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The baffled prince in honour's flattering bloom
Enlarge my life with multitude of days!
Improve his heady rage with treacherous skill, And mould his passions till they make his will.
Unnumbered maladies his joints in vade, Lay siege to life, and press the dire blockade; But unextinguished Avarice still remains, And dreaded losses aggravate his pains; He turns with anxious heart and crippled hands, His bonds of debt and mortgages of lands; Or views his coffers with suspicious eyes, Unlocks his gold, and counts it till he dies.
But grant, the virtues of a temperate prime, Bless with an age exempt from scorn or crime; An age that melts with unperceived decay, And glides in modest innocence away; Whose peaceful day Benevolence endears, Whose night congratulating Conscience cheers : The general favourite as the general friend ; Such age
there is, and who shall wish its end ? Yet even on this her load misfortune flings To press the weary minutes' flagging wings; New sorrow rises as the day returns, A sister sickens, or a daughter mourns. Now kindred merit fills the sable bier, Now lacerated friendship claims a tear. Year chases year, decay pursues decay, Still drops some joy from withering life away; New forms arise and different views engage, Superfluous lags the veteran on the stage, Till pitying Nature signs the last release, And bids afflicted worth retire to peace.
But few there are whom hours like these await,
Where then shall Hope and Fear their objects find ?
power, whose eyes discern afar
These goods for man the laws of Heaven ordain :
EDMUND BUNKE. Born 1729 ; Died 1797. a
law at London, in 1750. Ten years later he returned to
1766 he entered Parliament. Before this had been published, among other works, his treatise on
the Sublime and Beautiful ; and from this year until his death a constant series of political writings came from his pen, which
have secured to him one of the chief places in our literature. While opposed, altogether, to mere speculative and theoretic
politics, Burke, at the same time, strove to give to practical politics a philosophical basis; to throw light upon political action from every possible point of view.
CRITICISM OF GOVERNMENT A DUTY. It is an undertaking of some degree of delicacy to examine into the cause of public disorders. If a man happens not to succeed in such an inquiry, he will be thought weak and visionary; if he touches the true grievance, there is a danger that he may come near to persons of weight and consequence, who will rather be exasperated at the discovery of their errors, than thankful for the occasion of correcting them. If he should be obliged to blame the favourites of the people, he will be considered as the tool of power; if he censures those in power, he will be looked on as an instrument of faction. But in all exertions of duty something is to be hazarded. In cases of tumult and disorder, our law has invested every man, in some sort, with the authority of a magistrate. When the affairs of the nation are distracted, private people are, by the spirit of that law, justified in stepping a little out of their ordinary sphere. They enjoy a privilege, of somewhat more dignity and effect, than that of idle lamentation over the calamities of their country. They may look into them narrowly; they may reason upon them liberally; and if they should be so fortunate as to discover the true source of the mischief, and to suggest any probable method of removing it, though they may displease the rulers for the day, they are certainly of service to the cause of Government. Government is deeply interested in everything which, even through the medium of some temporary uneasiness, may tend finally to compose the minds of the subject, and to conciliate their affections. I have nothing to do here with the abstract value of the voice of the people. But as long as reputation, the most precious possession of every individual, and as long as opinion, the great support of the State, depend entirely upon that voice, it can never be considered as a thing of little consequence either to individuals or to Government. Nations are not primarily ruled by laws; less by violence. Whatever original energy may be supposed either in force or regulation; the operation of both is, in truth, merely instrumental. Nations are