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HILE yet no amorous youths around thee bow, Nor flattering verse conveys the faithless vow; To graver notes will Sappho's soul attend, And ere she hear the lover, hear the friend.
Let maids less bless'd employ their meaner arts To reign proud tyrants o'er unnumber'd hearts; May Sappho learn, for nobler triumphs born, Those little conquests of her sex to scorn. To form thy bosom to each generous deed; To plant thy mind with every useful seed ; Be these thy arts: nor spare the grateful toil, Where Nature's hand has bless'd the happy soil. So shalt thou know, with pleasing skill, to blend The lovely mistress, and instructive friend : So shalt thou know, when unrelenting Time Shall spoil those charms yet opening to their prime,
To ease the loss of Beauty's transient flower,
While reason keeps what rapture gave before.
And oh while Wit, fair dawning, spreads its ray,
Serenely rising to a glorious day,
To hail the glowing lustre oft be mine,
Thou early favorite of the sacred Nine!
And shall the Muse with blameless boast pretend,
In Youth's gay bloom that Sappho call'd me friend:
That urg'd by me she shunn'd the dangerous way,
Where heedless maids in endless error stray;
That scorning soon her sex's idler art,
Fair Praise inspir'd and Virtue warm'd her heart;
That fond to reach the distant paths of Fame,
I taught her infant genius where to aim?
Thus when the feather'd choir first tempt the sky,
And all unskill'd their feeble pinions try,
Th' experienc'd sire prescribes th' adventurous height,
Guides the young wing, and pleas'd attends the flight.
THOUGH Strength of genius, by experience taught,
Give thee to sound the depth of human thought,
To trace the various workings of the mind,
And rule the secret springs that rule mankind;
Rare gift! yet, Walpole, wilt thou condescend
To listen, if thy unexperienc'd friend
Can aught of use impart, though void of skill,
And raise attention by sincere good will:
For friendship sometimes want of parts supplies,
The heart may furnish what the head denies.
As, when the rapid Rhine o'er swelling tides,
To grace old Ocean's coast, in triumph rides,
Though rich in scource, he drains a thousand springs,
Nor scorns the tribute each small riv'let brings:
So thou shalt hence absorb each feeble ray,
Each dawn of meaning in thy brighter day;
Shalt like, or, where thou canst not like, excuse,
Since no mean interest shall profane the Muse;
No malice wrapt in truth's disguise offend,
No flattery taint the freedom of a friend.
When first a generous mind surveys the great,
And views the crowds that on their fortune wait,
Pleas'd with the shew (though little understood),
He only seeks the power, to do the good:
Thinks, till he tries, 'tis godlike to dispose,
And gratitude still springs, when bounty flows;
That every grant sincere affection wins,
And where our wants have end, our love begins.
But they who long the paths of state have trod,
Learn from the clamors of the murm'ring crowd,
Which cramm'd, yet craving, still their gates be-
'Tis easier far to give, than to oblige.
This of thy conduct seems the nicest part,
The chief perfection of the statesman's art;
To give to fair assent a fairer face,
Or soften a refusal into grace.
But few there are that can be freely kind,
Or know to fix the favors on the mind;
Hence some whene'er they would oblige, offend,
And while they make the fortune lose the friend :
Still give unthank'd; still squander, not bestow
For great men want not what to give, but how.
The race of men that follow courts, 'tis true,
Think all they get, and more than all, their due;
Still ask, but ne'er consult their own deserts,
And measure by their interest, not their parts.
From this mistake so many men we see
But ill become the thing they wish to be:
Hence discontent and fresh demands arise,
More power, more favor in the great man's eyes:
All feel a want, though none the cause suspect,
But hate their patron for their own defect.
Such none can please, but who reforms their hearts,
And when he gives them places, gives them parts.
As these o'erprize their worth, so sure the great
May sell their favors at too dear a rate.
When merit pines while clamor is preferr'd,
And long attachment waits among the herd;
When no distinction, where distinction's due,
Marks from the many the superior few :
When strong cabal constrains them to be just,
And makes them give at last, because they must;
What hopes that men of real worth should prize
What neither friendship gives, nor merit buys?
The man who justly o'er the whole presides,
His well weigh'd choice with wise affection guides;
Knows when to stop with grace, and when advance,
Nor gives from importunity, or chance:
But thinks how little gratitude is ow'd,
When favors are extorted, not bestow'd.
When safe on shore ourselves, we see the crowd
Surround the great, importunate and loud :
Through such a tumult 'tis no easy task
To drive the man of real worth to ask ;