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Or when rough winter rages, on the soft
And shelter'd Sofa, while the nitrous air
Feeds a blue flame, and makes a chearful hearth;
There, undisturb'd by folly, and appriz'd
How great the danger of disturbing her,
To mufe in filence, or at least confine
Remarks that gall fo many, to the few
My partners in retreat. Difguft conceal'd
Is oft-times proof of wisdom, when the fault
Is obftinate, and cure beyond our reach.
Domestic happiness, thou only bliss
Of Paradife that has furviv'd the fall!
Though few now taste thee unimpair'd and pure,
Or tasting, long enjoy thee, too infirm
Or too incautious to preferve thy fweets
Unmixt with drops of bitter, which neglect
Or temper sheds into thy chrystal cup.
Thou art the nurfe of virtue. In thine arms
She fmiles, appearing, as in truth fhe is,
Heav'n-born, and deftin'd to the skies again. Thou art not known where pleasure is ador'd, That reeling goddefs with the zoneless waist And wand'ring eyes, ftill leaning on the arm Of novelty, her fickle frail fupport;
For thou art meek and conftant, hating change,
And finding in the calm of truth-tried love
Joys that her stormy raptures never yield.
Forfaking thee, what fhipwreck have we made
Of honor, dignity, and fair renown ;
Till prostitution elbows us afide
In all our crowded streets, and fenates feem
Conven'd for purposes of empire less,
Than to releafe th' adultrefs from her bond.
Th' adultrefs! what a theme for angry verse,
What provocation to th' indignant heart
That feels for injur'd love! but I disdain
The naufeous task to paint her as fhe is,
Cruel, abandon'd, glorying in her shame.
No. Let her pafs, and chariotted along
In guilty fplendor, fhake the public ways;
The frequency of crimes has wafh'd them white.
And verfe of mine fhall never brand the wretch,
Whom matrons now of character unsmirch'd,
And chafte themselves, are not afham'd to own.
Virtue and vice had bound'ries in old time,
Not to be pafs'd. And fhe that had renounc'd
Her fex's honor, was renounc'd herfelf
By all that priz'd it; not for prud'ry's fake,
But dignity's, resentful of the wrong.
'Twas hard perhaps on here and there a waif,
Defirous to return, and not receiv'd,
But was an wholesome rigor in the main,
And taught th' unblemish'd to preferve with care That purity, whofe lofs was lofs of all.
Men too were nice in honor in those days,
And judg’d offenders well. And he that sharp'd,
And pocketted a prize by fraud obtain'd,
Was mark'd and fhunn'd as odious. He that fold
His country, or was flack when the requir'd
His ev'ry nerve in action and at stretch,
Paid with the blood that he had bafely fpar'd
The price of his default. But now, yes, now,
We are become fo candid and fo fair,
So lib'ral in conftruction, and fo rich
In christian charity, a good-natur'd age!
That they are fafe, finners of either sex,
Tranfgrefs what laws they may. Well dress'd, well bred,
Well equipag'd, is ticket good enough
To pafs us readily through ev'ry door.
Hypocrify, deteft 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 fuch care,
And thus gives virtue indirect applause;
But fhe has burnt her mask, not needed here,
Where vice has fuch allowance, that her shifts
And fpecious femblances have loft their use.
I was a ftricken deer that left the herd Long fince; with many an arrow deep infixt,
My panting fide was charg'd, when I withdrew
To feek a tranquil death in diftant fhades.
There was I found by one who had himself
Been hurt by th' archers. In his fide he bore,
And in his hands and feet, the cruel fcars.
With gentle force foliciting the darts,
He drew them forth, and heal'd and bade me live.
Since then, with few affociates, in remote
And filent woods I wander, far from those
My former partners of the peopled scene;
With few affociates, and not wishing more.
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 fee that all are wand'rers, gone aftray
Each in his own delufions; they are loft
In chace of fancy'd happiness, still woo'd
And never won. Dream after dream enfues,
And still they dream that they shall still fucceed,
And still are disappointed; rings the world