ODE TO AMBITION.
1 O'ER midnight glass, or by the fair
2 In dalliance soft carest;
3 Without a thought, without a care
4 To discompose their rest,
5 The meaner herd exulting pant to rove
6 The flowery paths of Pleasure's fairy grove:
7 While more determin'd bosoms glow
8 With high Ambition's fires;
9 Source of whate'er is great below,
10 The grave of mean desires:
11 Adieu for them the pleasure-winged hour,
12 Adieu the bed of ease, the Paphian bower!
13 Tho' rough the paths that lead to Fame;
14 Their steps no toils dismay;
15 Ambition aids the generous aim,
16 And smooths the rugged way:
17 With all its lustre bids bright Virtue shine,
18 And into action wakes the big design.
19 What breaks th' aspiring statesman's rest?
20 What gives the Muse to sing?
21 Ambition wakes his anxious breast,
22 And plumes her towering wing:
23 Instructs the feeble Monarch how to bear
24 The crown, and all the thorns that fasten there.
25 The General's wakeful bosom fires,
26 And guards the jealous camp;
27 The Scholar's flattering hope inspires,
28 And trims the midnight lamp;
29 The pride of arts from fair Ambition springs,
30 And blooms secure beneath her fostering wings.
31 Oft, Goddess, as thy genial ray
32 Pervades the feeling heart,
33 Love trembling quits his sensual sway,
34 And drops his feeble dart:
35 The flowers, that in the Paphian garden grow,
36 Fade in the wreath that rounds the hero's brow.
37 Pleasure retreats with wanton smiles,
38 And Strength-unnerving eyes;
39 Hoping in vain by Parthian wiles
40 To conquer as she flies:
41 Sloth with reluctance quits her foul embrace,
42 Rough Care and manly Toil assume her place.
43 Virtue with firm quaternion band
44 His eager steps precedes;
45 A flambleau grasping in her hand,
46 To light to glorious deeds:
47 The sister-train his toils with glory crown,
48 And point the arduous paths to fair renown.
49 By these inspir'd young Scipio trod
50 To Fame th' adventurous way;
51 "By Love, he cry'd, let Paphos' god
52 The softer soul betray;
53 A nobler quarry lures the hero's eye:"
54 He spoke, and bade th' unconquer'd eagle fly.
55 Hence then, ye Slaves, whom Ease delights,
56 To yon lone cloyster stray,
57 Where monkish apathy invites
58 To dose tame life away:
59 True Worth, that spurns the hermit's sluggard cell,
60 In Glory's active courts delights to dwell.