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Our hairs grow white, our teeth grow black?
In points like these, we must agree,
Our barbers know as much as we.
Yet still, unable to explain,
We must persist the best we can ;
With care our system still renew,
And prove things likely, though not true.
I could, thou Seest, in quaint dispute,
13y dint of logic, strike thee mute;
With learned skill, now push, now parry,
From Darii to Bocardo vary,
And never yield; or, what is worst,
Never conclude the point discours'd.
Yet, that you hic et nunc may know
How much you to my candour owe,
I’ll from the disputant descend,
To show thee, I assume the friend :
I'll take thy notion for my own—
(So most philosophers have done):
It makes my system more complete:
Dick, can it have a nobler fate?
Take what thou wilt, said Dick, dear friend;
13ut bring thy matters to an end.
I find, quoth Mat, reproof is vain:
Who first offend will first complain.
Thou wishest I should make to shore;
Yet still putt'st in thy thwarting oar.
What I have told thee fifty times
In prose, receive for once in rhymes;
A huge fat man in country fair,
Or city church (no matter where)
Labour'd and push'd amidst the crowd,
Still bawling out extremely loud,
Lord save us! why do people press!
Another, marking his distress,
Friendly replied, Plump gentleman,
Get out as fast as eler you can ;
Or cease to push, or to exclaim :
You make the very crowd you blame.
Says Dick, your moral does not need
The least return; so e'en proceed:
Your tale, howe'er applied, was short:
So far, at least, I thank you for’t.
Mat took his thanks; and, in a tone
More magisterial, thus went on.
Now, Alma settles in the head;
As has before been sung, or said:
And here begins this farce of life;
Enter revenge, ambition, strife:
Behold on both sides men advance,
To form in earnest Bays's dance.
L'Avare, not using half his store,
Still grumbles that he has no more;
Strikes not the present tun, for fear
The vintage should be bad next year;
And eats to-day with inward sorrow,
And dread of fancied want to-morrow.
Abroad if the surtout you wear
Repels the rigour of the air;
Would you be warmer, if at home
You had the fabric and the loom?
And, if two boots keep out the weather,
What need you have two hides of leather?
Could Pedro, think you, make no trial
Of a sonata on his viol,
Unless he had the total gut
Whence every string at first was cut?
When Rarus shows you his cartone,
He always tells you, with a groan,
Where two of that same hand were torn
Long before you or he were born.
Poor Vento's mind so much is crost,
For part of his Petronius lost,
That he can never take the pains
To understand what yet remains.
What toil did honest Curio take,
What strict inquiries did he make,
To get one medal wanting yet,
And perfect all his Roman set!
'Tis found: and, O his happy lot!
'Tis bought, lock'd up, and lies forgot:
Of these no more you hear him speak: —
He now begins upon the Greek.
These, rang'd and show’d, shall in their turns
Remain obscure as in their urns.
My copper-lamps at any rate,
For being true antique, I bought:
Yet wisely melted down my plate,
On modern models to be wrought:
And trifles I alike pursue,
Because they’re old, because they're new,
Dick, I have seen you with delight For Georgy" make a paper kite. And simple odes too many show ye My servile complaisance to Chloe. Parents and lovers are decreed By Nature fools—That's brave indeed! Quoth Dick: such truths are worth receiving. Yet still Dick look'd as not believing.
Now, Alma, to divines and prose I leave thy frauds, and crimes, and woes; Nor think to-night of thy ill-nature, But of thy follies, idle creature The turns of thy uncertain wing, And not the malice of thy sting: Thy pride of being great and wise I do but mention, to despise; I view with anger and disdain How little gives thee joy or pain; A print, a bronze, a flower, a root, A shell, a butterfly, can dot; Ev’n a romance, a tune, a rhyme, IIelp thee to pass the tedious time, Which else would on thy hand remain; Though, flown, it ne'er looks back again; And cards are dealt, and chess-boards brought, To ease the pain of coward thought: Happy result of human wit! That Alma may herself forget.
Dick, thus we act; and thus we are,
Or toss'd by hope, or sunk by care.
With endless pain this man pursues
What, if he gain'd, he could not use:
And to other fondly hopes to see
What never was, nor e'er shall be.
We err by use, go wrong by rules,
In gesture grave, in action fools:
We join hypocrisy to pride,
Doubling the faults we strive to hide.
Or grant that, with extreme surprise,
We find ourselves at sixty wise;
And twenty pretty things are known,
Of which we can't accomplish one ;
Whilst, as my system says, the mind
Is to these upper rooms confin'd :
Should I, my friend, at large repeat
Her borrow'd sense, her fond conceit,
The bead-roll of her vicious tricks;
My poem will be too prolix.
For could I my remarks sustain,
Like Socrates, or Miles Montaigne,
Who in these times would read my books,
But Tom o'Stiles, or John o'Nokes 2
As Brentford kings, discreet and wise,
After long thought and grave advice,
Into Lardella's coffin peeping,
Saw naught to cause their mirth or weeping:
So Alma, now to joy or grief
Superior, finds her late relief:
Wearied of being high or great,
And nodding in her chair of state;