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Free-mason, rake, or wit, 'tis just the same,
The charm is hence, he has gain’d himself a name.
Yet, spite of all the fools that pride has made,
'Tis not on man an useless burthen laid ;
Pride has ennobled some, and some disgrac'd;
It hurts not in itself, but as 'tis plac'd;
When right, its view knows none but virtue's bound;
When wrong, it scarcely looks one inch around.
Mark! with what care the fair one's critic eye
Scans o'er her dress, nor let's a fault slip by;
Each rebel hair must be reduc'd to place
With tedious skill, and tortur'd into grace;
Betty must o'er and o'er the pins dispose,
'Till into modifh folds the drapery flows,
And the whole frame is fitted to express
The charms of decency and nakedness.
Why all this art, this labour'd ornament?
To captivate, you'll cry, no doubt, 'tis meant.
True. But let's wait upon this fair machine
From the lone closet to the social scene;
There view her loud, affected, scornful, four,
Paining all others, and herself still more.
What means fhe, at one instant to disgrace,
The labour of ten hours, her much-lov'd face ?
Why, 'tis the self-fame passion gratify'd ;
The work is ruin'd, that was rais'd by pride.
Yet of all tempers, it requires least pain,
Could we but rule ourselves, to rule the vain.
The prudent is by reason only fway'd,
With him each sentence and each word is weighd;
The gay and giddy can alone be caught
By the quick lustre of a happy thought;
The miser hates, unless he steals your pelf;
The prodigal, unless you rob yourself;
The lewd will shun you, if your wife prove chaste;
The jealous, if a smile on his be cast;
The steady or the whimsical will blame,
Either, because you're not, or are the same;
The peevish, sullen, shrewd, luxurious, rash,
Will with your virtue, peace, or interest, clash;
But mark the proud man's price, how very low!
'Tis but a civil speech, a smile, or bow.
Ye who push'd on by noble ardour, aim
In social life to gain immortal fame,
Observe the various passions of mankind,
General, peculiar, single or combin'd:
How youth from manhood differs in its views,
And how old age still other paths pursues ;
How zeal in Priscus nothing more than heats,
In Codex burns, and ruins all it meets;
How freedom now a lovely face shall wear,
Now shock us in the likeness of a bear;
How jealousy in some resembles hate,
In others; seems but love grown delicate ;
How modesty is often pride refin’d,
And virtue but the canker of the mind;
How love of riches, grandeur, life, and fame,
- Wear different shapes, and yet are still the same.
But not our passions only disagree,
In taste is found as great variety :
Sylvius is ravish'd when he hears a hound,
His lady hates to death the odious found:
Yet both love music, though in different ways;
He in a kennel, she at opera's.
A florist shall, perhaps, not grudge fome hours,
To view the colours in a bed of flowers ;
Yet, shew him Titian's workmanship divine,
He passes on, and only cries, 'tis fine.
A rusty coin, an old worm-eaten post,
The mouldy fragment of an author loft,
A butterfly, an equipage, a star,
A globe, a fine lac'd har, a china jar,
A mistress, or a fashion that is new,
Have each their charms, though felt but by a few.
Then study each man's passion and his taste,
The first to soften, and indulge the last:
Not like the wretch, who beats down virtue's fence,
And deviates from the path of common sense;
Who daubs with fulsome flattery, blind and bold,
The very weakness we with grief behold.
Passions are common to the fool and wise,
And all would hide them under art's disguise ;
For so avow'd, in others, is their shame,
None hates them more, than he who has the same.
But taste seems more peculiarly our own,.
And every man is fond to make his known;
Proud of a mark he fancies is design'd
By nature to advance him o'er his kind;
And where he sees that character impress'd,
With joy he hugs the favourite to his breast. .
But the main stress of all our cares must lie,
To watch ourselves with strict and constant eye: -
To mark the working mind, when paffion's course
Begins to swell, and reason ftill has force ;
Or, if she's conquer'd by the stronger tide,
Observe the moments when they first subside;
For he who hopes a victory to win O’er other men, muft with himself begin; Else like a town by mutiny oppress’d, He's ruin’d by the foe within his breast; And they alone, who in themselves oft view Man's image, know what method to pursue. All other creatures keep in beaten ways, Man only moves in an eternal maze: He lives and dies, not tam'd by cultivation, The wretch of reason, and the dupe of passion; Curious of knowing, yet too proud to learn ; More prone to doubt, than anxious to discern: Tir'd with old doctrines, prejudic'd at new; Mistaking still the pleasing for the true; Foe to restraints approv'd by gen’ral voice, Yet to each fool-born mode a Nave by choice : Of rest impatient, yet in love with ease ; When most good-natur'd, aiming how to teaze : Disdaining by the vulgar to be aw'd, Yet never pleas’d but when the fools applaud : By turns severe, indulgent, humble, vain ; A trifle serves to lose him or to gain.
Then grant this trifle, yet his vices shun, Not like to Cato or to " Clinias' son: