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And bear the marks upon a blushing face
Of needless shame and self-imposed disgrace.
Our sensibilities are so acute,
The fear of being silent makes us mute.
We sometimes think we could a speech produce
Much to the purpose, if our tongues were loose,
But being tied, it dies upon the lip,
Faint as a chicken’s note that has the pip:
Our wasted oil unprofitably burns
Like hidden lamps in old sepulchral urns.
Few Frenchmen of this evil have complained,
It seems as if we Britons were ordained
By way of wholesome curb upon our pride,
To fear each other, fearing none beside.
The cause perhaps enquiry may descry,
Self-searching with an introverted eye,
Concealed within an unsuspected part,
The vainest corner of our own vain heart:
For ever aiming at the world's esteem,
Our self-importance ruins its own scheme,
In other eyes our talents rarely shown,
Become at length so splendid in our own,
We dare not risque them into public view,
Lest they miscarry of what seems their due.
True modesty is a discerning grace,
And only blushes in the proper place,
But counterfeit is blind, and skulks through fear,
Where 'tis a shame to be ashamed t'appear ;
Hunility the parent of the first,
The last by vanity produced and nurst.
The circle formed we fit in silent state,
Like figures drawn upon a dial-plate,
Yes ma’am, and no ma'am, utter'd softly, show
Ev'ry five minutes how the minutes go;
Each individual suffering a constraint
Poetry may, but colours cannot paint,
As if in close committee on the sky,
Reports it hot or cold, or wet or dry;
And finds a changing clime, an happy source
Of wise reflection and well-timed discourse.
- R 4
We next enquire, but softly and by stealth,
Like conservators of the public health,
Of epidemic throats if such there are,
And coughs and rheums and phtisic and catarrh.
That theme exhausted, a wide chasm ensues,
Filled up at last with interesting news,
Who danced with whom, and who are like to wed,
And who is hanged, and who is brought to bed,
But fear to call a more important cause,
As if ’ewere treason against English laws.
The visit paid, with extasy we come
As from a seven years transportation, home,
And there resume an unembarrass’d brow,
Recov’ring what we lost we know not how,
The faculties that seem'd reduc'd to nought,
Expression and the privilege of thought.
The reeking roaring hero of the chase,
I give him over as a desp’rate case.
Physicians write in hopes to work a cure,
Never, if honest ones, when death is sure ;
And though the fox he follows may be tamed, i
A mere fox-follower never is reclaimed.
Some farrier should prescribe his proper course,
Whose only fit companion is his horse,
Or if deserving of a better doom .
The noble beast judge otherwise, his groom.
Yet ev’n the rogue that serves him, though he stand
To take his honour's orders cap in hand,
Prefers his fellow-grooms with much good sense,
Their skiil a truth, his master's a pretence.
If neither horse nor groom affect the 'squire,
Where can at last his jockeyship retire ?
Oh to the club, the scene of savage joys,
The school of coarse good fellowship and noise ;
There in the sweet society of those
Whose friendship from his boyish years he chose,
Let him improve his talent if he can,
'Till none but beasts acknowledge him a man.
Man’s heart had been impenetrably sealed,
Like theirs that cleave the food or graze the field,
Had not his Maker's all-bestowing hand
Giv'n him a soul and bade him understand.
The reas’ning pow'r vouchsafed of course inferred
The pow'r to cloath that reason with his word,
For all is perfect that God works on earth,
And he that gives conception, adds the birth.
If this be plain, 'tis plainly understood
What uses of his boon the Giver would.
The mind dispatched upon her busy toil
Should range where Providence has bleft the foil,
Visiting ev'ry Aow'r with labour meet,
And gathering all her treasures sweet by sweet,
She should imbue the tongue with what she fips,
And shed the balmy blessing on the lips,
'That good diffufed may more abundant grow,
And speech may praise the pow'r that bids it fow.
Will the sweet warbler of the live-long night
That fills the liftning lover with delight,
Forget his harmony with rapture heard,
To learn the twite’ring of a meaner bird,