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To be a useful, needy thing between
Fear and desire—the pander and the screen ;
To flatter pictures, houses, horses, dress,
The wildest fashion or the worst excess;
To be the grey seducer, and entice
Unbearded folly into acts of vice;
And then, to level every fence which law
And virtue fix to keep the mind in awe,
He first inveigles youth to walk astray,
Next prompts and soothes them in their fatal way,
Then vindicates the deed, and makes the mind his prey.
Unhappy man! what pains he takes to state-
(Proof of his fear !) that all below is fate;
That all proceed in one appointed track,
Where none can stop, or take their journey back:
Then what is vice or virtue ?_Yet he'll rail
At priests till memory and quotation fail ;
He reads, to learn the various ills they've done,
And calls them vipers, every mother's son.
He is the harlot's aid, who wheedling tries
To move her friend for vanity's supplies ;
To weak indulgence he allures the mind,
Loth to be duped, but willing to be kind;
And if successful-what the labour pays ?
He gets the friend's contempt and Chloe's praise,
Who, in her triumph, condescends to say,
“ What a good creature Blaney was to-day!”
Hear the poor dæmon when the young attend,
And willing ear to vile experience lend;
When he relates (with laughing, leering eye)
The tale licentious, mix’d with blasphemy:
No genuine gladness his narrations cause,
The frailest heart denies sincere applause ;
And many a youth has turn’d him half aside,
And laugh'd aloud, the sign of shame to hide.
Blaney, no aid in his vile cause to lose,
Buys pictures, prints, and a licentious muse;
He borrows every help from every art,
To stir the passions and mislead the heart :
But from the subject let us soon escape,
Nor give this feature all its ugly shape:
Some to their crimes
from satire owe; Who shall describe what Blaney dares to show?
While thus the man, to vice and passion slave, Was, with his follies, moving to the grave, The ancient ruler of this mansion died, And Blaney boldly for the seat applied ; Sir Denys Brand, then guardian, join’d his suit ; “ 'Tis true,” said he, “ the fellow's quite a brute“ A very beast; but yet, with all his sin, “ He has a manner - let the devil in.”
They half complied, they gave the wish'd retreat, But raised a worthier to the vacant seat.
Thus forced on ways unlike each former way,
Thus led to prayer without a heart to pray,
He quits the gay and rich, the young and free,
Among the badge-men with a badge to be:
He sees an humble tradesman raised to rule
The grey-beard pupils of this moral school;
Where he himself, an old licentious boy,
Will nothing learn, and nothing can enjoy;
In temp’rate measures he must eat and drink,
And, pain of pains ! must live alone and think.
In vain, by fortune's smiles, thrice affluent made,
Still has he debts of ancient date unpaid ;
Thrice into penury by error thrown,
Not one right maxim has he made his own;
The old men shun him,—some his vices hate,
And all abhor his principles and prate;
Nor love nor care for him will mortal show,
Save a frail sister in the female row.
INHABITANTS OF THE ALMS-HOUSE.
She early found herself mistress of herself All she did was right: all she said was admired. Early, very early, did she dismiss blushes from her cheek : she could not blush, because she could not doubt; and silence, whatever was the subject, was as much a stranger to her as diffidence.
Quo fugit Venus? heu ! Quove color? decens
Quo motus? Quid habes illius, illius,
Quæ spirabat amores,
Quæ me surpuerat mihi?
Horatius, lib. iv. od. 13.