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And histrionic mummery, that let down
The pulpit to the level of the stage,
Drops from the lips a disregarded thing.
The weak perhaps are moved, but are not taught,
While prejudice in men of stronger minds
Takes deeper root, confirmed by what they see.
A relaxation of religion's hold
Upon the roving and untutored heart
Soon follows, and the curb of conscience snapt,
The laity run wild.—But do they now?
Note their extravagance, and be convinced.
As nations ignorant of God contrive A wooden one, so we, no longer taught By monitors that mother church supplies, Now make our own. Posterity will ask (If e'er posterity see verse of mine,) Some fifty or an hundred lustrums hence What was a monitor in George's days? My very gentle reader, yet unborn, Of whom I needs must augur better things, Since heaven would sure grow weary of a world Productive only of a race like us, A monitor is wood. Plank shaven thin. We wear it at our backs. There closely braced And neatly fitted, it compresses hard The prominent and most unsightly bones, And binds the shoulders flat. We prove its use Sovereign and most effectual to secure A form not now gymnastic as of yore, From rickets and distortion, else, our lot. But thus admonished we can walk erect, One proof at least of manhood; while the friend Sticks close, a mentor worthy of his charge. Our habits costlier than Lucullus wore, And by caprice as multiplied as his, Just please us while the fashion is at full, But change with every moon. The sycophant That waits to dress us, arbitrates their date, Surveys his fair reversion with keen eye; Finds one ill made, another obsolete, This fits not nicely, that is ill conceived, And making prize of all that he condemns. With our expenditure defrays his own. Variety's the very spice of life That gives it all its flavour. We have run Through every change that fancy at the loom Exhausted, has had genius to supply, And studious of mutation still, discard A real elegance a little used For monstrous novelty and strange disguise. We sacrifice to dress, till household joys Aud comforts cease. Dress drains our cellar dry,
And keeps our larder lean. Puts out our fires,
And introduces hunger, frost, and woe,
Where peace and hospitality might reign.
What man that lives and that knows how to live,
Would fail to exhibit at the public shows
A form as splendid as the proudest there,
Though appetite raise outcries at the cost?
A man of the town dines late, but soon enough
With reasonable forecast and dispatch,
To insure a side-box station at half-price.
You think perhaps, so delicate his dress,
His daily fare as delicate. Alas!
He picks clean teeth, and busy as he seems
With an old tavern quill, is hungry yet.
The rout is folly's circle which she draws
With magic wand. So potent is the spell,
That none decoyed into that fatal ring,
Unless by heaven's peculiar grace, escape.
There we grow early gray, but never wise;
There form connections, and acquire no friend;
Solicit pleasure hopeless of success;
Waste youth in occupations only fit
For second childhood, and devote old age
To sports which only childhood could excuse.
There they are happiest who dissemble best
Their weariness; and they the most polite
Who squander time and treasure with a smile,
Though at their own destruction. She that asks
Her dear five hundred friends, contemns them all,
And hates their coming. They, what can they less?
Make just reprisals, and with cringe and shrug
And bow obsequious, hide their hate of her.
All catch the frenzy, downward from her Grace,
Whose flambeaux flash against the morning skies
And gild our chamber ceilings as they pass,
To her who, frugal only that her thrift
May feed excesses she can ill afford,
Is hackneyed home unlackeyed,—who in haste
Alighting, turns the key in her own door,
And at the watchman's lantern borrowing light,
Finds a cold bed her only comfort left.
Wives beggar husbands, husbands starve their wives,
On Fortune's velvet altar offering up
Their last poor pittance ;—Fortune most severe
Of goddesses yet known, and costlier far
Than all that held their routs in heathen heaven.—
So fare we in this prison-house the world:
And 'tis a fearful spectacle to see
So many maniacs dancing in their chains.
They gaze upon the links that hold them fast
With eyes of anguish, execrate their lot,
Then shake them in despair, and dance again.
'Now basket up the family of plagues That 7vaste our viials, peculation, sale Of honour, perjury, corruption, frauds."
Now basket up the family of plagues
That waste our vitals. Peculation, sale
Of honour, perjury, corruption, frauds
By forgery, by subterfuge of law,
By tricks and lies as numerous and as keen
As the necessities their authors feel;
Then cast them closely bundled, every brat
At the right door. Profusion is its sire.
Profusion unrestrained, with all that's base
In character, has littered all the land,
And bred within the memory of no few,
A priesthood such as Baal's was of old,
A people such as never was till now.
It is a hungry vice :—it eats up all
That gives society its beauty, strength,
Convenience, and security, and use;
Makes men mere vermin, worthy to be trapped
And gibbeted as fast as catchpole claws
Can seize the slippery prey; unties the knot
Of union, and converts the sacred band
That holds mankind together, to a scourge.
Profusion deluging a state with lusts
Of grossest nature and of worst effects,
Prepares it for its ruin ; hardens, blinds,
And warps the consciences of public men
Till they can laugh at virtue, mock the fools
That trust them, and in the end disclose a face
That would have shocked credulity herself
Unmasked, vouchsafing this their sole excuse,
Since all alike are selfish,—why not they?
This does Profusion, and the accursed cause
Of such deep mischief, has itself a cause.
In colleges and halls, in ancient days,
When learning, virtue, piety, and truth
Were precious, and inculcated with care,
There dwelt a sage called Discipline. His head
Not yet by time completely silvered o'er,
Bespoke him past the bounds of freakish youth,
But strong for service still, and unimpaired.
His eye was meek and gentle, and a smile
Played on his lips, and in his speech was heard
Paternal sweetness, dignity, and love.
The occupation dearest to his heart
Was to encourage goodness. He would stroke
The head of modest and ingenuous worth
That blushed at its own praise, and press the youth
Close to his side that pleased him. Learning grew
Beneath his care, a thriving vigorous plant;
The mind was well informed, the passions held
Subordinate, and diligence was choice.
If e'er it chanced, as sometimes chance it must,
That one among so many overleaped