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A critic was of old a glorious name,
Whose sanction handed merit up to fame;
Beauties as well as faults he brought to view
His judgment great, and great his candor too.
No servile rules drew sickly taste aside;
Secure he walked, for nature was his guide.
But now, O strange reverse! our critics bawl
In praise of candor with a heart of gall,
Conscious of guilt, and fearful of the light;
They lurk enshrouded in the veil of night;
Safe from destruction, seize th' unwary prey,
And stab like bravoes, all who come that way.
A heart to pity, and a hand to bless.
A jest is a very serious thing.
A six-foot suckling, mincing in its gait,
Affected, peevish, prim and delicate;
Fearful it seemed tho' of athletic make,
Lest brutal breezes should so roughly shake
Its tender form, and savage motion spread
O'er its pale cheeks, the horrid manly red.
But though bare merit might in Rome appear
The strongest plea for favour, 'tis not here;
We form our judgment in another way;
And they will best succeed, who best can pay;
Those, who would gain the votes of British tribes,
Must add to force of merit, force of bribes.
Censure is often useful, praise often deceitful.
Childhood, who like an April morn appears,
Sunshine and rain, hopes clouded o'er with fears.
Drawn by conceit from reason's plan
How vain is that poor creature man;
How pleas'd in ev'ry paltry elf
To grate about that thing himself.
England, a fortune-telling host,
As num'rous as the stars could boast;
Matrons, who toss the cup, and see
The grounds of fate in grounds of tea.
England, a happy land we know,
Where follies naturally grow,
Where without culture they arise,
And tow'r above the common size.
Enough of satire; in less harden'd times
Great was her force, and mighty were her rhymes.
I've read of men, beyond man's daring brave,
Who yet have trembled at the strokes she gave;
Whose souls have felt more terrible alarms
From her one line, than from a world in arms.
Enough of self, that darling luscious theme,
O'er which philosophers in raptures dream;
Of which with seeming disregard they write
Then prizing most when most they seem to slight.
Even in a hero's heart
Discretion is the better part.
Explore the dark recesses of the mind,
In the soul's honest volume read mankind,
And own, in wise and simple, great and small,
The same grand leading principle in all;
* * * * *
For parent and for child, for wife and friend,
Our first great mover, and our last great end
Is one; and by whatever name we call
The ruling tyrant, Self, is all in all.
- [Self : Selfishness]
Genius is independent of situation.
Gipsies, who every ill can cure,
Except the ill of being poor
Who charms 'gainst love and agues sell,
Who can in hen-roost set a spell,
Prepar'd by arts, to them best known
To catch all feet except their own,
Who, as to fortune, can unlock it,
As easily as pick a pocket.
He hurts me most who lavishly commends.
How pleased is every paltry elf
To prate about that thing, himself!
I'll make them live as brothers should with brother,
And keep them in good-humor with each other.
If honor calls, where'er she points the way
The sons of honor follow, and obey.
If you mean to profit, learn to praise.
In the first seat, in robe of various dyes,
A noble wildness flashing from his eyes,
Sat Shakespeare: in one hand a wand he bore,
For mighty wonders fam'd in days of yore:
The other held a globe, which to his will
Obedient turn'd, and own'd the master's skill:
Things of the noblest kind his genius drew,
And look'd through nature at a single view:
A loose he gave to his unbounded soul,
And taught new lands to rise, new seas to roll;
Call'd into being scenes unknown before,
And passing nature's bounds, was something more.
Knaves starve not in the land of fools.
Mutually giving and receiving aid,
They set each other off, like light and shade.
Nature listening stood, whilst Shakespeare play'd
And wonder'd at the work herself had made.
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