An Answer to the Challenge of Timon

Miss Flaxman

Faults nod at faults, each fable has its brother
And beaux and belles are mirrors to each other

Yet stay, my Muse, & guide the timid pen
To state (O fearful task!) the faults of men!
’Tis surely stepping upon unsafe ground —
Or rather, vent’ring on the seas profound
In a frail bark, no skilful hand to steer
No chart to guide us the dread rocks to clear,
Ah! if man’s adamantine pride we shun
And midst the whirlpool of his passion run
Or on the quicksands of his flatt’ry tost
Our little bark must sink, it must be lost!
But if rude dangers such as these we pass
And the smooth water seems like liquid glass
In the dead calm of his indiff’rence wait
’Till the next hurricane decides our fate!
Oh then if jealousy’s dire winds arise
Before its breath all hopes of safety flies
Whirlwinds of rage, not reason’s power can check
Tear the weak bark, & and drive the hapless wreck
But leave we now the terrors of the main
And gladly tow’rds our home turn once again
For there no rage, nor cruelty we find
The nobler sex are there, both just, & kind
Whene’er Honorius wills we pleased obey
Grieve, if he’s griev’d, & smile if he is gay
And who’ll refuse to join in Reinhold’s praise
To wish him happiness & length of days
To love his converse & his guileless mirth
His spotless honour & his various worth
In gentler Allen all his friends can find
The unassuming graces of the mind
In Philo, probity & penetration keen
Unite in one — in one not frequent seen
Our circle boasts the virtues most I prize
If faults here are — on those I shut my eyes!

My last new Name