"Conscience, forsook of Reason's Use, / Knows neither how to judge, nor choose: / For Reason and Self-Interest / Must always keep a closs Contest, / And Conscience still from Wall to Wall / Is bandy'd like a Tennis-Ball"
— Forbes of Disblair (fl. 1765-1771)
Self-Int'rest is the mighty Prince,
Who governs all without Controul,
And dastards even the very Soul;
By whom she's mated and abus'd,
That nought of Worth can be produc'd.
And Conscience here hath nought to do,
But grovel like a conquer'd Foe;
While Int'rest with a threatning Frown,
Brow-beats her still, and knocks her down;
While, like corrected Child, afraid
She slinks, and dares not shew her Head.
Sometimes she calls, and we're reproach'd;
But Int'rest has her so debauch'd,
That nothing worse on any score,
We dread than Thoughts of being poor;
Which makes us here, 'tis such a Curse,
Despis'd, and even ridiculous,
And Heaps of Troubles on us brings;
Such is the wretched State of things.
Conscience, forsook of Reason's Use,
Knows neither how to judge, nor choose:
For Reason and Self-Interest
Must always keep a closs Contest,
And Conscience still from Wall to Wall
Is bandy'd like a Tennis-Ball;
Still rambling on, she knows not how,
And so, poor Devil! let her go.
See The Patriots, a Satyr, Written on the 12th of October 1734. (London: Printed for S. Berkley in Amen Corner, 1734). <Link to ESTC>