Mary Barber

(1690-1757 / England)

Newsffrom St. James's. - Poem by Mary Barber

A courtier, summon'd hence of late,
Was call'd to Minos' Judgment Seat.

The Cretan Sage began the Charge,
Recounted all his Crimes at large;
His Insincerity, and Pride,
His Hundred evil Arts beside;
Arts, thinly veil'd with Virtue's Guise,
The modern Statesmens Scheme to rise.

He, cringing, owns his Guilt, with Shame;
Yet from himself would shift the Blame;
Insists, that since the World began,
Kings seldom rais'd the virtuous Man:
(Some Instances must be allow'd,
Tho' almost lost in such a Croud)
That Courts were other Things of late,
Than when he rul'd the Cretan State:
That those who breathe in them, will find,
The tainted Air corrupts the Mind.

Courtier, the Judge reply'd, beware--
Theander has resided there;
The third of an accomplish'd Race,
Who fill'd successively one Place:
Yet see the Stream of Virtue run,
Untainted down from Sire to Son:
Humane their Hearts, enlarg'd, refin'd,
With ev'ry Gift to bless their Kind;
In Friendship's noblest Zeal sincere;
In Honour amiably severe;
Steady to Faith, and Truth, and Right;
With open Honesty, polite;
With no Disguise in Sptech, or Spirit,
But Modesty, the Mask of Merit.

True, Minos--yet you must agree,
These Instances conclude for me.
They uncorrupt have brearh'd that Air;
But how have they succeeded there?


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 20, 2010



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