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“As fruits, ungrateful to the planter’s care . . .”

November 10, 2009

As fruits, ungrateful to the planter’s care,
On savage stocks inserted, learn to bear;
The surest Virtues thus from passions shoot,
Wild Nature’s vigor working at the root.
What crops of wit and honesty appear
From spleen, from obstinacy, hate or fear!
See anger, zeal and fortitude supply;
Ev’n av’rice, prudence; sloth, philosophy;
Lust, thro’ some certain strainers well refin’d,
Is gentle love, and charms all womankind;
Envy, to which th’ ignoble mind’s a slave,
Is emulation in the learn’d or brave;
Nor Virtue, male or female, can we name,
But what will grow on Pride, or grow on Shame.

An Essay on Man. By Alexander Pope, Esq. Enlarged and Improved by the Author, 1763.  From the Hathi Trust Digital Library.  Original images here and here.

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