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An Imitation Of Some French Verses

Thomas Parnell 1679 (Dublin) – 1718



Relentless Time! destroying Pow'r
Whom Stone and Brass obey,
Who giv'st to ev'ry flying Hour
To work some new Decay;
Unheard, unheeded, and unseen,
Thy secret Saps prevail,
And ruin Man, a nice Machine
By Nature form'd to fail.
My Change arrives; the Change I meet,
Before I thought it nigh.
My Spring, my Years of Pleasure fleet,
And all their Beauties dye.
In Age I search, and only find
A poor unfruitful Gain,
Grave Wisdom stalking slow behind,
Oppress'd with loads of Pain.
My Ignorance cou'd once beguile,
And fancy'd Joys inspire;
My Errors cherish'd Hope to smile
On newly-born Desire.
But now Experience shews, the Bliss
For which I fondly sought,
Not worth the long impatient Wish,
And Ardour of the Thought.
My Youth met Fortune fair array'd,
(In all her Pomp she shone)
And might, perhaps, have well essay'd
To make her Gifts my own:
But when I saw the Blessings show'r
On some unworthy Mind,
I left the Chace, and own'd the Pow'r
Was justly painted blind.
I pass'd the Glories which adorn
The splendid Courts of Kings,
And while the Persons mov'd my Scorn,
I rose to scorn the Things.
My Manhood felt a vig'rous Fire
By Love encreas'd the more;
But Years with coming Years conspire
To break the Chains I wore.
In Weakness safe, the Sex I see
With idle Lustre shine;
For what are all their Joys to me,
Which cannot now be mine?
But hold—I feel my Gout decrease,
My Troubles laid to rest,
And Truths which wou'd disturb my Peace
Are painful Truths at best.
Vainly the Time I have to roll
In sad Reflection flies;
Ye fondling Passions of my Soul!
Ye sweet Deceits! arise.
I wisely change the Scene within,
To Things that us'd to please;
In Pain, Philosophy is Spleen,
In Health, 'tis only Ease.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Thomas Parnell

Thomas Parnell was an Anglo-Irish poet and clergyman who was a friend of both Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift. He was the son of Thomas Parnell of Maryborough, Queen's County now Port Laoise, County Laoise}, a prosperous landowner who had been a loyal supporter of Cromwell during the English Civil War and moved to Ireland after the restoration of the monarchy. Thomas was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and collated archdeacon of Clogher in 1705. He however spent much of his time in London, where he participated with Pope, Swift and others in the Scriblerus Club, contributing to The Spectator and aiding Pope in his translation of The Iliad. He was also one of the so-called "Graveyard poets": his 'A Night-Piece on Death,' widely considered the first "Graveyard School" poem, was published posthumously in Poems on Several Occasions, collected and edited by Alexander Pope and is thought by some scholars to have been published in December of 1721 (although dated in 1722 on its title page, the year accepted by The Concise Oxford Chronology of English Literature; see 1721 in poetry, 1722 in poetry). It is said of his poetry 'it was in keeping with his character, easy and pleasing, ennunciating the common places with felicity and grace. more…

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    "An Imitation Of Some French Verses" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 25 Oct. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/36993/an-imitation-of-some-french-verses>.

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