BETA

Experience.

Oh ! argue not with me, my friend,1
On my gay course of living ;2
I take whate’er the gods will send,3
And send them my thanksgiving.4
I try to relish well the grace5
Their mercies offer to me ;6
And ready meet, in every case,7
All favours that they do me.8
My tongue derides no moral thought,9
No ribald themes now stir it ;10
For vice, I know, has never brought11
True joy to mortal spirit.12
Within, a guard of honour lies,13
That ever now instructs me :14
To him I turn my doubting eyes,15
And safely he conducts me.16
I’ve seen, when view’d the course of guilt,17
How end those who begin it,18
Well know o’er shame’s abyss it’s built,19
For fools to tumble in it.20
I’ve seen how vainly, night and morn,21
Experience shows her lesson :22
How rashly vice, in wisdom’s scorn,23
Still seeks from sin a blessing.24

*****

Then think not that a man who hath25
This proof to guide his rambles,26
Will deviate from life’s fairest path,27
And stray ’ mid thorns and brambles.28
Think not a heart past youth will yield29
The truths experience taught it ;30
Or throw aside a holy shield,31
That age hath kindly brought it.32
No ! —trust me, ’ midst my cheerful day,33
A sacred spirit guides me ;34
A holy limit bounds my way,35
And duty still decides me.36
This prunes my frolic Muse’s wing,37
Corrects my fancy’s power ;38
Still cheers my bosom, as I sing,39
And charms my jovial hour.40
Then cease, my friend, your pious zeal ;41
You say you’re grave and pensive ;42
To hearts thus form’d the sad to feel,43
We know the gay’s offensive.44
But were’t not better, in this case,45
You joy from me should borrow,46
Than I should shift my happy days,47
To mope, with you, in sorrow.48