[Page 80]

The Advice.

1 Peace, busie Soul, let distant Things alone,
2 Only the present Time's thy own;
3 Leave to the Gods what shall hereafter be,
4 Forbear the Search of dark Futurity.
5 If thou'lt at once more than one Minute live,
6 Thou must design or dread or grieve;
7 In turning back Remembrance represents,
8 Black Images of Discontent.
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9 What happen'd to torment a Year ago,
10 Altho' it really ceases to do so?
11 If thou will't ruminate, 'tis still A Woe.
12 Thus what is past will always present be,
13 And in Idea ever torture thee;
14 On Pleasures too if we reflect,
15 They have the same unkind Effect;
16 We are as angry they are past,
17 As at those Griefs which we compel to last:
18 But tell me, partial Soul, ah tell me why?
19 Things of such Contrariety,
20 In thy Revolves should be the same to thee.
21 One deep obliterating Draught of Lethe take,
22 Blot all the torturing Records out;
23 Yet then thou'lt not be bless'd I doubt,
24 But nice Inquiries make.
25 Yes, the forbidden Book of Fate,
26 Thou needs must pry into with curious Eyes,
27 By'ts unintelligible Lines thy Actions state,
28 Where nothing's plain unless the Curse of being Wise.
29 Now Form great threatning Monsters in thy Brain,
30 Then rack thy Skill to have the Phantoms slain;
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31 In the safe present Scene thou wilt not rest,
32 But in remoter Things be bless'd.
33 This or that distant Joy propose,
34 And much of Life extravagantly lose,
35 In Search of what Fate will elsewhere dispose.
36 Thy Plots and Forecasts thou conceiv'st in vain,
37 Links of th' inevitable Chain;
38 Short-sighted Soul thou canst not see,
39 What shall to Morrow be,
40 Yet wilt indulge thy fruitless Curiosity.
41 So some unlucky Engineer
42 Does all the fit Materials compound,
43 That are in Art or Nature found;
44 Will glorious Fire-Works prepare.
45 (Fancies he sees his various Comets rise,
46 Outshine and mount up to their radiant likeness in the Skys;)
47 Thinks they will satisfie his Pride and Cost,
48 But ah! he hopes in vain.
49 For almost finish'd ere he is aware,
50 A Spark by chance lights in the Train,
51 And all with one afrighting Blaze is inconfusion lost.
52 Since thou, my Soul, must grieve or bafl'd be,
53 For once be rul'd by me;
54 No more reflect,
55 No more with studious Care project,
56 Nor look beyond thy present Destiny.
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57 I charge thee ne'er contrive no more,
58 Thou'lt fare no better than thou didst before;
59 With Ixion's mistaken Joys prepare,
60 Thy fond Embrace for the delusive Air;
61 So often fool'd ne'er hope to win at last,
62 Thy future Doom's stamp'd with thy Past.
63 Then Fate doth seem with her own Hand,
64 To lead to the self-promis'd Land;
65 Yet e'er our weary'd Steps reach the long wish'd for Ground,
66 Storms and Darkness doth surround,
67 And the gay Prospect can no more be found.
68 Tho' we by chance (a mighty Chance indeed,)
69 Should to our selves propose what is decreed:
70 Yet to my Cost this Truth I've learn'd,
71 With passive Ease we should be unconcern'd:
72 For Fate of our Designs no Use will make,
73 But her own mysterious Methods take.
74 Then why do we perplex our selves in vain,
75 For what we know not how to get, or whether we must gain?
76 Then live to Day, design nor fear no more,
77 Nor grieve upon a former Score:
78 What was once is gone,
79 And that which we expect may ne'er come on.
80 Those who on Yesterdays and Morrows live,
81 Neglect what Heaven does really give;
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82 Which only is the present Day,
83 And that in fleeting Moments posts away;
84 Let me enjoy each Minute then,
85 Not starve to Day, to feast I know not when;
86 Since the full Glass at the inviting Lip,
87 From the too cautious Hand may slip.
88 Give me ye Gods my Blessings now,
89 On th' expecting Man your future Gifts bestow.
90 They who the present Hour neglect,
91 Because an other better they expect:
92 Useful Estates do pass away,
93 For future Pay;
94 Are always Creditors to Fate,
95 And she too often pays too late;
96 There's none but Fools procrastinate.


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Title (in Source Edition): The Advice.
Themes: advice
Genres: ode

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Source edition

Egerton, Sarah Fyge, 1668-1723. Poems on Several Occasions, Together with a Pastoral. By Mrs. S. F. [poems only] London: printed, and are to be sold by J. Nutt, near Stationers-Hall, 1703, pp. 80-84. [20],117,[3],15,[1]p.; 8⁰. (ESTC T125148) (Page images digitized from a copy in the Bodleian Library [280 e.4058].)

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Typography, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been cautiously modernized. The source of the text is given and all significant editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. This ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.

Other works by Sarah Fyge Egerton