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And chaste themselves, are not ashamed to own.
Virtue and vice had boundaries in old time

Not to be pass'd ; and she that had renounced
Her sex's honour, was renounced herself
By all that prized it ; not for prudery's sake,
But dignity's, resentful of the wrong.
'Twas hard perhaps on here and there a waif SO
Desirous to return and not received;
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 judged 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 sold
His country, or was slack when she required
His every nerve in action and at stretch,

90 Paid with the blood that he had basely spared The price of his default. But now, yes, now, We are become so candid and so fair, So liberal in construction, and so rich In christian charity, a good-natured age !

95 That they are safe, sinners of either sex, Transgress what laws they may. Well dress’d, well bred, Well equipaged, is ticket good enough To pass us readily through every 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, Hypocrisy is the homage that vice pays to virtue.

Rochefoucauld, 460.



And thus gives virtue indirect applause ;
But she has burnt her mask not needed here, 105
Where vice has such allowance, that her shifts
And specious semblances have lost their use.

I was a stricken deer that left the herd
Long since; with many an arrow deep infixt
My panting side was charged when I withdrew 110
To seek a tranquil death in distant shades.
There was I found by one who had himself
Been hurt by the archers. In his side he bore
And in his hands and feet the cruel scars.
With gentle force soliciting the darts

115 He drew them forth, and heal'd and bade me live. Since then, with few associates, in remote And silent woods I wander, far from those My former partners of the peopled scene, With few associates, and not wishing more. 120 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 wanderers, gone astray, Each in his own delusions; they are lost

125 In chase of fancied happiness, still wooed 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, 130 And add two-thirds of the remainder 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 the eye of noon, 135

To sport their season and be seen no more.
The rest are sober dreamers, grave and wise,
And pregnant with discoveries new and rare.
Some write a narrative of wars and feats
Of heroes little known, and call the rant

An historys; 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

145 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 150 The solid earth, and from the strata there Extract a register, by which we learn That He who made it and reveal'd its date To Moses, was mistaken in its age. Some more acute and more industrious still 155 Contrive creation; travel nature up

5 Then came Domitian, dragging in Suetonius : There is no greater pest, said he, than that generation of scribbling rogues the historians,—when they have vented the humour and caprice of their own brains, that forsooth must be called “the Life of such an Emperor.”—Quevedo. Vision vii.

6 Great actions, the lustre of which dazzles us, are by politicians represented as the effects of deep designs, whereas they are commonly the effects of caprice and passion.

Rochefoucauld. Maxim vii.
These leave the sense their learning to display,
And these explain the meaning quite away.

Pope. Essay on Crit, 116.

To the sharp peak of her sublimest height,
And tell us whence the stars; why some are fixt,
And planetary some; what gave

them first
Rotation, from what fountain flow'd their light. 160
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


shallow lamp, In playing tricks with nature, giving laws

165 To distant worlds and trifling in their own. Is 't not a pity now that tickling rheums Should ever tease the lungs and blear the sight Of oracles like these ? Great pity too, That having wielded the elements, and built 170 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

175 A senseless bargain. When I see such games Play'd by the creatures of a Power who swears


He his fabric of the heavens
Hath left to their disputes, perhaps to move
His laughter at their quaint opinions wide
Hereafter, when they come to model heaven
And calculate the stars, how they will wield
The mighty frame, how build, unbuild, contrive,
To save appearances.

Par. Lost, viii. 76. 8 What win I, if I gain the thing I seek ?

A dream, a breath, a froth of fleeting joy :
Who buys a minute's worth to wail a week,
Or sells eternity to get a toy ?

Shakespeare. Tarq. and Luc. st. 31.

That he will judge the earth, and call the fool
To a sharp reckoning that has lived in vain;
And when I weigh this seeming wisdom well 180
And prove it in the infallible result
So hollow and so false,—I feel my

Dissolve in pity, and account the learn'd,
If this be learning, most of all deceived.
Great crimes alarm the conscience, but she sleeps 185
While thoughtful man is plausibly amused.
Defend me therefore common sense, say I,
From reveries so airy, from the toil
Of dropping buckets into empty wells 10,
And growing old in drawing nothing up!

190 'Twere well, says one sage 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 196 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'l? Pierce my vein, Take of the crimson stream meandering there



Go, teach eternal Wisdom how to rule,
Then drop into thyself, and be a fool.

Pope. Essay on Mun, ii. 29.
10 Nor vainly buys what Gildon sells,
Poetic buckets for dry wells.

Spleen. 11 Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto.

Ter. Heaut.

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