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A temper passionate and fierce
At one immense explosion.
In vain the talkative unite
The secret just committed,
And by themselves outwitted.
How bright soe'er the prospect seems,
If envy chance to creep in ;
But not a friend worth keeping.
As envy pines at good possessid,
On good, that seems approaching ;
And hates him for encroaching.
Hence authors of illustrious name,
Are sadly prone to quarrel,
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
The trumpet of contention ;
Aspersion is the babbler's trade,
And rush into dissention.
A friendship that in frequent fits
The sparks of disputation,
The thought of conflagration.
Some fickle creatures boast a soul
Their humour yet so various
Their love is so precarious.
The great and small but rarely meet
Plebeians must surrender
Obscurity with splendour.
Some are so placid and serene,
They sleep secure from waking ;
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,
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
No cutting and contriving -
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 constancy befits them,
And all the world admits them.
But 'tis not timber, lead, and stone,
To finish a fine building,
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
To pardon or to bear it.
As similarity of mind,
First fixes our attention ;
Must save it from declension.
Some act upon this prudent plan,
Safe policy, but hateful —
Unpleasant and ungrateful.
The man I trust, if shy to me,
No subterfuge or pleading
A spy on my proceeding.
These samples — for, alas ! at last
Of evils yet unmention'd
However well intention'd.
Pursue the search, and you will find
To be at least expedient,
A principal ingredient.
The noblest Friendship ever shown
Though some have turn’d and turn'd it ;
And, whether being crazed or blind,
Have not, it seems, discern'd it.
O Friendship! if my soul forego
To mortify and grieve me,
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 burden of my song.
This priest he merry is and blithe
Three quarters of a year,
When tithing time draws near.
He then is full of fright and fears,
As one at point to die,
He heaves up many a sigh.
For then the farmers come jog, jog
Along the miry road,
To make their payments good.
In sooth, the sorrow of such days
Is not to be express’d,