Satyr III. Virtue

Is virtue something reall here below
Or but an Idle name & empty show
While on this head I take my thoughts to task
Methinks young Freedom answers wt I ask
In his own moralls thus the Spark goes on
Or thus if he were here he might have don

In what wild hill or unfrequented plain
hast thou been bred so ignorant of men
Such doubts in such a world to entertain
Or has thy father had an hopefull son
by Colledge education quite undon
& therefore wisely gave his others none
Believe me Sr that what you faign woud know
is but a word to signify a show
Often it is 'tis often not designd
& still it makes a riddle of the mind.
Now see how evidently this appears
in the clear language of particulars.

All men do Sporus very chast esteem
But does he rule his will or nature him
What he might be himself he little knows
Who never had a passion to oppose
he must be chast with out a world of pains
for all his virtue is his impotence.

Damon the hottest rakell of the town
has his cast misses on the common thrown
No signs of great repentance does he show
But the mans bound his wife's his virtue now

Nor friends nor glorious wine nor sparkling witt
Makes Codrus ere beyond a bottle sitt
this is his temperance his acquaintance say
& att the barr they give him leave to pay
But they forgett that Codrus is so poor
& all his virtue may be want of more

A sexton scarcely can resolve to ring
But Cotta flyes as on devotions wing
tows his old aunt in black to every prayer
Whines as he goes & prayes aloud when there
thus to be Guardian when she dies he'le gett
his virtue is the hopes of pow'r to cheat

thus various mankind cou'd I quickly trace
& show how fondly we mistake their wayes
how something which they are not oft they seem
& how that something brings them in esteem
but to be short with in my self I feel
too deepely rooted all the seeds of ill
Mad passions reason not invincible
& chance to be misguided in my will
Why shoud I think another has not these
is he more perfect man or am I less.

To such a loose harangue on t'other side
My honest Trueman woud have thus replyd
While by yr own you blame anothers soul
You must go wrong & ye illbiassd bowl
bear on a falser ground at every roul
tis granted where the moralls run awry
there your reflections very justly ly
but think you there are none to good inclind
from the meer sway of reason on their mind
think you that every one woud rather be
Slave to his passions then from passion free
for such they are who have no powr to stay
When every weak temptation calls away
Curio is summond to Corinna's house
Cross is his father cruell is her spouse
the dangers great but Curio must be gon
a pleasure tempts a passion hurry's on
Nor are the troubles which pursue it all
for you may feel the very fetters gall
Dispair & hope with lingring pangs remain
Sorrow & Joy give much a quicker pain
& love & hate in wild convulsions reign.
When with their proper objects these attack
tis to be virtuous then to drive 'em back
entrenchd with in ye rules wch prudence makes
tis virtue still an æquall mind to bear
Nor swoln wth hope nor too depressed wth fear
to lett the Man secure from passion move
in reasons orb serenely plac'd above
tis Virtue to maintain your country's cause
Support your king while he supports her laws
nor in th' oppressing of a kingdom share
for fifteen hundred English pounds a year
paid down by order of ye Commons here
tis virtue & the highest mentiond yet
to think religion not a trick of state

Nature has fooles who know not of this way
& fooles alone have priviledge to stray
But if a Competence of Sense she give
& the receivers do not upright live
their different failures do such words create
as Atheist traytor villain rakehell cheat
defamer pander whore knight of ye post
& hypocrites a Common name for most
Most strive to varnish their prevailing vice
& grant with ease when they succeed in this
the Case the same where the appearance is
but goodness ever has the same appeard
While no design is still upon its guard
the best is onely but ye best begun
Sooner or later by its self undon

Ore peaceful citts the hectring bullys reign
But while they hector so they know their men
Shoud they vex one at last to Cudgells bred
the masque of valour wont protect ye head
While the tough cane insults the shining blade

I scorn in verity old Gripus cry's
this swearing this unprofitable vice
but mony mollifys the wretches scorn
Font size:
Collection  PDF     

Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

4:17 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 4,287
Words 847
Stanzas 11
Stanza Lengths 6, 12, 6, 4, 6, 6, 10, 36, 15, 5, 4

Thomas Parnell

Thomas Parnell was an Anglo-Irish poet and clergyman who was a friend of both Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift. He was the son of Thomas Parnell of Maryborough, Queen's County now Port Laoise, County Laoise}, a prosperous landowner who had been a loyal supporter of Cromwell during the English Civil War and moved to Ireland after the restoration of the monarchy. Thomas was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and collated archdeacon of Clogher in 1705. He however spent much of his time in London, where he participated with Pope, Swift and others in the Scriblerus Club, contributing to The Spectator and aiding Pope in his translation of The Iliad. He was also one of the so-called "Graveyard poets": his 'A Night-Piece on Death,' widely considered the first "Graveyard School" poem, was published posthumously in Poems on Several Occasions, collected and edited by Alexander Pope and is thought by some scholars to have been published in December of 1721 (although dated in 1722 on its title page, the year accepted by The Concise Oxford Chronology of English Literature; see 1721 in poetry, 1722 in poetry). It is said of his poetry 'it was in keeping with his character, easy and pleasing, ennunciating the common places with felicity and grace. more…

All Thomas Parnell poems | Thomas Parnell Books

0 fans

Discuss the poem "Satyr III. Virtue" with the community...



    Find a translation for this poem in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)


    Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:


    "Satyr III. Virtue" STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 10 Dec. 2023. <>.

    Become a member!

    Join our community of poets and poetry lovers to share your work and offer feedback and encouragement to writers all over the world!

    December 2023

    Poetry Contest

    Join our monthly contest for an opportunity to win cash prizes and attain global acclaim for your talent.



    Are you a poetry master?

    William Blake: "Tiger Tiger, burning bright, In the forests of the _________".
    • A. knight
    • B. bites
    • C. night
    • D. fight