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These things are now most clear, thee I em-
Immortal wreath! let worldlings count thee base :
Choice is thy matter, glorious is thy shape,
Fit crown for them who tempting dangers 'scape,
Sir John Beaumont.
DEFECTS OF CONVERSATION. Obscenity.--Habit of swearing.-Disputation.--Po.
sitiveness.--Point of honour.-Narration.--Smokers.-Fops.-Ill health.---Bashfulness.--Foxhunter.- Power of fashion.-Instance of happy
conversation. Though nature weigh our talents, and dispense To ev'ry man his modicum of sense ; And conversation, in its better part, May be esteem'd a gift, and not an art; Yet much depends, as in the tiller's toil, On culture, and the sowing of the soil. Words learn'd by rote a parrot may rehearse, But talking is not always to converse ; Not more distinct from harmony divine, The constant creaking of a country sign. As alphabets in ivory employ, Hour after hour, the yet unletter'd boy, Sorting and puzzling with a deal of glee Those seeds of science called his A BC; So language in the mouths of the adult. Witness its insignificant result;
Too often proves an implement of play,
A toy to sport with, and pass time away.
Collect at ev'ning what the day brought forth,
Compress the sum into its solid worth,
And if it weigh th' importance of a fly,
The scales are false, or algebra a lie.
Sacred interpreter of human thought,
How few respect or use thee as they ought!
But all shall give account of ev'ry wrong,
Who dare dishonour or defile the tongue;
Who prostitute it in the cause of vice,
Or sell their glory at a market-price;
Who vote for hire, or point it with lampoon,
The dear-bought placeman, and the cheap buffoon.
THERE is a prurience in the speech of some, Wrath stays him, or else God would strike them
dumb; His wise forbearance has their end in view, They fill their measure, and receive their due, The heathen law-givers of ancient days, Names almost worthy of a Christian's praise, Would drive them forth from the resort of men, And shut up ev'ry satyr in his den. O come not ye near innocence and truth, Ye worms, that eat into the bud of youth! Infectious as impure, your blighting pow'r Taints in its rudiments the promis'd flow'r; Its odour perish'd and its charming hue, Thenceforth 'tis hateful, for it smells of you. Not ev'n the vigorous and headlong rage Of adolescence, or a firmer age,
Affords a plea allowable or just;
For making speech the pamperer of lust :
But when the breath of age commits the fault,
'Tis nauseous as the vapour of a vault.
So wither'd stumps disgrace the sylvan scene,
No longer fruitful, and no longer green;
The sapless wood, divested of the bark,
Grows fungous, and takes fire at ev'ry spark.
Habit of Swearing:
Oaths terminate, as Paul observes, all strife-
Some men have surely then a peaceful life;
Whatever subjects occupy discourse,
The feats of Vestris, or the naval force,
Asseveration blust'ring in your face
Makes contradiction such a hopeless case :
In ev'ry tale they tell, or false or true,
Well known, or such as no man ever knew,
They fix attention, heedless of your pain,
With oaths like rivets forc'd into the brain ;
And ev'n when sober truth prevails throughout,
They swear it, till affirmance breeds a doubt.
A Persian, humble servant of the Sun,
Who though devout, yet bigotry had none,
Hearing a lawyer, grave in his address,
With adjurations ev'ry word impress,
Suppos'd the man a bishop, or at least,
God's name so much upon his lips, a priest ;
Bow'd at the close with all his graceful airs,
And begg'd an int’rest in his frequent pray’rs.
Go, quit the rank to which ye stood preferr'd, Henceforth associate in one common herd; Religion, virtue, reason, common sense, Pronounce your human form a false pretencer:
A mere disguise, in which a devil lurks,
Who yet betrays his secret hy his works.
YE pow'rs who rule the tongue, if such there are
And make colloquial happiness your care,
Preserve me from the thing I dread and hate,
A duel in the form of a debate.
The clash of arguments and jar of words,
Worse than the mortal brunt of rival swords,
Decide no question with their tedious length,
For opposition gives opinion strength,
Divert the champions prodigal of breath,
And put the peaceably-dispos’d to death.
O thwart me not, sir Soph, at ev'ry turn,
Nor carp at ev'ry flaw you may discern;
Though syllogisms hang not on my tongue,
I am not surely always in the wrong;
"Tis hard if all is false that I advance,
A fool must now and then be right by chance.
Not that all freedom of dissent I blame;
No--there I grant the privilege I claim.
A disputable point is no man's ground;
Rove where you please, 'tis common all around.
Discourse may want an animated-No,
To brush the surface, and to make it flow;
But still remember, if you mean to please,
To press your point with modesty and ease.
The mark, at which my juster aim I take,
Is contradiction for its own dear sake.
Set your opinion at whatever pitch,
Knots and impediments make something hitch;
Adopt his own, 'tis equally in vain,
Your thread of argument is snapp'd again ;
The wrangler, rather than accord with you,
Will judge himself deceiv'd, and prove it too.
Vociferated logic kills me quite,
A noisy man is always in the right:
I twirl my thumbs, fall back into my chair,
Fix on the wainscot a distressful stare,
And, when I hope his blunders are all out,
Reply discreetly-To be sure-no doubt!
Dubious is such a scrupulous good man--
Yes--you may catch him tripping, if you can.
He would not with a peremptory tone,
Assert the nose upon his face his own;
With hesitation admirably slow,
He humbly hopes—presumes it may be so.
His evidence, if he were call'd by law
To swear to some enormity he saw,
For want of prominence and just relief,
Would hang an honest man, and save a thief.
Through constant dread of giving truth offence,
He ties up all his hearers in suspense;
Knows what he knows, as if he knew it not;
What he remembers seems to have forgot;
His sole opinion, whatsoe'er befal,
Centring at last in having none at all.
Yet, though he tease and balk your list ning ear,
He makes one useful point exceeding clear;
Howe'er ingenious on his darling theme
A sceptic in philosophy may seem,
Reduc'd to practice, his beloved rule
Would only prove him a Cormmate fool;
Useless in him alike both brain and speech,
Fate having plac'd all truth above his reach,
His ambiguities his total sum,
He might as well be blind, and deaf, and dumb.