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Without the means of knowing right from wrong,
They always are decisive, clear and strong;
Where others toil with philosophic force,
Their nimble nonsense takes a shorter course,
Flings at your head conviction in the lump,
And gains remote conclusions at a jump:
Their own defect invisible to them,
Seen in another they at once condemn,
And though self-idolized in ev'ry case, .
Hate their own likeness in a brother's face.
The cause is plain and not to be denied,
The proud are always most provok'd by pride,
Few competitions but engender spite,
And those the most, where neither has a right,
The point of honour has been deemed of use,
To teach good manners and to curb abuse ;
Admit it true, the consequence is clear,
Our polished manners are a mask we wear,
And at the bottom, barb'rous still and rude,
We are restrained indeed, but not subdued ;
The very remedy, however sure,
Springs from the mischief it intends to cure,
And savage in its principle appears,
Tried, as it should be, by the fruit it bears.
'Tis hard indeed if nothing will defend
Mankind from quarrels but their fatal end,
That now and then an hero must decease,
That the surviving world may live in peace.
Perhaps at last, close scrutiny may show
The practice daftardly and mean and low,
That men engage in it compelled by force,
And fear not courage is its proper source,
The fear of tyrant custom, and the fear
Lest fops should censure us, and fools should sneer;
At least to trample on our Maker's laws,
And hazard life, for any or no cause,
To rush into a fixe eternal state,
Out of the very fames of rage and hate,
Or send another shiv’ring to the bar
With all the guilt of such unnat’ral war,
Whatever use may urge or honour plead,
On reason's verdict is a madman's deed.
Am I to set my life upon a throw
Because a bear is rude and surly? Now
A moral, sensible and well-bred man
Will not affront me, and no other can.
Were I empow’rd to regulate the lists,
They should encounter with well-loaded fifts,
A Trojan combat would be something new,
Let Dares beat Entellus black and blué.
Then each might show to his admiring friends
In honourable bumps his rich amends,
And carry in contusions of his scull,
A satisfactory receipt in full.
A story in which native humour reigns
Is often useful, always entertains,
A graver fact enlisted on your side,
May furnish illustration, well applied ;
But sedentary weavers of long tales,
Give me the fidgets and my patience fails.
'Tis the most alinine employ on earth,
To hear them tell of parentage and birth,
And echo conversations dull and dry,
Embellished with, ke faid, and so said I.
At ev'ry interview their route the same
The repetition makes attention lame,
We bustle up with unsuccessful speed,
And in the saddest part cry-droll indeed!
The path of narrative with care pursue,
Still making probability your çlue,
On all che vestiges of truth attend,
And let them guide you to a decent end.
Of all ambitions man may entertain,
The worst that can invade a sickly brain,
Is that which angles hourly for surprize,
And baits its hook with prodigies and lies.
Credulous infancy or age as weak
Are fittest auditors for such to seek,
Who to please others will themselves disgrace,
Yet please not, but affront you to your face.
A great retailer of this curious ware,
Having unloaded and made many stare,
Can this be true? an arch observer cries-
Yes, rather moved, I saw it with these eyes.
Sir! I believe it on that ground alone,
I could not, had I seen it with my own.
A tale should be judicious, clear, succinct,
The language plain, and incidents well-link’d,
Tell not as new what ev'ry body knows,
And new or old, still hasten to a close,
There centring in a focus, round and neat,
Let all your rays of information meet :
What neither yields us profit or delight,
Is like a nurse's lullaby at night,
Guy Earl of Warwick and fair Eleanore,
Or giant-killing Jack would please me more.
The pipe with folemn interposing puff,
Makes half a sentence at a time enough ;
The dozing sages drop the drowsy strain, .
Then pauze, and puff--and speak, and pause again.