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C.N. Douglas, comp.  Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical.  1917.
        A critic was of old a glorious name,
Whose sanction handed merit up to fame;
Beauties as well as faults he brought to view,
His judgment great, and great his candor too.
No servile rules drew sickly taste aside;
Secure he walked, for nature was his guide.
But now, O strange reverse! our critics bawl
In praise of candor with a heart of gall,
Conscious of guilt, and fearful of the light;
They lurk enshrouded in the veil of night;
Safe from destruction, seize th’ unwary prey,
And stab like bravoes, all who come that way.
                            A servile race
Who, in mere want of fault, all merit place;
Who blind obedience pay to ancient schools,
Bigots to Greece, and slaves to musty rules.
        A six-foot suckling, mincing in its gait,
Affected, peevish, prim and delicate;
Fearful it seemed, tho’ of athletic make,
Lest brutal breezes should so roughly shake
Its tender form, and savage motion spread
O’er its pale cheeks, the horrid manly red.
        Awkward, embarrassed, stiff, without the skill
Of moving gracefully or standing still,
One leg, as if suspicious of his brother,
Desirous seems to run away from t’other.
                    Be England what she will,
With all her faults, she is my country still.
        But spite of all the criticising elves,
Those who would make us feel, must feel themselves.
        But though bare merit might in Rome appear
The strongest plea for favour, ’tis not here;
We form our judgment in another way;
And they will best succeed, who best can pay;
Those, who would gain the votes of British tribes,
Must add to force of merit, force of bribes.
        Childhood, who like an April morn appears,
Sunshine and rain, hopes clouded o’er with fears.
        Drawn by conceit from reason’s plan
How vain is that poor creature man;
How pleas’d in ev’ry paltry elf
To prate about that thing himself.
        England, a fortune-telling host,
As num’rous as the stars could boast;
Matrons, who toss the cup, and see
The grounds of fate in grounds of tea.
        England, a happy land we know,
Where follies naturally grow,
Where without culture they arise,
And tow’r above the common size.
        Enough of satire; in less harden’d times
Great was her force, and mighty were her rhymes.
I’ve read of men, beyond man’s daring brave,
Who yet have trembled at the strokes she gave;
Whose souls have felt more terrible alarms
From her one line, than from a world in arms.
        Enough of self, that darling luscious theme,
O’er which philosophers in raptures dream;
Of which with seeming disregard they write
Then prizing most when most they seem to slight.
        Even in a hero’s heart
Discretion is the better part.
        Explore the dark recesses of the mind,
In the soul’s honest volume read mankind,
And own, in wise and simple, great and small,
The same grand leading principle in all;
*        *        *        *        *
Far parent and for child, for wife and friend,
Our first great mover, and our last great end
Is one; and by whatever name we call
The ruling tyrant, Self, is all in all.
        Friends I have made, whom envy must commend,
But not one foe whom I would wish a friend.
        Gipsies, who every ill can cure,
Except the ill of being poor,
Who charms ’gainst love and agues sell,
Who can in hen-roost set a spell,
Prepar’d by arts, to them best known
To catch all feet except their own,
Who, as to fortune, can unlock it,
As easily as pick a pocket.
        His thirst he slakes at some pure neighboring brook,
Nor seeks for sauce where Appetite stands cook.
        His voice no touch of harmony admits,
Irregularly deep, and shrill by fits.
The two extremes appear like man and wife
Coupled together for the sake of strife.
        How pleased is every paltry elf
  To prate about that thing, himself!
        I’ll make them live as brothers should with brother,
And keep them in good-humor with each other.
        If honor calls, where’er she points the way
The sons of honor follow, and obey.
        In the first seat, in robe of various dyes,
A noble wildness flashing from his eyes,
Sat Shakespeare: in one hand a wand he bore,
For mighty wonders fam’d in days of yore:
The other held a globe, which to his will
Obedient turn’d, and own’d the master’s skill:
Things of the noblest kind his genius drew,
And look’d through nature at a single view:
A loose he gave to his unbounded soul,
And taught new lands to rise, new seas to roll;
Call’d into being scenes unknown before,
And passing nature’s bounds, was something more.
                    Like the dreams,
Children of night, of indigestion bred.
        Matrons, who toss the cup, and see
The grounds of fate in grounds of tea.
        Nature listening stood, whilst Shakespeare play’d,
And wonder’d at the work herself had made.
        Nature, through all her works, in great degree,
Borrows a blessing from variety.
Music itself her needful aid requires
To rouse the soul, and wake our dying fires.
        No statesman e’er will find it worth his pains
To tax our labours and excise our brains.
        No two on earth in all things can agree;
All have some darling singularity:
Women and men, as well as girls and boys,
In gewgaws take delight, and sigh for toys,
Your sceptres and your crowns, and such like things,
Are but a better kind of toys for kings.
In things indifferent reason bids us choose,
Whether the whim’s a monkey or a muse.
        Old Age, a second child, by nature curst
With more and greater evils than the first,
Weak, sickly, full of pains: in ev’ry breath
Railing at life, and yet afraid of death.
        Ourselves are to ourselves the cause of ill;
We may be independent if we will.
        Satire, whilst envy and ill-humor sway
The mind of man, must always make her way;
Nor to a bosom, with discretion fraught,
Is all her malice worth a single thought.
The wise have not the will, nor fools the power,
To stop her headstrong course; within the hour
Left to herself, she dies; opposing strife
Gives her fresh vigor, and prolongs her life.
        So gentle, yet so brisk, so wondrous sweet,
So fit to prattle at a lady’s feet.
        So lightly walks, she not one mark imprints,
Nor brushes off the dews, nor soils the tints.
        The oak, when living, monarch of the wood;
The English oak, which, dead, commands the flood.
        The rigid saint, by whom no mercy’s shown
To saints whose lives are better than his own.
        The Scots are poor, cries surly English pride,
True is the charge, nor by themselves denied,
Are they not, then, in strictest reason clear,
Who wisely come to mend their fortunes here.
        The stage I chose—a subject fair and free—
’Tis yours—’tis mine—’tis public property.
All common exhibitions open lie,
For praise or censure, to the common eye.
Hence are a thousand hackney writers fed;
Hence monthly critics earn their daily bread.
This is a general tax which all must pay,
From those who scribble, down to those who play.
        The surest road to health, say what they will,
Is never to suppose we shall be ill.
Most of those evils we poor mortals know
From doctors and imagination flow.
        The villager, born humbly and bred hard,
Content his wealth, and poverty his guard,
In action simply just, in conscience clear,
By guilt untainted, undisturb’d by fear,
His means but scanty, and his wants but few,
Labor his business, and his pleasure too,
Enjoys more comforts in a single hour
Than ages give the wretch condemn’d to power.
        The virtuous to those mansions go
Where pleasures unembitter’d flow,
Where, leading up a jocund band,
Vigor and Youth dance hand in hand,
Whilst Zephyr, with harmonious gales,
Pipes softest music through the vales,
And Spring and Flora, gaily crown’d,
With velvet carpet spread the ground;
With livelier blush where roses bloom,
And every shrub expires perfume.
        There webs were spread of more than common size,
And half-starved spiders prey’d on half-starved flies.
        There’s a strange something, which without a brain
Fools feel, and which e’en wise men can’t explain,
Planted in man, to bind him to that earth,
In dearest ties, from whence he drew his birth.
        Think not for wrongs like these unscourged to live;
Long may ye sin, and long may Heaven forgive;
But when ye least expect, in sorrow’s day,
Vengeance shall fall more heavy for delay.
        This a sacred rule we find
Among the nicest of mankind,
(Which never might exception brook
From Hobbes even down to Bolingbroke,)
To doubt of facts, however true,
Unless they know the causes too.
        Though by whim, envy, or resentment led,
They damn those authors whom they never read.
        Though folly, robed in purple, shines,
Though vice exhausts Peruvian mines,
Yet shall they tremble and turn pale
When satire wields her mighty flail.
        Thy danger chiefly lies in acting well;
No crime’s so great as daring to excel.
        ’Tis mighty easy o’er a glass of wine
On vain refinements vainly to refine,
To laugh at poverty in plenty’s reign,
To boast of apathy when out of pain,
And in each sentence, worthy of the schools,
Varnish’d with sophistry, to deal out rules
Most fit for practice, but for one poor fault
That into practice they can ne’er be brought.
        Truth! why shall every wretch of letters
Dare to speak truth against his betters!
Let ragged virtue stand aloof,
Nor mutter accents of reproof;
Let ragged wit a mute become,
When wealth and power would have her dumb.
        Weak is that throne, and in itself unsound,
Which takes not solid virtue for its ground.
        What is ’t to us, if taxes rise or fall,
Thanks to our fortune, we pay none at all,
Let muckworms who in dirty acres deal,
Lament those hardships which we cannot feel,
His grace who smarts, may bellow if he please,
But must I bellow too, who sit at ease?
By custom safe, the poets’ numbers flow,
Free as the light and air some years ago.
No statesman e’er will find it worth his pains
To tax our labours, and excise our brains.
Burthens like these will earthly buildings bear,
No tributes laid on castles in the air.
        What is this world?—A term which men have got,
To signify not one in ten knows what;
A term, which with no more precision passes
To point out herds of men than herds of asses;
In common use no more it means, we find,
Than many fools in same opinions joined.
        What’s a fine person, or a beauteous face,
Unless deportment gives them decent grace?
Blest with all other requisites to please,
Some want the striking elegance of ease;
The curious eye their awkward movement tires;
They seem like puppets led about by wires.
        When fiction rises pleasing to the eye,
Men will believe, because they love the lie;
But truth herself, if clouded with a frown,
Must have some solemn proof to pass her down.
        When satire flies abroad on falsehood’s wing,
Short is her life, and impotent her sting;
But when to truth allied, the wound she gives
Sinks deep, and to remotest ages lives.
        Who shall dispute what the reviewers say?
Their word’s sufficient; and to ask a reason,
In such a state as theirs, is downright treason.
        Who’s in or out, who moves the grand machine,
Nor stirs my curiosity, or spleen;
Secrets of state no more I wish to know
Than secret movements of a puppet-show;
Let but the puppets move, I’ve my desire,
Unseen the hand which guides the master wire.
        Who, to patch up his fame—or fill his purse—
Still pilfers wretched plans, and makes them worse;
Like gypsies, lest the stolen brat be known,
Defacing first, then claiming for his own.
        Why should we fear? and what? The laws?
They all are armed in Virtue’s cause;
And aiming at the self-same end,
Satire is always Virtue’s friend.
        With curious art the brain, too finely wrought,
Preys on herself, and is destroy’d by thought:
Constant attention wears the active mind,
Blots out our powers, and leaves a blank behind.
        With that dull, rooted, callous impudence,
Which, dead to shame, and ev’ry nicer sense,
Ne’er blushed, unless, in spreading vice’s snares,
She blunder’d on some virtue unawares.
        With that malignant envy, which turns pale,
And sickens, even if a friend prevail,
Which merit and success pursues with hate,
And damns the worth it cannot imitate.
        With various readings stored his empty skull,
Learn’d without sense, and venerably dull.
        Within the brain’s most secret cells,
A certain lord chief justice dwells,
Of sov’reign power, whom one and all,
With common voice we reason call.
  A heart to pity, and a hand to bless.  66
  A jest is a very serious thing.  67
  Censure is often useful, praise often deceitful.  68
  Fashion, a word which knaves and fools may use, their knavery and folly to excuse.  69
  Fool beckons fool, and dunce awakens dunce.  70
  Fortune makes folly her peculiar care.  71
  Genius is independent of situation.  72
  He hurts me most who lavishly commends.  73
  He mouths a sentence as curs mouth a bone.  74
  If you mean to profit, learn to praise.  75
  Knaves starve not in the land of fools.  76
  No tribute is laid on castles in the air.  77
  On the four aces doom’d to roll.  78
  Patience is sorrow’s salve.  79
  Quick-circulating slanders mirth afford; and reputation bleeds in every word.  80
  Spite of all the criticising elves, those who make us feel must feel themselves.  81
  Sweet nurse of nature, over the senses creep.  82
  The most haste, ever the worst speed.  83
  Those who fear not guilt yet start at shame.  84
  Those who raise envy will easily incur censure.  85
  Those who would make us feel must feel themselves.  86
  To lash the vices of a guilty age.  87
  Who, with tame cowardice familiar grown, would hear my thoughts, but fear to speak their own.  88
  With curious art the brain, too finely wrought, preys on itself, and is destroyed by thought.  89

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