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And who shall say where guided? to what seats
Of starving villany? of thieves and cheats?
In that sad time of many a dismal scene
Had he a witness (not inactive) been;
Had leagued with petty pilferers, and had crept
Where of each sex degraded numbers slept :
With such associates he was long allied,
Where his capacity for ill was tried,
And that once lost, the wretch was cast aside:
For now, though willing with the worst to act,
He wanted powers for an important fact;
And while he felt as lawless spirits feel,
His hand was palsied, and he couldn't steal.
By these rejected, is there lot so strange,
So low! that he could suffer by the change?
Yes! the new station as a fall we judge,-
He now became the harlots' humble drudge,
Their drudge in common: they combined to save
Awhile from starving their submissive slave;
For now his spirit left him, and his pride,
His scorn, his rancour, and resentment died;
Few were his feelings-but the keenest these,
The rage of hunger, and the sigh for ease;
He who abused indulgence, now became
By want subservient and by misery tame;
A slave, he begg'd forbearance; bent with pain,
He shunn'd the blow,-" Ah! strike me not again."
Thus was he found: the master of a hoy
Saw the sad wretch, whom he had known a boy;
At first in doubt, but Frederick laid aside
All shame, and humbly for his aid applied:
He, tamed and smitten with the storms gone by,
Look'd for compassion through one living eye,
And stretch'd th' unpalsied hand: the seaman felt
His honest heart with gentle pity melt,
And his small boon with cheerful frankness dealt;
Then,made inquiries of th' unhappy youth,
Who told, nor shame forbade him, all the truth.
"Young Frederick Thompson to a chandler's shop By harlots order'd and afraid to stop!
"What! our good merchant's favourite to be seen "In state so loathsome and in dress so mean?" So thought the seaman as he bade adieu, And, when in port, related all he knew.
But time was lost, inquiry came too late, Those whom he served knew nothing of his fate; No! they had seized on what the sailor gave, Nor bore resistance from their abject slave; The spoil obtain'd, they cast him from the door, Robb'd, beaten, hungry, pain'd, diseased and poor. Then nature (pointing to the only spot Which still had comfort for so dire a lot,) Although so feeble, led him on the way, And hope look'd forward to a happier day:
He thought, poor prodigal! a father yet
His woes would pity and his crimes forget;
Nor had he brother who with speech severe
Would check the pity or refrain the tear:
A lighter spirit in his bosom rose,
As near the road he sought an hour's repose.
And there he found it: he had left the town,
But buildings yet were scatter'd up and down;
To one of these, half-ruin'd and half-built,
Was traced this child of wretchedness and guilt;
There on the remnant of a beggar's vest,
Thrown by in scorn! the sufferer sought for rest;
There was this scene of vice and wo to close,
And there the wretched body found repose.
THE ALMS-HOUSE AND TRUSTEES.
Do good by stealth, and blush to find it fame.
There are a sort of men whose visages
Do cream and mantle like a standing pool,
And do a wilful stillness entertain:
With purpose to be dress'd in an opinion,
As who should say, "I am Sir Oracle,
"And when I ope my lips let no dog bark."
Sum felix; quis enim neget? felixque manebo;
Hoc quoque quis dubitet? Tutum me copia fecit.