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No plea diverts the fury's rage,
The fury spares nor sex nor age.
E'en merit, with destructive charms,
Provokes the vengeance of her arms.
Whene'er the tyrant sounds to war,
Her canker'd trump is heard afar.
Pride, with a heart unknown to yield,
Commands in chief, and guides the field.
He stalks with vast gigantic stride,
And scatters fear and ruin wide.
So the impetuous torrents sweep
At once whole nations to the deep.
Revenge, that base Hesperian, known
A chief support of Slander's throne,
Amidst the bloody crowd is seen,
And treachery brooding in his mien;
The monster often changed his gait,
But march'd resolved and fix'd as fate.
Thus the fell kite, whom hunger stings,
Now slowly moves his outstretch'd wings;
Now swift as lightning bears away,
And darts upon his trembling prey.
Envy commands a secret band,
With sword and poison in her hand:
Around her haggard eyeballs roll;
A thousand fiends possess her soul,
The artful, unsuspected sprite
With fatal aim attacks by night.
Her troops advance with silent tread,
And stab the hero in his bed;
Hesperia includes Italy as well as Spain, and the inhabitants of both are remarkable for their revengeful disposition.
Or shoot the wing'd malignant lie,
And female honours pine and die.
So prowling wolves, when darkness reigns,
Intent on murder scour the plains;
Approach the folds, where lambs repose,
Whose guileless breasts suspect no foes;
The savage gluts his fierce desires,
And bleating innocence expires.
Slander smiled horribly, to view
How wide her daily conquests grew;
Around the crowded levees wait,
Like oriental slaves of state:
Of either sex whole armies press'd,
But chiefly of the fair and best.
Is it a breach of friendship's law
To say what female friends I saw?
Slander assumes the idol's part,
And claims the tribute of the heart.
The best, in some unguarded hour,
Have bow'd the knee, and own'd her power,
Then let the poet not reveal
What candour wishes to conceal.
If I beheld some faulty fair,
Much worse delinquents crowded there :
Prelates in sacred lawn I saw,
Grave physic, and loquacious law;
Courtiers, like summer flies, abound;
And hungry poets swarm around.
But now my partial story ends,
And makes my females full amends.
If Albion's isle such dreams fulfils,
"Tis Albion's isle which cures these ills;
Fertile of every worth and grace
Which warm the heart and flush the face.
Fancy disclosed a smiling train
Of British nymphs, that tripp'd the plain :
Good nature first, a silvan queen,
Attired in robes of cheerful green:
A fair and smiling virgin she!
With every charm that shines in thee.
Prudence assumed the chief command,
And bore a mirror in her hand;
Gray was the matron's head by age,
Her mind by long experience sage;
Of every distant ill afraid,
And anxious for the simpering maid.
The Graces danced before the fair;
And white-robed Innocence was there.
The trees with golden fruits were crown'd,
And rising flowers adorn'd the ground;
The sun display'd each brighter ray,
And shone in all the pride of day.
When Slander sicken'd at the sight,
And skulk'd away to shun the light.
HEAR, ye fair mothers of our isle!
Nor scorn your poet's homely style.
What though my thoughts be quaint or new,
I'll warrant that my doctrine's true:
Or if my sentiments be old,
Remember, truth is sterling gold.
You judge it of important weight To keep your rising offspring straight:
For this such anxious moments feel,
And ask the friendly aids of steel:
For this import the distant cane,
Or slay the monarch of the main.
And shall the soul be warp'd aside
By passion, prejudice, and pride?
Deformity of heart I call
The worst deformity of all.
Your cares to body are confined,
Few fear obliquity of mind.
Why not adorn the better part?
This is a nobler theme for art.
For what is form, or what is face,
But the soul's index, or its case?
Now take a simile at hand,
Compare the mental soil to land.
Shall fields be till'd with annual care,
And minds lie fallow every year?
O! since the crop depends on you,
Give them the culture which is due:
Hoe every weed, and dress the soil,
So harvest shall repay your toil.
If human minds resemble trees
(As every moralist agrees),
Prune all the stragglers of your vine,
Then shall the purple clusters shine.
The gardener knows that fruitful life
Demands his salutary knife:
For every wild luxuriant shoot
Or robs the bloom or starves the fruit.
A satirist' in Roman times,
When Rome, like Britain, groan'd with crimes,
Asserts it for a sacred truth,
That pleasures are the bane of youth:
That sorrows such pursuits attend,
Or such pursuits in sorrows end:
That all the wild adventurer gains
Are perils, penitence, and pains.
Approve, ye fair, the Roman page,
And bid your sons revere the sage;
In study spend their midnight oil,
And string their nerves by manly toil.
Thus shall they grow like Temple wise,
Thus future Lockes and Newtons rise;
Or hardy chiefs to wield the lance,
And save us from the chains of France.
Yes, bid your sons betimes forego
Those treacherous paths where Pleasures grow;
Where the young mind is Folly's slave,
Where every virtue finds a grave.
Let each bright character be named,
For wisdom or for valour famed:
Are the dear youths to science prone?
Tell how the' immortal Bacon shone!
Who, leaving meaner joys to kings,
Soar'd high on contemplation's wings;
Ranged the fair fields of nature o'er,
Where never mortal trod before:
Bacon! whose vast capacious plan
Bespoke him angel more than man!
Does love of martial fame inspire?
Cherish, ye fair, the generous fire;
Teach them to spurn inglorious rest,
And rouse the hero in their breast:
Paint Cressy's vanquish'd field anew,
Their souls shall kindle at the view;