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A man renown'd for repartee
With Friendship’s finest feeling, Will thrust a dagger at your breast, And say he wounded you in jest,
By way of balm for healing.
Whoever keeps an open ear
The trumpet of Contention :
And rush into dissension.
A friendship that in frequent fits
The sparks of disputation,
The thought of conflagration.
Some fickle creatures boast a soul
Their humour yet so various-
Their love is so precarious.
The great and small but rarely meet
Plebeians must surrender
Obscurity with splendour.
Some are so placid and serene,
They sleep secure from waking;
Unmoved and without quaking.
Courtier and patriot cannot mix
Without an effervescence,
A friendly coalescence.
Religion should extinguish strife,
But friends that chance to differ
No combatants are stiffer.
To prove at last my main intent
No cutting and contriving-
With still less hope of thriving.
Sometimes the fault is all our own,
By trespass or omission;
And even from suspicion.
Then judge yourself, and prove your man As circumspectly as you can,
And having made election, Beware no negligence of yours, Such as a friend but ill endures,
Enfeeble his affection.
That secrets are a sacred trust,
That constancy befits them,
And all the world admits them.
But 'tis not timber, lead, and stone,
To finish a fine building ;
The carving and the gilding.
The man that hails you Tom or Jack,
How he esteems your merit,
To pardon or to bear it.
As similarity of mind,
First fixes our attention;
Must save it from declension.
Some act upon this prudent plan,
Safe policy, but hateful-
Unpleasant and ungrateful.
The man I trust, if shy to me,
No subterfuge or pleading
A spy on my proceeding.
These samples—for alas ! at last
Of evils yet unmention'd-
Pursue the search, and you will find
To be at least expedient,
A principal ingredient.
The noblest friendship ever shown,
Though some have turn’d and turn'd it;
Have not, it seems, discern'd it.