THE CHOICE: A POEM, After the Manner of [...] Promfret.

By a young Gentleman.

BOSTON: Printed and Sold by Edes and Gill, in Queen-Street, 1757.



IF youthful Fancy might it's Choice pursue,
And act as natural Reason prompts it to;
If Inclination could dispose our State,
And human Will might govern future Fate;
Remote From Grandeur, I'd be humbly wise,
And all the Glitter of a Court despise:
Unskil'd the Proud, or Vicious to commend,
To cringe to Insolence, or Fools attend;
Within myself contented and secure,
Above what mean Ambition can endure:
[Page 4] Nor yet so anxious to obtain a Name,
To bleed for Honour in the Fields of Fame;
Empty Parade, is all that Heroes know,
Unless fair Vertue hover in the Show.
BUT in these Walls, where Heav'n has fix'd my stay,
One half of Life, I'd wish to breath away:
The Fall and Winter of each future Year,
I'd humbly hope to spend contented here;
'Mid the fierce Ravage of a wintry Storm,
Kind Friends to cheer me, moderate Wine to warm;
Securely happy we'd delude the Day,
And smile the Seasons chearfully away.
No needless Show my modest Dome should claim,
Neat and genteel without, within the same;
Decently furnish'd to content and please,
Sufficient for Necessity, and Ease;
Vain is the Pomp of Prodigal Expence,
Frugality denotes the Man of Sense;
My Doors the needy Stranger should befriend,
And Hospitality my Board attend;
With frugal Plenty be my Table spread,
Those, and those only whom I love be fed:
The Meek and Indigent my Banquet share,
Who love the Master, and approve the Fare;
[Page 5] Thy mellow Vintage Lisbon! should abound,
Pouring a mirthful Inspiration 'round;
While laughing Bacchus baths within the Bowl,
Love, Mirth and Friendship swallow up the Soul.
I'D have few Friends, and those by Nature true,
Sacred to Friendship, and to Vertue too;
Tho' but to few an Intimate profest,
I'd be no Foe, nor useless to the Rest:
Each Friend belov'd requires a friendly Care,
His Griefs, Dejections, and his Fate to share;
For this my Choice should be to Bounds confin'd,
Nor with a Burst of Passion flood Mankind.
ABOVE the Rest, one dear selected Friend,
Kind to advise, and cautious to offend;
To Malice, Envy, and to Pride unknown,
Nor apt to censure Foibles, but his own;
Firm in Religion, in his Morals just,
Wise in discerning, and advising best;
Learn'd without Pedantry, in Temper kind,
Soft in his Manners, happy in his Mind;
Is there in whom, these social Virtues blend,
The Muse lifps Pollio, and she calls him Friend:
[Page 6] To him, when flush'd with Transport I'd repair,
His faithful Bosom should my Solace share;
To him I'd fly when Sorrows prove too great,
To him discover all the Stings of Fate:
His social Soul, should all my Pangs allay,
Tune every Nerve, and charm my Griefs away.
O, now I wish to join the friendly Throng,
Elude the Hours, and harmonize the Song;
Each generous Soul still sedulous to please,
With calm good Temper, and with mutual Ease;
Glad to receive and give, the keen Reply,
Nor Approbation to the Jest deny.
BUT at a decent Hour with social Heart,
In Love, and Humour should my Friends depart:
Then to my Study, eager I'd repair,
And feast my Mind with new Refreshment there;
There plung'd in Tho't my active Mind should tread,
Through all the Labours of the learned Dead;
Homer, great Parent of Heroick Strains,
Virgil, whose Genius was improv'd with Pains;
Horace, in whom the Wit and Courtier join'd,
Ovid, the tender, amorous and refin'd;
[Page 7] Keen Juvenal, whose all-correcting Page,
Lash'd daring Vice, and sham'd an impious Age;
Expressive Lucan who politely sung
With hum'rous Martial tickling as he stung;
Elaborate Terence, studious where he smil'd,
Familiar Plautus, regularly wild;
With frequent Visit these I would survey,
And read, and meditate the Hours away.
NOR these alone, should on my Shelves recline,
But awful Pope! majestically shine,
Unequal'd Bard! Who durst thy Praise engage?
Not yet grown reverend with the Rust of Age;
Sure Heav'n alone thy Art unrival'd taught,
To think so well, so well express the Thought;
What Villain hears thee, but regrets the Smart?
But tears the lurking Demon from his Heart?
Virtue attends thee, with the best Applause
Conscious Desert! great Victor in her Cause,
She faithful to thy Worth, thy Name shall grace,
Beyond all Period, and beyond all Space:
Go, shine a Seraph and thy Notes prolong
For Angels only merit such a Song!
[Page 8]
HAIL Briton's Genius, Milton! deathless Name!
Blest with a full Satiety of Fame:
Who durst attempt Impertinence of Praise?
Or sap insidious thy eternal Bays?
For greater Song, or more exalted Fame,
Exceeds Humanity to make, or claim.
These to peruse, I'd oft forget to dine,
And suck Refection from each mighty Line,
Next Addison's great Labours should be join'd
Prais'd by all Tongues and known to all Mankind:
With Littleton the tender, and correct,
And copious Dryden, glorious in Defect;
Nor would I leave, the great and pious Young,
Divinely fir'd, and sublime in Song.
Next would I add the unaffected Gay,
And gentle Waller, with his flowing Lay;
Last Nature-Limning Thompson should appear,
Who link'd Eternity within his Year.
These for Diversion, with the Comic Throng,
Should raise my Fancy, and improve my Song;
Extend my View, 'till opening Visions roll,
And all Piaeria bursts upon my Soul.
BUT to inform the Mind, and mend the Heart,
Great Tillotson, and Butler, Light impart;
[Page 9] Sagacious Newton, with all Science blest,
And Lock, who always tho't and reason'd best.
BUT Lo! for real Worth, and true Desert,
Exhaustless Science, and extensive Art,
Boerhaave superior stands; in whom we find,
The other Saviour of diseas'd Mankind;
Whose skilful Hand could almost Life create,
And make us leap the very Bounds of Fate;
Death, Tyrant Death, beholding his decline,
That Boerhaave would his Kingdom undermine,
Arm'd with his surest Shafts attack'd his Foe,
Who long eluded the repeated Throw,
At Length fatigu'd with Life, he bravely fell,
And Health with Boerhaave bad the World farewell.
THUS 'till the Year recedes, I'd be employ'd,
Ease, Health and Friendship happily enjoy'd;
But when the Vernal Sun revolves it's Ray,
Melting hoar Winter with her Rage away,
Whe [...] [...]ocal Groves a gay perspective yield,
And a new Verdure springs from Field to Field;
With the first Larks I'd to the Plains retire,
For rural Pleasures are my chief Desire.
[Page 10]
AH doubly blest! on native Verdure laid,
Whose Fields support him, and whose Arbours Shade;
In his own Hermitage in Peace resides,
Fann'd by his Breeze, and slumbring by his Tides;
Who drinks a Fragrance from paternal Groves,
Nor lives ungrateful for the Life he loves.
I'D have a handsome Seat not far from Town,
The Prospect beauteous, and the Taste my own;
The Fabrick modern, faultless the Design,
Not large, nor yet immoderately fine;
But neat Oeconomy my Mansion boast,
Nor should Convenience be in Beauty lost;
Each Part should speak superiour Skill and Care,
And all the Artist be distinguish'd there.
ON some small Elevation should it stand,
And a free Prospect to the South command;
Where safe from Damps I'd snuff the wholesome Gale,
And Life and Vigour thro' the Lungs inhale;
Eastward my moderate Fields should wave with Grain,
Southward the Verdure of a broad Champaign;
Where gamesome Flocks, and rampant Herds might play,
To the warm Sun-shine of the Vernal Day;
[Page 11] Northward, a Garden on a Slope should lye,
Finely adjusted to the nicest Eye;
In midst of This should stand a Cherry Grove,
A breezy, blooming Canopy of Love!
Whose blossom'd Boughs the tuneful Choir should chear,
And pour Regalement on the Eye and Ear:
A gay Parterre the vivid Box should bound,
To waft a Fragrance thro' the Fields around;
Where blushing Fruits might tempt another Eve,
Without another Serpent to deceive.
Westward, I'd have a thick-set Forest grow,
Thro' which the bounded Sight should scarcely go:
Confus'dly rude, the Scenery should impart,
A View of Nature unimprov'd by Art.—
RAP'T in the soft Retreat my anxious Breast,
Pants eager still for something unpossess'd;
Whence springs this sudden Hope, this warm Desire?
To what Enjoyment would my Soul aspire?
'Tis Love! extends my Wishes, and my Care,
Eden was tasteless 'till an Eve was there:
Almighty Love! I own thy powerful Sway,
Resign my Soul, and willingly obey.
[Page 12]
GRANT me kind Heav'n! the Nymph still form'd to please,
Impassionate as Infants when at Ease;
Fair as the op'ning Rose; her Person small,
Artless as Parent Eve before her Fall;
Courteous as Angels, unreserv'dly kind,
Of modest Carriage, and the chastest Mind;
Her Temper sweet, her Conversation keen,
Not wildly gay, but soberly serene;
Not Talkative, nor apt to take Offence,
With Female Softness join'd to Manly Sense;
Her Dress and Language elegantly plain,
Not sluttish, forward, prodigal or vain;
Not proud of Beauty, nor elate with Praise,
Not fond to govern, but by Choice obeys;
True to my Arms in Body and in Soul,
As the touch'd Needle to th' attractive Pole.
Caution, oppos'd to Charms like these were vain,
And Man would glory in the silken Chain;
Unlike the sensual Wish that burns and stains,
But where the purest Admiration reigns;
Give me, O give me! such superiour Love,
Before the Nectar of the God's above;
Then Time on downy Wings would steal away.
And Love still be the Business of the Day.
[Page 13]
WHILE sporting Flocks in fond Rotations court,
And to the Thicket Pair by Pair resort;
While tuneful Birds in tender Murmurings plead,
Chanting their amorous Carolls thro' the Mead;
Link'd Arm in Arm we'd search the Twilight Grove,
Where all inspires with Harmony and Love:
Ye Boughs, your friendly Umbrage wide extend!
Guard from rude Eyes, and from the Sun defend:
Ye wanton Gales! pant gently on my Fair,
Thou Love-inspiring Goddess meet us there!
While soft-invited, and with Joy obey'd,
We press the Herbage, and improve the Shade.
BUT is th' Almighty ever bound to please?
Rul'd by my Wish, or studious of my Ease?
Shall I determine where his Frowns shall fall?
And fence my Grotto from the Lot of all!
Prostrate, his sovereign Wisdom I adore,
Intreat his Mercy, but I dare no more:
No constant Joys Mortality attend,
But Sorrows violate, and Cares offend;
Heav'n wisely mixt our Pleasures with Alloy,
And gilds our Sorrows, with a Ray of Joy;
Life without Storms a stagnant Pool appears,
And grows offensive with unruffled Years;
[Page 14] An active State, is Vertue's proper Sphere,
240 To do, and suffer is our Duty here:
Foes to encounter, Vices to disdain,
Pleasures to shun, and Passions to restrain;
To fly Temptation's open, flow'ry Road,
And labour to be obstinately good.
THEN, blest is he who takes a calm Survey,
Of all th' Events that paint the checquer'd Day;
Content, that Blessing makes the Balance even,
And poizes Fortune, by the Scale of Heav'n.
I'LL let no future Ill my Peace destroy,
Or cloud the Aspect of a present Joy;
He who directed and dispenc'd the past,
O'er-rules the present, and shall guide the last:
If Providence a present Good has giv'n,
I clasp the Boon in Gratitude to Heav'n:
May Resignation fortify my Mind,
He cannot be unhappy that's resign'd.
GUARD my Repose thou Lord of all within!
An equal Temper, and a Soul serene;
O! teach me Patience when oppos'd to Wrong,
Restrain the mad'ning Heart, and curb the Tongue;
May Prudence govern, Piety controul,
All Slander, Rage and Bitterness of Soul;
[Page 15] Peace, Plenty, Health and Innocence be made,
The blissful Tenants of my tranquil Shade.
O LET me not maliciously comply,
To that curst Action that shall raise a Sigh;
Or cause the wretched Orphan to complain,
Or see the Widows Tears, and see in vain:
From a remorseless Soul O set me free,
And prompt a Pang for every Wretch I see.
WHATEVER Station be for me design'd,
May Virtue be the Mistress of my Mind;
May I despise th' Abandon'd and the Base,
Tho' Opulent, or dignified with Place;
And spurn the Wretch who meanly lost to Shame,
Thinks Wealth or Place, a Substitute for Fame:
If Wisdom, Wealth or Honour, Heav'n lend,
Teach me those Talents happily to spend;
Nor make so blest, as I would wish to live,
Beyond those Moments Heav'n is pleas'd to give;
Then when Life trembles on the Verge of Rest,
And brings expended Minutes to the Test;
Absolve me Conscience, thou imperial Power!
O bless me with a self-approving Hour.

☞In the Title-Page—for Promfret, read Pomfret.

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