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Ingenium, non incultum est, nec turpiter hirtum.
Seu linguam causis acuis, seu civica jura
Respondere paras, seu condis amabile carmen.-HOKAT.
Lunge, lunge da noi manti pomposi,
Marmorei alberghi, e ricche mense aurate;
Ma sian nostro desir poggi selvosi,
Verdi erbe, limpid' acque, aure odorate.-CHIABRERA.
How many years are gone since first we met
In Town! the day is well remember'd yet;
Thou a Young Templar, panting for renown,
Myself the veriest Idler on the Town.
Yet some few moments thou from toil could'st spare,
To toast in wine-cups that o'erflow'd-the fair.
Ah! little deem'd I then that I should love Elsewhere than in the Poet's lays—a grove. "The sober certainty of waking bliss"
Is what I now enjoy, and truly this :
Though vex'd with head-aches, yet when free from pain Give me a novel, and I laugh at rain.
Who would with Richardson or Fielding part, That loves to trace the workings of the heart? Few can excite the intellectual smile
Like them, or dissipate November's bile.
Books have their charms, society has more ;
Life for the wise has numerous joys in store.
The wise ne'er feel the languor of ennui,
Nor care how Whig and Tory disagree:
But every hour is well enjoy'd by those
Who thus alternate labour and repose.
Their farms, their gardens, ask a constant care:
With them the Sabbath is a day of prayer.
Then for amusement how they love t' explore
The woods, or down the river ply the oar,
When that the bright-hair'd sun, with mellow'd glow,
Pours his full splendour on the fields below.
What though the evening promises no play,
Though "heavily in clouds rolls on the day,"
The laugh, the song, the sports that intervene,
(Home-felt delights,) must quickly banish spleen.
How blest are they whose days thus glide away!
Even in old age they scarcely feel decay;
Vigorous in mind, and cheerful to the last,
With calm contentment they review the past.
The merits of the active are but small :
Yet they are useful too, and happier far
Than those who through the day wage wordy war,
Then dine, just reeking from the crowded court,
On tough beefsteaks, cold soup, and tavern port.
Can the poor head contain what it is now
Expedient for a Gentleman to know?
Though through the circle of the arts we run,
(Thanks to Reviews) we can remember none.
The Lawyer throws aside his book, and burns
To be a Davy and a Smith by turns;
His clients suffer, yet where'er he dines,
Chemist, or Bard, the learned Proteus shines.
Society improves; the times require Some little knowledge in a country squire ; And book clubs, through the country widely spread, Show that at least our modern works are read. The most inveterate sportsman now may speak French and Italian, nay, can construe Greek. A fire-side voyager from shore to shore, He loves not in his easy chair to snore.
All can talk politics, no matter how;
The witty and the dull, the high and low:
But few (which is the test of taste) can quote
Aptly a line, or tell an anecdote :
Few can converse, with unaffected ease,
Or like a Ward, or like a Canning please.
Our country neighbours something more can say
Than"How d'ye do?" and ""Tis a lovely day;"
I've heard from them what in reputed wits
Would be considered very pretty hits.
A bel esprit in France and Britain's known,
But England calls the humorous man her own;
Yet "masters of the joke," who have a name,
Sometimes say things unworthy of their fame.
No dun's loud voice, nor newsman's louder horn,
Here scare you from your slumbers light at morn:
No loungers here at one assail your door,
To kill their time by wasting yours till four :
To them 'tis all the same what themes engage
Their minds, a death perchance, or equipage.
'Tis hard to say who greater ills endure,
The listless rich, or the o'erlabouring poor.
Indolence sits a night-mare on the breast;
And night or day her victims cannot rest.
Since man was never born to live alone,
How can he be that wretched thing—a drone!
A country-life is tame! Who says 'tis so? The muck-worm cit, or butterfly-like beau; Or some fair Exquisite whose mind is fraught With maxims by the Queen of Fashion taught? "Would you be fashionable, you must weed Your company, my dear, you must indeed.
Those who give balls ask first Exclusives; then
As you would choose your pinks select your men.
Let not a swarm of country-folks appear
To greet you with a cordial welcome, dear;
Such you must cut at once.-It is not worth,
Nor wit, nor talent, no nor even birth
That gives the ton; 'tis something you will find
At Almack's-'tis-it cannot be defined.
Remember you may always turn aside
As if by accident, and not through pride,
When those approach you whom you should not know,
Or be short-sighted, or at least seem so.
Let none but titled names your parties boast,
They look divinely in the Morning Post.
Though Dowagers may old and ugly be,
They blaze in diamonds, are of high degree;
Though noble Dandies look like gay baboons,
Their stars shine lustrous through our grand saloons :
How sweet it is to listen to the prate
Of some young lordling, pillar of the state!
Who, quite the fashion, to a favour'd few
Speaks, then be thankful if he talks to you."
You laugh at this would-be satiric strain?
Well then, I'll read my Blackstone o'er again,
And talk about a 66 fine," or a "release,"
And dare to be a Justice of the Peace!
Yet, my good friend, though nothing has a sale
But a high novel, or a bravo's tale,