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CONTEMN not, fool, with idiot laugh,
Those pangs which others may endure;
And be, like them, despis’d and poor.
If others are bereft of store,*
And pine in poverty away;
Augmenting griefs with smiles so gay?
* The purse-proud, overbearing ostentation of menial minds, when gifted with riches, is one of the acutest torments a liberal and scientific man can experience, who is the sport of untoward fortune; since he has not only to endure the evil from a wretch in every respect his inferior, but also to stifle those generous emotions which a just sense of contempt inspires, when heightened by the polish of education.
Want is the scorn of ev'ry wealthy fool,
Or if the body should sustain
Some direful shock; some dread disguise; Hast thou the heart to jeer at pain,
Canst thou deformity despise?* ,
If loss of parent or of friend,
Excites the pungent thrill of woe; Need'st thou thy shameful mirth extend,
And laugh to scorn death’s rueful blow?t
Why should thy folly fear deride,
The timid ne'er can harm thy rest; The downfal too of pompous pride,
With joy should never swell thy breast.
* No folly can be more indecorous than that of deriding: any bodily infirmity; for the province of a wise man is to profit by the example, and offer due thanks to the great Father of all, for having spared him from a similar misfortune.
+ This is a species of barbarity which, though less fre. quent among fools, is, nevertheless, indulged in at periods, to the utter disgrace of its practitioner, therefore, let the words of Ovid be ever kept in mind, who emphatically saith,
Res est sacra miser.
* To ridicule the timid, or deride fallen greatness, is a certain index of a mean and dastardly spirit; nor can the
Think, fool, altho’ thou smil'st this hour,
The next may give the cause to weep;
Whose justice ne'er was known to sleep.
L'ENVOY OF THE POET. .
Which tow’rd philanthropy unceasing tends,
And even feel for foes as well as friends.
THE POET'S CHORUS TO FOOLS.
annotator, however enamoured of Shakspeare, peruse, with. out a sensation of disgust, those particular scenes in Henry VIII. and the Merchant of Venice; in the former of which drama is conveyed the mean tauntings of the noblemen sent to divest Wolsey of his state offices, while the latter contains the most ungenerous reflections on the religion and misfortunes of the ruined Shylock: there is, however, little doubt, but that the poet, in the latter instance, was guided more by the popular prejudice of those times, than promp. ted to indulge in mean reflections against the vindictive Israelite from any inherent littleness of mind.
OF THE FOLLY OF ALL THE WORLD.
Ce monde est plein de fous, et qui n'en veut pas voir,
All the world's a mass of folly,
What creates the infant's joy?
* It is sufficient to annotate this stanza with the words of Horace,
Omnes stultos insanire.
+ From the moment reason begins to assume its empori. um, folly and vice equally claim a "share of the human mind,
What but wealth is man pursuing,
Rear'd in folly's idiot schoolerie,
because the passions ripen quicker than the intellect, and it was on this account, that Bias, one of the seven sages of Greece, hath said,
Οι πλειονες κακος. * It appears very surprising, on the first contemplation, that men should slip into the different stages of existence, indulging in their foibles, without being scarcely ever noticed by those individuals who surround them; yet this is not at all to be wondered at, when we consider that
Niminum insanus paucis videatur, eo quod,