Time, and thy charms, thou fanciest will redeem
Yon aweless Libertine from rooted vice.
Misleading thought! has he not paid the price,
His taste for virtue? - Ah, the sensual stream
Has flow'd too long. - What charms can so entice,
What frequent guilt so pall, as not to shame
The rash belief, presumptuous and unwise,
That crimes habitual will forsake the Frame? -
Thus, on the river's bank, in fabled lore,
The Rustic stands; sees the stream swiftly go,
And thinks he soon shall find the gulph below
A channel dry, which he may safe pass o'er. -
Vain hope! - it flows - and flows - and yet will flow,
Volume decreaseless, to the FINAL HOUR.
"Rusticus exspectat dum defluit amnis: at ille Labitur, et labetur in omne volubilis ævum." HORACE.