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Variety's the very spice of life,
That gives it all its flavor. We have run
Through ev'ry change, that fancy at the loom,
Exhausted, has had genius to supply;
And studious of mutation still, discard
A real elegance, a little us’d,
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 woe,
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 reasonable forecast and dispatch,
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, decoy'd into that fatal ring,
Unless by Heaven's peculiar grace, escape.
There we grow early grey, 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, a 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 hackney'd home unlacquey'd; 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 fortunes velvet altar off'ring up Their last poor pittance....fortune, most severe Of goddesses yet known, and costlier far Than all that held their routs in Juno's heav'n.... 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 waste our vitals; peculation, sale
Of honor, perjury, corruption, frauds
By forgery, by subterfuge of law,
By tricks and lies as num'rous and as keen
As the necessities their authors feel !
Then cast them, closely bundled, ev'ry brat
At the right door. Profusion is the sire.
Profusion unrestrain’d, with all that's base
In character, has litter'd all the land,
And bred, within the mem'ry 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 trapp'd
And gibbeted as fast as catchpoll claws
Can seize the slipp’ry 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, disciose a face
That would have shock'd credulity herself,
Unmask'd, vouchsafing this their sole excuse....
Since all alike are selfish, why not they?
This does profusion, and th' 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 call’d Discipline. His head, Not yet by time completely silver'd o'er, Bespoke him past the bounds of freakish youth, But strong for service still, and unimpair'd. His eye was meek and gentle, and a smile Play'd 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 blush'd at his own praise ; and press the youth Close to his side that pleas'd him. Learning grew Beneath his care, a thriving vig'rous plant; The mind was well inform'd, the passions held Subordinate, and diļigence was choice. Ife'er it chanc'd, as sometimes chance it must, That one among so many overleap'd 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 favor back again, and clos'd the breach. But Discipline, a faithful servant long, Declin’d at length into the vale of years ; A palsy struck liis arm; his sparkling eye Was quench'd in rheums of age; his voice, unstrung, Grew tremulous, and mov'd derision more Than rev’rence in perverse rebellious youth,
So colleges and halls neglected much
Their good old friend; and Discipline at length,
O’erlook'd and unemploy'd, fell sick and died.
Theñ study languish’d, emulation slept,
And virtue fled. The schools became a scene
Of solemn farce, where ignorance in stilts,
His cap well lin’d with logic not his own,
With parrot tongue perform'd 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 head-strong youth, were broken; bars and bolts
Grew rusty by disuse; and massy gates
Forgot their office, op'ning with a touch ;
Till gowns at length are found mere masquerade,
The tassel'd cap and the spruce band a jest,
A mock’ry of the world! What need of these
For gamesters, jockeys, brothellers impure,
Spendthrifts, and booted sportsmen, oft'ner seen
With belted waist and pointers at their heels,
Than in the bounds of duty ? What was learn'd,
If aught was learn'd in childhood, is forgot;
And such expense as pinches parents blue,
And mortifies the lib’ral hand of love,
Is squander'd 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