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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/258

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218
HOURS OF IDLENESS.

From rage he rails not, rather say from dread,
He does not speak for Virtue, but for bread;
And this we know is in his Patron's giving,
For Parsons cannot eat without a Living,
The Matron knows I love the Sex too well,
Even unprovoked aggression to repel.
What though from private pique her anger grew,
And bade her blast a heart she never knew?
What though, she said, for one light heedless line,
That Wilmot's[1] verse was far more pure than mine!
In wars like these, I neither fight nor fly,
When dames accuse 'tis bootless to deny;
Her's be the harvest of the martial field,
I can't attack, where Beauty forms the shield.
But when a pert Physician loudly cries,
Who hunts for scandal, and who lives by lies,
A walking register of daily news,
Train'd to invent, and skilful to abuse—
For arts like these at bounteous tables fed,
When S—— condemns a book he never read.
Declaring with a coxcomb's native air,
The moral's shocking, though the rhymes are fair.
Ah! must he rise unpunish'd from the feast,
Nor lash'd by vengeance into truth at least?
Such lenity were more than Man's indeed!

Those who condemn, should surely deign to read.
  1. [John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester (1647-1680). His Poems were published in the year of his death.]