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289

ibid.

ibid.

THE

POETICAL PRECEPTOR.

The YOUNG LADY and LOOKING-GLASS.

A FABLE.

-(WILKIE)

YE deep philosophers, who can
Explain that various creature, Man,
Say, is there any point so nice,
As that of offering advice?
To bid your friend his errors mend,
Is almost certain to offend:
Though you in softest terms advise;
Confess him good; admit him wise;
In vain you sweeten the discourse,
He thinks you call him FOOL,
You paint his character, and try
If he will own it, and apply;
Without a name reprove and warn;
Here none are hurt, and all may learn:
This too must fail; the picture shewn,
No man will take it for his own.
In moral lectures treat the case,
Say this is honest, that is base;
In conversation, none will bear it;
And for the pulpit, few come near it.
And is there then no other way
A moral lesson to convey?
Must all that shall attempt to teach,
Admonish, satirise, or preach?

B

worse.

Yes, there is one, an ancient art,
By sages found to reach the heart,
Ere science, with distinctions nice,
Had fix'd what virtue is and vice,
Inventing all the various names
On which the moralist declaims :
They would by simple tales advise,
Which took the hearer by surprise ;
Alarm'd his conscience, unprepar'd
Ere pride had put it on its guard :
And made him from himself receive
The lessons which they meant to give.
That this device will oft prevail,

And gain its end, when others fail,
If
any shall pretend to doubt,
The TALE which follows makes it out.

There was a little stubborn dame,
Whom no authority could tame;
Restive by long indulgence grown,
No will she minded but her own:
At trifles oft she'd scold and fret,
Then in a corner take a seat,
And, sourly moping all the day,
Disdain alike to work or play.

Papa all softer arts had tried,
And sharper remedies applied;
But both were vain, for every course
He took still made her worse and worse.
'Tis strange to think how female wit
So oft should make a lucky hit,
When man, with all his high pretence
To deeper judgment, sounder sense,
Will err, and measures false pursue-
'Tis very strange, I own, but true.-
Mamma observ'd the rising lass
By stealth retiring to the glass,
To practise little airs, unseen,
In the true genius of thirteen:
On this a deep design she laid
To tame the humour of the maid;
Contriving, like a prudent mother,
To make one folly cure another.

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