And sheltered Sofa, while the nitrous air
Feeds a blue flame, and makes a cheerful hearth;
There, undisturbed by folly, and apprized
How great the danger of disturbing her,
To muse in silence, or at least confine
Remarks, that gall so many, to the few
My partners in retreat. Disgust concealed
Is oft-times proof of wisdom, when the fault
Is obstinate, and cure beyond our reach.

Domestic happiness, thou only bliss
Of Paradise, that hast survived the fall!
Though few now taste thee unimpaired and pure1,
Or tasting long enjoy thee! too infirm,
Or too incautious, to preserve thy sweets
Unmixt with drops of bitter, which neglect
Or temper sheds into thy crystal cup; * »
Thou art the nurse of virtue, in thine arms
She smiles, appearing, as in truth she is,
Heaven-born, and destined to the skies again.
Thou art not known where pleasure is adored,
That reeling goddess with the zoneless waist
And wandering eyes, still leaning on the arm
Of novelty, her fickle frail support;
For thou art meek and constant, hating change,
And finding in the calm of truth-tried love
Joys, that her stormy raptures never yield.
Forsaking thee what sUpwreck hare we made


Of honour, dignity, and fair renown 1

Till prostitution elbows us aside

In all our crowded streets; and senates seem

Convened for purposes of empire less,

Than to release the adultress from her bond.

The adultress! what a theme for angry verse!

What provocation to the indignant tyeart,

That feels for injured love! but I disdain

The nauseous task to paint her as she is,

Cruel, abandoned, glorying in her shame!

No:—let her pass, and chariotted along

In guilty splendour shake the public ways;

The frequency of crimes has washed them white,

And verse of mine shall never brand the wretch,

Whom matrons now of character unsmirched,

And chaste themselves, are not ashamed to own.

Virtue and vice had boundaries in old time

Not to be passed: and she, that had renounced

Her sex's honour, was renounced herself

By all that prized it; not for prudery's sake,

But dignity's, resentful of the wrong.

Twas hard perhaps on here and there a waif,

Desirous to return, and not received:

But was an wholesome rigour in the main,

And taught the unblemished to preserve with care

Th'xt purity, whose loss was loss of all.

Men too were nice in honour in those day%

And judged offenders well. Then he that sharped,
And pocketted a prize by fraud obtained,
Was marked and shunned as odious. He that sold
His country, or was slack when she required
His every nerve in action and at stretch,
Paid with the blood, that he had basely spared,
The price of his default. But now—yes, now,
We are become so candid and so fair,
So liberal in construction, and so rich
In Christian charity, (good-natured age!)
That they are safe, sinners of either sex,
Transgress what laws they may. Well dressed, well
Well equipaged, is ticket good enough [bred,

To pass us readily through every door.
Hypocrisy, detest her as we may,
(And no man's hatred ever wronged her yet)
May claim this merit still—that she admits
The worth of what she mimics with such care,
And thus gives virtue indirect applause;
- But she has burnt her mask not needed here,
Where vice has such allowance, that her shifts
And specious semblances have lost their use.

I was a stricken deer, that left the herd
Long since; with many an arrow deep infixt
My panting side was charged, when I withdrew
To seek a tranquil death in distant shades.
There was I found by one, who had himself

Been hurt by the archers. In his side he bore,

And in his hands and feet, the cruel scars.

With gentle force soliciting the darts,

He drew them forth, and healed, and bade me live.

Since then, with few associates, in remote

And silent woods I wander, far from those

My former partners of the peopled scene;

With few associates, and not wishing more.

Here much I ruminate, as much I may,

With other views of men and manners now

Than once, and others of a life to come.

I see that all are wanderers, gone astray

Each in his own delusions; they are lost

In chase of fancied happiness, still wooed

And never won. Dream after dream ensues;

And still they dream that they shall still succeed,

And still are disappointed. Rings the world

With the vain stir. I sum up half mankind,

And add two thirds of the remaining half,

And find the total of their hopes and fears

Dreams, empty dreams. The million flit as gay

As if created only like the fly,

That spreads his motley wings in the, eye of noon,

To sport their season, and be seen no more.

The rest are sober dreamers, grave and wise,

And pregnant with discoveries new and rare.

Some write a narrative of wars, and feats


Of heroes little known; and call the rant

An history: describe the man, of whom

His own coevals took but little note,

And paint his person, character, and views,

As they had known him from his mother's womb.

They disentangle from the puzzled skein,

In which obscurity has wrapped them up,

The threads of politic and shrewd design,

That ran through all his purposes, and charge

His mind with meanings that he never had,

Or having kept concealed. Some drill and bore

The solid earth, and from the strata there

Extract a register, by which we learn,

That he who made it, and revealed its date

To Moses, was mistaken in its age. ,•

Some, more acute, and more industrious still,

Contrive creation; travel nature up

To the sharp peak of her sublimest height,

And tell us whence the stars; why some are fixed,

And planetary some; what gave them first

Rotation, from what fountain flowed their light.

Great contest follows, and much learned dust

Involves the combatants; each claiming truth,

And truth disclaiming both. And thus they spend

The little wick of life's poor shallow lamp

In playing tricks with nature, giving laws

To distant worlds, and trifling in their own.

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