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Dear Joseph--five and twenty years ago
Alas how time escapes!—'tis even for
With frequent intercourse, and always sweet,
And always friendly, we were wont to cheat
A tedious hour and now we never meet!
As fome grave gentleman in Terence says,
('Twas therefore much the same in ancient days)
Good lack, we know not what to-morrow brings-
Strange Auctuation of all human things!
True. Changes will befall, and friends may part,
But diftance only cannot change the heart :
And, were I called to prove the assertion true,
One proof should serve-a reference to you.
Whence comes it then, that in the wane of life, Though nothing have occurred to kindle ftrife, We find the friends we fancied we had won, Though numerous once, reduced to few or none? Can gold grow worthless that has stood the touch? No; gold they seemed, but they were never such.
Horatio's servant once, with bow and cringe, Swinging the parlour-door upon its hinge, Dreading a negative, and overawed Left he should trespass, begged to go abroad. Gu, fellow!-whither?-turning short about Nay. Stay at home-you are always going out. 'Tis but a ftep, fir, juft at the street's end. For what? - An please you, fir, to see a friend.A friend! Horatio cried, and seemed to startYea
marry shalt thou, and with all my heart.And fetch my cloak; for though the night be raw I'll see him too--the firft I ever saw.
I knew the man, and knew his nature mild, And was his plaything often when a child;
But somewhat at that moment pinched him close,
Else he was feldom bitter or morose.
Perhaps his confidence just then betrayed,
His grief might prompt him with the speech he made;
Perhaps 'twas mere good-humour gave it birth,
The harmless play of pleasantry and mirth.
Howe'er it was, his language, in my mind,
Bespoke at least a man that knew mankind.
But not to moralize too much, and strain
To prove an evil of which all complain,
(I hate long arguments verbosely foun)
One ftory more, dear Hill, and I have done.
Once on a time an emperor, a wise man,
No matter where, in China or Japan,
Decreed that whosoever should offend
Against the well-known duties of a friend,
Convicted once should ever after wear
But half a coat, and show his bosom bare.
The punishment importing this, no doubt,
That all was naught within, and all found out.
Oh happy Britain! we have not to fear
Such hard and arbitrary measure here;
Else, could a law, like that which I relate,
Once have the fanction of our triple state,
Some few, that I have known in days of old,
Would run moft dreadful risk of catching cold;
While you, my friend, whatever wind should blow,
Might traverse England fafely to and fro,
An honest man, close-buttoned to the chin,
Broad-cloth without, and a warm heart within.