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Produced a friendship, then begun,
TO THE REV. MR. NEWTON,
May 28, 1782.
What the ladies and gentlemen see in your face, That you are in fashion all over the land,
And I am so much fallen into disgrace. Do but see what a pretty contemplative air
I give to the company,-pray do but note 'em,You would think that the wise men of Greece were all
there, Or, at least, would suppose them the wise men of
Gotham. My breath is as sweet as the breath of blown roses,
While you are a nuisance where'er you appear; There is nothing but sniveling and blowing of noses,
Such a noise as turns any man's stomach to hear. Then lifting his lid in a delicate way,
And opening his mouth with a smile quite engaging, The Box in reply was heard plainly to say,
What a silly dispute is this we are waging !
If you have a little of merit to claim,
You may thank the sweet-smelling Virginian weed ; And I, if I seem to deserve any blame,
The before-mentioned drug in apology plead. Thus neither the praise nor the blame is our own,
No room for a sneer, much less a cachinnus ; We are vehicles, not of tobacco alone,
But of any thing else they may choose to put in us.
1782. Close by the threshold of a door nail'd fast Three kittens sat; each kitten look'd aghast ; I passing swift and inattentive by, At the three kittens cast a careless eye, Not much concern’d to know what they did there, Not deeming kittens worth a poet's care. But presently a loud and furious hiss Caused me to stop, and to exclaim “ What's this ?". When lo! upon the threshold met my view, With head erect, and eyes of fiery hue, A viper, long as Count de Grasse's queue. Forth from his head his forked tongue he throws, Darting it full against a kitten's nose, Who having never seen, in field or house, The like, sat still and silent as a mouse ; Only projecting, with attention due, Her whisker'd face, she ask'd him, “Who are you?”
On to the hall went I, with pace not slow,
Amicitia nisi inter bonos esse non potest.
What virtue can we name, or grace,
Will boast it their possession ?
And dullness of discretion.
So, always, imitation
The friend of long duration.
Therefore that censure scorning,
And give the simple warning.
An error soon corrected ; For who but learns with riper years, That man, when smoothest he appears,
Is most to be suspected ?
But here again a danger lies,
And taking trash for treasure,
A mere Utopian pleasure.
Nor should it seem distressful,
We sought it unsuccessful.
And mean self-love erected ; Nor such as may awhile subsist ”Twixt sensualist and sensualist,
For vicious ends connected.
And ready on occasion
A just reciprocation.
By ceaseless sharp corrosion :
At one immense explosion.