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The dregs and fæculence of ev'ry land.
In cities foul example on most minds
Begets its likeness. Rank abundance breeds
In gross and pamper'd cities sloth and lust,
And wantonness and gluttonous excess.
In cities, vice is hidden with most ease,
Or seen with least reproach ; and virtue taught
By frequent lapse, can hope no triumph there
Beyond th' atchievement of successful flight.
I do confess them nurs’ries of the arts,
In which they flourish most: where in the beams
Of warm encouragement,
and in the eye
Of public note they reach their perfect size.
Such London is, by taste and wealth proclaim'd
The faireft capital of all the world,
By riot and incontinence the worst.
There, touch'd by Reynolds, a dull blank be-
A lucid mirror, in which nature sees
All her reflected features. Bacon there
Gives more than female beauty to a stone,
And Chatham's eloquence to marble lips.
Nor does the chiffel occupy alone
The pow'rs of sculpture, but the style as much ;
Each province of her art her equal care.
With nice incision of her guided steel
She ploughs a brazen field, and clothes a foil
So fterile, with what charms fo'er she will,
The richest scen’ry and the loveliest forms.
Where finds philosophy her eagle eye
With which the gazes at yon burning disk
Undazzled, and detects and counts his spots ?
In London ; where her implements exact
With which she calculates, computes and scans
All distance, motion, magnitude, and now
Measures an atom, and now girds a world ?
where has commerce such a mart, So rich, so throng’d, fo drain'd, and so supplied As London, opulent, enlarged, and still Increasing London ? Babylon of old Not more the glory of the earth, than she A more accomplish'd world's chief glory now.
She has her praise. Now mark a spot or two That so much beauty would do well to purge ; And show this queen of cities, that fo fair May yet be foul, so witty, yet not wise. It is not seemly, nor of good report That she is flack in discipline : more prompt T'avenge than to prevent the breach of law ; That she is rigid in denouncing death On petty robbers, and indulges life And liberty, and oft-times honour too To peculators of the public gold; That thieves at home must hang ; but he that
puts Into his overgorged and bloated purse
The wealth of Indian provinces, escapes.
Nor is it well, nor can it come to good,
That through profane and infidel contempt
Of holy writ, she has presum'd t' annul
And abrogate, as roundly as she may,
The total ordonnance and will of God;
Advancing fashion to the post of truth,
And cent’ring all authority in modes
And customs of her own, till fabbath rites
Have dwindled into unrespected forms,
And knees and hassocks are well-nigh divorcedo
God made the country, and man made the
What wonder then, that health and virtue, gifts
That can alone make sweet the bitter draught
That life holds out to all, should most abound
And least be threaten’d in the fields and groves ?
Poffefs ye therefore, ye who borne about
In chariots and fedans, know no fatigue
But that of idleness, and taste no scenes
But such as art contrives, possess ye still
Your element; there only, ye can shine,
There only minds like yours can do no harm.
Our groves were planted to console at noon
The pensive wand'rer in their shades. At eve
The moon-beam sliding softly in between
The sleeping leaves, is all the light they wish,
Birds warb’ling all the music. We can spare
The splendour of your lamps, they but eclipse
Our softer fatellite. Your songs confound
Our more harmonious notes. The thrush departs
Scared, and th' offended nightingale is mute.
There is a public mischief in your mirth,
It plagues your country. Folly such as your's
Graced with a sword, and worthier of a fan,
Has made, what enemies could ne'er have done,
Our arch of empire, stedfast but for you,
A mutilated structure, foon to fall.