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In vain the talkative unite
In hopes of permanent delight-
The secret just committed,
Forgetting its important weight,
They drop through mere desire to prate,
And by themselves outwitted.
How bright soe'er the prospect seems,
All thoughts of friendship are but dreams,
If envy chance to creep in ;
An envious man, if you succeed,
May prove a dang'rous foe indeed,
But not a friend worth keeping.
As envy pines at good possess'd,
So jealousy looks forth distress'd
On good, that seems approaching ; And if success his steps attend, Discerns a rival in a friend,
And hates him for encroaching.
Hence authors of illustrious name
Unless belied by common fame,
Are sadly prone to quarrel,
To deem the wit a friend displays
A tax upon their own just praise,
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 at your breast,
And say he wounded you in jest,
By way of balm for healing.
Whoever keeps an open ear
For tattlers, will be sure to hear
The trumpet of contention ;
Aspersion is the babbler's trade,
To listen is to lend him aid,
And rush into dissension.
A friendship, that in frequent fits
Of controversial rage emits
The sparks of disputation,
Like hand in hand insurance plates,
Most unavoidably creates
The thought of conflagration.
Some fickle creatures boast a soul
True as a needle to the pole,
Their humour yet so various,
They manifest their whole life through
The needle's deviations too,
Their love is so precarious.
The great and small but rarely meet
On terms of amity complete,
Plebeians must surrender
And yield so much to noble folk,
It is combining fire with smoke,
Obscurity with splendour.
Some are so placid and serene
(As Irish bogs are always green,)
They sleep secure from waking : And are indeed a bog that bears Your unparticipated cares
Unmov'd and without quaking. Courtier and patriot cannot mix Their het’rogeneous politicks,
Without an effervescence, Like that of salts with lemon juice, Which does not, yet like that produce
A friendly coalescence. Religion should extinguish strife, And make a calm of human life;
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
Needs no expense of argument,
No cutting and contriving-
Seeking a real friend we seem
T adopt the chemist's golden dream,
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 friends should be sincere and just,
That constancy befits them,
Are observations on the case,
That savour much of common-place,
And all the world admits them.
But 'tis not timber, lead, and stone,
An architect requires alone,
To finish a fine building-
The palace were but half complete,
If he could possibly forget
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
Be very much his friend indeed,
To pardon or to bear it.
As similarity of mind,
Or something not to be definid,
First fixes our attention :
So manners decent and polite,
The same we practis'd at first sight,
Must save it from declension.
Some act upon this prudent plan,
Say little, and hear all you can.”
Safe policy, but hateful-
So barren sands imbibe the show'r,
But render neither fruit nor flow'r
Unpleasant and ungrateful.
The man I trust, if shy to me,
Shall find me as reserv'd as he,
No subterfuge or pleading
Shall win my confidence again-
I will by no means entertain
A spy on my proceeding.
These samples—for alas ! at last
These are but samples, and a taste
Of evils yet unmention'd-
May prove the task a task indeed,
In which 'tis much if we succeed,
However well intention'd.
Pursue the search, and you will find
Good sense and knowledge of mankind
To be at least expedient,
And, after summing all the rest,
Religion ruling in the breast
A principal ingredient.
The noblest Friendship ever shown
The Saviour's history makes known,
Though some have turn'd and turn'd it;
And whether being craz’d or blind,
Or seeing with a biass'd mind,
Have not, it seems, discern'd it.
O Friendship! if my soul forego
Thy dear delights while here below
To mortify and grieve me,
May I myself at last appear
Unworthy, base, and insincere,
Or may my friend deceive me !
A HERMIT, (or if 'chance
That title now too trite and old,)
A man, once young, who liv'd retir'd
As hermit could have well desir'd,
His hours of study clos'd at last,
And finsh'd his concise repast,
Stoppled his cruise, replac'd his book
Within his customary nook,
And, staff in hand, set forth to share
The sober cordial of sweet air,
Like Isaac, with a mind applied
To serious thought at ev’ning tide.
Autumnal rains had made it chill,
And from the trees that fring'd his hill,
Shades slanting at the close of day
Chill'd more his else delightful way ;
Distant a little mile he spied
A western bank's still sunny side,
And right toward the favour'd place
Proceeding with his nimblest pace,
In hope to bask a little yet,
Just reach'd it when the sun was set.