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Who own wine's old prophetic aid,
And love the mitre Bacchus made,
Forbid the faithful to depend
On half-pint drinkers for a friend,
And in whose gay red-letter'd face
We read good-living more than grace:
Nor they so pure, and so precise,
Immac'late as their white of eyes,
Who for the spirit hug the Spleen,
Phylacter'd throughout all their mien,
Who their ill-tasted home-brew'd pray'r
To the state's mellow forms prefer ;
Who doctrines, as infectious, fear,
Which are not steep'd in vinegar,
And samples of heart-chested grace
Expose in shew-glass of the face,
Did never me as yet provoke,
Either to honour band and cloak,
Or deck my hat with leaves of oak.
I rail not with mock-patriot grace
At folks, because they are in place;
Nor, hir’d to praise with stallion pen,"
Serve the ear-lechery of men;
But to avoid religious jars
The laws are my expositors,
Which in my doubting mind create
Conformity to church and state.
I go, pursuant to my plan,
To Mecca with the caravan,
And think it right in common sense
Both for diversion and defence.
Reforming schemes are none of mine ;
To mend the world's a vast design:
Like theirs, who tug in little boat,
To pull to them the ship afloat,
While to defeat their labour'd end,
At once both wind and stream contend :
Success herein is seldom feen,
And zeal, when baffled, turns to Spleen.
Happy the man, who, innocent, Grieves not at ills he can't prevent ; His skiff does with the current glide, Not puffing pulld against the tide. He, paddling by the scuffling crowd, Sees unconcern'd life's wager row'd, And when he can't prevent foul play, Enjoys the folly of the fray.
By these reflections I repeal
Each hafty promise made in zeal.
When g- IP--s say,
We're bound our great light to display,
And Indian darkness drive away,
Yet none but drunken watchmen fend,
And scoundrel link-boys for that end ;
When they cry up this holy war,
Which every christian should be for,
Yet such as owe the law their ears,
We find employ'd as engineers : .
This view my forward zeal so shocks,
In vain they hold the money-box.
At such a conduct, which intends
By vicious means such virtuous ends,
I laugh off Spleen, and keep my pence
From spoiling Indian innocence.
Yet philosophic love of ease
I suffer not to prove disease,
But rise up in the virtuous cause
Of a free press, and equal laws.
The press restrain’d! nefandous thought!
In vain our fires have nobly fought :
While free from force the press remains,
Virtue and Freedom cheer our plains,
And Learning largesses bestows,
And keeps uncensur'd open house.
We to the nation's public mart
Our works of wit, and schemes of art,
And philosophic goods this way,
Like water carriage, cheap convey. .
This tree, which knowledge so affords,
Inquisitors with faming swords
From lay-approach with zeal defend,
Lest their own paradise should end.
The press from her fecundous womb
Brought forth the arts of Greece and Rome;
Her offspring, skill'd in logic war,
Truth's banner wav'd in open air ;
The monster Superstition fed,
And hid in shades its Gorgon head;
And lawless pow'r, the long-kept field,
By reason quell’d, was forc'd to yield.
This nurse of arts, and freedom's fence
To chain, is treason against sense ;
And, Liberty, thy thousand tongues
None silence, who design no wrongs ;
For those, that use the gag's restraint,
First rob, before they stop complaint.
Since disappointment galls within,
And subjugates the foul to Spleen,
Most schemes, as money-snares, I hate,
And bite not at projector's bait.
Sufficient wrecks appear each day,
And yet fresh fools are cast away.
Ere well the bubbled can turn round,
Their painted vessel runs aground;
Or in deep seas it oversets
By a fierce hurricane of debts ;
Or helm-directors in one trip,
Freight first embezzled, sink the ship.
Such was of late a corporation,
The brazen serpent of the nation,
Which, when hard accidents distress’d,
The poor must look at to be blest,
And thence expect, with paper seald
By fraud and us’ry, to be heald.
I in no soul-consumption wait
Whole years at levees of the great,
And hungry hopes regale the while
On the spare diet of a smile.