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Mutual attention is implied,
And equal truth on either side,
And constantly supported;
'Tis senseless arrogance to accuse
Another of sinister views,
Our own as much distorted.
But will sincerity suffice?
It is indeed above all price,
And must be made the basis;
But ev'ry virtue of the soul
Must constitute the charming whole,
All shining in their places.
A fretful temper will divide
The closest knot that may be tied,
By ceaseless sharp corrosion;
A temper passionate and fierce
May suddenly yourjoys disperse
At one immense explosion.
In vain the talkative unite
In hopes of permanent delight-
The secret Just committed,
Forgetting its important weight,
They drop through mere desire to prate,
And by themselves outwitted.
How brightsoe'er the prospect seems,
All thoughts of friendship are but dreams, If envy chance to creep in
WOL. II. 28
An envious man, if you succeed, May prove a dang'rous foe indeed, But not a friend worth keeping.
As envy pines at good possess'd,
So jealousy looks forth distress'd
On good, that seems approaching;
And, if success his steps attend,
Discerns a rival in a friend,
And hates him for encroaching.
Hence authors of illustrious name,
Unless belied by common fame,
Are sadly prone to quarrel,
To deem the wit a friend displays
A tax upon their own just praise,
And pluck each other's laurel.
A man renown'd for repartee
Will seldom scruple to make free
With friendship'st finest feeling,
Will thrust a dagger at your breast
And say he wounded you in jest,
By way of balm for healing.
Whoever keeps an open ear
For tattlers will be sure to hear
The trumpet of contention;
Aspersion is the babbler's trade,
To listen is to lend him aid,
And rush into dissension.
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
Unmov’d and without quaking.
Courtier and patriot cannot mix
Their het’rogeneous politicks
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
T’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 tresspass 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 defin'd,
First fixes our attention;
So manners decent and polite,
The same we practis'd at first sight,
Must save it from declension.