« PreviousContinue »
No pleasure? Has some sickly eastern waste
Sent us a wind to parch us at a blast ?
Can British Paradise no scenes afford
To please lier sated and indifferent lord ?
Are sweet philosophy's enjoyments run
Quite to the lees? And has religion none ?
Brutes capable would tell you 'tis a lie,
And judge you from the kennel and the sty.
Delights like these, ye sensual and profane,
Ye are bid, begg'd, besought to entertain;
Call'd to these crystal streams, do ye turn off
265 Ubscene to swill and swallow at a trough? Envy the beast then, on whom Heav'n bestows Your pleasures, with no curses in the close.
Pleasure admitted in undue degree Enslaves the will, nor leaves the judgment free. 270 Tis not alone the grape's enticing juice, Unnerves the moral powers, and mars their use : Ambition, av'rice, and the lust of fame, And woman, lovely woman, does the same.
. The heart surrender'd to the ruling power
275 Of some ungovern'd passion every hour, Finds by degrees the truths, that once bore sway, And all their deep impressions, wear away; So coin grows smooth, in traffick current pass'd, Till Cæsar's image is effac'd at last.
280 The breach, tho'small at first, soon opening wide , In rushes folly with a full-moon tide, Then welcome errours of whatever size, To justify it by a thousand lies. As creeping ivy clings to wood or stone, And lides the ruin that it feeds upon; So sophistry cleaves close to and protects Sin's rotten trunk, concealing its defects. Mortals, whose pleasures are their only care, First wish to be impos'd on, and then are.
Not inore industrious are the just and true,
To give to Virtue wliat is Virtue's due-
The praise of wisdom, comeliness, and worth,
And call her charms to publick notice forth-
Than Vice's mean and disingenuous race,
To hide the shocking features of her face.
Her form with dress and lotion they repair;
Then kiss their idol, and pronounce her fair.
The sacred implement I now employ
Might prove a mischief, or at best a toy ;
A trifle, if it move but to amuse ;
But, if to wrong the judgment and abuse,
Worse than a poniard in the basest hand,
It stabs at once the morals of a land.
Ye writers of what none with safety reads ;
Footing it in the dance that Fancy leads;
Yo novelists, who mar what ye would mend,
Sniv'ling and driv'ling folly without end;
Whose corresponding misses fill the ream
With sentimental frippery and dream,
Caught in a delicate soft silken net
By some lewd earl, or rakehell baronet;
Ye pimps, who under virtue's fair pretence,
Steal to the closet of young innocence,
And teach her, unexperienc'd yet and green,
To scribble as you scribbled at fifteen;
Who, kindling a combustion of desire,
With some cold moral think to quench the fire ,
Though all your engineering proves in vain,
The dribbling stream ne'er puts it out again.
O that a verse had pow'r, and could command
Far, far away these flesh-flies of the land;
Who fasten without mercy on the fair,
And suck, and leave a craving maggot there!
Howe'er disguis'd, th’inflammatory tale,
And cover'd with a fine-spun specious veil ;
Such writers, and such readers, owe the gust
And relish of their pleasure all to lust.
But the inuse, eagle pinion'd, has in view
A quarry more important still than you ;
Down, down the wind she swims, and sails away,
Now stoops upon it, and now grasps
Petronius! all the muses weep for thec;
But ev'ry tear shall scald thy memory ;
The greces too, while Virtue at their shrine,
Lay bleeding under that soft hand of thine,
Felt each a mortal stab in her own breast,
Allocr'd the sacrifice, and curs'd the priest.
Thou polish'd and high finishi'd foe to truth,
Graybeard corrupter of our list'ning youth,
so purge and skiin away the filth of vice,
Chat so refind it might the more entice,
Then pour it on the morals of thy son ;
To taint his heart, was worthy of thine owon!
Now, while the poison all high life pervades,
Write, if thou canst, one letter from the shades,
One, and one only, charg'd with deep regret,
That thy worst part, thy principles, live yet;
One sad cpistle thence may cure mankind
Of the plague spread by bundles left behind.
"Tis granted, and no plainer truth appears,
Our most important are our carliest years;
The Mind, impressible and soft, with ease
Imbibes and copies what she hears and sees,
And through life's labyrinth holds fast the clow,
That Education gives her, false or true,
Plants rais'd with tenderness are seldom strong;
Man's coitish disposition asks the thong;
And without discipline, the fav'rite child,
Like a neglected forester, runs wild.
But we, as if good qualities would grow
Spontaneous, take but little pains to sow;
We give some Latin, and a smatch of Greek ;
'i'cach him to fence, and figure twice a week:
And having done, we think the best we can,
Praise his proficiency, and dub him man.
From school to Cam or Isis, and thence home; And thence with all convenient speed to Rome, 370 With rev'rend tutor clad in habit lay, To tease for cash, and quarrel with all day ; With memorandum book for ev'ry town, And ev'ry post, and where the chaise broke down. Flis stock, a few French phrases got by heart, 373 With much to learn, but nothing to impart : The youth, obcdient to his sire's commands, Sets off a wanderer into foreign lands. Surpris'd at all they meet, the gosling pair, With awkward gait, stretch'd neck, an- silly stare, Discover huge cathedrals built with stone,
331 And steeples tow'ring ligh niuch like our own; But show peculiar light by many a grin At popish practices observ'd within.
Ere long soine bowing, smirking, smart abbé 385 Remarks two loit'rers, that have lost their way; And being always prim’d with politesse For men of their appearance and address, With much compassion undertakes the task, To tell them more than they have wit to ask ;
390 Points to inscriptions wheresoe'er they tread,
when legible, were never read, But, being canker'd now and half worn out, Craze antiquarian brains with endless doubt ; Some headless hero, or some Cæsar shows 395 Defective only in his Roman nose ; Exhibits elevations, drawings, plans, Models of Herculanean pots and pans; And sells them medals, which, if neither raro Nor ancient, will be so, presery'd with care.
400 Strange the recital ! from whatever cause His great improvenient and new light he draws, The squire, once bashful, is shamefac'd no moro, But teems with powrs he never felt before : Whether increas'd momentum, and the force 405 With which from clime to clime he sped his coursc,
As axles sometimes ki: dle as they go:)
Chaf'd him, and brought dull nature to a glow ;
Or whether clearer skies and softer air,
That make Italian flow'rs so sweet and fair,
Fresh'ning his lazy spirits as he ran,
Unfolded genially and spread the man:
Returning he proclaims by many a grace,
By shrugs and strange contortions of his face,
How much a dunce, that lias been sent to roain,
Excels a dunce, that has been kept at home.
Accomplishments have taken virtue's place,
And wisdom falls before exteriour grace :
Wo slight the precious kernel of the stonc,
And toil to polish its rough coat alone.
A just deportment, manners grac'd with ease,
Elegant phrase, and figure form'd to please,
Are qualities that seem to comprehend
Whatever parents, guardians, schools, intend;
Hence an unfurnish'd and a listless mind,
Though busy, trifling; empty, though refind;
Hence all that interferes, and dares to clash
With indolence and luxury, is trash :
While learning, once the man's exclusive pride,
Seeins verging fast towards the female side.
Learning itself, receiv'd into a mind
By nature weak, or viciously inclin'd,
Sorvee but to lead philosophers astray,
Where children would with ease discern the way.
And of all arts sagacious dupes invent,
To cheat themselves and gain the world's assent,
The worst is-Scripture warp'd from its intent
The carriage bowls along, and all are pleas'd
If Tom be sober, and the wheels well greas d;
But if the rogue lave gone a cup too far,
Left out his linchpin or forgot his tar,
It suffers interruption and delay,
And meets with hindrance in the sinoothest way
When some hypothesis absurd and vain