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To the Honourable ***
[ed.] Charles Townsend, "[s]econd son of Charles, the third Viscount Townsend. This accomplished gentleman, after filling some of the highest posts under government with distinguished honour, died Sept. 4, 1767, aged 42 years." (1782) (AH)

1 O CHARLES, in absence hear a friend complain,
2 Who knows thou lov'st him whereso'er he goes,
3 Yet feels uneasy starts of idle pain,
4 And often would be told the thing he knows.
5 Why then, thou loiterer, fleets the silent year,
6 How dar'st thou give a friend unnecessary fear?
7 We are not now beside that osier'd stream,
8 Where erst we wander'd, thoughtless of the way:
9 We do not now of distant ages dream,
10 And cheat in converse half the ling'ring day;
11 No fancied heroes rise at our command,
12 And no TIMOLEON weeps, and bleeds no THEBAN band.
13 Yet why complain? thou feel'st no want like these,
14 From me, 'tis true, but me alone debar'd,
15 Thou still in GRANTA'S shades enjoy'st at ease
16 The books we reverenc'd, and the friends we shar'd;
17 Nor see'st without such aids the day decline,
18 Nor think'st how much their loss has added weight to thine.
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19 Truth's genuine voice, the freely-opening mind,
20 Are thine, are friendship's, and retirement's lot;
21 To conversation is the world confin'd,
22 Friends of an hour, who please and are forgot;
23 And int'rest stains, and vanity controuls
24 The pure unsullied thoughts, and sallies of our souls.
25 O I remember, and with pride repeat
26 The rapid progress which our friendship knew!
27 Even at the first with willing minds we met,
28 And ere the root was fix'd the branches grew,
29 In vain had fortune plac'd her weak barrier,
30 Clear was thy breast from pride, and mine from servile fear.
31 I saw thee gen'rous, and with joy can say,
32 My education rose above my birth,
33 Thanks to those parent shades, on whose cold clay
34 Fall fast my tears, and lightly lie the earth!
35 To them I owe whate'er I dare pretend,
36 Thou saw'st with partial eyes, and bade me call thee friend.
37 Let others meanly heap the treasur'd store,
38 And aukward fondness cares on cares employ
39 To leave a race more exquisitely poor,
40 Possess'd of riches which they ne'er enjoy:
41 He's only kind who takes the noble way
42 T'unbind the springs of thought and give them pow'r to play.
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43 His heirs shall bless him, and look down with scorn
44 On vulgar pride from vaunted heroes sprung;
45 Lords of themselves, thank heaven that they were born
46 Above the sordid miser's glitt'ring dung,
47 Above the servile grandeur of a throne,
48 For they are Nature's heirs, and all her works their own.

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    About this text

    Title (in Source Edition): To the Honourable ***
    Themes: advice; social order; contentment; friendship; education; gratitude
    Genres: alexandrine; address; advice
    References: DMI 22453

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    Source edition

    A Collection of Poems in Six Volumes. By Several Hands. Vol. II. London: printed by J. Hughs, for R. and J. Dodsley, 1763 [1st ed. 1758], pp. 251-253. 6v.: music; 8⁰. (ESTC T131163; OTA K104099.002)

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    The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.