Constantia: or, The Man of Law's Tale, Modernized from Chaucer - Part 1

Hence Want , ungrateful visitant, adieu!
Pale empress hence, with all thy meager crew —
Sour Discontent, and mortified Chagrin,
Lean hollow Care, and self-corroding Spleen;
Distress and Woe, sad parents of Despair,
With wringing hands, and ever rueful air;
The tread of Dun, and Bum's alarming hand,
Dire as the touch of Circe's circling wand;
Keen Hunger with his sharp but famish'd eye,
And dusky Theft, a desperate prompter nigh;
While agues shudder to the whistling gale,
And jointly Law and Infamy assail!
But worse, O worse, than all the hideous train,
Hot-mouth'd Reproach, and saucy writhed Disdain!
These in the rear of thy assembly wait;
Still point the anguish, and augment the weight.

The worst oppression, who, ah! who could bear,
If V IRTUE , hovering angel, was not there?
Where Poverty her blasting progress bends,
The Goddess with superior wing attends:
Around the Fair her blest associates play,
Bask in her eye, and whiten in her ray —
Bright Purity, with firm unalter'd cheek,
The mild, the kind, the gentle, and the meek;
Humility's benignly placid grace,
And Innocence with sweet seraphic face;
Calm Piety that smiles amidst the storm,
And Charity with boundless wishes warm.

Bold in the front, to guard the Heavenly Band,
Behold the masculine adherents stand!
Patience, with Atlantean shoulders spred;
Hail Temperance, on thristy viands fed;
Firm Fortitude, unknowing how to yield;
And Perseverance with his batter'd shield;
And honest Industry, whose early toil
Wins health and plenty from the labour'd soil.
The genuine Arts behind the Goddess wait,
Her reign illustrate, and improve her state:
With eye elate here Contemplation soars,
And Learning piles his intellectual stores;
Here mental sciences arranging shine;
Here manual crafts the various task design;
While Diligence the busy finger plies,
And wing'd, from rank to rank, Invention flies.
Such wide extremes on Indigence attend!
There Vice assails, the Virtues here defend:
Below, the gloom of every passion storms;
Above, calm V IRTUE moderates and reforms;
Here, highly elevate; there, deep depress;
And give, or bliss, or anguish, in excess.
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