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The statelman, skilled in projects dark and deep,
Might burn his useless Machiavel, and sleep;
His budget often fille:I, yet always poor,
Might swing at care behind his fudy door,
No longer prey upon our annual rents,
Or fcare the nation with its big contents:
Disbanded legiuns freely might depart,
And Naying man would cease to be an art.
No learned disputants would take the field,
Sure not to conquer, and sure not to yield;
Both fides deceived, if rightly understood,
Pelting each other for the public good.
Did charity prevail, the prefs would prove
A vehicle of virtue, truth, and love;
And I might spare myself the pains to show
What few can learn, and all suppose they know.
Thus have I fought to grace a serious lay
With many a wild indeed but flowery spray,
In hopes to gain, what else I must have lost,
The attention pleasure has so much engrosied.
But if unhappily deceived I dream,
And prove too weak for fo divine a theme,
Let Charity forgive me a mistake
That zeal, not vanity, has chanced to make,
And spare the poet for his subject's fake.
neque me tantum venientis sibilus austri, Nec percussa juvant fluctû tam litora, nec que Sárosas inter decurrunt fumina valles.
VIRG. Ecl. 5.
Though nature weigh our talents, and dispense
To every man his modicum of sense,
And Conversation in its better part
May be esteemed a gift and not an art,
Yet much depends, as in the tiller's toil,
On culture, and the sowing of the soil.
Words learned by rote a parrot may rehearse,
But talking is not always to converse;
Not more distinct from harmony divine,
The constant creaking of a country fign.
As Alphabets in ivory employ,
Hour after hour, the yet unlettered boy,
Sorting and puzzling with a deal of glee
Those seeds of science called his ABC;
So language in the mouths of the adult,
Witness its insignificant result,
Too often proves an implement of play,
A toy to sport with and pass time away.
Collect at evening what the day brought forth,
Compress the sun into its solid worth,
And if it weigh the importance of a fly,
The scales are false, or Algebra a lie.
Sacred interpreter of human thought,
How few respect or use thee as they ought !
But all shall give account of every wrong,
Who dare dishonour or defile the tongue;
Who prostitute it in the cause of vice,
Or sell their glory at a market-price;
Who vote for hire, or point it with lampoon,
The dear-bought placeman, the cheap buffoon.
There is a prurience in the speech of fore,
Wrath stays him, or else God would strike them dumb':
His wife forbearance has their end in view,
They kill their meafure, and receive their due.
The heathen law-givers of ancient days,
Names almost worthy of a Christian's praise,
Would drive them forth from the resort of men,
And shut up every fatyr in his den.
Oh come not ye near innocence and truth,
Ye worms that eat into the bud of youth!
Infectious as impure, your blighting power
Taints in its rudiments the promised flower;
Its odour perished and its charming hue,
Thenceforth 'tis hateful, for it sinelis of you.
Not even the vigorous and headlong rage
Of adolescence, or a firmer age,
Affords a plea allowable or just
For making speech the pamperer of lust;
But when the breath of age commits the fault,
'Tis nauseous as the vapour of a vault.
So withered-stumps disgrace the sylvan scene,
No longer fruitful, and no longer green;
The fapless wood divested of the bark,
Grows fungous, and takes fire at every spark.
Oaths terminate, as Paul obferves, all ftrife -
Some men have surely then a peaceful life;
Whatever subject occupy discourse,
The feats of Veftris, or the naval force,
Afleveration bluftering in your face
Makes contradiction such an hopeless case:
In every tale they tell, or false or true,
Well known, or such as no man ever knew,
They fix attention, heedless of your pain,
With oaths like rivets forced into the brain;
And even when sober truth prevails throughout,
They swear it, till affirmance breeds a doubt,
A Perfian, humble servant of the sun,
Who though devout yet bigotry had none,
Ilearing a lawyer, grave in his address,
With adjurations every word impress,
Supposed the man a bishop, or at least,
God's name so much upon his lips, a priest;
Bowed at the close with all his graceful airs,
And begged an interest in his frequent prayers.
Go, quit the rank to which ye stood preferred,
Henceforth associate in one common herd;
Religion, virtue, reason, cominon sense,
Pronounce your human form a false pretence;
A mere disguise, in which a devil lurks,
Who yet betrays his secret by his works.
Ye powers who rule the tongue, if such there are,
And make colloquial happiness your care,
Preserve me from the thing I dread and hate,
A duel in the form of a debate.
The clash of arguments and jar of words,
Worse than the mortal brunt of rival swords,
Decide no queftion with their tedious length,
For opposition gives opinion strength,
Divert the champions prodigal of breath,
And put the peaceably-disposed to death.
Oh thwart me not, fir Soph, at every turn,
Nor carp at every flaw you may discern;