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March 10, 1731.

'HILE yet no am'rous youths around thee bow,


Nor flatt'ring verfe conveys the faithless vow; To graver notes will Sappho's foul attend, And ere she hears the lover, here the friend? LET maids lefs blefs'd employ their

meaner arts

To reign proud tyrants o'er unnumber'd hearts;

May Sappho learn (for nobler triumphs born)

Those little conquests of her sex to scorn. To form thy bofom to each gen'rous deed; To plant thy mind with every useful feed; Be these thy arts: nor fpare the grateful toil, Where nature's hand has bless'd the happy foil.

So shall thou know, with pleafing skill, to blend

The lovely mistress and instructive friend: So fhalt thou know, when unrelenting time Shall spoil those charms yet op'ning to their prime,

* A young lady of thirteen years of age.

To case the loss of beauty's tranfient flow'r, While reafon keeps what rapture gave before. And oh! while wit, fair dawning, spreads its ray,

Serenely rifing to a glorious day,

To hail the growing luftre oft be mine, Thou early fav'rite of the facred Nine! AND fhall the Mufe with blameless boast pretend,

In youth's gay bloom that Sappho call'd me friend:

That urg'd by me fhe fhun'd the dang'rous


Where heedlefs maids in endless error ftray;
That scorning foon her fex's idler art,
Fair praise infpir'd and virtue warm'd her

That fond to reach the distant paths of fame,
I taught her infant genius where to aim?
Thus when the feather'd choir first tempt
the sky,

And, all unskill'd, their feeble pinions try, Th' experienc'd fire prescribes the advent'rous height,

Guides the young wing, and pleas'd attends the flight.





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ES, Phidippus, I entirely agree with you; the antients most certainly had much loftier notions of Friendship, than feem to be generally entertained at prefent. But may they not justly be confidered on this fubject, as downright enthusiasts? Whilst indeed they talk of friendship as a virtue, or place it in a rank little inferior, I can admire the generous warmth of their fentiments: but when they go fo far as to make it a serious queftion, whether justice herself ought not in fome particular cafes to yield to this their fupreme affection of the heart; there, I confefs, they leave me far behind.

If we had not a treatife extant upon the fubject, we should scarce believe this fact upon the credit of those authors who have delivered it down to us: but Cicero himfelf has ventured to take the affirmative fide of this debate in his celebrated dialogue infcribed Lælius. He followed, it feems, in this notion the fentiments of the Grecian

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Theophraftus, who publicly maintained the same astonishing theory. ·

Ir must be confeffed, however, these admirers of the false sublime in friendship talk upon this subject with so much caution, and in such general terms, that one is inclined to think they themselves a little sufpected the validity of those very principles they would inculcate. We find, at least, a remarkable inftance to that purpose, in a circumstance related of Chilo, one of those famous fages who are distinguished by the pompous title of the wife men of Greece.

THAT celebrated philofopher, being upon his death-bed, addreffed himself, we are informed, to his friends who ftood round him, to the following effect: "I cannot, thro "the course of a long life, look back with "uneafiness upon any fingle inftance of my "conduct, unless, perhaps, on that which "I am going to mention; wherein, I con"fefs, I am still doubtful whether I acted "as I ought, or not. I was once appoint"ed judge in conjunction with two others, "when my particular friend was arraign"ed before us: Were the laws to have taken their free courfe, he must inevi"tably


86 tably have been condemned to die. Af“ter much debate therefore with myself, "I refolved upon this expedient: I gave

my own vote according to my con"fcience, but at the fame time employed "all my eloquence to prevail with my af"fociates to abfolve the criminal. Now I "cannot but reflect upon this act with con" cern, as fearing there was fomething of "perfidy, in perfuading others to go coun"ter to what I myself esteemed right.”

It does not, certainly, require any great depth of cafuiftry to pronounce upon a cafe of this nature. And yet, had Tully, that great mafter of reafon, been Chilo's confeffor upon this occafion, it is very plain he would have given him abfolution; to the just scandal of the most ignorant curate that ever lulled a country village.

WHAT I have here obferved, will fuggest, if I mistake not, a very clear answer to the queftion you propose; "Whence it "should happen, that we meet with in"stances of friendship among the Greeks "and Romans, far fuperior to any thing of "the fame kind which modern times have "produced?" For while the greatest geK 2


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