A Loadstone in a case was bragging to a Mirror in the case about all the things a magnet does. The Mirror responded with a like list for itself. No winner.
Where much is given, much will be required.
A Loadstone of peculiar grace,
The inmate of a tweezer case,
(This case the present of an Earl,
Blaz’d bright with jewels, foil, and pearl,)
Exulting in his splendid station,
Broke forth into a grand oration:
‘Merit like mine is sure to find
‘The admiration of mankind;
‘My palace shines with gems and gold,
‘Like Persian palaces of old;
‘Applauded by the fair and great,
‘Environ’d with the pomp of state;
‘Like any prince I pass my days,
‘Fum’d with the flattety of praise.
‘My Lady comes; the bell she rings,
‘Le Blois the silver platter brings,
‘Needles of steel, in number plenty,
‘Are strung thereon (from ten to twenty)
‘I make them caper, dance the hays,
‘A thousand ditf’rent freakish ways;
‘If one is lost from mortal sight,
‘My genius brings it quick to light;
‘Thus oft is spent an idle hour,
‘In showing my attractive pow’r.
‘The greatest beauties in the land
‘Have held me in their snowy hand;
‘To all the earth my merit’s known,
‘From the bold sailor to the throne.’
A mirror plac’d upon the lid,
His empty vauntings quickly chid:
‘Virtue there’s none in idle weeds,
‘Nor shown by words, but prov’d by deeds;
‘If ‘mid the leaves no fruit I see,
‘(However great your parts may be,)
‘If still you prove an idle tool,
‘You only are the greater fool.
‘Go, please the young, make needles dance,
‘And sink in insignificance.’
This speech awoke the Loadstone’s pride,
And thus indignantly he cried;
‘Who does not know the magnet’s force?
‘It guides the seaman’s dang’rous course.
‘When ocean wide he dares explore,
‘It steers him to the wish’d-for shore;
Ausonia, Tagus, or the Nile,
‘To India’s realms, Batavia’s Isle;
‘Or torn by storms, by tempest hurl’d,
‘Directs him to the western world;
‘Where’er he go, or near, or far,
‘The Magnet is his leading star;
‘To frozen climes, or realms of day,
‘The faithful magnet points his way.
‘Then think not, wretch I reproach like thine,
‘Can injure merit great as mine.’
‘It grieves me much,’ the Mirror cried,
‘To see such talents misapplied.
‘Such powers as yours I ne’er shall share,
‘Yet what I have I use with care;
‘Each form presented to my view,
‘I strait reflect in colours true;
‘Show sin her stain, and power his rod,
‘And war the thunderbolt of God.
‘The lineaments of truth I show,
‘And Charity’s benignant glow;
‘Give Fraud his features of disgrace,
‘And mark the grin on Folly’s face:
‘Show Wit his plume, and Vice her scar,
‘In short, reflect them as they are;
‘While you, with parts intrinsic blest,
‘Lie idly on the lap of rest.
‘The times at hand when you will rue
‘The good you now neglect to do;
‘For all the pow’rs to thee assign’d,
‘Were meant as blessings to mankind.’
Thus men of genius, parts, and sense,
Wrapt in the cloak of indolence,
By sloth enslav’d, to duty blind,
Obscure the pleasure of the mind.
But know, O Man, it is decreed,
That he who sow’d shall reap the seed:
If great your boasted talents be,
Great your responsibility:
For genius is the gift of heaven,
And much requir’d, where much is given.