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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 insuranee 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 politics
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 chymists' 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 common-place,
And all the world admits them.
But 't is 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,
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.
Some act upon this prudent plan,
“ Say little, and hear all you can:
Safe policy, but hateful
So barren sands imbibe the show'r,
But render neither fruit nor flow'r,
Unpleasant and ungrateful.
The man I trust, if shy to me,
Shall find me as reserv'd 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 unmentioned -
May prove the task a task indeed,
In which 't is much if we succeed,
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 biass'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.
........... studiis florens ignobilis otî.
Virg. Georg. lib. iv.
HACKNEY') in business, wearied at that oar,
Which thousands, once fast chain'd to, quit no more,
But which, when life at ebb runs weak and low,
All wish, or seem to wish, they could forego ;
The statesman, lawyer, merchant, man of trade,
Pants for the refuge of some rural shade,
Where, all his long anxieties forgot
Amid the charms of a sequester'd spot,
Or recollected only to gild o'er,
And add a smile to what was sweet before,
He may possess the joys he thinks he sees,
Lay his old age upon the lap of Ease,
Improve the remnant of his wasted span,
And, having liv'd a trifler, die a man.
Thus Conscience pleads her cause within the breast,
Though long rebell'd against, not yet suppressid,
And calls a creature form’d for God alone,
For Heav'n's high purposes, and not his own,
Calls him away from selfish ends and aims,
From what debilitates, and what inflames,
From cities humming with a restless crowd,
Sordid as active, ignorant as loud,
Whose highest praise is that they live in vain,
The dupes of pleasure, or the slaves of gain,
Where works of man are cluster'd close around,
And works of God are hardly to be found,