Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

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

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.

Eeligion 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 commonplace,

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 reserved 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,

However well intention'd.

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 shown
The Saviour's History makes known,

Though some have turn'd and turn'd it;
And, whether being craz'd or blind,
Or seeking with a bias'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!

ON A MISCHIEVOUS BULL,

WHICH THE OWNER OP HIM SOLD AT THE AUTHOR'S INSTANCE.

Go—thou art all unfit to share

The pleasures of this place With such as its old tenants are,

Creatures of gentler race.

« ForrigeFortsett »