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Whose nervous forces, well combin'd,
Would win the field, and sway mankind.
The fool will squeeze, from morn to night,
To fix his follies full in sight;
The note he strikes, the plume he shews,
Attract whole flights of fops and beaux ; ;
And kindred-fools, who ne'er had known him,
Flock at the sign ; caress, and own him.
But ill-star'd sense, nor gay nor loud,
Steals soft, on tip-toe, thro' the crowd ;
Conveys his meagre form between ;
And sides, like pervious air, unseen :
Contracts his known tenuity,
As though 'twere ev'n a crime, to be :
Nor ev'n permits his eyes to stray,
And win acquaintance in their way.
In company, so mean his air,
You scarce are conscious he is there :
Till from some nook, like sharpen'd steel,
Occurs his face's thin profile.
Still seeming, from the gazer's eye,
Like Venus, newly-bath'd, to fly,
Yet while reluctant he displays
His real gems before the blaze,
The fool hath, in its center, plac'd
His tawdry stock of painted paste,
Disus'd to speak, he tries his skill;
Speaks coldly, and succeeds but ill ;
His pensive manner, dulness deem'd;
His modesty, reserve esteem'd;
His wit unknown, his learning vain,
He wins not one of all the train.
And those who, mutually known,
In friendship's fairest lift had shone,
Less prone, than pebbles, to unite,
Retire to shades from public fight ;
Grow savage, quit their social nature ;
And starve, to study mutual satire.
But friends, and fav'rites, to chagrin them, Find counties, countries, seas, between them: Meet once a year, then part, and then Retiring, wish to meet again.
Sick of the thought, let me provide
Some human form to grace my side;
At hand, where'er I shape my course ;
An useful, pliant, stalking-horse !
No gesture free from some grimace ;
No seam, without its share of lace;
But, mark'd with gold or silver either,
Hint where his coat was piec'd together.
His legs be lengthen’d, I advise,
And stockings rolld abridge his thighs.
What tho' Vandyck had other rules,
What had VANDYCK to do with fools ?
Be nothing wanting, but his mind;
Before, a solitaire ; behind,
A twisted ribbon, like the track
Which nature gives an ass's back.
Silent, as midnight! pity 'twere
His wisdom's nender wealth to share ;
And, whilst in flocks our fancies stray,
To wish the poor man's lamb away.
This form attracting ev'ry eye,
I ftrole all unregarded by:
This wards the jokes of ev'ry kind,
As an umbrella fun or wind;
Or, like a spunge, absorbs the fallies,
And pestilential fumes of malice;
Or like a splendid shield is fit
To screen the templar's random wit ;
Or what some gentler cit lets fall,
As wool-packs quash the leaden ball.
Allusions these of weaker force,
And apter still the stalking-horse !
O let me wander all unseen,
Beneath the fanction of his mien !
As lilies soft, as roses fair!
Empty as air-pumps drain’d of air !
With steady eye
The speckled Aock that haunts the park ;
Level my pen with wond'rous heed
At follies, facking there to feed :
And, as my fatire bursts amain,
See, feather'd fopp'ry strew the plain.
But when I seek
And share the peaceful haunts I love,
Let none of this unhallow'd train
My sweet sequester'd paths profane.
Oft may some polish'd virtuous friend
To these soft-winding vales descend;
And, love with me inglorious things,
And scorn with me the pomp of kings :
And check me, when my bosom burns
For statues, paintings, coins and urns.
For I in Damon's pray'r cou'd join,
And Damon's wish might now be mine
But all dispers'd! the wish, the pray'r,
Are driven to mix with common air.
O W happy once was Damon's lot,
romantic schemes were not!
he sent his weakly eyes,
To plan frail castles in the skies;
Forsaking pleasures cheap and common,
To court a blaze, still fitting from one.
Ah happy Damon ! thrice and more,
Had taste ne'er touch'd thy tranquil shore.
Oh days! when to a girdle ty'd
The couples gingled at his side;
And Damon swore he wou'd not barter
The sportsman's girdle, for a garter !
Whoever came to kill an hour,
Found easy Damon in their pow'r ;
Pure social nature all his guide,
“Damon had not a grain of pride.”
He wish'd not to elude the snares
Which knav'ry plans, and craft prepares ;
But rather wealth to crown their wiles
And win their universal smiles :
For who are chearful, who at ease,
But they who cheat us as they please?
He wink'd at many a gross design,
The new-fall’n calf might countermine:
Thus ev'ry fool allow'd his merit;
“ Yes! Damon had a gen'rous spirit !"
A coxcomb's jest, however vile,
Was sure, at least, of Damon's smile :
That coxcomb ne'er deny'd him sense ;
For why? it prov'd his own pretence:
All own'd, were modefty away,
Damon cou'd shine as much as they.
When wine and foily came in season,
Damon ne'er strove to save his reason ;
Obnoxious to the mad uproar i
A spy upon a hostile shore !
'Twas this his
Mirth never came till he appear’d:
His lodgings-ev'ry draw'r cou'd shew 'em ;
The slave was kick'd, who did not know 'em.