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A friendship, that in frequent fits
Of controversial rage emits
The sparks of disputation,
Like hand in hand insurance plates,
Most unavoidably creates
The thought of conflagration.
Some fickle creatures boast a soul
True as a needle to the pole,
Their humour yet so various
They manifest their whole life through
The needle's deviations too,
Their love is so precarious.
The great and small but rarely meet
On terms of amity complete;
Plebeians must surrender
And yield so much to noble folk,
It is combining fire with smoke,
Obscurity with splendour.
Some are so placid and serene
(As Irish bogs are always green)
They sleep secure from waking;
And are indeed a bog, that bears
Your unparticipated cares
Unmoved and without quaking.
Courtier and patriot cannot mix
Their heterogeneous politics
Without an effervescence,
Like that of salts with lemon-juice,
Which does not yet like that produce
A friendly coalescence.
Religion should extinguish strife,
And make a calm of human life;
But friends that chance to differ
On points which God has left at large, How freely will they meet and charge! No combatants are stiffer.
To prove at last my main intent
Needs no expense of argument
No cutting and contriving—
Seeking a real friend we seem
To adopt the chymist's golden dream,
With still less hope of thriving.
Sometimes the fault is all our own,
Some blemish in due time made known
By trespass or omission;
Sometimes occasion brings to light
Our friend's defect long hid from sight,
And even from suspicion.
Then judge yourself, and prove your man As circumspectly as you can,
And, having made election, Beware no negligence of yours, Such as a friend but ill endures, Enfeeble his affection.
That secrets are a sacred trust,
That friends should be sincere and just,
That constancy befits them,
Are observations on the case,
That savour much of common-place,
And all the world admits them.
But 'tis not timber, lead, and stone,
An architect requires alone,
To finish a fine building-
The palace were but half complete,
If he could possibly forget
The carving and the gilding.
The man that hails you Tom or Jack,
And proves by thumps upon your back
How he esteems your merit,
Is such a friend, that one had need
Be very much his friend indeed,
To pardon or to bear it.
As similarity of mind,
Or something not to be defined,
First fixes our attention;
So manners decent and polite,
The same we practised at first sight,
Must save it from declension.
Some act upon this prudent plan,
'Say little, and hear all you can.'
Safe policy, but hateful-
So barren sands imbibe the shower,
But render neither fruit nor flower,
Unpleasant and ungrateful.
The man I trust, if shy to me,
Shall find me as reserv'd as he;
No subterfuge or pleading
Shall win my confidence again;
I will by no means entertain
A spy on my proceeding.
These samples-for alas, at last
These are but samples, and a taste
Of evils yet unmention'd-
May prove the task a task indeed,
In which 'tis much if we succeed,
Pursue the search, and you will find
Good sense and knowledge of mankind
To be at least expedient;
And, after summing all the rest,
Religion ruling in the breast
A principal ingredient.
The noblest friendship ever shewn
The Saviour's history makes known,
Though some have turn'd and turn'd it;
And, whether being crazed or blind,
Or seeking with a biass'd mind,
Have not it seems, discern'd it,
O, Friendship, if my soul forego
Thy dear delights while here below;
To mortify and grieve me,
May I myself at last appear
Unworthy, base, and insincere,
Or may my friend deceive me!
WHICH THE OWNER OF HIM SOLD AT THE
Go-Thou art all unfit to share
The pleasures of this place
With such as its old tenants are,
Creatures of gentler race.
The squirrel here his hoard provides,
Aware of wintry storms,
And woodpeckers explore the sides
Of rugged oaks for worms.
The sheep here smooths the knotted thorn
With frictions of her fleece;
And here I wander eve and morn,
Like her a friend to peace.
Ah! I could pity thee exiled
From this secure retreat-
I would not lose it to be styled
The happiest of the great.
But thou canst taste no calm delight;
Thy pleasure is to shew
Thy magnanimity in fight,
Thy prowess-therefore go
I care not whether east or north,
So I no more may find thee;
The angry Muse thus sings thee forth,
And claps the gate behind thee.
WRITTEN IN COMMEMORATION OF HIS MAJESTY'S
I RANSACK'D, for a theme of song,
Much ancient chronicle, and long;
I read of bright embattled fields,
Of trophied helmets, spears, and shields,
Of chiefs, whose single arm could boast
Prowess to dissipate a host:
Through tomes of fable and of dream
I sought an eligible theme,
But none I found, or found them shared
Already by some happier bard.
To modern times, with Truth to guide
My busy search I next applied;
Here cities won, and fleets dispersed,
Urged loud a claim to be rehearsed,
Deeds of unperishing renown,
Our fathers' triumphs and our own.
Thus, as the bee, from bank to bower,
Assiduous sips at every flower,
But rests on none, till that be found,
Where most nectareous sweets abound,
So I, from theme to theme display'd
In many a page historic stray'd,
Siege after siege, fight after fight,
Contemplating with small delight,
(For feats of sanguinary hue
Not always glitter in my view ;)
Till settling on the current year,
I found the far-sought treasure near.
A theme for poetry divine,
A theme to ennoble even mine,
In memorable eighty-nine.
The spring of eighty-nine shall be
An era cherish'd long by me,