Ah! what unthinking, heedless things are men
Ah! what unthinking, heedless things are men,
T' enact such laws as must themselves condemn?
In every human soul some vices spring
(For fair perfection is no mortal thing);
Whoe'er is with the fewest faults endu'd,
Is but the best of what cannot be good.
Then view me, friend, in an impartial light,
Survey the good and bad, the black and white;
And if you find me, Sir, upon the whole,
To be an honest and ingenuous soul,
By the same rule I'll measure you again,
And give you your allowance to a grain.
'Tis friendly and 'tis fair, on either hand,
To grant th' indulgence we ourselves demand.
If on your hump we cast a fav'ring eye,
You must excuse all those who are awry.
In short, since vice or folly, great or small,
Is more or less inherent in us all,
Whoe'er offends, our censure let us guide,
With a strong biass to the candid side;
Nor (as the stoicks did in antient times)
Rank little foibles with enormous crimes.
If, when your butler, e'er he brings a dish
Shou'd lick his fingers, or shou'd drop a fish,
Or from the side-board filch a cup of ale,
Enrag'd you send the puny thief to gaol;
You'd be (methinks) as infamous an oaf,
As that immense portentous scoundrel — —
Yet worse by far (if worse at all can be)
In folly and iniquity is he;
Who, for some trivial, social, well-meant joke,
Which candour shou'd forget as soon as spoke,
Wou'd shun his friend, neglectful and unkind,
As if old Parson Packthread was behind:
Who drags up all his visiters by force,
And, without mercy, reads them his discourse.
If sick at heart, and heavy at the head,
My drunken friend should reel betimes to bed;
And in the morn, with affluent discharge,
Should sign and seal his residence at large;
Or should he, in some passionate debate,
By way of instance, break an earthen plate;
Wou'd I forsake him for a piece of delph?
No — not for China's wide domain itself.
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