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A temper passionate and fierce
May suddenly your joys disperse

At one immense explosion.

In vain the talkative unite
In hopes of permanent delight-

The secret just committed,
Forgetting its important weight,
They drop through mere desire to prate,

And by themselves outwitted.

How bright soe'er the prospect seems,
All thoughts of friendship are but dreams,

If envy chance to creep in ;
An envious man, if you succeed, .
May prove a dangerous foe indeed,

But not a friend worth keeping.

As envy pines at good possessid,
So jealousy looks forth distress'd

On good, that seems approaching ;
And, if success his steps attend,
Discerns a rival in a friend,

And hates him for encroaching.

Hence authors of illustrious name,
Unless belied by common fame,

Are sadly prone to quarrel,
To deem the wit a friend displays
A tax upon their own just praise,

And pluck each other's laurel.

A man renown'd for repartee Will seldom scruple to make free

With friendship's finest feeling, Will thrust a dagger to your breast, And say he wounded you in jest,

By way of balm for healing.

Whoever keeps an open ear
For tattlers, will be sure to hear

The trumpet of contention ;

Aspersion is the babbler's trade,
To listen is to lend him aid,

And rush into dissention.

A friendship that in frequent fits
Of controversial rage emits

The sparks of disputation,
Like hand-in-hand insurance plates,
Most unavoidably creates

The thought of conflagration.

Some fickle creatures boast a soul
True as a needle to the pole,

Their humour yet so various
They manifest their whole life through
The needle's deviations too,

Their love is so precarious.

The great and small but rarely meet
On terms of amity complete ;

Plebeians must surrender
And yield so much to noble folk,
It is combining fire with smoke,

Obscurity with splendour.

Some are so placid and serene,
(As Irish bogs are always green,)

They sleep secure from waking ;
And are indeed a bog, that bears
Your unparticipated cares

Unmoved and without quaking.

Courtier and patriot cannot mix : Their heterogeneous politics

Without an effervescence, Like that of salts with lemon juice, Which does not yet like that produce

A friendly coalescence.

Religion should extinguish strife,
And make a calm of human life ;

But friends that chance to differ

On points which God has left at large, How freely will they meet and charge!

No combatants are stiffer.

To prove at last my main intent
Needs no expense of argument,

No cutting and contriving -
Seeking a real friend we seem
To adopt the chemist's golden dream,

With still less hope of thriving.

Sometimes the fault is all our own, Some blemish in due time made known

By trespass or omission; Sometimes occasion brings to light Our friend's defect long hid from sight,

And even from suspicion.

Then judge yourself, and prove your man As circumspectly as you can,

And, having made election, Beware no negligence of yours, Such as a friend but ill endures,

Enfeeble his affection,

That secrets are a sacred trust,
That friends should be sincere and just,

That constancy befits them,
Are observations on the case,
That savour much of commonplace,

And all the world admits them.

But 'tis not timber, lead, and stone,
An architect requires alone

To finish a fine building,
The palace were but half complete,
If he could possibly forget

The carving and the gilding.

The man that hails you Tom or Jack, And proves by thumps upon your back

How he esteems your merit,

Is such a friend, that one had need
Be very much his friend indeed,

To pardon or to bear it.

As similarity of mind,
Or something not to be defined,

First fixes our attention ;
So manners decent and polite,
The same we practised at first sight,

Must save it from declension.

Some act upon this prudent plan,
“ Say little and hear all you can.”

Safe policy, but hateful —
So barren sands imbibe the shower,
But render neither fruit nor flower,

Unpleasant and ungrateful.

The man I trust, if shy to me,
Shall find me as reserved as he ;

No subterfuge or pleading
Shall win my confidence again ;
I will by no means entertain

A spy on my proceeding.

These samples — for, alas ! at last
These are but samples, and a taste

Of evils yet unmention'd
May prove the task a task indeed,
In which 'tis much if we succeed,

However well intention'd.

Pursue the search, and you will find
Good sense and knowledge of mankind

To be at least expedient,
And, after summing all the rest,
Religion ruling in the breast

A principal ingredient.

The noblest Friendship ever shown
The Saviour's history makes known,

Though some have turn’d and turn'd it ;

And, whether being crazed or blind,
Or seeking with a biass'd mind,

Have not, it seems, discern'd it.

O Friendship! if my soul forego
Thy dear delights while here below;

To mortify and grieve me,
May I myself at last appear
Unworthy, base, and insincere,

Or may my friend deceive me! .

THE YEARLY DISTRESS,

OR TITHING TIME AT STOCK, IN ESSEX.

Verses addressed to a country clergyınan complaining of the disagreeableness of the day annually appointed for receiving the dues at the parsonage. [Addressed to Mr Unwin, and written December, 1779. See Letter 39.]

COME, ponder well, for 'tis no jest,

To laugh it would be wrong,
The troubles of a worthy priest

The burden of my song.

This priest he merry is and blithe

Three quarters of a year,
But oh! it cuts him like a scythe,

When tithing time draws near.

He then is full of fright and fears,

As one at point to die,
And long before the day appears

He heaves up many a sigh.

For then the farmers come jog, jog

Along the miry road,
Each heart as heavy as a log,

To make their payments good.

In sooth, the sorrow of such days

Is not to be express’d,

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