Satire on Pride by Elizabeth Mapes Bonhôte

Hell’s first born exhalation sure is pride!
Who, with its sister, envy, would divide
The various blessings to poor mortals given.
By the kind bounty of indulgent heaven.
What at the last have kings to make them proud!
A gilded coffin and a satin shroud.
The lordly worm on these will quickly prey;
For worms, like kings, in turn will have their day.
What then is man who boasts his form and make?
A reptile’s meal,—a worm’s high-flavour’d steak,
The epicure, who caters like a slave,
Is but a pamper’d morsel for the grave.

Envy’s a canker of such subtle power,
It steals all pleasure from the gayest hour.
It is the deadly nightshade of the mind;
With secret poison all its arts refin’d;
And, when attended by it vile relation,
Would spread a plague destructive to a nation.
Then send these hags back to their native hell,
With fiends and evil spirits formed to dwell.

No more on worth let man look down with scorn,
And frown on those not quite so highly born;
Nor, as the coaches rattle from his door,
Boast, like proud Haman, of not being poor!
Earth’s doom’d to earth, all folly there must end,—
Then read, and own the satirist a friend.


Date: 1796

By: Elizabeth Mapes Bonhôte (1744-1818)

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