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Not soon deceiv'd ;' aware, that what is base
No polish can make sterling; and that vice,
Though well perfum'd and elegantly dress'd,
Like an unburied carcase trick'd with flow'rs,
Is but a garnish'd nuisance, fitter far
For cleanly riddance, than for fair attire.
So life glides smoothly and by stealth away,
More golden than that age of fabled gold
Renown'd in ancient song; not vex'd with care
Or stain'd with guilt, beneficent, approv'd
Of God and man, and peaceful in it's end.
So glide my life away! and so at last,
My share of duties decently fulfill'd,
May some disease, not tardy to perform
It's destin's office, yet with gentle stroke,
Dismiss me weary to a safe retreat,
Beneath the turf, that I have often trod.
It shall not grieve me then, that once, when callid
To dress a Sofa with the flow'rs of verse,
I play'd awhile, obedient to the fair,
With that light task; but soon, to please her more,
Whom flow'rs alone I knew would little please,
Let fall th' unfinish'd wreath, and rov'd for fruit;
Rov'd far, and gather'd much: some barsh, 'tis true,
Pick'd from the thorns and briars of reproof,
But wholesome, well-digested ; grateful some
To palates, that can taste immortal truth;
Insipid else, and sure to be despis'd.
But all is in his hand, whose praise I seek.
In vain the poet sings, and the World hears,
If he regard not, though divine the theme.
'Tis not in artful measures, in the chime
And idle tinkling of a minstrel's lyre,
To charm his ear, whose eye is on the heart;
Whose frown can disappoint the proudest strain,
· Whose approbation--prosper even mine.
DEAR Josep-five and twenty years ago
Alas how time escapes !—'tis even som
With frequent intercourse, and always sweet,
And always friendly, we were wont to cheat
A tedious hour-and now we never meet !
As some grave gentleman in Terence says,
('Twas therefore much the same in ancient days)
Good lack, we know not what to morrow brings-
Strange fluctuation of all human things !
True. Changes will befall, and friends may part,
But distance only cannot change the heart :
And, were I call’d to prove th' assertion true,
One proof should serve a reference to you.
Whence comes it then, that in the wane of life, Though nothing have occurr'd to kindle strife,
We find the friends we fancied we had won, Though num'rous once, reduc'd to few or none ? Can gold grow worthless, that has stood the touch? No; gold they seem'd, but they were never such.
Horatio's servant once,
with bow and cringe, Swinging the parlour-door upon it's hinge, Dreading a negative, and overaw'd Lest he should trespass, begg'd to go abroad. Go, fellow !-whither?-turning short aboutNay. Stay at home-you're always going out. 'Tis but a step, sir, just at the street's end.. For what?-An please you, sir, to see a friend. A friend ! Horatio cried, and seem'd to start
marry shalt thou, and with all my heart... And fetch my cloak; for, though the night be raw, I'll see him too--the first I ever saw.
I knew the man, and knew his nature mild, And was his plaything often when a child ; But somewhat at that moment pinch'd him close, Else he was seldom bitter or morose. Perhaps his confidence just then betray'd, His grief might prompt him with the speech he made; Perhaps 'twas mere good humour gave it birth, The harmless play of pleasantry and mirth. Howe'er it was, his language, in my mind, Bespoke at least a man that knew mankind.