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A GOOD INN IS A BAD HOME.
THERE was a prince of high degree,
As great and good as prince could be ;
Much power and wealth were in his hand
With lands and lordships at command.
One son, a fav’rite son, he had,
An idle thoughtless kind of lad;
Whom, spite of all his follies past,
He meant to make his heir at last.
The son escap'd to foreign lands,
And broke his gracious sire's commands;
Far, as he fancied, from his sight,
In each low joy he took delight.
The youth, detesting peace and quiet,
Indulg'd in vice, expense, and riot ;
Of each wild pleasure rashly tasted,
Till health declin'd, and substance wasted.
The tender sire, to pity prone,
Promis'd to pardon what was done ;
And, would he certain terms fulfil,
He should receive a kingdom still.
The youth the pardon little minded,
So much his sottish soul was blinded ;
But though he mouin'd no past transgression,
He lik’d the future rich possession.
He lik'd the kingdom when obtain'd,
But not the terms on which 'twas gain'd;
He hated pain and self-denial,
Chose the reward, but shunn'd the trial.
He knew his father's power how great
How glorious too the promis'd state !
At length resolves no more to roam,
But straight to seek his Father's home
His sire had sent a friend to say,
He must be cautious on his
Told him what road he must pursue,
And always keep his home in view.
The thoughtless youth set out indeed,
But soon he slacken’d in his speed ;
For ev'ry trifle by the way,
Seduced his idle heart astray.
By ev'ry casual impulse sway'd,
On ev'ry slight pretence he stay'd ;
To each, to all, his passions bend,
He quite forgets his journey's end.
For ev'ry sport, for ev'ry song,
He halted as he pass'd along ;
Caught by each idle sight he saw,
He'd loiter e'en to pick a straw.
Whate'er was present, seiz'd his soul,
A feast, a show, a brimming bowl ;
Contented with this vulgar lot,
His father's house he quite forgot.
Those slight refreshments by the way,
Which were but meant his strength to stay,
So sunk his soul in sloth and sin,
He look'd no farther than his inn.
His father's friend would oft appear,
And sound the promise in his ear;
Oft would he rouse him, “Sluggard, come!
“ This is thy inn, and not thy home.”
Displeas'd, he answers, “ Come what will,
“ Of present bliss I'll take my
“In vain you plead, in vain I hear,
“Those joys are distant, these are near.”
Thus perish'd, lost to worth and truth,
In sight of home, this hapless youth ;
While beggars, foreigners, and poor,
Enjoy'd the father's boundless store.
My fable, reader, speaks to thee:-
In God this bounteous Father see ;
And in his thoughtless offspring trace,
The sinful, wayward, human race.
The friend, the generous Father sent,
To rouse, and to reclaim him, meant,
The faithful minister you'll find,
Who calls the wand'ring, warns the blind.
Reader, awake, this youth you blame,
Are not you doing just the same ?
Mindless your comforts are but given
To help you on your way to heaven.
The pleasures which beguile the road,
The flow'rs with which your path is strew'd ;
whole desires you
And quite forget your journey's end.
The meanest toys your soul entice,
A feast, a song, a game at dice;
Charm'd with your present paltry lot,
Eternity is quite forgot.
Then listen to a warning friend,
Who bids you mind your journey's end ;
A wand'ring pilgrim here you roam;
This world's your Inn, the next your Home.
LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR AS YOURSELF
In the manner of Sir Walter Raleigh.
EACH man who lives, the scriptures prove,
Must as himself his neighbour love ;
But though the precept's full of beauty,
'Tis an impracticable duty:
I'll prove how hard it is to find
A lover of this wondrous kind.
Who loves himself to great excess,
You'll grant must love his neighbour less ;
When self engrosses all the heart
How can another have a part ?
Then if self-love most men enthral,
A neighbour's share is none at all.
Say, can the man who hoards up pelf
E'er love his neighbour as himself?
For if he did, would he not labour
To hoard a little for his neighbour?
Then tell me, friend, can hoarding elves
E’er love their neighbour as themselves ?