IMAGINE that divine Athenian sage
(At once the shame and honour of his age)
Who by the malice of his foes belied,
A victim to their rage by hemlock died,
In scoffing language to have thus address'd
That froward youth whom Athens once caress’d.
“ Art thou a statesman ? wouldst thou hold the helm?
And rule like Pericles the subject realm ?
Does sense mature, ere life has reach'd its noon?
Does thy young judgment bring forth fruit so soon?
Ere yet the down has gather'd on thy cheek,
Art thou instructed how, and when, to speak ?
Canst thou the tumult's mingled roar restrain,
Silence command, nor wave the hand in vain;
On public good the public mind enlight,
And lift the torch of truth where all is night?
No doubt, thou canst in thy experience trust,
Say what is right, and point out what is just;
No doubt, thy way thou always canst discern,
And men and manners thou hast not to learn :
Thou holdest virtue at its proper price ;
Fixing thy stigma on the brow of vice.
But therefore cease, at every public place,
To show the beauties of thy form and face.
From all these idle practices refrain,
And take to hellebore to clear thy brain.