398 AN EPISTLE TO JOSEPH HILL, Esq.
A friend ! Floratio cried, and seem'd to start-
Yea marry shalt thou, and with all my heart.-
And fetch my cloak; for, though the night be raw,
I'll see him too-the first I ever saw,
I knew the man, and knew his nature mild,
And was his plaything often when a child;
But somewhat at that moment pinch'd hiin close,
Else he was seldom bitter or morose.
Perhaps his confidence just then betray'd,
His grief might prompt hin with the speech he made;
Perhaps 'twas mere good-humour gave it birth,
The harmless play of pleasantry and mirth.,
Howe'er it was, his language, in my mind,
Bespoke at least a man that kuew mankind.
But not to moralize too much, and strain
To prove an evil, of which all complain,
(I hate loog arguments verbosely spun)
One story more, dear Hill, and I have doue.
Once on a time an emperor, a wise man,
No matter where, in China or Japan,
Decreed, that whosoever should offend
Against the well-known duties of a friend,
Convicted once, should ever after wear
But half a coat, and show his bosom bare,
The punishment importing this, no doubt,
That all was naught withiu, and all found out.
O happy Britain! we have not to fear
Such hard and arbitrary measure here;
Else, could a law, like that which I relate,
Once have the sanction of our triple state,
Some few, that I have known in days of old,
Would run most dreadful risk of catching cold;
While you, my friend, whatever wind should blow,
Might traverse England safely to and fro,
An honest man, close-button'd to the chin,
Broad cloth without, and a warm heart within.