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Who, scorning from her cause to wince,
Has gone stark-naked ever since;
And ever naked will appear,
Belov’d by all who Truth revere.
IT always has been thought discreet
To know the company you meet;
And sure there may be secret danger
In talking much before a stranger.
“Agreed: What then?” Then drink your ale;
I’ll pledge you, and repeat my tale.
No matter where the scene is fixt:
The persons were but oddly mixt;
When sober Damon thus began
(And Damon is a clever man),
“I now grow old; but still, from youth,
Have held for modesty and truth.
The men, who by these sea-marks steer,
In life's great voyage never err:
Upon this point I dare defy
The world. I pause for a reply.”
“Sir, either is a good assistant,”
Said one who sat a little distant:
“Truth decks our speeches and our books;
And modesty adorns our looks:
But farther progress we must take; Not only born to look and speak: The man must act. The Stagyrite Says thus, and says extremely right: Strict justice is the sovereign guide, That o'er our actions should preside : This queen of virtues is confest To regulate and bind the rest. Thrice happy if you once can find Her equal balance poise your mind: All different graces soon will enter. Like lines concurrent to their centre.” 'Twas thus, in short, these two went on, With yea and nay, and pro and con, Through many points divinely dark, And Waterland assaulting Clarke; Till in theology half lost, Damon took up the Evening-Post; Confounded Spain, compos'd the North, And deep in politics held forth. “Methinks we're in the like condition, As at the Treaty of Partition: That stroke, for all King William's care, Begat another tedious war. Matthew, who knew the whole intrigue, Ne'er much approv'd that mystic league: o In the vile Utrecht Treaty too, Poor man he found enough to do. Sometimes to me he did apply; But down-right Dunstable was I,
And told him where they were mistaken,
And counsel’d him to save his bacon:
But (pass his politics and prose)
I never herded with his foes;
Nay, in his verses, as a friend,
I still found something to commend.
Sir, I excus’d his Nut-brown Maid,
Whate'er severer critics said:
Too far, I own, the girl was tried:
The women all were on my side.
For Alma I return’d him thanks;
I lik'd her with her little pranks:
Indeed, poor Solomon in rhyme
Was much too grave to be sublime.”
Pindar and Damon scorn transition,
So on he ran a new division ;
Till, out of breath, he turn'd to spit;
(Chance often helps us more than wit).
T'other that lucky moment took,
Just nick'd the time, broke in, and spoke.
“Of all the gifts the gods afford
(If we may take old Tully's word)
The greatest is a friend; whose love
Knows how to praise, and when reprove :
From such a treasure never part,
But hang the jewel on your heart:
And, pray, sir, (it delights me) tell;
You know this author mighty well?”
“Rnow him d'ye question it? Odds-fish I
Sir, does a beggar know his dish 2
I lov’d him; as I told you, I
Advis'd him —” Here a stander-by
Twitch'd Damon gently by the cloke,
And thus, unwilling, silence broke;
“Damon, 'tis time we should retire :
The man you talk with is Mat Prior.
Patron thro' life, and from thy birth my friend,
Dorset ! to thee this fable let me send :
With Damon's lightness weigh thy solid worth:
The foil is known to set the diamond forth :
Let the feign'd tale this real moral give,
How many Damons, how few Dorsets, live
THUs Kitty,” beautiful and young,
And wild as colt untam’d,
Bespoke the fair from whence she sprung,
With little rage inflam'd :
Inflam'd with rage at sad restraint,
Which wise mamma ordain’d ;
And sorely vext to play the saint,
Whilst wit and beauty reign'd :
“Shall I thumb holy books, confin'd
With Abigails, forsaken 2
1 Lady Catharine Hyde, late Duchess of Queensberry,
Kitty's for other things design'd,
Or I am much mistaken.
“Must Lady Jenny frisk about,
And visit with her cousins?
At balls must she make all the rout,
And bring home hearts by dozens?
“I’ll soon with Jenny's pride quit score,
Make all her lovers fall:
They'll grieve I was not loos'd before;
She, I was loos'd at all.”
Fondness prevail'd, mamma gave way;
Kitty, at heart's desire,
Obtain'd the chariot for a day,
And set the world on fire.
1 The Earl of Essex married Lady Jane Hyde.