443. Shorten Sail

George Bubb Dodington, Lord Melcombe. 1691?-1762

LOVE thy country, wish it well,
  Not with too intense a care;
'Tis enough that, when it fell,
  Thou its ruin didst not share.

Envy's censure, Flattery's praise,
  With unmoved indifference view:
Learn to tread Life's dangerous maze
  With unerring Virtue's clue.

Void of strong desire and fear,
  Life's wide ocean trust no more;
Strive thy little bark to steer
  With the tide, but near the shore.

Thus prepared, thy shorten'd sail
  Shall, whene'er the winds increase,
Seizing each propitious gale,
  Waft thee to the port of Peace.

Keep thy conscience from offence
  And tempestuous passions free,
So, when thou art call'd from hence,
  Easy shall thy passage be.

--Easy shall thy passage be,
  Cheerful thy allotted stay,
Short the account 'twixt God and thee,
  Hope shall meet thee on thy way.

The Oxford Book of English Verse, HTML edition