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If either on forbidden ground,
Or where it was not to be found,
We sought without attaining.
No friendship will abide the test
That stands on sordid interest,
Or mean self-love erected ;
Nor such as may awhile subsist
Between the sot and sensualist,
For vicious ends connected.
Who seeks a friend, should come dispos'd,
T' exhibit, in full bloom disclos'd,
The graces and the beauties,
That form the character he seeks,
For 'tis an union that bespeaks ;
Mutual attention is implied,
An equal truth on either side,
And constantly supported;
'Tis senseless arrogance t'accuse
Another of sinister views,
Our own as much distorted.
But will sincerity suffice ?
It is indeed above all price,
And must be made the basis ;
But ev'ry virtue of the soul
Must constitute the charming whole,
All shining in their places.
A fretful temper will divide
The closest knot that may be tied ;
By careless sharp corrosion,
A temper passionate and fierce,
May suddenly your joys disperse,
At one immense explosion.
In vain the talkative unite
In hopes of permanent delight
The secret just committed,
Forgetting its important weight,
They drop through mere desire to prate,
And by themselves outwitted.
How bright soe'er the prospect seems,
All thoughts of friendship are but dreams,
If envy chance to creep in :
An envious man, if you succeed,
May prove a dang’rous foe indeed,
But not a friend worth keeping.
As Envy pines at Good possess'd,
So Jealousy looks forth distress'd,
On Good that seems approaching ;
And if success his steps attend,
Discerns a rival in a friend,
And hates him for encroaching.
Hençe 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 others 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 deviation 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,
Unmov'd and without quaking.
Courtier and patriot cannot mix
Their het’rogeneous 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 fiercely 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
T'adopt the chymist'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 common place,
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,
Is such a friend, that one bad need
Be very much bis friend indeed,
To pardon or to bear it.
As similarity of mind,
Or something not to be defin'd,
First fixes our attention ;
So, manners decent and polite,
The same we practis'd 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 show'r,
But render neither fruit nor flow'r,
Unpleasant and ungrateful.
The man I trust, if shy to me,
Shall find me as reserv'd 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 craz'd or blind, Or seeking with a bias'd mind,
Have not, it seems, discern'd it. Oh Friendship! if my soul forego
Thy dear delights while here below; .: To mortifv and grieve me,
May I myself at last appear
Unworthy, base, and insincere,
Or may my friend deceive me! COWPER:.
Improvement of tim recommended.
He mourns the dead, who lives as they desire.
Where is that thrift, that avarice of Time,
(Blest av'rice !) which the thought of death inspires ?
O time! than gold more sacred ; more a load
Than lead, to fools ; and fools reputed wise.
What moment granted man without account?
What years are squander'd, wisdom's debt unpaid !
Haste, haste, he lies in wait, he's at the door,
Insidious Death ; should his strong hand arrest,
No composition sets the prisoner free.
Eternity's inexorable chain
Fast binds ; and vengeance claims the full arrear.
How late I shudder'd on the brink ! how late
Life callid for her last refuge in despair!
For what calls thy disease ? for moral aid,
Thou think'st it folly to be wise too soon.
Youth is not rich in time; it may be, poor :
Part with it as with money, sparing ; pay
No moment, but in purchase of its worth :
And what its worth, ask death-beds; they can tell.
Part with it as with life, reluctant ; big
With holy hope of nobler time to come.
Is this our duty, wisdom, glory, gain ?
And sport we, like the natives of the bough,
When vernal suns inspire ? Amusement reigns,
Man's great demand : to trifle is to live :
And is it then a trifle, too, to die?
Who wants amusement in the flame of battle
Is it not treason to the soul immortal,
Her foes in armas, eternity the prize ?
Will toys amuse, when med'cines cannot cure ?
When spirits ebb, when life's enchanting scenes
Their lustre lose, and lessen in our sight;
(As lands, and cities with their glitt'ring spires
To the poor shatter'd bark, by sudden storm