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Of man's occasions, when in him reside
Grace, knowledge, comfort-an unfathom'd store?
How oft, when Panl has serv'd us with a text,
Has Epictetus, Plato, Tully, preach'd!
Men that, if now alive, would sit content
And humble learners of a Saviour's worth,
Preach it who might. Such was their love of truth,
Their thirst of knowledge, and their candour too.
And thus it is.--The pastor, either vain
545 By nature, or by flatt ry made so, taught To gaze at his own splendour, and t exalt Absurdly, not his office, but himself; Or unenlighten's and too proud to learn; Or vicious, and not therefore apt to teach; 550 Perverting often by the stress of lewd And loose examples, whom he should instruct; Exposes, and holds up to broad disgrace, The blest functions, and discredits much The brightest truths that man has ever seen. 555 For ghostly counsel; if it either fall. Below the exigence, or be not back'd With show of love, at least with hopeful proof Of some sincerity on the giver's part; Or be dishonour'd in th' exteriour form
560 And mode of its conveyance, by such tricks As move derision, or by foppish airs And histrionick mumm’ry that let down The pulpit to the level of the stage; Drops from the lips a disregarded thing.
565 The weak perhaps are mov’d, but are not taught While prejudice in men of stronger minds Takes deeper root, confirm’d by what they see. A relaxation of religion's hold Upon the roving and untutor'd heart Sogn follows, and, the curb of conscience snapp'd The laity run wild. But do they now? Note their extravagance, and be convinc'd. , As nations, ignorant of God, contrive
A wooden one: so wc, no longer taught
By monitors, that mother church supplies,
Now make our own. Posterity will ask,
(If e'er posterity see verse of mine,)
Some fifty or a hundred lustrums hence,
What was a monitor in George's days?
My very gentle reader, yet unborn,
Of whom I needs must augur better things,
Since Heav'n would sure grow wcary of a world
Productive only of a race like ours,
A monitor is wood—a plank shaven thin.
We wear it at our backs. There, closely brac'd
And neatly fitted, it compresses hard
The prominent and most unsightly bones,
And binds the shoulder flat. We prove its use
Sov'reign and most effectual to secure
A form, not now gymnastick as of yore,
From rickets, and distortion, else our lot.
But thus admonish'd we can walk erect-
One proof at least of manhood! while the friend
Sticks close, a Mentor worthy of his charge.
Our habits, costlier than Lucullus wore,
And by caprice as multiplied as his,
Just please us while the fashion is at full,
But change with ev'ry moon. The sycophant,
Who waits to dress us, arbitrates their date;
Surveys his fair reversion with keen eye;
Finds one ill made, another obsolete,
This fits not nicely, that is ill conceiv'd;
· And, making prize of all that he condemns,
With our expenditure defrays his own. '
Variety's the very spice of life,
That gives it all its flavour. We have run
Through e’ry change, that Fancy at the loom
Exhausted, has had genius to supply;
And studious of mutation still, discard
A real elegance, a little us'd,
For monstrous novelty and strange disguise.
We sacrifice to dress, till household joys
And comforts cease. Dress drains our cellar dry,
And keeps our larder lean; puts out our fires; 615
And introduces hunger, frost, and wo, .
Where peace and hospitality might reign.
What man that lives, and that knows how to live,
Would fail to exhibit at the publick shows
A form as splendid as the proudest there,
Though appetite raise outcries at the cost?
A man o'th' town dines late, but soon enough,
With reasonable forecast and despatch,
T' ensure a side box station at half price.
You think, perhaps, so delicate his dress,
625 Ilis daily fare as delicate. Alas! He picks clean teeth, and busy as he seems With an old tavern quill, is hungry yet! The rout is Folly's circle, which she draws With magick wand. So potent is the spell, 630 That none, decoy'd into that fatal ring, Unless by Heav'n's peculiar grace, escape. There we grow early gray, but never wise; There form connexions, but acquire no friend; Solicit pleasure, hopeless of success; : - 635 Waste youth in occupations only fit For second childhood, and devote old age To sports, which only childhood could excuse. There, they are happiest who dissemble best Their weariness; and they the most polite. 640 Who squander time and treasure with a smile, Though at their own destruction. She that asks Her dear fire hundred friends, contemns them all, And hates their coming. They (what can they less?) Make just reprisals; and with cringe and shrug, 645 And bow obsequious, hide their hate of her. All catch the phrenzy, downward from her grace, Whose flambeaux flash against the morning skies, And gild our chamber ceilings as they pass, To her, who, frugal only that her thrift.
May feed excesses she can ill afford,
Is hackney'd home unlackey'd; who in haste
Alighting, turns the key in her own door,
And, at the watchman's lantern borrowing light,
Finds a cold bed her only comfort left.
Wives beggar husbands, husbands starve their wives,
On Fortune's velvet altar off’ring up
Their last poor pittance-Fortune, most severe
Of goddesses yet known, and costlier far
* Than all that held their routs in Juno's Heav'n.-- 660
So fare we in this prison-house, the World;
And 'tis a fearful spectacle to see
So many maniacks dancing in their chains.
They gaze upon the links, that hold them fast,
With eyes of anguish, execrate their lot,
Then shake them in despair, and dance again!
Now basket up the family of plagues,
That waste our vitals; peculation, sale
Of honour, perjury, corruption, frauds
By forgery, by subterfuge of law,
By tricks and lies as num'rous and as keen
As the necessities their authors feel:
Then cast them, closely bundled, ev'ry brat :'.
At the right door. Profusion is the sire.
Profusion unrestrain'd, with all that's base
In character, has litter'd all the land,
And bred, within the mem’ry of no few,
A priesthood, such as Baal's was of old,
A people, such as never was till now.
It is a hungry vice:--it eats up all
That gives society its beauty, strength,
Convenience, security, and use:
Makes men mere vermin, worthy to be trapp'd ..
And gibbetted, as fast as catchpole claws
the knot Can seize the slippery prey: unties the knot
685 Of union, and converts the sacred band That holds mankind together, to a scourge. Profusion deluging a state with lusts
Of grossest nature and of worse effects,
Prepares it for its ruin: hardens, blinds,
And warps, the consciences of public men,
Till they can laugh at Virtue; mock the fools
That trust them; and in th' end disclose a face,
That would have shock'd Credulity herself,
Unmask'd, vouchsafing this their sole excuse
Since all alike are selfish, why not they?
This does Profusion, and th' accursed cause
Of such deep mischief has itself a cause..
In colleges and halls in ancient days,
Were precious and inculcated with care,
There dwelt a sage call's Discipline. His head,
Not yet by time completely silver'd o'er,
Bespoke him past the bounds of freakish youth,
His eye was meek and gentle, and a smile
Paternal sweetness, dignity, and love.
The occupation dearest to his heart
Was to encourage goodness. He would stroke . 710
The head of modest and ingenious worth, le
That blush'd at his own praise: and press the youth
Close to his side that pleas'd him. Learning grew .
Beneath his care, a thriving vig’rous plant;
The mind was well informed, the passions held 715
Subordinate, and diligence was choice.
If e'er it chanc'd, as sometimes chance it must,
That one among so many overleap'd
The limits of control, his gentle eye"
Grew stern, and darted a severe rebuke;
His frown was full of terrour, and his voice
Shook the delinquent with such fits of awe,
As left him not, till penitence had won
Lost favour back again, and clos'd the breach. .
But Discipline, a faithful servant long,
725 Declin'd at length into the vale of years.