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-Horace, Book IV, Ode ix

ADDRESSED TO ARCHBISHOP KING[1]

1718


   Virtue conceal'd within our breast
Is inactivity at best:
But never shall the Muse endure
To let your virtues lie obscure;
Or suffer Envy to conceal
Your labours for the public weal.
Within your breast all wisdom lies,
Either to govern or advise;
Your steady soul preserves her frame,
In good and evil times, the same.
Pale Avarice and lurking Fraud,
Stand in your sacred presence awed;
Your hand alone from gold abstains,
Which drags the slavish world in chains.

Him for a happy man I own, Whose fortune is not overgrown;[2] And happy he who wisely knows To use the gifts that Heaven bestows; Or, if it please the powers divine, Can suffer want and not repine. The man who infamy to shun Into the arms of death would run; That man is ready to defend, With life, his country or his friend.


[Footnote 1: With whom Swift was in constant correspondence, more or less friendly. See Journal to Stella, "Prose Works," vol. ii, passim; and an account of King, vol. iii, p. 241, note.--W. E. B.]

[Footnote 2:

  "Non possidentem multa vocaveris
  recte beatum: rectius occupat
    nomen beati, qui deorum
      muneribus sapienter uti
  duramque callet pauperiem pati,
  pejusque leto flagitium timet."]


Jonathan Swift

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