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Cruel, abandon'd, glorying in her shame. No. Let her pass, and chariotted along In guilty splendor, shake the public ways; The frequency of crimes has wash'd them white. And verse of mine shall never brand the wretch, Whom matrons now of character unsmirch'd, And chaste themselves, are not asham’d to own. Virtue and vice had bound'ries in old time, Not to be pafs'd. And she that had renounc'd Her sex's honour, was renounc'd herself By all that priz’d it; not for prud'ry’s fake, But dignity's, refentful of the wrong. 'Twas hard perhaps on here and there a waif, Desirous to return, and not receiv'd, But was an wholesome rigour in the main, And taught the unblemish'd to preserve with care That purity, whose loss was loss of all. Men too were nice in honour in those days, And judg'd offenders well. And he that sharp'd, And pocketed a prize by fraud obtain'd, Was mark'd and shunn'd as odious. He that fold His country, or was flack when she requir'd *His ev'ry nerve in action and at stretch, Paid with the blood that he had bafely spar'd The price of his default. But now, yes, now, We are become so candid and so fair, So lib'ral in construction, and so rich
In christian charity, a good-natur'd age !
That they are safe, finners of either sex,
Tranfgress what laws they may. Well dress’d,
Well equipag'd, is ticket good enough
To pass us readily through ev'ry door.
Hypocrisy, detest her as we may,
(And no man's hatred ever wrong'd her yet)
May claim this merit still, that she admits
The worth of what she mimics with such care,
And thus gives virtue indirect applause ;
But she has burnt her mask, not needed here,
Where vice has such allowance, that her shifts
And specious semblances have loft their use.
I was a stricken deer that left the herd
Long since; with many an arrow deep infixt,
My panting fide was charg'd, when I withdrew
To seek a tranquil death in distant shades.
There was I found by one who had himself
Been hurt by th' archers. In his fide he bore,
And in his hands and feet, the cruel scars.
With gentle force soliciting the darts,
He drew them forth, and healid and bade me
Since then, with few associates, in remote
And filent woods I wander, far from thofe
My former partners of the peopled scene ;
With few associates, and not wishing more.
Here much I ruminate, as much I may,
With other views of men and manners now
Than once, and others of a life to come.
I see that all are wand'rers, gone astray
Each in his own delusions; they are lost
In chace of fancy'd happiness, still woo'd
And never won.
Dream after dream ensues,
And still they dream that they shall still succeed,
And still are disappointed ; rings the world
With the vain stir. I sum up half mankind,
And add two-thirds of the remaining half,
And find the total of their hopes and fears
Dreams, empty dreams. The million flit as gay
As if created only like the fly,
That spreads his motley wings in th' eye of
To sport their season, and be seen no more.
The rest are fober dreamers, grave and wife,
And.pregnant with discov’ries new and rare.
Some write a narrative of wars, and feats
Of heroes little known, and call the rant
An history : describe the man, of whom
His own coevals took but little note,
And paint his person, character, and views,
As they had known him from his mother's womb.
They disentangle from the puzzled skein,
In which obscurity has wrapp'd them up,
The threads of politic and shrewd design,
That ran through all his purposes, and charge
His mind with meanings that he never had,
Or having, kept conceald. Some drill and bore
The folid earth, and from the strata there
Extract a register, by which we learn
That he who made it, and reveal'd its date
To Mofes, was mistaken in its age.
Some more acute, and more industrious still,
Contrive creation ; travel nature up
To the sharp peak of her sublimest height,
And tell us whence the stars; why some are
And planetary some ; what gave them first
Rotation, from what fountain flow'd their light.
Great contest follows, and much learned dust
Involves the combatants, each claiming truth,
And truth disclaiming both : and thus they spend
The little wick of life's poor shallow lamp,
In playing tricks with nature, giving laws
To distant worlds, and trifling in their own.
Is 't not a pity now, that tickling rheums
Should ever teaze the lungs and blear the fight
Of oracles like these ? Great pity too,
That having wielded th' elements, and built
A thousand systems, each in his own way,
They should go out in fume and be forgot ?
Ah ! what is life thus spent ? and what are they
But frantic who thus spend it ? all for smoke
Eternity for bubbles, proves at last
A senseless bargain. When I see such games
Play'd by the creatures of a Pow'r who swears
That he will judge the earth, and call the fool
To a sharp reck’ning that has liv'd in vain ;
And when I weigh this seeming wisdom well,
And prove it in th' infallible result
So hollow and fo falfe-I feel my heart
Diffolve in pity, and account the learn'd,
If this be learning, most of all deceiv'd.
Great crimes alarm the conscience, but it sleeps
While thoughtful man is plausibly amus'd.
Defend me therefore, common sense, say I,
From reveries so airy, from the toil
Of dropping buckets into empty wells,
And growing old in drawing nothing up
'Twere well, says one fage erudite, profound,
Terribly arch'd and aquiline his nose,
And overbuilt with most impending brows;
Twere well, could you permit the world to live
As the world pleases. What's the world to you?
Much. I was born of woman, and drew milk,
As sweet as charity, from human breasts.
I think, articulate, I laugh and weep,
And exercise all functions of a man.
How then should I and any man that lives
· Be strangers to each other ? Pierce my vein,
Take of the crimson stream meand'ring there,