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At war with every welfare, but their own;
As wise as Lucifer, and half as good;
And by whom none, but Lucifer, can gain –
Naked, through these (so common fate ordains),
Naked of heart, his cruel course he runs,
Stung out of all, most amiable in life, [feign'd;
Prompt truth, and open thought, and smiles un-
Affection, as his species, wide diffus'd;
Noble presumptions to mankind's renown;
Ingenuous trust, and confidence of love.
These claims to joy (if mortals joy might claim)
Will cost him many a sigh; till time, and pains,
From the slow mistress of this school, experience,
And her assistant, pausing, pale, distrust,
Purchase a dear-bought clu to lead his youth
Through serpentine obliquities of life,
And the dark labyrinth of human hearts.
And happy! if the clue shall come so cheap;
For, while we learn to fence with public guilt,
Full oft we feel its foul contagion too,
If less than heavenly virtue is our guard.
Thus, a strange kind of curst necessity
Brings down the sterling temper of his soul,
By base alloy, to bear the current stamp,
Below call'd wisdom; sinks him into safety,
And brands him into credit with the world;
Where specious titles dignify disgrace,
And Nature's injuries are arts of life;
Where brighter reason prompts to bolder crimes;
And heavenly talents make infernal hearts;
That unsurmountable extreme of guilt!
Poor Machiavel! who labour'd hard his plan,
Forgot, that genius need not go to school:
Forgot, that man, without a tutor wise,
His plan had practis'd long before 't was writ.
The world 's all title-page; there's no contents;
The world's all face; the man who shows his heart,
Is hooted for his nudities, and scorn'd.
A man I knew, who liv'd upon a smile,
And well it fed him; he look'd plump and fair;
While rankest venom foam'd through every vein.
Lorenzo! what I tell thee, take not ill!
Living, he fawn'd on every fool alive;
And, dying, curs'd the friend on whom he liv'd.
To such proficients thou art half a saint.
In foreign realms (for thou hast travell'd far)
How curious to contemplate two state-rooks,
Studious their nests to feather in a trice,
With all the necromantics of their art,
Playing the game of faces on each other,
Making court sweet-meats of their latent gall,
In foolish hope to steal each other's trust;
Both cheating, both exulting, both deceiv'd;
And sometimes both (let Earth rejoice) undone !
Their parts we doubt not; but be that their shame ;
Shall men of talents, fit to rule mankind,
Stoop to mean wiles, that would disgrace a fool; And lose the thanks of those few friends they serve? For who can thank the man he cannot see?
Why so much cover? It defeats itself. [hearts Ye, that know all things! know ye not, men's Are therefore known, because they are conceal'd? For why conceal'd?—The cause they need not tell. I give him joy, that 's awkward at a lie;
Whose feeble nature truth keeps still in awe;
His incapacity is his renown.
'Tis great, 't is manly, to disdain disguise;
It shows our spirit, or it proves our strength.
Thou say'st, “'T is needful :" is it therefore right?
Howe'er, I grant it some small sign of grace,
To strain at an excuse: and wouldst thou then
Escape that cruel need? Thou may'st, with ease;
Think no post needful that demands a knave.
When late our civil helm was shifting hands,
So Pulteney thought: think better if you can.
But this, how rare! the public path of life
Is dirty: - yet, allow that dirt is due,
It makes the noble mind more noble still:
The world 's no neuter; it will wound, or save;
Or virtue quench, or indignation fire.
You say, "The world, well known, will make a
The world, well-known, will give our hearts to
Or make us demons, long before we die.
To show how fair the world, thy mistress, shines, Take either part, sure ills attend the choice; Sure, though not equal, detriment ensues. Not virtue's self is deify'd on Earth; Virtue has her relapses, conflicts, foes; Foes, that ne'er fail to make her feel their hate.
Virtue has her peculiar set of pains.
True friends to virtue, last, and least, complain;
But if they sigh, can others hope to smile?
If wisdom has her miseries to mourn,
How can poor folly lead a happy life?
And if both suffer, what has Earth to boast,
Where he most happy, who the least laments? Where much, much patience, the most envied state, And some forgiveness, needs the best of friends? For friend, or happy life, who looks not higher, Of neither shall he find the shadow here.
The world's sworn advocate, without a fee,
Lorenzo smartly, with a smile, replies;
"Thus far thy song is right; and all must own
Virtue has her peculiar set of pains.
And joys peculiar who to vice denies ?
If vice it is, with nature to comply:
If pride, and sense, are so predominant,
To check, not overcome them, makes a saint.
Can Nature in a plainer voice proclaim
Pleasure, and glory, the chief good of man?"
Can pride, and sensuality, rejoice?
From purity of thought, all pleasure springs;
And, from an humble spirit, all our peace.
Ambition, pleasure! let us talk of these:
Of these, the Porch, and Academy, talk'd;
Of these, each following age had much to say:
Yet, unexhausted, still the needful theme.
Who talks of these, to mankind all at once
He talks; for were the saints from either free?
Are these thy refuge?-No: these rush upon thee;
Thy vitals ize, and, vulture-like, devour:
I'll try if I can pluck thee from thy rock,
Prometheus! from this barren ball of Earth;
If reason can unchain thee, thou art free.
And, first, thy Caucasus, ambition, calls;
Mountain of torments! eminence of woes!
Of courted woes! and courted through mistake!
'T is not ambition charms thee;
Will make thee start, as H-
Dost grasp at greatness? First, know what it is:
Think'st thou thy greatness in distinction lies?
Not in the feather, wave it e'er so high,
By fortune stuck, to mark us from the throng,
Is glory lodg'd: 't is lodg'd in the reverse;
In that which joins, in that which equals, all,
The monarch and his slave; "a deathless soul,
Unbounded prospect, and immortal kin,
A Father-God, and brothers in the skies ;"
Elder, indeed, in time; but less remote
In excellence, perhaps, than thought by man;
Why greater what can fall, than what can rise?
If still delirious, now, Lorenzo! go;
And with thy full-blown brothers of the world,
Throw scorn around thee; cast it on thy slaves;
Thy slaves and equals: how scorn cast on them
Rebounds on thee! If man is mean, as man,
Art thou a god? If fortune makes him so,
Beware the consequence: a maxim that,
Which draws a monstrous picture of mankind,
Where, in the drapery, the man is lost;
Externals fluttering, and the soul forgot.
Thy greatest glory, when dispos'd to boast,
Boast that aloud, in which thy servants share.
We wisely strip the steed we mean to buy:
Judge we, in their caparisons, of men?
't is a cheat
at his Moor.
It nought avails thee, where, but what, thou art;
All the distinctions of this little life
Are quite cutaneous, foreign to the man. When, through death's streights, Earth's subtle serpents creep,