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Are sweet philosophy's enjoyments run
Quite to the lees? And has religion none ?
Brutes capable would tell you 'tis a lie,
And judge you from the kennel and the sty.
Delights like these, ye sensual and profane,
Ye are bid, begg'd, besought to entertain ;
Call'd to these crystal streams, do ye turn off
Obscene to swill and wallow at a trough?
Envy the beast then, on whom Heaven bestows
Your pleasures, with no curses in the close.

Pleasure admitted in undue degree
Enslaves the will, nor leaves the judgment free.
'Tis not alone the grape's enticing juice
Unnerves the moral powers, and mars their use;
Ambition, avarice, and the lust of fame,
And woman, lovely woman, does the same.
The heart, surrender'd to the ruling power
Of some ungovern'd passion every hour,
Finds by degrees the truths, that once bore sway,
And all their deep impressions, wear away;
So coin grows smooth, in traffic current pass'd,
Till Cæsar's image is effaced at last.

The breach, thoughsmallat first, soonopening wide, In rushes folly with a full-moon tide, Then welcome errours of whatever size, To justify it by a thousand lies. As creeping ivy clings to wood or stone, And hides the ruin that it feeds upon; So sophistry cleaves close to, and protects Sin's rotten trunk, concealing its defects. Mortals, whose pleasures are their only care, First wish to be imposed on, and then are. And, lest the fulsome artifice should fail, Themselves will hide its coarseness with a veil. Not more industrious are the just and true, To give to Virtue what is Virtue's due The praise of wisdom, comeliness, and worth, And call her charms to public notice forth Than Vice's mean and disingenuous race, To hide the shocking features of her face.

Her form with dress and lotion they repair;
Then kiss their idol, and pronounce ber fair.

The sacred implement I now employ
Might prove a mischief, or at best a toy;
A trifle, if it move but to amuse;
But, if to wrong the judgment and abuse,
Worse than a popiard in the basest hand,
It stabs at once the morals of a land.

Ye writers of what none with safety reads,
Footing it in the dance that fancy leads;
Ye novelists, who mar what ye would mend,
Snivelling and drivelling folly without end;
Whose corresponding misses fill the ream
With sentimental frippery and dream,
Caught in a delicate soft silken net,
By some lewd earl, or rakehell baronet :
Ye pimps, who, under virtue's fair pretence,
Steal to the closet of young innocence,
And teach her, unexperienced yet and green,
To scribble as you scribbled at fifteen;
Wbo, kindling a combustion of desire,
With some cold moral think to quench the fire ;
Though all your engineering proves in vain,
The dribbling stream ne'er puts it out again:
O that a verse had power, and could command
Far, far away these flesh-flies of the land ;
Who fasten without mercy on the fair,
And suck, and leave a craving maggot there!
Howe'er disguised the inflammatory tale,
And cover'd with a fine-spun specious veil ;
Such writers, and such readers, owe the gust
And relish of their pleasure all to lust.

But the muse, eagle-pinion'd, has in view
A quarry more important still than you ;
Down, down the wind she swims, and sails away,
Now stoops upon it, and now grasps the prey.

Petronius! all the muses weep for thee;
But every tear shall scald thy memory:
The graces too, while Virtue at their shrine
Lay bleeding under that soft band of thine,

Felt each a mortal stab in her own breast,
Abhorr'd the sacrifice, and cursed the priest.
Thou polish'd and high-finish'd foe to truth,
Graybeard corrupter of our listening youth,
To purge and skim away the filth of vice,
That so refined it might the more entice,
Then pour it on the morals of thy son;
To taint his heart, was worthy of thine own!
Now, while the poison all high life pervades,
Write, if thou canst, one letter from the shades;
One, and one only, charged with deep regret,
That thy worse part, thy principles, live yet:
One sad epistle thence may cure mankind
Of the plague spread by bundles left behind.
"Tis granted, and no plainer truth appears,
Our most important are our earliest years ;
The mind, impressible and soft, with ease
Imbibes and copies what she hears and sees,
And through life's labyrinth holds fast the clew
That Education gives her, false or true.
Plants raised with tenderness are seldom strong;
Man's coltish disposition asks the thoog;
And without discipline, the favourite child,
Like a neglected forester, runs wild.
But we, as if good qualities would grow
Spontaneous, take but little pains to sow;
We give some Latin, and a smatch of Greek;
Teach him to fence and figure twice a week;
And having done, we think, the best we can,
Praise his proficiency, and dub him man.

From school to Cam or Isis, and thence home;
And thence with all convenient speed to Rome,
With reverend tutor clad in habit lay,
To tease for cash, and quarrel with all day;
With memorandum-book for every town,
And every post, and where the chaise broke down;
His stock, a few French phrases got by heart,
With much to learn, but nothing to impart;
The youth, obedient to his sire's commands,
Sets off a wanderer into foreign lands.

Surprised at all they meet, the gosling pair,
With awkward gait, stretch'd neck, and silly stare,
Discover huge cathedrals, built with stone,
And steeples towering high, much like our own;
But show peculiar light by many a grin,
At popish practices observed within.

Ere long, some bowing, smirking, smart abbé
Remarks two loiterers, that have lost their way;
And being always primed with politesse
For men of their appearance and address,
With much compassion undertakes the task,
To tell them more than they have wit to ask;
Points to inscriptions wheresoe'er they tread,
Such as, when legible, were never read,
But being cankered now, and half worn out,
Craze antiquarian brains with endless doubt;
Some headless hero, or some Cæsar shows,
Defective only in his Roman nose ;
Exhibits elevations, drawings, plans,
Models of Herculanean pots and pans;
And sells them medals, which, if neither rare
Nor ancient, will be so, preserved with care.

Strange the recital! from whatever cause His great improvement and new light he draws, The squire, once bashful, is shamefaced no more, But teems with powers he never felt before : Whether increased momentum, and the force, With which from clime to clime he sped his course, (As axles sometimes kindle as they go) Chafed him, and brought dull nature to a glow; Or whether clearer skies and softer air, That make Italian flowers so sweet and fair, Freshening his lazy spirits as he ran, Unfolded genially and spread the man; Returning he proclaims by many a grace, By shrugs and strange contortions of his face, How much a dunce, that has been sent to roam, Excels a dunce, that has been kept at home.

Accomplishments have taken virtue's place, And wisdom falls before exterior grace :

We slight the precious kernel of the stone,
And toil to polish its rough coat alone.
A just deportment, manners graced with ease,
Elegant phrase, and figure form’d to please,
Are qualities, that seem to comprehend
Whatever parents, guardians, schools intend;
Hence an unfurnish'd and a listless mind,
Though busy, triling; empty, though refined;
Hence all that interferes, and dares to clash
With indolence and luxury, is trash:
While learning, once the man's exclusive pride,
Seems verging fast towards the female side.
Learning itself, received into a mind
By nature weak, or viciously inclined,
Serves but to lead philosophers astray,
Where ohildren would with ease discern the way.
And of all arts sagacious dupes invent,
To cheat themselves, and gain the world's assent,
The worst is Scripture warp'd from its intent.

The carriage bowls along, and all are pleased
If Tom be sober, and the wheels well greased;
But if the rogue have gone a cup too far,
Left out his linchpin, or forgot his tar,
It suffers interruption and delay,
And meets with hindrance in the smoothest way.
When some hypothesis, absurd and vain,
Has fill'd with all its fumes a critic's brain,
The text, that sorts not with his darling whim,
Though plain to others, is obscure to him.
The will made subject to a lawless force,
All is irregular and out of course ;
And Judgment drunk, and bribed to lose his way,
Winks hard, and talks of darkness at noonday.

A critic on the sacred book should be
Candid and learn'd, dispassionate and free:
Free from the wayward bias bigots feel,
From fancy's influence, and intemperate zeal:
But, above all, (or let the wretch refrain,
Nor touch the page he cannot but profane)

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