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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 7/On Censure


YE wise, instruct me to endure
An evil, which admits no cure;
Or, how this evil can be born,
Which breeds at once both hate and scorn.
Bare innocence is no support,
When you are try'd in Scandal's court.
Stand high in honour, wealth, or wit:
All others, who inferiour sit,
Conceive themselves in conscience bound
To join, and drag you to the ground.
Your altitude offends the eyes
Of those who want the power to rise.
The world, a willing stander by,
Inclines to aid a specious lie:
Alas! they would not do you wrong;
But all appearances are strong!
Yet whence proceeds this weight we lay
On what detracting people say?
For let mankind discharge their tongues
In venom, till they burst their lungs,
Their utmost malice cannot make
Your head, or tooth, or finger ake;
Nor spoil your shape, distort your face,
Or put one feature out of place;
Nor will you find your fortune sink
By what they speak or what they think;
Nor can ten hundred thousand lies
Make you less virtuous, learn'd, or wise.
The most effectual way to baulk
Their malice, is — to let them talk.