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1 O CELIA! You, whose Rays of friendly Fire,
2 Constant as those of Nature, ne'er expire;
3 If in your Breast no weighty Cares you find,
4 Nor better Thoughts employ your gen'rous Mind;
5 Vouchsafe an Ear: These Numbers are your Due;
6 I sing of Friendship, and I sing to You:
7 Friendship! a Theme, which all Mankind profess,
8 No Virtue more admire, none practise less;
9 For most have learn'd the Grecian
* BIAS in CICERO de Amic. § 16.
Sage's Text,
10 "To love one Day, as if to hate the next."
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11 They change, forsake, as serves their selfish Ends,
12 Nor are their Dresses vary'd more than Friends.
13 YOU therefore, who are worthy Friendship's Name,
14 And cherish in your Breast the genuine Flame,
15 Attend to what a faithful Muse imparts,
16 A Muse unpractis'd in fallacious Arts:
17 Tho' young in Life, that Life has made her know,
18 A friendly Aspect oft conceals a Foe;
19 That, tho' so many seeming Friends abound,
20 For one that's true, a thousand false are found.
21 WHEN first you strive a faithful Friend to find,
22 Explore the secret Motives of his Mind;
23 Nor, rashly credulous, his Friendship trust,
24 Before you know, what Passion rules him most:
25 But, as a Horseman checks the Courser's Speed,
26 Till he has try'd the Temper of his Steed;
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27 So check the Reins of Friendship, till you prove,
28 What sways the Person, Interest, or Love.
29 AVOID the Fop impertinently vain,
30 And shun the Slave, who flatters you for Gain;
31 Beware of him, who sells you for a Jest;
32 But, most of all, beware the leaky Breast:
33 (Who hopes to keep his Wine the Season round,
34 Must first be sure his Cask is sweet and sound)
35 Nor should a formal Fool your Friendship claim,
36 Tho' Wealth and Honours dignify his Name.
37 Let Knaves and Fools in kindred Vices join;
38 Chuse you a Friend, where Sense and Virtue shine;
39 Whose Passions move by Reason's Rule alone,
40 Much better, if agreeing with your own.
41 The Hart and Lion at a Distance keep;
42 Wolves company with Wolves, and Sheep with Sheep:
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43 So we, by Nature's sympathetic Pow'rs,
44 Most love those Tempers, that resemble ours.
45 YET, if it be too difficult to find
46 A Friend so justly moulded to your Mind,
47 Among the virtuous Few select the best;
48 And such is he, whose Failings are the least:
49 Let him a modest Freedom always claim,
50 To praise your Virtues, or your Vices blame;
51 Nor be displeas'd his mild Reproof to hear;
52 For Friends may often kindly be severe;
53 The Best sometimes each other may controul,
54 Yet not destroy the Harmony of Soul.
55 Rough Notes in Music never should be found,
56 Except adapted to improve the Sound.
57 WHEN mutual Faith the friendly Knot has ty'd,
58 And when that mutual Faith is truly try'd,
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59 Prey not upon yourself; nor be opprest
60 With conscious Pains, that struggle in your Breast:
61 For, as the Flames, in Aetna closely pent,
62 Convulse the Mountain, lab'ring for a Vent;
63 Thus in the Soul uneasy Thoughts confin'd,
64 For want of Passage, rack the suff'ring Mind.
65 Unveil your Bosom to your other Part;
66 Your Friend shall share the Burden of your Heart,
67 Alleviate ev'ry Ill your Soul sustains,
68 Double your Pleasures, and divide your Pains.
69 BE zealous for your Friends, whene'er you know
70 Their Reputation censur'd by a Foe;
71 Nor with a faint Excuse degrade your Friends;
72 The Man, who coldly praises, discommends.
73 Or are they justly censur'd for a Crime?
74 Reprove them mildly at some proper Time:
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75 In private chide all Failings which you find,
76 In public praise the Beauties of their Mind;
77 Place all their Virtues in the clearest Light,
78 Omit their Faults, or touch them very slight;
79 As Painters, when they draw a beauteous Face,
80 Contract a Blemish, heighten ev'ry Grace.
81 NEITHER let Passion, Pride, or private Ends,
82 Or changing Fortune, make you change your Friends.
83 Who varies oft, a faithless Temper shows,
84 Or, at the best, ill Judgment, when he chose.
85 Some Persons with themselves so disagree,
86 They're fix'd to nothing but Inconstancy;
87 With each new Day, new Resolutions come,
88 Expel the former, and usurp their Room:
89 Succeeding Billows thus the foremost throng,
90 Tides roll on Tides, and Waves urge Waves along.
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91 Not but we may with a new Friend engage,
92 Before we see an old one quit the Stage;
93 Yet should not think the new our old exceeds,
94 As
* Ut equis vetulis teneros anteponere solemus Veterrima quaeque (ut ea vina, quae vetustatem ferunt) esse debent suavissima. Cic. de Amic. § 19.
Jockeys value most their youngest Steeds.
95 One Maxim will in Wine and Friendship hold,
96 Alike the better both for being old.
97 BUT must we then be bound in deathless Bands,
98 And still obey whate'er a Friend commands?
99 Aid him to gain what he unjustly craves?
100 No Leave the Man, who Truth and Virtue leaves.
101 Should furious CATILINE some Plot devise,
102 To ruin Thousands, that himself might rise;
103 The Laws of Honour, Truth, and Conscience show,
104 'Tis Friendship to the World to be his Foe.
105 Or, should a Friend basely betray his Trust,
106 To pardon him were to yourself unjust:
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107 For,
Neque amissos colores
Lana refert medicata fuco;
Nec vera virtus, cum semel excidit,
Curat reponi deterioribus.
Hor. Ode 5. Lib. III.
as the Wool, with Crimson colour'd o'er,
108 Never acquires its native Whiteness more;
109 So he who breaks his Faith, will ne'er obtain
110 Your Credit, nor his Innocence again.
111 If otherwise he disoblige his Friends,
112 (For where's the perfect Man, who ne'er offends?)
113 Try if his Ear will kind Reproof endure;
114 And, if the Balm of Counsel work a Cure,
115 O'erlook the Failure: All offend, that live;
116 Let Foes resent a Trespass, Friends forgive.
117 Yet let the pardon'd Friend not, many times,
118 Proceed in Folly, and repeat his Crimes.
119 Tho' purest Gold a vast Extent will bear,
120 Yet purest Gold will break, if stretch'd too far:
121 And Friends may bear some Slips from Wisdom's Rule;
122 But who can pardon the persisting Fool?
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* Pestem enim majorem esse nullam in amicitiis, quam in plerisque pecuniae cupiditatem, in optimis quibusque honoris certamen & gloriae, ex quo inimicilias maximas saepe inter amicissimos extitisse. Cic. de Amic. § 10.
AMONG the various Causes, that conspire
124 To cool our Love, and quench the friendly Fire,
125 Vile Avarice assumes the greatest Pow'r,
126 A God which base ignoble Souls adore:
127 To pleasure him, a Tide of broken Vows
128 (Needful Libations!) on his Altar flows:
129 Yet, never satisfy'd, he craves for more;
130 And keeps his Votaries, in Plenty, poor:
131 Who worships him, will break the friendly Bands,
132 Whene'er the sordid, selfish God commands.
133 OTHERS there are, induc'd by Thirst of Praise,
134 (And ev'n the greatest Men this Passion sways)
135 Who quit their Friends for Honours of the State,
136 And turn their Love into the rankest Hate.
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137 Nor is it wonder these desert their Friends,
138 Since all are Foes, who will not serve their Ends:
139 For wild Ambition like a Torrent roars,
140 Which, when obstructed, climbs th'opposing Shores;
141 Till to the Top the lab'ring Flood attains,
142 Swells o'er the Banks, and foams along the Plains.
143 Not but we may an honest Fame embrace;
144 Nay, Friends should aid us in the glorious Chace.
145 Man has some Principle of heav'nly Fire,
146 That warms his Breast, and prompts him to aspire;
147 Wakes him to Actions of superior Kind,
148 And keeps alive the Faculties of Mind;
149 For Sloth begets a Lethargy of Soul,
150 As want of Motion taints the clearest Pool:
151 Yet, if, too fond and covetous of Fame,
152 We blow that native Spark into a Flame,
153 It quickly rises to a firy Storm,
154 And burns the Fabric 'twas design'd to warm.
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155 What Bands of Nature can restrain its Course?
156 What friendly Offices suppress its Force?
157 See how its Rage the young
Numidian fires,
158 The worst of Children to the best of Sires!
159 Deep, thro' his Brothers Blood, he wades his Way,
160 And leaps o'er Gratitude to Regal Sway.
161 Young CAESAR's Tutor by his Pupil dies,
162 While TULLY falls by him he help'd to rise;
163 Friends, Fathers, Brothers, Uncles, yield to Fate,
164 To make three Tyrants infamously great!
165 O! grant me, gracious Heav'n, where-e'er I go,
166 To be a faithful Friend, or gen'rous Foe;
167 Nor let me pant so much for empty Praise,
168 As to obtain it by dishonest Ways;
169 Nor wrong my Friend, tho' 'twere to gain a Throne;
170 Nor ruin others Fame, to raise my own.
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171 HE who is only learn'd in Books, will find
172 A harder Lesson, when he learns Mankind;
173 A Volume gilded o'er with smiling Art,
174 Where few can read the Meaning of the Heart.
175 We often take our Flatterers for Friends;
176 One would suspect the Man who still commends,
177 Who, like the Sharper in the Roman Play,
178 Or right or wrong, assents to all you say;
179 Bends here or there, which way his Lord's inclin'd,
180 As Reeds submit to ev'ry diff'rent Wind.
181 Nor is it strange such Parasites prevail,
182 When greedy Ears devour their flatt'ring Tale:
183 While THRASO loves to hear his Praises told,
184 GNATHO will give him Praise, and take his Gold.
185 But you, who walk by Wisdom's safer Rules,
186 (For 'twere but Labour lost to counsel Fools)
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187 Detest the Wretch, who ne'er can Courage find
188 To speak the genuine Dictates of his Mind;
189 But, like the Syrens sweet, pernicious Song,
190 At once would charm and ruin with his Tongue.
191 YET some there are, in social Bands ally'd,
192 Who, with blunt Truths, err on the other Side;
193 Void of Good-nature, and Good-breeding too,
194 They sourly censure ev'ry thing you do.
195 O! never flatter ev'n a Monarch's Pride,
196 Nor, with the Sternness of a Cynic, chide;
197 But, when you would an erring Friend reprove,
198 Let gentle Cautions shew, the Motive's Love:
199 Do not begin with Rashness to exclaim;
200 But rather hint the Fault, before you blame.
201 'Tis not enough your Admonition's just;
202 Prudence must guide it, or the Labour's lost:
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203 Friends should allure, and charm us into Sense;
204 Harsh Counsels not reform, but give Offence.
205 Nature, impatient of severe Reproof,
206 Loves mild Instruction, but abhors the rough:
207 As Fruits and Flow'rs improve with gentle Rain;
208 But fade, if rapid Storms o'erflow the Plain.
209 SOME Men are Friends, when Fortune fills the Sails,
210 And wafts you on with favourable Gales;
211 But quit the tott'ring Ship, and make to Shore,
212 When Storms descend, and adverse Surges roar.
213 Long as in Credit, Pow'r, or Place you stand,
214 Their fawning, formal Friendship you command:
215 With twenty Squeezes, and a hundred Bows,
216 As many Compliments, as many Vows,
217 They swear your Interest shall be their own,
218 And wish the Time to make it better known;
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219 Like false hot Coursers, waiting for the Chace,
220 Which foam, and neigh, and proudly spurn the Grass,
221 Intent to run; but droop their jaded Crest,
222 And fail you most, when most you want their Haste.
223 WE make a Prostitute of Friendship's Name,
224 If only Complaisance supports our Claim.
225 And yet there are, of this polite Degree,
226 Who treat you still with forc'd Civility;
227 In each obliging Art so well refin'd,
228 Tho' ever false, they never seem unkind.
229 Not that my Muse would Decency offend;
230 For 'tis Good-breeding polishes a Friend:
231 Nor shines it less, with Truth and Virtue join'd,
232 Than comely Features with a noble Mind:
233 But those, whose Friendships most in Speeches dwell,
234 Neglect the Fruit, and trifle with the Shell.
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235 True Friendship more intrinsic Worth affords,
236 Defin'd by Actions better than by Words;
237 A warm Affection, that can never cool,
238 Concord of Mind, and Music of the Soul;
239 Which tunes the jarring Strings of Life to Love,
240 Shews Men below, how Angels live above.
241 There are in Friendship such attractive Charms,
242 It draws Esteem from those it never warms.
243 See how
* Qui clamores tota cavea nuper in hospitis & amici mci M. Pacuvii nova sabula, cum, ignorante rege, uter eorum esset Orestes, Pylades Orestem se esse diceret, ut pro illo necaretur; Orestes autem, ita ut erat, Orestem se esse perseveraret? Stantes plaudebant in re sicta: quid arbitramur in vera fuisse facturos? Cic. de Amic. § 7.
PACUVIUS' tragic Scenes could move
244 The People's Praises with fictitious Love!
245 When on the Stage two doubtful Princes strive,
246 Each seeking Death, to keep his Friend alive:
247 Now PYLADES deceives the Monarch's Eye;
248 Faithful, yet fraudulent, resolves to die:
249 ORESTES now displays the friendly Cheat,
250 Invites the threat'ning Sword, and courts his Fate.
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251 Mov'd with their gen'rous Love, the Audience rose;
252 With social Flame each changing Bosom glows;
253 All feel the sacred Pow'r of Friendship's Laws,
254 And the Stage rocks, and thunders with Applause.
255 I know the Muse may give to some Offence,
256 (Tho' rather Men of Wit, than Men of Sense)
257 Whose Counsel is; "Be not engag'd too far;
258 " The greatest Friendship brings the greatest Care:
259 "Our own Concerns have Plagues enough in Store;
260 " Who joins in Friendship, only makes 'em more:
261 "The Cares and Troubles, which your Friend endures,
262 " Are all by Sympathy adopted yours. "
263 WHAT base, ungen'rous, selfish Souls are these?
264 Mere Quacks, who turn ev'n Health into Disease;
265 And but the darkest Side of Friendship find,
266 To all its radiant Beams and Beauties blind.
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267 Two faithful Friends, in any State, may gain
268 Comfort to heighten Joy, or lessen Pain:
269 If weighty Cares the pensive Mind invade,
270 They make the Burden light with mutual Aid;
271 If Profit, or if Pleasure chears the Soul,
272 The Blessing's common, each enjoys the whole:
273 If Bus'ness calls them to some distant Place,
274 Swift-pinion'd Love contracts the lengthen'd Space;
275 Each keeps the other's Image in his Breast,
276 As Wax preserves the Form a Seal imprest.
277 HAIL, sacred Friendship! by whose chearing Ray
278 All Joys increase, without it fade away:
279 Ev'n HYMEN's Torch, tho' burning e'er so bright,
280 Aided by Friendship, shines with double Light.
281 This you, O CELIA! by Experience find,
282 Whose nuptial Friend lives always in your Mind:
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283 No Length of Time, no Distance, ever ras'd
284 His lov'd Idea from your tender Breast:
285 Your friendly Flame admits of no Decays;
286 But glows, unclouded, with augmented Rays,
287 And makes your bridal Lamp much brighter blaze.
288 That faint, pale, languid Lamp, in Age, expires,
289 Except 'tis fed with Friendship's constant Fires:
290 These to the Winter of our Years extend;
291 And, when the Lover cools, they warm the Friend.
292 When all the transient Joys of Youth are o'er,
293 When all the Charms of Beauty charm no more;
294 Surviving Friendship gives us fresh Supplies
295 Of lasting Bliss, and more substantial Joys;
296 Which sweeten all the Troubles Age has brought,
297 And make the Dregs of Life a cordial Draught.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): Of FRIENDSHIP. To CELIA.
Author: Stephen Duck
Themes: friendship
Genres: heroic couplet; address

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Source edition

Duck, Stephen, 1705-1756. Poems on several occasions: By Stephen Duck. London: printed for the author, 1736, pp. 316-334. xl,334,[2]p. ; 4⁰. (ESTC T90234; OTA K073280.000)

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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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