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Our humbler province is to tend the fair,
Shrines, where their vigils pale-eyed virgins keep! Not a less pleasing, though less glorious care; And pityiny saints, whose statues learn to weep! To save the powder from too rude a gale,
Though cold like you, unmoved and silent grown, Nor let the imprisoned essences exhale;
I have not yet forgot niyself to stone.
Nor prayers nor fasts its stubborn pulse restrain, Assist their blushes, and inspire their airs;
Nor tears for ages taught to flow in vain. Nay oft, in dreams, invention we bestow,
Soon as thy letters trembling I unclose,
That well-known name awakens all my woes.
Still breathed in sighs, still ushered with a tear! Some dire disaster, or by force or flight;
I tremble, too, where'er my own I find, But what, or where, the fates have wrapped in night. Some dire misfortune follows close behind. Whether the nymph shall break Diana's law,
Line after line my gushing eyes o’erflow, Or some frail China-jar receive a flaw,
Led through a sad variety of wo: Or stain her honour, or her new brocade,
Now warm in love, now withering in my bloom, Forget her prayers, or miss a masquerade;
Lost in a convent's solitary gloom! Or lose her heart or necklace at a ball;
There stern religion quenched the unwilling flame, Or whether heaven has doomed that Shock must fall. There died the best of passions, love and fame. Haste, then, ye spirits ! to your charge repair:
Yet write, oh write me all, that I may join The fluttering fan be Zephyretta's care ;
Griefs to thy griefs, and echo sighs to thine ! The drops to thee, Brillante, we consign:
Nor foes nor fortune take this power away; Ånd, Momentilla, let the watch be thine;
And is my Abelard less kind than they ? Do thou, Crispissa, tend her favourite Lock;
Tears still are mine, and those I need not spare ; Ariel himself shall be the guard of Shock.
Love but demands what else were shed in prayer: To fifty chosen sylphs, of special note,
No happier task these faded eyes pursue; We trust the important charge, the petticoat:
To read and weep is all they now can do. Oft have we known that seven-fold fence to fail,
Then share thy pain, allow that sad relief; Though stiff with hoops, and armed with ribs of whale. Ah, more than share it, give me all thy grief. Foria a strong line about the silver bound,
Heaven first taught letters for some wretch's aid, And guard the wide circumference around.
Some banished lover, or some captive maid ; Whatever spirit, careless of his charge,
They live, they speak, they breathe what love inspires, His post neglects, or leaves the fair at large,
Warm from the soul, and faithful to its fires. Shall feel sharp vengeance soon o’ertake his sins, The virgin's wish without her fears impart, Be stopped in vials, or transfixed with pins;
Excuse the blush, and pour out all the heart, Or plunged in lakes of bitter washes lie,
Speed the soft intercourse from soul to soul, Or wedged whole ages in a bodkin's eye:
And waft a sigh from Indus to the pole. * * Gums and pomatums shall his flight restrain, Ah, think at least thy flock deserves thy care, While clogged he beats his silken wings in vain; Plants of thy hand, and children of thy prayer; Or alum styptics with contracting power
From the false world in early youth they fled, Shrink his thin essence like a shrivelled flower : By thee to mountains, wilds, and deserts led. Or, as Ixion fixed, the wretch shall feel
You raised these hallowed walls; the desert smiled, The giddy motion of the whirling mill;
And paradise was opened in the wild. In fumes of burning chocolate shall glow,
No weeping orphan saw his father's stores And tremble at the sea that froths below!
Our shrines irradiate, or emblaze the floors; He spoke ; the spirits from the sails descend : No silver saints, by dying misers given, Some, orb in orb, around the nymph extend ;
Here bribed the rage of ill-requited heaven : Some thrid the mazy ringlets of her hair,
But such plain roofs as piety could raise,
And only vocal with the Maker's praise.
These moss-grown domes with spiry turrets crowned,
And the dim windows shed a solemn light;
And gleams of glory brightened all the day. In these deep solitudes and awful cells,
But now no face divine contentment wears, | Where heavenly-pensive contemplation dwells, 'Tis all blank sadness or continual tears. And ever-musing melancholy reigns,
See how the force of others' prayers I try,
O pious fraud of amorous charity!
Come thou, my father, brother, husband, friend! Yet, yet I love! From Abelard it came,
Ah, let thy handmaid, sister, daughter, move, And Eloisa yet must kiss the name.
And all those tender names in one, thy love! Dear, fatal name! rest ever unrevealed,
The darksome pines that o'er yon rocks reclined, Nor pass these lips in holy silence sealed :
Wave high, and murmur to the hollow wind; | Hide it, my heart, within that close disguise,
The wand’ring streams that shine between the hills, || Where, mixed with God's, his loved idea lies : The grots that echo to the tinkling rills, 0, write it not, my hand-the name appears
The dying gales that pant upon the trees, Already written-wash it out, my tears !
The lakes that quiver to the curling breeze; In vain lost Eloisa weeps and prays
No more these scenes my meditation aid,
Or lull to rest the visionary maid.
Long sounding isles, and intermingled graves,
Her gloomy presence saddens all the scene,
Oh death, all-eloquent ! you only prore Shades every tlower, and darkens every green,
What dust we dote on, when 'tis man we love. Deepens the murmur of the falling floods,
Then, too, when fate shall thy fair frame destroy And breathes a browner horror on the woods. * * (That cause of all my guilt, and all my joy),
What scenes appear where'er I turn my view! In trance ecstatic may thy pangs be drowned,
Bright clouds descend, and angels watch thee round; Rise in the grove, before the altar rise,
From opening skics thy streaming glories shine, Stain all my soul, and wanton in my eyes.
And saints embrace thce with a love like mine! I waste the matin lamp in sighs for thee;
May one kind grave unite each hapless name, Thy image steals between my God and me;
And graft my love immortal on thy fame! Thy voice I seem in every hymn to hear,
Then, ages hence, when all my woes are o'er, With every bead I drop too soft a tear.
When this rebellious heart shall beat no more, When from the censer clouds of fragrance roll, If ever chance two wand'ring lovers brings And swelling organs lift the rising soul,
To Paraclete's white walls and silver springs, One thought of thee puts all the pomp to flight, O'er the pale marble shall they join their heads, Priests, tapers, temples, swim before my sight; And drink the falling tears each other sheds; In seas of flame my plunging soul is drowned,
Then sadly say, with mutual pity moved, While altars blaze, and angels tremble round. • Oh may we never love as these have loved !
While prostrate here in hun ble grief I lie, Kind virtuous drops just gathering in my eye; While praying, trembling in the dust I roll,
Elegy on an Unfortunate Lady. And dawning grace is opening on my soul: Come, if thou dar’st, all charining as thou art ! What beck’ning ghost, along the moonlight shade, Oppose thyself to heaven ; dispute my heart:
Invites my steps, and points to yonder glade? Come, with one glance of those deluding eyes 'Tis she !—but why that bleeding bosom gored ? Blot out each bright idea of the skies;
Why dimly gleams the visionary sword? Take back that grace, those sorrows, and those tears; O ever beauteous, ever friendly! tell, Take back my fruitless penitence and prayers ; Is it, in heaven, a crime to love too well ? Snatch me, just mounting, from the blest abode; To bear too tender, or too firm a heart, Assist the fiends, and tear me from my God!
To act a lover's or a Roman's part?
Is there no bright reversion in the sky
Why bade ye else, ye powers ! her soul aspire Nor share one pang of all I felt for thee.
Above the vulgar flight of low desire ? Thy oaths I quit, thy memory resign ;
Ambition first sprung from your blest abodes; Forget, renounce me, hate whate'er was mine.
The glorious fault of angels and of gods: Fair eyes, and tempting looks (which yet I view !) Thence to their images on earth it flows, Long loved, adored ideas, all adieu !
And in the breasts of kings and heroes glows. Oh grace serene! Oh virtue heavenly fair !
Most souls, 'tis true, but peep out once an age,
Dull sullen prisoners in the body's cage:
Useless, unseen, as lamps in sepulchres ;
Like eastern kings, a lazy state they keep, Receive, and wrap me in eternal rest!
And close confined to their own palace sleep. See in her cell sad Eloisa spread,
From these perhaps (ere nature bade her die) Propt on some tomb, a neighbour of the dead. Fate snatched her early to the pitying sky. In each low wind methinks a spirit calls,
As into air the purer spirits flow, And more than echoes talk along the walls.
And separate from their kindred dregs below; Here, as I watched the dying lamps around,
So flew the soul to its congenial place, From yonder shrine I heard a hollow sound.
Nor left one virtue to redeem her race. • Come, sister, come! (it said, or seemed to say)
But thou, false guardian of a charge too good, Thy place is here; sad sister, come away;
Thou, mean deserter of thy brother's blood! Once like thyself, I trembled, wept, and prayed, See on these ruby lips the trembling breath, Love's victim then, though now a sainted maid: These cheeks now fading at the blast of death ; But all is calm in this eternal sleep;
Cold is that breast which warmed the world before, Here grief forgets to groan, and love to weep,
And those love-darting eyes must roll do more. Even superstition loses every fear;
Thus, if eternal justice rules the ball, For God, not man, absolves our frailties here.' Thus shall your wives, and thus your children fall:
I come, I come! prepare your roseate bowers, On all the line a sudden vengeance waits, Celestial palms, and ever-blooming flowers ;
And frequent hearses shall besiege your gates : Thither, where sinners may have rest, I go,
There passengers shall stand, and, pointing, say Where flames refined in breasts seraphic glow : (While the long funerals blacken all the way), Thou, Abelard ! the last sad office pay,
ìo! these were they, whose souls the furies steeled, And smooth my passage to the realms of day.
And cursed with hearts unknowing how to yield. See my lips treinble, and my eyeballs roll,
Thus unlamented pass the proud away Suck my last breath, and catch my flying soul ! The gaze of fools, and pageant of a day! Ah no !-in sacred vestments may’st thou stand, So perish all, whose breast ne'er learned to glow The hallowed taper trembling in thy hand;
For others' good, or melt at others' wo. Present the cross before my lifted eye,
What can atone (O ever injured shade!) Teach me at once, and learn of me to die.
Thy fate unpitied, and thy rites unpaid ? Ah then, thy once-loved Eloisa see!
No friend's complaint, no kind domestic tear It will be then no crime to gaze on me.
Pleased thy pale ghost, or graced thy moumful bier : See from my cheek the transient roses fly!
By foreign hands thy dying eyes were closed, See the last sparkle languish in my eye!
By foreign hands thy decent limbs composed, Till every motion, pulse, and breath be o'er,
By foreign hands thy humble grave adornod, And even my Abelard be loved no more.
| By strangers honoured, and by strangers mourned!
|| What though no friends in sable weeds appear, Oh blind to truth, and God's whole scheme below, !: Grieve for an hour, perhaps, then mourn a year, Who fancy bliss to vice, to virtue wo! And bear about the mockery of wo
Who sees and follows that great scheme the best, To midnight dances and the public show?
Best knows the blessing, and will most be blest.
For ills or accidents that chance to all.
Yet shall thy grave with rising flowers be dressed, See Sidney bleeds amid the martial strife! 11 And the green turf lie lightly on thy breast :
Was this their virtue, or contempt of life? There shall the morn her earliest tears bestow; | Say, was it virtue, more though heaven ne'er gave, There the first roses of the year shall blow;
Lamented Digby! sunk thee to the grave? While angels with their silver wings o'ershado Tell me, if virtue made the son expire ? The ground now sacred by thy relics made.
Why, full of days and honour, lives the sire ? So, peaceful rests, without a stone, a name, Why drew Marseilles' good bishop purer breath, What once had beauty, titles, wealth, and fame. When nature sickened, and each yale was death? How loved, how honoured once, avails thee not, Or why so long (in life if long can be) To whom related, or by whom begot;
Lent Heaven a parent to the poor and me? A heap of dust alone remains of thee;
What makes all physical or moral ill ? 'Tis all thou art, and all the proud shall be !
There deviates nature, and here wanders will.
Short, and but rare, till man improved it all.
As that the virtuous son is ill at ease
Think we, like some weak prince, the Eternal Cause [Happiness Depenuls, not on Goods, but oir Virtue.]
Prone for his favourites to reverse his laws?
Shall burning Ætna, if a sage requires, [From the Essay on Man.')
Forget to thunder, and recall her fires ? Order is Heaven's first law; and this confessed, On air or sea new motions be impressed, Some are, and must be, greater than the rest,
Oh blameless Bethel! to relieve thy breast ? More rich, more wise ; but who infers from hence When the loose mountain trembles from on high, That such are happier, shocks all common sense. Shall gravitation cease, if you go by? Heaven to mankind impartial we confess,
Or some old temple, nodding to its fall, If all are equal in their happiness :
For Chartres' head reserve the hanging wall ? But mutual wants this happiness increase;
But still this world (so fitted for the knave) All nature's difference keeps all nature's peace. Contents us not. A better shall we have ? Condition, circumstance, is not the thing :
A kingdom of the just then let it be: Bliss is the same in subject or in king,
But first consider how those just agree. In who obtain defence, or who defend,
The good must merit God's peculiar care ; In him who is, or him who finds a friend :
But who, but God, can tell us who they are? Heaven breathes through every meinber of the whole One thinks on Calvin Heaven's own spirit fell; One common blessing, as one common soul.
Another deems him instrument of hell; But fortune's gifts, if each alike possessed,
If Calvin feel Heaven's blessing, or its rod, And each were equal, must not all contest?
This cries there is, and that there is no God. If then to all men happiness was meant,
What shocks one part will edify the rest, God in externals could not place content.
Nor with one system can they all be blest. Fortune her gifts may variously dispose,
The very best will variously incline, And these be happy called, unhappy those;
And what rewards your virtue, punish mine. But Heaven's just balance cqual will appear,
Whatever is, is right. This world, 'tis true, While those are placed in hope, and these in fear; Was made for Cæsar-but for Titus too; Not present good or ill, the joy or curse,
And which more blest? who chained his country, say, But future views of better, or of worse.
Or he whose virtue sighed to lose a day? Oh, sons of earth! attempt ye still to rise,
. But sometimes virtue starves, while vice is fed.' By mountains piled on mountains, to the skies? What then? Is the reward of virtue breau ? Heaven still with laughter the vain toil surveys, That vice may merit, 'tis the price of toil ; And buries madmen in the heaps they raise.
The knave deserves it, when he tills the soil ; Know, all the good that individuals find,
The knave deserves it, when he tempts the main, Or God and nature meant to mere mankind,
Where folly fights for kings, or dives for gain; Reason's whole pleasure, all the joys of sense,
The good man may be weak, be indolent; Lie in three words—Health, Peace, and Competence. Nor is his claim to plenty, but content. But Health consists with temperance alone;
But grant him riches, your demand is o'er? And Peace, oh virtue! Peace is all thy own.
'No-shall the good want health, the good want power ?' The good or bad the gifts of fortune gain;
Add health and power, and every earthly thing; But these less taste them, as they worse obtain. Why bounded power! why private? why no king ? Say, in pursuit of profit or delight,
Nay, why external for internal given?
Who ask and reason thus, will scarce conceive Which meets contempt, or which compassion first? God gives enough, while he has more to give; Count all the advantage prosperous vice attains, Immense the power, immense were the demand; 'Tis but what virtue flies from and disdains :
Say at what part of nature will they stand? And grant the bad what happiness they would,
What nothing earthly gives, or can destroy, Oue they must want, which is, to pass for good. | The soul's calm sunshine, and the heart-felt joy,
Is virtue's prize: a better would you fix?
Alike or when or where they shone or shine, Then give Humility a coach and six,
Or on the Rubicon, or on the Rhine. Justice a conqueror's sword, or Truth a gown,
A wit's a feather, and a chief a rod; Or Public Spirit its great cure, a crown.
An honest man's the noblest work of God. Weak, foolish man! will Heaven reward us there Fame but from death a villain's name can save, With the same trash mad mortals wish for here? As justice tears his body from the grave; The boy and man an individual makes,
When what to oblivion better were resigned, Yet sigh’st thou now for apples and for cakes?
Is hung on high to poison half mankind. Go, like the Indian, in another life,
All fame is foreign but of true desert; Expect thy dog, thy bottle, and thy wife;
Plays round the head, but comes not to the beart: As well as dream such trifles are assigned,
One self-approving hour whole years outweighs As toys and empires, for a godlike mind.
Of stupid starers, and of loud huzzas; Rewards, that either would to virtue bring
And more true joy Marcellus exiled feels, No joy, or be destructive of the thing;
Than Cæsar with a senate at his heels. How oft by these at sixty are undone
In parts superior what advantage lies ? The virtues of a saint at twenty-one !
Tell (for you can) what is it to be wise? To whom can riches give repute or trust,
'Tis but to know how little can be known; Content, or pleasure, but the good and just ?
To see all other faults, and feel our own: Judges and senates have been bought for gold; Condemned in business or in arts to drudge, Esteem and love were never to be sold.
Without a second, or without a judge: Oh fool! to think God hates the worthy mind, Truths would you teach, or save a sinking land! The lover and the love of humankind,
All fear, none aid you, and few understand. Whose life is healthful, and whose conscience clear, Painful pre-eminence! yourself to view Because he wants a thousand pounds a-year.
Above life's weakness, and its comforts too. Honour and shame from no condition rise ;
Bring then these blessings to a strict account; Act well your part, there all the honour lies.
Make fair deductions ; see to what they ’mount: Fortune in men has some small difference made, How much of other each is sure to cost; One flaunts in rags, one flutters in brocade;
How each for other oft is wholly lost; The cobbler aproued, and the parson gowned,
How inconsistent greater goods with these ; The friar hooded, and the monarch crowned.
How sometimes life is risked, and always ease: "What differ more (you cry) than crown and cowl !' Think, and if still the things thy envy call, I'll tell you, friend-a wise man and a fool.
Say, wouldst thou be the man to whom they fall!
Mark how they grace Lord Umbra, or Sir Billy:
Look but on Gripus, or on Gripus' wife;
Or ravished with the whistling of a name, In quiet flow from Lucrece to Lucrece:
See Cromwell, damned to everlasting fame!
If all united thy ambition call,
There, in the rich, the honoured, famed, and great,
In hearts of kings, or armıs of queens who lay, Nor own your fathers have been fools so long.
How happy! those to ruin, these betray: What can ennoble sots, or slaves, or cowards?
Mark by what wretched steps their glory grows, Alas! not all the blood of all the Howards.
From dirt and sea-weed as proud Venice rose; Look next on greatness ; say where greatness lies : In each how guilt and greatness equal ran, "Where, but among the heroes and the wise ?'
And all that raised the hero, sunk the man : Heroes are much the same, the point's agreed, Now Europe's laurels on their brows behold, From Macedonia's madman to the Swede;
But stained with blood, or ill exchanged for gold: The whole strange purpose of their lives to find, Then see them broke with toils, or sunk in ease, Or make, an enemy of all mankind!
Or infamous for plundered provinces. Not one looks backward, onward still he goes,
Oh, wealth ill-fated! which no act of fame Yet ne'er looks forward further than his nose.
Ere taught to shine, or sanctified from shame! No less alike the politic and wise :
What greater bliss attends their close of life? All sly slow things, with circumspective eyes :
Some greedy minion, or imperious wife, Men in their loose unguarded hours they take, The trophied arches, storied halls in vade, Not that themselves are wise, but others weak. And haunt their slumbers in the pompous shade. But grant that those can conquer, these can cheat; Alas! not dazzled with their noontide ray, 'Tis phrase absurd to call a villain great!
Compute the morn and evening to the day; Who wickedly is wise, or madly brave,
The whole amount of that enormous fame, Is but the more a fool, the more a knave.
A tale, that blends their glory with their shame! Who noble ends by noble means obtains,
Know then this truth (enough for man to know), Or failing, smiles in exile or in chains,
'Virtue alone is happiness below.' Like good Aurelius let him reign, or bleed
The only point where human bliss stands still,
And tastes the good without the fall to ill;
Is blest in what it takes, and what it gives;
And if it lose, attended with no pain :
Without satiety, though e'er so blessed, In the small circle of our foes or friends;
And but more relished as the more distressed : To all beside as much an empty shade,
The broadest mirth unfeeling Folly wears, An Eugene living, as a Cæsac dead;
| Less pleasing far than Virtue's very tears:
Good, from each object, from each place acquired, Glad of a quarrel, straight I clap the door,
• Sir, let me see your works and you no more, Never elated, while one man's oppressed;
You think this cruel ? Take it for a rule, Never dejected, while another's blest;
No creature smarts so little as a fool. And where no wants, no wishes can remain,
Let peals of laughter, Codrus ! round thee break, Since but to wish more virtue, is to gain.
Thou unconcerned canst hear the mighty crack:
Pit, box, and gallery, in convulsions hurled, [From the Prologue to the Satires, Addressed to
Thou stand'st unshook amidst a bursting world. Arbuthnot.]
Who shames a scribbler? Break one cobweb through,
He spins the slight, self-pleasing thread anew :
The creature's at his dirty work again;
Throned in the centre of his thin designs, All bedlam or Parnassus is let out:
Proud of a vast extent of flimsy lines ! Fire in each eye, and papers in each hand,
Whom have I hurt? has poet yet, or peer,
What walls can guard me, or what shades can hide? And has not Colly still his lord and whore?
Does not one table Bavius still admit?
Still Sappho-A. Hold ; for God's sake-you'll offendEven Sunday shines no Sabbath day to me;
No names—be calm-learn prudence of a friend : Then from the mint walks forth the man of rhyme, I, too, could write, and I am twice as tall; Happy to catch me just at dinner time.
But foes like these-P. One flatterer's worse than all. Is there a parson, much bemused in beer,
Of all mad creatures, if the learned are right, A maudlin poetess, a rhyming peer,
It is the slaver kills, and not the bite. A clerk, foredoomed his father's soul to cross,
A fool quite angry is quite innocent: Who pens a stanza, when he should engross?
Alas ! 'tis ten times worse when they repent. Is there, who, locked from ink and paper, scrawls
One dedicates in high heroic prose, With desperate charcoal round his darkened walls? And ridicules beyond a hundred foes : All fly to Twit’nam, and in humble strain
One from all Grub-street will my fame defend, Apply to me, to keep them mad or vain.
And, more abusive, calls himself my friend. Arthur, whose giddy son neglects the laws,
This prints my letters, that expects a bribe, Imputes to me and my damned works the cause : And others roar aloud, ‘Subscribe, subscribe!' Poor Cornus sees his frantic wife elope,
There are, who to my person pay their court : And curses wit, and poetry, and Pope.
I cough like Horace, and though lean, am short. Friend to my life! (which did you not prolong, Ammon's great son one shoulder had too high, The world had wanted many an idle song)
Such Ovid's nose, and, “Sir! you have an eye!
Say for my comfort, languishing in bed,
Great Homer died three thousand years ago. To laugh were want of goodness and of grace;
Why did I write? what sin to me unknown And to be grave, exceeds all power of face.
Dipped me in ink; my parents', or my own ? I sit with sad civility; I read
As yet a child, nor yet a fool to fame, With honest anguish, and an aching head;
I lisped in numbers, for the numbers came. And drop at last, but in unwilling ears,
I left no calling for this idle trade, This saving counsel, 'Keep your piece nine years.' No duty broke, no father disobeyed :
Nine years !' cries he, who high in Drury Lane, The muse but served to ease some friend, not wife; Lulled by soft zephyrs through the broken pane, To help me through this long disease, my life; Rhymes ere he wakes, and prints before term ends, To second, Arbuthnot! thy art and care, Obliged by hunger, and request of friends :
And teach the being you preserved, to bear. * The piece, you think, is incorrect? why take it; But why then publish Granville the polite, I'm all submission; what you'd have it, make it.' And knowing Walsh, would tell me I could write;
Three things another's modest wishes bound, Well-natured Garth, inflamed with early praise, My friendship, and a prologue, and ten pound. And Congreve loved, and Swift endured my lays;
Pitholeon sends to me: You know his grace; The courtly Talbot, Somers, Sheffield read, I want a patron; ask him for a place.
Even mitred Rochester would nod the head, Pitholeon libelled me but here's a letter
And St John's self (great Dryden's friends before) Informs you, sir, 'twas when he knew no better. With open arms received one poet more. Dare you refuse him? Curll invites to dine,
Happy my studies, when by these approved ! He'll write a journal, or he'll turn divine.'
Happier their author, when by these beloved ! Bless me! a packet-" 'Tis a stranger sues,
From these the world will judge of men and books, A virgin tragedy, an orphan muse.'
Not from the Burnets, Oldmixons, and Cooks. If I dislike it, furies, death, and rage !
Soft were my numbers; who could take offence If I approve, commend it to the stage.'
While pure description held the place of sense?
A painted mistress, or a purling stream.
I never answered; I was not in debt.
If want provoked, or madness made them print, At last he whispers, ' Do, and we go snacks.'
I waged no war with bedlam or the mint.