Tuesday, 7 November 2000

From "The Grumbling Hive, or, Knaves Turned Honest"

By Bernard de Mandeville.

Justice her self, famed for fair Dealing,
By Blindness had not lost her Feeling;
Her Left Hand, which the Scales should hold,
Had often dropt 'em, bribed with Gold;
And, tho' she seem'd impartial,
Where Punishment was corporal,
Pretended to a reg'lar Course,
In Murther, and all Crimes of Force;
Tho' some, first Pillory'd for Cheating,
Were hang'd in Hemp of their own beating;
Yet, it was thought, the Sword the bore
Check'd but the Desp'rate and the Poor;
That, urg'd by mere Necessity,
Were tied up to the wretched Tree
For Crimes, which not deserv'd that Fate,
But to secure the Rich, and Great.

Thus every Part was full of Vice,
Yet the whole Mass a Paradice;
Flatter'd in Peace, and fear'd in Wars
They were th'Esteem of Foreigners,
And lavish of their Wealth and Lives,
The Ballance of all other Hives.
Such were the Blessings of that State;
Their Crimes conspired to make 'em Great;
And Vertue, who from Politicks
Had learn'd a Thousand cunning Tricks,
Was, by their happy Influence,
Made Friends with Vice: And ever since
The worst of all the Multitude
Did something for the common Good.

This was the State's Craft, that maintain'd
The Whole, of which each Part complain'd:
This, as in Musick Harmony,
Made Jarrings in the Main agree;
Parties directly opposite
Assist each oth'r, as 'twere for Spight;
And Temp'rance with Sobriety
Serve Drunkenness and Gluttonny.

No comments: