« PreviousContinue »
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
And comforts cease. Dress drains our cellar dry,
And keeps our larder lean; puts out our fires ;
And introduces hunger, frost, and wo,
Where peace and hospitality might reign.
What man that lives, and that knows how to live,
Would fail t'exhibit at the public shows
A form as splendid as the proudest there,
Though appetite raise outcries at the cost ?
A man o'th' town dines late, but soon enough
With reasonabļe forecast and despatch,
T' ensure 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 connexions, but 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 ceiling 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 watehman's lantern borrowing light,
Finds a cold bed her only comfort left.
Wivès 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 Juno's 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 liuks, 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 wastes our vitals ; peculation, sale
Of honour, perjury, corruption, frauds
By forgery, by subterfuge of law,
By tricks and lies as numerous and aš kee:
As the necessities their authors feel;
Then cast them, closely bundled, every brat At the right door. Profusion is the 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 vermio, 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 th' 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 hiin 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 overleapęd
The limits of control, his gentle eye
Grew stern, and darted a severe rebuke:
His frown was full of terror, and his voice
Shook the delinquent with such fits of awe,
As left him not, till penitence had won :
Lost favour back again, and closed the breach.
But Discipline, a faithful servant long;
Declined at length into the vale of years :
A palsy struck his arm; his sparkling eye
Was quenched in rheums of age ; his voice, unstrung,
Grew tremulous, and drew derision more
Than reverence in perverse, rebellious youth,
So colleges and halls neglected much
Their good old friend ; and Discipline at length,
O'erlooked and unemployed, fell sick and died.
Then Study languished, Emulation slept,
And Virtue fled. The schools became a scene
Of solemn farce, where Ignorance in stilts,
His cap well lined with logic not his own,
With parrot tongue performed the scholar's part,
Proceeding soon a graduated dunce.
Then compromise had place, and scrutiny
Became stone blind ; precedence went in truck
And he was competent whose purse was so.
A dissolution of all bonds ensued ;
The curbs invented for the mulish mouth,
Of headstrong youth were broken; bars and bolts
Grew rusty by disuse; and massy gates
Forgot their office, opening with a touch ;
Till gowns at length are found mere masquerade,
The tasselled cap and the spruce band a jest,
A mockery of the world! What need of these
For gamesters, jockeys, brothellers impure, i
Spendthrifts, and booted sportsmen, oftener seen
With belted waist and pointers at their heels,
Than in the bounds of duty ? What was learned,
If aught was learned in childhood, is forgot;
And such expense, as pinches parents blue,
And mortifies the liberal hand of love,
Is squandered in pursuit of idle sports
And vicious pleasures; buys the boy a name,
That sits a stigma on his father's house,
And cleaves through life inseparably close
To him that wears it. What can after-games
Of riper joys, and commerce with the world,
The lewd vain world, that must receive him soon,
Add to such erudition, thus acquired,
Where science and where virtue are professed ?