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The WAY of the WORLD.

1 SOME Herbs there are, whose deadly Juices fill
2 The Heart with Venom, and directly kill:
3 Some operate more slowly, but as sure;
4 The Dart less sudden, but admits no Cure.
5 Yet there's a Drug, nor Plain nor Mountain yields,
6 Not Libya's Desarts nor Britannia's Fields,
7 Destructive more than all the baneful kind;
8 'Tis Flatt'ry call'd the Poison of the Mind.
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9 This, soft Sir Wealthy feeds on all the Day:
10 This, Delia swallows with her soft Bohea,
11 To this we owe Sublimo's scornful Eye,
12 And Thalia's Cheeks that blush with borrow'd Dye.
13 Sublimo once cou'd like his Neighbours walk,
14 Bow to his Friends, or with his Tenants talk;
15 Nor had been seiz'd with this majestick Fit,
16 If subtle Florio had not prais'd his Wit.
17 Gray Thalia too wou'd now her Arts give o'er,
18 And rest those Eye-balls that must slay no more;
19 Nor would that Face engross her Morning's Care,
20 Did not Philander tell her she is fair.
21 Alcidas tells you with an artful Smile,
22 That Womens Eyes were giv'n them to beguile:
23 His Way is cunning and mischievous too,
24 He'll praise in others what he finds in you.
25 You hear delighted, nor perceive the Foe;
26 But drink in Flatt'ry ere you think 'tis so.
27 And when he's run the gay Description through,
28 The smart Conclusion is apply'd to you:
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29 But turn your Back Alcidas with a Grin
30 Will vow you're ugly as a Sooterkin.
31 How oft you hear from a designing Knave,
32 Sir, I'm your Servant, Madam, I'm your Slave;
33 Yet if you're blest with penetrating Eyes,
34 You'll in his Features read the Villain lies.
35 See soft Courtine, whose Hat with Silver bound,
36 Is so obsequious that 'twill kiss the Ground:
37 Whose Actions point to some unworthy End,
38 And ne'er was Patron, Counsellor, or Friend:
39 Whose narrow Views are to himself confin'd,
40 Yet he's the humble Slave of all Mankind.
41 These fawning Rogues are irksom Creatures True,
42 But then a Clown is full as odious too:
43 The Face unpractis'd in the Arts of Guile,
44 Need not be stretech'd with an eternal Smile:
45 Nor yet affect the Cynick's awful Scowl,
46 Screw'd like the Visage of Minerva's Owl;
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47 For some reject (and hold it as a Rule,)
48 The Crab-faced Student for the tender Fool.
49 The Phrase unstudied flows with graceful Ease,
50 And careless Gesture never fails to please:
51 The Heart instructs the Features and the Tongue;
52 Let that be right, and these will ne'er be wrong.
53 Ask Cynthio's Judgment in some nice Affair,
54 He'll praise your Conduct with a charming Air,
55 Extol your Sense and Prudence to the Skies:
56 "And sure such Merits were design'd to rise."
57 His candid Eyes can hidden Beauties see,
58 Ev'n Faults are useful, or they cease to be:
59 And each no-meaning Cynthio can explore;
60 But asks his Friendship, and he speaks no more.
61 But the worst Flatterer that wears a Tongue,
62 Is him whose Power aggravates the Wrong:
63 To whose grand Levee Crowds of Suppliants run,
64 And bow like Persians to the rising Sun:
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65 Where starv'd Dependents linger out their Days,
66 Yet proud to share his Snuff-box and his Praise,
67 Grow stiff with Standing and with Staring thin,
68 To watch the Dimple on their Patron's Chin:
69 Who with a Nod can make the Wretch believe,
70 And smiles on Hunger which he'll ne'er relieve.
71 Surrounded thick with Bus'ness and with Gold,
72 Yet dress'd in Smiles Virginius you behold:
73 The expecting Crowd around his Table stand,
74 You ask a Favour and he grasps your Hand:
75 Another comes with an obsequious Air,
76 He winks and whispers. "Leave it to my Care."
77 Then to the next "Oh I'll remember you;
78 "Sir, trust my Honour, you shall find me true: "
79 Then bows a third. "Good Sir, your Pardon. " Why?
80 "I saw you not. Forgive my careless Eye.
81 "Next Tuesday se'en-night, let me see you pray,
82 "Perhaps you'll find it Hundreds in your way. "
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83 The meagre Wight departs with happier Soul,
84 Romantick Visions in his Bosom roll:
85 He fasts in Rapture, as of late in Sorrow;
86 For who can eat, that's to be rich to-morrow?
87 But Tuesday see, the joyful Day is come;
88 Now to his Patron. "But he's not at home.
89 "Alas! But then to-morrow Morn will do,
90 "And I'll be early. Gentlemen, adieu.
91 Next Day at Six before the Gate appears,
92 The Wretch divided by his Hopes and Fears.
93 The haughty Servants meet him with a Frown.
94 I'd see his Honour. "But he's not come down;
95 "Your Servant, Sir I'll stay then in the Hall:
96 "But he is sick and can't be spoke withal.
97 "I'll wait with Patience till another Day,
98 "And for his Honour and his Health shall pray.
99 At last the Knight (his Fate had order'd so)
100 Was seiz'd and boarded by the lurking Foe;
101 And wisely thinking 'twas in vain to fly,
102 Smooth'd up his Face and with a leering Eye
103 Began. "Oh Mr. What-d'ye-call, Is't you?
104 "I'm glad to see you: Yet I'm sorry too,
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105 "Sure some ill Stars presided o'er your Fate,
106 "I cou'd have serv'd you, but you're come too late.
107 Yet sure, there is whose honest Soul was made
108 Too grand a Being for the soothing Trade;
109 Whose Wit can neither flatter nor offend,
110 A gay Companion, yet a constant Friend;
111 Willing to please where Honesty may win,
112 Averse to Slander, tho' it was no Sin.
113 With native Manners as with Sense endu'd;
114 Not soft as Cynthio, nor as Damon rude;
115 Not basely humble, yet a Foe to Pride:
116 Whose Tongue ne'er promis'd what his Heart deny'd.
117 Whose Satire charms, nor Mirth offends the Ear;
118 Tho' wife not froward, just but not severe;
119 Not sway'd by Int'rest, nor in Passion hurl'd:
120 But walks a calm Spectator through the World,
121 Whose Breast (where no unmanly Vapours grow)
122 Can feel Compassion for another's Woe;
123 Where Courage, Mercy, Justice, Candour lie,
124 That shine celestial in the speaking Eye.
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125 This Man is great, whate'er be his Degree;
126 O bless him, Heav'n, if such a one there be:
127 May Life's best Comforts on his Days attend,
128 Blest in himself, and happy in his Friend:
129 Far from his Gate fly Poverty and Woe;
130 Let not a Sigh his quiet Mansion know:
131 But the fair Dome each roving Eye allure,
132 With Peace and Plenty smiling at the Door:
133 Let him soft Days and happy Ev'nings find,
134 And live still blest, and blessing all Mankind.

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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): The WAY of the WORLD.
Author: Mary Leapor
Themes: sex; relations between the sexes; manners; virtue; vice
Genres: heroic couplet; satire

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Source edition

Poems upon several occasions: By Mrs. Leapor ... London: printed: and sold by J. Roberts, 1748, pp. 90-97. 15,[5],282p. ; 8⁰. (ESTC T127827; Foxon p. 413)

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