A Character by Clara Reeve

A Quaker’s stiffness, with a tradesman’s grin;
A jesuit’s conscience, with an open mein;
A sailor’s breeding, with a courtier’s art;
A zealot’s fury, with an atheist’s heart;
These are thy honours! – Not thy wild expence,
Fed and supported by the public pence,
Pour’d forth in awkward, splendid, motly treats,
Where dirt with cleanness, want with fulness meets.
Devour’d by hungry parsons, sots, and fools,
All well-pick’d, servile, suppliant, fawning tools;
Who with dull flatt’ry, and admiring eyes,
Applaud thy bawdy, blasphemy, and lies.

From: C.R., Original Poems on Several Occasions, 1769, T. and J. W. Pasham for W. Harris: London, p. 23.

Date: 1769

By: Clara Reeve (1729-1807)


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