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By idle passions borne away
To opera, masquerade, or play;
Fond of those hives where Folly reigns,
And Britain's peers receive her chains;
Where the pert virgin slights a name,
And scorns to redden into shame.
But know, my fair (to whom belong
The poet and his artless song),
When female cheeks refuse to glow,
Farewell to virtue here below.
Our sex is lost to every rule,
Our sole distinction, knave or fool.
'Tis to your innocence we run;
Save us, ye fair, or we're undone:
Maintain your modesty and station,
So women shall preserve the nation.

Mothers, 'tis said, in days of old
Esteem'd their girls more choice than gold:
Too well a daughter's worth they knew,
To make her cheap by public view
(Few, who their diamonds' value weigh,
Expose those diamonds every day):
Then, if Sir Plume drew near, and smiled,
The parent trembled for her child:
The first advance alarm'd her breast;
And Fancy pictured all the rest.
But now no mother fears a foe,
No daughter shudders at a beau.

Pleasure is all the reigning theme, Our noonday thought, our midnight dream. In Folly's chase our youths engage, And shameless crowds of tottering age. The die, the dance, the' intemperate bowl, With various charms engross the soul.

Are gold, fame, health, the terms of vice?
The frantic tribes shall pay the price.
But though to ruin post they run,
They'll think it hard to be undone,

Do not arraign my want of taste,
Or sight to ken where joys are placed:
They widely err, who think me blind,
And I disclaim a stoic's mind.
Like yours are my sensations quite;
I only strive to feel aright.

My joys, like streams, glide gently by,
Though small their channel, never dry;
Keep a still, even, fruitful wave,
And bless the neighbouring meads they lave.
My fortune (for I'll mention all,

And more than you dare tell) is small;
Yet every friend partakes my store,
And Want goes smiling from my door.
Will forty shillings warm the breast
Of worth or industry distress'd?
This sum I cheerfully impart;
'Tis fourscore pleasures to my heart:
And you may make, by means like these,
Five talents ten, whene'er you please.
"Tis true, my little purse grows light;
But then I sleep so sweet at night!
This grand specific will prevail,
When all the doctor's opiates fail.
You ask, what party I pursue?
Perhaps you mean, Whose fool are you?'
The names of party I detest,
Badges of slavery at best!

6

I've too much grace to play the knave,
And too much pride to turn a slaye.

I love my country from my soul,

And grieve when knaves or fools control.
I'm pleased when vice and folly smart,
Or at the gibbet or the cart:
Yet always pity where I can,
Abhor the guilt, but mourn the man.

Now the religion of your poet-
Does not this little preface show it?
My Visions if you scan with care,
'Tis ten to one you'll find it there.
And if my actions suit my song,
You can't in conscience think me wrong.

I.

SLANDER.

Inscribed to Miss

My lovely girl, I write for you;
And pray believe my Visions true :
They'll form your mind to every grace;
They'll add new beauties to your face:
And when old age impairs your prime,
You'll triumph o'er the spoils of time.

Childhood and youth engage my pen,
"Tis labour lost to talk to men.
Youth may, perhaps, reform when wrong;
Age will not listen to my song.
He who at fifty is a fool

Is far too stubborn grown for school.
What is that vice which still prevails
When almost every passion fails;
Which with our very dawn begun,
Nor ends but with our setting sun;

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.

-no more:

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'— Perhaps he pilfers-to be fedAh! 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:

1 Othello.

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 3;
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.

2 Garth's Dispensary.

3 Xerxes, King of Persia, and son of Darius. He invaded Greece with an army consisting of more than a million of men (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.

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