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Hence authors of illustrious name
(Unless belied by common fame)
Are sadly prone to quarrel,
To deem the wit a friend displays
A tax upon their own just praise,
And pluck each other's laurel.
A man renown'd for repartee
Will seldom scruple to make free
With Friendship's finest feeling,
Will thrust a dagger at your breast,
And say he wounded you in jest,
By way of balm for healing.
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 insurance plates, Most unavoidably creates
The thought of conflagration.
Some fickle creatures boast a soul
True as the 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
Unmoved and without quaking.
Courtier and patriot cannot mix
Their heterogeneous 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
To' adopt the chemist's 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 commonplace,
And all the world admits them.
But 'tis 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, And proves by thumps upon your back How he esteems your merit,
ls such a friend, that one had need
very much his friend indeed,
To pardon or to bear it.
As similarity of mind,
Or something not to be defined,
First fixes our attention;
So manners decent and polite,
The same we practised 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 shower,
But render neither fruit nor flower,
Unpleasant and ungrateful.
The man I trust, if shy to me,
Shall find me as reserved 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 unmention'd—
May prove the task a task indeed,
In which 'tis much if we succeed,
However well intention'd.
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 crazed or blind,
Or seeking with a bias'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!
ODE TO PEACE,
COME, peace of mind, delightful guest! Return and make thy downy nest
Once more in this sad heart:
Nor riches I nor power pursue,
Nor hold forbidden joys in view;
We therefore need not part.
Where wilt thou dwell, if not with me,
From avarice and ambition free,
And pleasure's fatal wiles?
For whom, alas! dost thou prepare
The sweets that I was wont to share,
The banquet of thy smiles?
The great, the gay, shall they partake
The heaven that thou alone canst make?
And wilt thou quit the stream
That murmurs through the dewy mead,
The grove, and the sequester'd shed,
To be a guest with them?