192 AN EPISTLE TO JOSEPH HILL, Esq.
Horatio's servant once, with bow and cringe, Swinging the parlour door upon its hinge, Dreading a negative, and overaw'd Least he should trespass, begg’d to go abroad. Go, fellow-whither?-~turning short about Nay. Stay at home--you're always going out. 'Tis but a step, sir, just at the street's endFor what?--An please you, sir, to see a friend. A friend ! Horatio cried, and seem'd to startYea
marry shalt thou, and with all my heart.-And fetch my cloak; for, though the night be raw, I'll see him too—the first I ever saw.
I knew the man, and knew his nature mild,
And was his plaything often when a child ;
But somewhat at that moment pinch'd him close,
Else he was seldom bitter or morose.
Perhaps his confidenee just then betray'd,
His grief might prompt him with the speech he made;
Perhaps 'twas mere good humour gave it birth,
The harmless play of pleasantry and mirth.
Howe'er it was, his language, in my mind,
Bespoke at least a man that knew mankind.
But not to moralize too much, and strain
To prove an evil, of which all complain,
(I hate long arguments verbosely spun)
One story more, dear Hill, and I have done.
Once on a time an emp'ror, a wise man,
No matter where, in China or Japan,
Decreed, that whosoever should offend
Against the well-known duties of a friend,
Convicted once should ever after wear
But half a coat, and show his bosom bare.