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Which, like a noxious weed, can spoil
The fairest flowers, and choke the soil?
'Tis Slander,--and, with shame I own,
The vice of humankind alone.

Be Slander then my leading dream,
Though you're a stranger to the theme:
Thy softer breast and honest heart
Scorn the defamatory art;
Thy soul asserts her native skies,
Nor asks Detraction's wings to rise;
In foreign spoils let others shine,
Intrinsic excellence is thine.
The bird in peacock’s plumes who shone
Could plead no merit of her own:
The silly theft betray'd her pride,
And spoke her poverty beside.

The' insidious slandering thief is worse
Than the poor rogue who steals your purse.
Say, he purloins your glittering store;
Who takes your gold takes “trash'—1
Perhaps he pilfers-to be fed-
Ah! guiltless wretch, who steals for bread!
But the dark villain, who shall aim
To blast, my fair! 'thy spotless name,
He'd steal a precious gem away,
Steal what both Indies can't repay!
Here the strong pleas of want are vain,
Or the more impious pleas of gain :
No sinking family to save!
No gold to glut the’ insatiate knave!

Improve the hint of Shakspeare's tongue, 'Twas thus immortal Shakspeare' sung:

-no more:

1 Otbello.

And trust the bard's unerring rule,
For Nature was that poet's school.

As I was nodding in my chair,
I saw a rueful wild

appear:
No verdure met my aching sight
But hemlock and cold aconite;
Two very poisonous plants, 'tis true,
But not so bad as vice to you.

The dreary prospect spread around !
Deep snow had whiten’d all the ground !
A black and barren mountain nigh,
Exposed to every friendless sky!
Here foul-mouth'd Slander lay reclined,
Her snaky tresses hiss'd behind :
• A bloated toadstool raised her head,
The plumes of ravens were her bed?;'
She fed upon the viper's brood,
And slaked her impious thirst with blood,

The rising sun and western ray
Were witness to her distant sway.
The tyrant claim’d a mightier host
Than the proud Persian e'er could boast.
No conquest graced Darius' son ?;
By his own numbers half undone!
Success attended Slander's power,
She reap'd fresh laurels

every

hour. Her troops a deeper scarlet wore Than ever armies knew before.

3

? Garth's Dispensary.

Xerxes, King of Persia, and son of Darius. He invaded Greece with an army consisting of more than a million of med (some say more than two millions), who, together with their cattle, perished in great measure through the inability of the countries to supply such a vast host with provision.

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;

4 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
eyery

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.

II.

PLEASURE.

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 :

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