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No longer prey upon our annual rents, Or scare the nation with its big contents: Disbanded legions freely might depart, And Naying man would cease to be an art. No learned disputants would take the field, Sure not to conquer, and sure not to yield; Both sides deceiv’d, if rightly understood, Pelting each other for the public good. Did charity prevail, the press would prove A vehicle of virtue, truth, and love; And I might spare myself the pains to show What few can learn, and all suppose they know. Thus have I sought to grace a serious lay With many a wild, indeed, but flow'ry spray, In hopes to gain, what else I must have lost, Th’ attention pleasure has so much engross’d. But if, unhappily deceiv’d, I dream, And prove too weak for fo divine a theme, Let Charity forgive me a mistake That zeal, not vanity, has chanc'd to make, And spare the poet for his subject's fake.
Nam neq; me tantum venientis fibilus austri,
VIRG. Ecl. 50
Though nature weigh our talents, and dispense To ev'ry man his modicum of sense, And Conversation, in its better part, May be esteem'd a gift and not an art, Yet much depends, as in the tiller's toil, On culture, and the sowing of the soil. Words learn’d by rote a parrot may rehearse, But talking is not always to converse;
Not more distinct from harmony divine,
Who vote for hire, or point it with lampoon
There is a prurience in the speech of fome,
But, when the breath of age commits the fault,
The fapless wood, divested of the bark, Grows fungous, and takes fire at ev'ry spark.
Oaths terminate, as Paul observes, all strifeSome men have surely then a peaceful life! Whatever subject occupy discourse, The feats of Vestris, or the naval force, Affeveration, bluft’ring in your face, Makes contradiction such an hopeless case : In ev'ry tale they tell, or false or true, Well known, or such as no man ever knew, They fix attention, heedless of your pain, With oaths, like rivets, forc'd into the brain; And ev’n when sober truth prevails throughout, They swear it, 'till affirmance breeds a doubt. A Persian, humble servant of the sun, Who, though devout, yet bigotry had none,