"These claims to joy (if mortals joy might claim) / Will cost him many a sigh, till time, and pains, / From the slow mistress of this school, Experience, / And her assistant, pausing, pale Distrust, / Purchase a dear-bought clue to lead his youth / Through serpentine obliquities of life, / And the dark labyrinth of human hearts."
— Young, Edward (bap. 1683, d. 1765)
Will cost him many a sigh, till time, and pains,
From the slow mistress of this school, Experience,
And her assistant, pausing, pale Distrust,
Purchase a dear-bought clue to lead his youth
Through serpentine obliquities of life,
And the dark labyrinth of human hearts.
And happy if the clue shall come so cheap!
For while we learn to fence with public guilt,
Full oft we feel its foul contagion too,
If less than heavenly Virtue is our guard.
Thus, a strange kind of cursed necessity
Brings down the sterling temper of his soul,
By base alloy, to bear the current stamp,
Below call'd Wisdom; sinks him into safety;
And brands him into credit with the world;
Where specious titles dignify disgrace,
And Nature's injuries are arts of life;
Where brighter Reason prompts to bolder crimes,
And heavenly talents make infernal hearts,--
That unsurmountable extreme of guilt!
(p. 159, ll. 308-328)
Edward Young, The Complaint. Or, Night Thoughts on Life, Death, and Immortality. Night the Eighth. Virtue's Apology: Or, The Man of the World Answer'd. (London: Printed for G. Hawkins, 1745).
Text from The Complete Works, Poetry and Prose, of the Rev. Edward Young, LL.D., 2 vols. (London: William Tegg, 1854). <Link to Google Books>
Reading Edward Young, Night Thoughts, ed. Stephen Cornford (New York: Cambridge UP, 1989).