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'Tis like a parcel sent you by the stage, Some handsor.e present, as your hopes presage, 'Tis heavy, bulky, and bids fair to prove An absent friend's fidelity and love; But wben unpack’d, your disappointment groans To find it stuff'd with brickbats, earth, and stones.
Some men employ their health — an ugly trick In making known how oft they have been sick, And give us, in recitals of disease, A doctor's trouble, but without the fees; Relate how many weeks they kept their bed, How an emetic or cathartic sped; Nothing is slightly touch'd, much less forgot, Nose, ears, and eyes, seem present on the spot. Now the distemper, spite of draught, or pill, Victorious seem'd, and now the doctor's skill ; And now-alas for unforeseen mishaps ! They put on a damp nightcap and relapse; They thought they must have died, they were so bad Their peevish hearers almost wish they had.
Some fretful tempers wince at every touch, You always do too little or too much : You speak with life, in hopes to entertain, Your elevated voice goes through the brain ; You fall at once into a lower key, That's worse — the drone-pipe of a humble bee. The southern sash admits too strong a light, You rise and drop the curtain - now 'tis night. He shakes with cold—you stir the fire, and strive To make a blaze- that's roasting him alive. Serve him with ven’son, and he chooses fish ; With soal - that's just the sort he would not wish; He takes what he at first profess'd to loathe, And in due time feeds heartily on both ; Yet still, o'erclouded with a constant frown, He does not swallow, but he gulps it down. Your hope to please him vain on every plan, Himself should work that wonder if he canAlas! his efforts double his distress, He likes yours little, and his own still less.
Thus always teasing others, always teased,
His only pleasure is— to be displeased.
I pity bashful men, who feel the pain
Of fancied scorn and undeserved disdain,
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 tried, 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. 2
Few Frenchmen of this evil have complain'd,
It seems as if we Britons were ordain'd,
By way of wholesome curb upon our pride,
To fear each other, fearing none beside.
The cause perhaps inquiry may descry,
Self-searching with an introverted eye,
Conceald 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 risk 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 † appear; -
Humility the parent of the first,
The last by vanity produced and nursed.
The circle form’d, we sit in silent state,
Like figures drawn upon a dial plate;
“ Yes, ma'am," and, “No, ma'am,” utter'd softly, show
Every five minutes how the minutes go ;
Each individual suffering a constraint
Poetry may, but colours cannot paint ;
And, if in close committee on the sky,
Reports it hot or cold, or wet or dry;
And finds a changing clime a happy source
Of wise reflection, and well-timed discourse.
We next inquire, but softly and by stealth,
Like conservators of the public health,
Of epidemic throats, if such there are,
And coughs, and rheums, and phthisic, and catarrh ; .
That theme exhausted, a wide chasm ensues,
Fill'd up at last with interesting news,
Who danced with whom, and who are like to wed,
And who is hang'd, and who is brought to bed;
But fear to call a more important cause,
As if 't were treason against English laws.
The visit paid, with ecstasy we come,
As from a seven years' transportation, home,
And there resume an unembarrass'd brow,
Recovering what we lost we know not how,
The faculties that seem'd reduced 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,
A mere fox follower nevér is reclaim'd.
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 e'en 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 skill 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 seald,
Like theirs that cleave the flood or graze the field,
Had not his Maker's all-bestowing hand
Given him a soul, and bade him understand ;
The reas’ning power vouchsafed of course inferr'd
The power to clothe that reason with his word ;
For all is perfect that God works on earth,
And he that gives conception aids the birth.
If this be plain, 'tis plainly understood,
What uses of his boon the Giver would.
The mind, despatch'd upon her busy toil,
Should range where Providence has bless'd the soil ;
Visiting ev'ry flower with labour meet,
And gath'ring all her treasures sweet by sweet,
She should imbue the tongue with what she sips,
And shed the balmy blessing on the lips,
That good diffused may more abundant grow,
And speech may praise the power that bids it flow.
Will the sweet warbler of the livelong night,
That fills the listning lover with delight,
Forget his harmony, with rapture heard,
To learn the twittering of a meaner bird ;
Or make the parrot's mimicry his choice,
That odious libel on a human voice ?
No-Nature unsophisticate by man,
Starts not aside from her Creator's plan ;
The melody, that was at first design'd
To cheer the rude forefathers of mankind,
Is note for note deliver'd in our ears,
In the last scene of her six thousand years.
Yet fashion, leader of a chattering train,
Whom man, for his own hurt, permits to reign,
Who shifts and changes all things but his shape,
And would degrade her votary to an ape,
The fruitful parent of abuse and wrong,
Holds a usurp'd dominion o'er his tongue;
There sits and prompts him with his own disgrace,
Prescribes the theme, the tone, and the grimace,
And, when accomplish'd in her wayward school,
Calls gentleman whom she has made a fool.
'Tis an unalterable fix'd decree,
That none could frame or ratify but she,
That heaven and hell, and righteousness and sin,
Snares in his path, and foes that lurk within,
God and his attributes, (a field of day
Where 'tis an angel's happiness to stray,)
Fruits of his love and wonders of his might,
Be never named in ears esteem'd polite.
That he who dares, when she forbids, be grave,
Shall stand proscribed, a madman or a knave,
A close designer not to be believed,
Or, if excused that charge, at least deceived.
O folly, worthy of the nurse's lap,
Give it the breast, or stop its mouth with pap!
Is it incredible, or can it seem
A dream to any, except those that dream,
That man should love his Maker, and that fire,
Warming his heart, should at his lips transpire ?
Know then, and modestly let fall your eyes,
And veil your daring crest that braves the skies;
That air of insolence affronts your God,
You need his pardon, and provoke his rod :
Now, in a posture that becomes you more
Than that heroic strut assumed before,
Know, your arrears with every hour accrue
For mercy shewn, while wrath is justly due.
The time is short, and there are souls on earth,
Though future pain may serve for present mirth,
Acquainted with the woes that fear or shame,
By fashion taught, forbade them once to name ;
And, having felt the pangs you deem a jest,
Have proved them truths too big to be express'd.
Go seek on Revelation's hallow'd ground,
Sure to succeed, the remedy they found ;
Touch'd by that power that you have dared to mock,
That makes seas stable and dissolves the rock,
Your heart shall yield a life-renewing stream,
That fools, as you have done, shall call a dream.