Dark in the Miser's chest, in hoarded heaps,
Can Gold, my SALLUST, one true joy bestow,
Where sullen, dim, and valueless it sleeps,
Whose worth, whose charms, from circulation flow?
Ah! then it shines attractive on the thought,
Rises, with such resistless influence fraught
As puts to flight pale Fear, and Scruple cold,
Till Life, e'en Life itself, becomes less dear than Gold.
Rome, of this power aware, thy honor'd name
O Proculeius! ardently adores,
Since thou didst bid thy ruin'd Brothers claim
A filial right in all thy well-earn'd stores. -
To make the good deed deathless as the great,
Yet fearing for her plumes Icarian fate,
This Record, Fame, of precious trust aware,
Shall long, on cautious wing, solicitously bear.
And thou, my SALLUST, more complete thy sway,
Restraining the insatiate lust of gain,
Than should'st thou join, by Conquest's proud essay,
Iberian hills to Libya's sandy plain;
Than if the Carthage sultry Afric boasts,
With that which smiles on Europe's lovelier coasts,
Before the Roman arms, led on by thee,
Should bow the yielding head, the tributary knee.
See bloated Dropsy added strength acquire
As the parch'd lip the frequent draught obtains;
Indulgence feeds the never-quench'd desire,
That loaths the viand, and the goblet drains.
Nor could exhausted floods the thirst subdue
Till that dire Cause, which spreads the livid hue
O'er the pale Form, with watry languor swell'd,
From the polluted veins, by medicine, be expell'd.
Virtue, whate'er the dazzled Vulgar dream,
Denies Phraätes, seated on thy throne,
Immortal Cyrus, Joy's internal gleam,
And thus she checks the Crowd's mistaken tone;
"He, only he, who, calmly passing by,
Not once shall turn the pure, unwishing eye
On heaps of massy gold, that near him glare,
My amaranthine wreath, my diadem shall wear."