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FOR FINE GENTLEMEN AND FINE LADIES.
IN TWO PARTS..
(PRINTED FIRST WITH THE BAS BLEU IN THE YEAR 1780.] TO THE
HON. HORACE WALPOLE. *
MY DEAR SIR,
It would be very flattering to me, if I might hope that the little Tale, which I now take the liberty of presenting to you, could amuse a few moments of your tedious indisposition. It is, I confess, but a paltry return for the many hours of agreeable information and elegant amusement which I have received from your spirited and very entertaining writings: yet I am persuaded that you will receive it with favor, as a small offering of esteem and gratitude; as an offering of which the intention alone makes all the little value.
The slight verses, Sir, which I place under your protection, will not, I fear, impress the world with a very favorable idea of my poetical powers; but I shall, at least, be suspected of having some taste, and of keeping good company, when I confess that some of the pleasantest hours of my life have been passed in your conversation. I should be unjust to your very engaging and well-bred turn of wit, if I did not declare that, among all the lively and brilliant things I have heard from you, I do not remember ever to have heard an unkind or an ungenerous one. Let me be allowed to bear my feeble testimony to your temperate use of this charming faculty, so delightful in itself, but which can only be safely trusted in such hands as yours, where it is guarded by politeness, and directed by humanity.
I have the honor to be, Sir, your most obliged and most obedient, humble servant,
JANUARY 27, 1786.
* Afterwards Earl of ORFORD.
Florio, a youth of gay renown, Who figured much about the town, Had passed with general approbation,
The modish forms of education ; Knew what was proper to be known, Th' established jargon of bon-ton; Had learnt, with very moderate reading, The whole new system of good breeding. He studied to be cold and rude, Though native feeling would intrude : Unlucky sense and sympathy, Spoiled the vain thing he strove to be ; For Florio was not meant by nature, A silly or a worthless creature.
He had a heart disposed to feel, Had life and spirit, taste and zeal; Was handsome, generous; but by fate Predestined to a large estate! Hence, all that graced his opening days, Was marred by pleasure, spoiled by praise. The Destiny, who wove the thread Of Florio's being, sighed and said, “ Poor youth! this cumbrous twist of gold More than my shuttle well can hold, For which thy anxious fathers toiled, Thy white and even thread has spoiled; 'Tis this shall warp thy pliant youth From sense, simplicity, and truth; Thy erring fire, by wealth misled, Shall scatter pleasures round thy head, When wholesome discipline's control Should brace the sinews of thy soul;
Coldly thou'lt toil for learning's prize,
The gracious Master of mankind,
Forgive, nor lay the fault on me,
Exhausted Florio, at the age
Though high renown the youth had gained,
That tradesmen should be sometimes paid,
His mornings were not spent in vice,
Yet though so polished Florio's breeding, Think him not ignorant of reading ;