RASH youth, forbear! O lay that poniard by,
Nor boldly thus the wrath of Heaven defy!
Contend not with God, in impious strife,
But calmly bear th'alloted ills of life;
Nor from thy station treach'rously withdraw,
Assigned by heaven's inviolable law.
"With grief, with pain, or poverty opprest,
"No ray of hope to cheer the tortur'd breast;
"Or with ill-fortune, say, the wretch has strove,
"Neglect of friends, or pangs of lighted love;
"What law commands such wretches to endure
"Those desperate evils, which admit no cure?"
-- The first primaeval law, by Heav'n imprest,
At man's creation, on the human breast,
The love of life -- which nothing can controul,
Till loss of reason stupifies the soul.
Self-preservation is God's firm decree;
Can self-destruction then from guilt be free?
The fear of death the stoutest heart appals,
Then listen to her voice -- 'tis Nature calls.
Hast thou no offspring, no dear, faithful wife,
But say then, whence these miseries arise?
As death to murder is by Heaven decreed,
Then yield not, coward like, to transient woe,