[Page 311]


1 WEAK and irresolute is man;
2 The purpose of to day,
3 Woven with pains into his plan,
4 To morrow rends away.
[Page 312]
5 The bow well bent and smart the spring,
6 Vice seems already slain,
7 But passion rudely snaps the string,
8 And it revives again.
9 Some foe to his upright intent
10 Finds out his weaker part,
11 Virtue engages his assent,
12 But pleasure wins his heart.
13 'Tis here the folly of the wise
14 Through all his art we view,
15 And while his tongue the charge denies,
16 His conscience owns it true.
17 Bound on a voyage of awful length
18 And dangers little known,
19 A stranger to superior strength,
20 Man vainly trusts his own.
[Page 313]
21 But oars alone can ne'er prevail
22 To reach the distant coast,
23 The breath of heav'n must swell the sail,
24 Or all the toil is lost.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): HUMAN FRAILTY.
Themes: virtue; vice
Genres: admonition

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Source edition

Cowper, William, 1731-1800. Poems: by William Cowper, of the Inner Temple, Esq. London: printed for J. Johnson, 1782, pp. 311-313. [4],367,[1]p. ; 8⁰. (ESTC T14895; OTA K027775.000) (Page images digitized by the University of California Libraries.)

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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 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 4.0.0.

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