Had he, whose simple tale these artless lines proclaim.
This sapient age disclaims all classic lore;
Fret not yourselves, ye silken sons of pride,
Nor ever bow the knee in Mammon's fane ;
For their delights are with the village-train,
Nor him whose sordid soul the love of wealth alarms.
Though richest hues the peacock's plumes adorn,
To please a tyrant, strain the little bill!
But sing what heaven inspires, and wander where they will.