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Her gods and godlike heroes rise to view,
And all her faded garlands bloom anew.
Nor blush, these studies thy regard engage:
These pleas'd the fathers of poetic rage:
The verse and sculpture bore an equal part,
And art reflected images to art.
I sit with sad civility; I read
With honest anguish, and an aching head;
And drop at last, but in unwilling ears,
This saving counsel," Keep your piece nine years."
Nine years!" cries he, who high in Drury-lane,
Lull'd by soft zephyrs through the broken pane,
Rhymes ere he wakes, and prints before term ends,
Oblig'd by hunger and request of friends:
"The piece, you think, is incorrect? why take it;
I'm all submission; what you'd have it, make it."
Three things another's modest wishes bound,
My friendship, and a prologue, and ten pound.
Pitholeon sends to me: "You know his grace:
I want a patron; ask him for a place."
Pitholeon libell'd me-" but here's a letter
Informs you, sir, 'twas when he knew no better.
A Virgil there, and here an Addison:
Then shall thy Craggs (and let me call him mine) Dare you refuse him? Curll invites to dine,
On the cast ore, another Pollio, shine:
With aspect open shall erect his head,
And round the orb in lasting notes be read,
He'll write a journal, or he 'll turn divine."
Bless me! a packet.-" "Tis a stranger sues,
A Virgin Tragedy, an Orphan Muse."
If I dislike it, "Furies, death, and rage!"
If I approve, "Commend it to the stage."
There (thank my stars) my whole commission ends,
The players and I are, luckily, no friends.
Fir'd that the house reject him, "'Sdeath! I'll print it,
And shame the fools-your interest, sir, with
Oh! when shall Britain, conscious of her claim,
Stand emulous of Greek and Roman fame?
In living medals see her wars enroll'd,
And vanquish'd realms supply recording gold?
Here, rising bold, the patriot's honest face;
There, warriors frowning in historic brass?
Then future ages with delight shall see
How Plato's, Bacon's, Newton's looks agree;
Or in fair series laurel'd bards be shown,
Statesman, best friend to truth! of soul sincere,
In action faithful, and in honor clear;
Who broke no promise, serv'd no private end,
Who gain'd no title, and who lost no friend;
Ennobled by himself, by all approv'd,
And prais'd, unenvied, by the Muse he lov'd."
Lintot, dull rogue! will think your price too much :
Not, sir, if you revise it, and retouch."
I too could write, and I am twice as tall;
But foes like these-P. One flatterer's worse than all.
Of all mad creatures, if the learn'd are right,
It is the slaver kills, and not the bite.
A fool quite angry is quite innocent:
Alas! 'tis ten times worse when they repent.
One dedicates in high heroic prose,
And ridicules beyond a hundred foes;
One from all Grub-street will my fame defend,
And, more abusive, calls himself my friend.
This prints my letters, that expects a bribe,
And others roar aloud, "Subscribe, subscribe!"
There are, who to my person pay their court:
I cough like Horace, and, though lean, am short.
Ammon's great son one shoulder had too high,
Such Ovid's nose, and, "Sir! you have an eye!"
Go on, obliging creature, make me see
All that disgrac'd my betters, met in me.
Say, for my comfort, languishing in bed,
"Just so immortal Maro held his head;"
And when I die, be sure you let me know
Great Homer died three thousand years ago.
Why did I write? what sin to me unknown
Dipp'd me in ink, my parents', or my own?
As yet a child, nor yet a fool to Fame,
I lisp'd in numbers, for the numbers came.
I left no calling for this idle trade,
No duty broke, no father disobey'd;
The Muse but serv'd to ease some friend, not wife;
To help me through this long disease, my life;
To second, Arbuthnot! thy art and care,
And teach, the being you preserv'd, to bear.
But why then publish? Granville the polite,
And knowing Walsh, would tell me I could write;
Well-natur'd Garth inflam'd with early praise,
And Congreve lov'd, and Swift endur'd my lays;
The courtly Talbot, Somers, Sheffield read,
Ev'n mitred Rochester would nod the head,
And St. John's self (great Dryden's friend before)
With open arms receiv'd one poet more.
Happy my studies, when by these approv'd!
Happier their author, when by these belov'd!
From these the world will judge of men and books,
Not from the Burnets, Oldmixons, and Cooks.
Soft were my numbers: who could take offence While pure description held the place of sense? Like gentle Fanny's was my flowery theme, A painted mistress, or a purling stream. Yet then did Gildon draw his venal quill; I wish'd the man a dinner, and sate still. Yet then did Dennis rave in furious fret: I never answer'd, I was not in debt. If want provok'd, or madness made them print, I wag'd no war with Bedlam or the Mint.
Did some more sober critic come abroad; If wrong, I smil'd; if right, I kiss'd the rod. Pains, reading, study, are their just pretence, And all they want is spirit, taste, and sense. Commas and points they set exactly right, And 'twere a sin to rob them of their mite. Yet ne'er one sprig of laurel grac'd these ribalds, From slashing Bentley down to piddling Tibalds: Each wight, who reads not, and but scans and spells, Each word-catcher, that lives on syllables, Ev'n such small critics some regard may claim, Preserv'd in Milton's or in Shakspeare's name. Pretty! in amber to observe the forms. Of hairs, straws, or dirt, or grubs, or worms! The things we know are neither rich nor rare, But wonder how the devil they got there.
Were others angry: I excus'd them too;
Well might they rage, I gave them but their due.
A man's true merit 'tis not hard to find;
But each man's secret standard in his mind,
That casting-weight pride adds to emptiness,
This, who can gratify? for who can guess?
The bard whom pilfer'd pastorals renown,
Who turns a Persian tale for half a crown,
Just writes to make his barrenness appear,
And strains from hard-bound brains, eight lines a year;
He, who, still wanting, though he lives on theft,
Steals much, spends little, yet has nothing left:
And he, who, now to sense, now nonsense leaning
Means not, but blunders round about a meaning:
And he, whose fustian's so sublimely bad,
It is not poetry, but prose run mad:
All these, my modest satire bad translate,
And own'd that nine such poets made a Tate.
How did they fume, and stamp, and roar, and chafe!
And swear, not Addison himself was safe.
Peace to all such! but were there one whose fires True genius kindles, and fair fame inspires; Blest with each talent and each art to please, And born to write, converse, and live with ease: Should such a man, too fond to rule alone, Bear, like the Turk, no brother near the throne, View him with scornful, yet with jealous eyes, And hate for arts that caus'd himself to rise; Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer, And, without sneering, teach the rest to sneer; Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike, Just hint a fault, and hesitate dislike; Alike reserv'd to blame, or to commend, A timorous foe, and a suspicious friend; Dreading ev'n fools, by flatterers besieg'd, And so obliging, that he ne'er obliged; Like Cato, give his little senate laws, And sit attentive to his own applause ; While wits and templars every sentence raise, And wonder with a foolish face of praiseWho but must laugh, if such a man there be! Who would not weep, if Atticus were he!
What, though my name stood rubric on the walls Or plaster'd posts, with claps, in capitals? Or smoking forth, a hundred hawkers' load, On wings of winds came flying all abroad? I sought no homage from the race that write; I kept, like Asian monarchs, from their sight: Poems I heeded (now be-rhym'd so long) No more than thou, great George! a birth-day song I ne'er with wits of witlings pass'd my days, To spread about the itch of verse and praise; Nor, like a puppy, daggled through the town, To fetch and carry sing-song up and down; Nor at rehearsals sweat, and mouth'd, and cried, With handkerchief and orange at my side! But, sick of fops, and poetry, and prate, To Bufo left the whole Castalian state. Proud as Apollo on his forked hill, Sate full-blown Bufo, puff'd by every quill; Fed with soft dedication all day long, Horace and he went hand in hand in song. His library (where busts of poets dead And a true Pindar stood without a head) Receiv'd of wits an undistinguish'd race, Who first his judgment ask'd, and then a place; Much they extoll'd his pictures, much his seat, And flatter'd every day, and some days eat; Till, grown more frugal in his riper days, He paid some bards with port, and some with praise
To some a dry rehearsal was assignd,
Whose buzz the witty and the fair annoys, And others (harder still) he paid in kind.
Yet wit ne'er tastes, and beauty ne'er enjoys : Dryden alone (what wonder ?) came not nigh, So well-bred spaniels civilly delight Dryden alone escap'd this judging eye:
In mumbling of the game they dare not bite. But still the great have kindness in reserve, Eternal smiles his emptiness betray, He help'd to bury whom he help'd lo starve., As shallow streams run dimpling all the way. May some choice patron bless each grey goose- Whether in florid impotence he speaks, quill!
And, as the prompter breathes, the puppet squeaks, May every Bavius have his Bufo still!
Or at the ear of Eve, familiar toad, So when a statesman wants a day's defence, Half froth, half venom, spits himself abroad, Or envy holds a whole week's war with sense, In puns, or politics, or tales, or lies, Or simple pride for flattery makes demands, Or spite, or smut, or rhymes, or blasphemies. May dunce by dunce be whistled off my hands ! His wit all see-saw, between that and this, Blest be the great! for those they take away, Now high, now low, now master up, now miss, And those they left me; for they left me Gay: And he himself one vile Antithesis. Left me to see neglected genius bloom,
Amphibious thing! that, acting either part, Neglected die, and tell it on his lomb:
The trifling head! or the corrupted heart, Of all thy blameless life the sole return
Fop at the toilet, flatterer at the board, My verse, and Queensberry weeping o'er thy urn! Now trips a lady, and now struts a lord.
Oh let me live my own, and die so 100! Eve's tempter thus the Rabbins have exprest, (To live and die is all I have to do :)
A cherub's face, a reptile all the rest. Maintain a poet's dignity and ease,
Beauty that shocks you, parts that none will trust, And see what friends, and read what books I please: Wit that can creep, and pride that licks the dust. Above a patron, though I condescend
Not Fortune's worshipper, nor Fashion's fool, Sometimes to call a minister my friend.
Not Lucre's madman, nor Ambition's tool, I was not born for courts or great affairs :
Not proud, nor servile; be one poet's praise, I pay my debts, believe, and say my prayers ; That, if he pleas'd, he pleas'd by manly ways: Can sleep without a poem in my head,
That flattery, ev'n to kings, he held a shame, Nor know, if Dennis be alive or dead.
And thought a lie in verse or prose the same; Why am I ask'd what next shall see the light? That not in Fancy's maze he wander'd long, Heavens! was I born for nothing but to write ? But stoop'd to Truth, and moraliz'd his song: Has life no joys for me? or (to be grave)
That not for fame, but Virtue's better end, Have I no friend to serve, no soul to save ? He stood the furious foe, the timid friend, " I found him close with Swifi-Indeed ? no doubt The damning critic, half-approving wit, (Cries prating Balbus) something will come out.” The coxcomb hit, or searing to be hit; 'Tis all in vain, deny it as I will,
Laugh'd at the loss of friends he never had, “No, such a genius never can lie still;"
The dull, the proud, the wicked, and the mad; And then for mine obligingly mistakes
The distant threats of vengeance on his head, The first lampoon Sir Willor Bubo makes. The blow unfelt, the tear he never sbed ; Poor, guiltless I! and can I choose but smile, The tale reviy'd, the lie so oft o'erthrown, When every coxcomb knows me by my style ? Th’imputed trash, and dullness not his own;
Curst be the verse, how well soe'er it flow, The morals blacken'd when the writings 'scape, That tends to make one worthy man my foe, The libell'd person and the pictur'd shape ; Give virtue scandal, innocence a fear,
Abuse, on all he lov'd, or lov'd him, spread, Or from the soft-ey'd virgin steal a tear!
A friend in exile, or a father dead; But he who hurts a harmless neighbor's peace, The whisper, that, to greatness still too near, Insults fall'n worth, or beauty in distress, Perhaps, yet vibrates on his sovereign's earWho loves a lie, lame slander helps about, Welcome for thee, fair Virtue! all the past : Who writes a libel, or who copies out:
For thee, fair Virtue! welcome ev'n the last! That fop, whose pride affects a patron's name, A. But why insult the poor, affront the great ? Yet absent, wounds an author's honest fame : P. A knave 's a knave, to me, in every state : Who can your merit selfishly approve,
Alike my scorn, if he succeed or fail, And show the sense of it without the love ; Sporus at court, or Japhet in a gaol ; Who has the vanity to call you friend,
A hireling scribbler, or a hireling peer,
Yet wants the honor, injur'd, to defend ;
Knight of the post corrupt, or of the shire ;
Who tells whate'er you think, whate'er you say, If on a pillory, or near a throne,
And, if he lie not, must at least betray:
He gain his prince's ear, or lose his own.
Who to the dean and silver bell can swear,
Yet soft by nature, more a dupe than wit, And sees at Cannons what was never there; Sappho can tell you how this man was bit: Who reads but with a lust to misapply,
This dreaded sat'rist Dennis will confess Make satire a lampoon, and fiction lie;
Foe to his pride but friend to his distress : A lash like mine no honest man shall dread, So humble, he has knock'd at Tibbald's door. But all such babbling blockheads in his stead. Has drunk with Cibber, nay, has rhym'd for Moor
Let Sporus tremble-A. What? that thing of silk, Full ten years slander'd, did he once reply? Sporus, that mere white curd of ass's milk? Three thousand suns went down on Welsted's lie. Satire of sense, alas! can Sporus feel?
To please his mistress one aspers'd his life; Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?
He lash'd him not, but let her be his wife: P. Yet let me flap this bug with gilded wings, Let Budgell charge low Grub-street on his quill, This painted child of dirt, that stinks and stings; And write whate'er he pleas’d, except his will;
And better got, than Bestia's from the throne.
Born to no pride, inheriting no strife,
Nor marrying discord in a noble wife,
Stranger to civil and religious rage,
The good man walk'd innoxious through his age.
No courts he saw, no suits would ever try,
Nor dar'd an oath, nor hazarded a lie.
Unlearn'd, he knew no schoolman's subtle art,
No language, but the language of the heart.
By nature honest, by experience wise;
Healthy by temperance, and by exercise;
His life, though long, to sickness past unknown,
His death was instant, and without a groan.
O grant me thus to live, and thus to die!
Who sprung from kings shall know less joy than I. As the good shepherd tends his fleecy care,
See, Nature hastes her earliest wreaths to bring,
With all the incense of the breathing spring:
See lofty Lebanon his head advance,
See nodding forests on the mountains dance:
See spicy clouds from lowly Saron rise,
And Carmel's flowery top perfumes the skies?
Hark! a glad voice the lonely desert cheers:
Prepare the way! a God, a God appears!
A God, a God! the vocal hills reply,
The rocks proclaim th' approaching Deity.
pray?—Lo, Earth receives him from the bending skies!
Sink down, ye mountains! and ye valleys, rise!
With heads declin'd, ye cedars, homage pay!
Be smooth, ye rocks! ye rapid floods, give way!
The Savior comes! by ancient bards foretold:
Hear him, ye deaf! and all ye blind, behold!
He from thick films shall purge the visual ray,
And on the sightless eyeball pour the day:
'Tis he th' obstructed paths of sound shall clear,
And bid new music charm th' unfolding ear:
The dumb shall sing, the lame his crutch forego,
And leap exulting like the bounding roe.
No sigh, no murmur, the wide world shall hear,
From every face he wipes off every tear.
In adamantine chains shall Death be bound,
And Hell's grim tyrant feel th' eternal wound.
O friend! may each domestic bliss be thine!
Seeks freshest pasture, and the purest air;
Explores the lost, the wandering sheep directs,
By day o'ersees them, and by night protects;
The tender lambs he raises in his arms,
Feeds from his hand, and in his bosom warms:
Thus shall mankind his guardian care engage,
The promis'd father of the future age.
No more shall nation against nation rise,
Nor ardent warriors meet with hateful eyes,
Nor fields with gleaming steel be cover'd o'er,
The brazen trumpets kindle rage no more;
But useless lances into scythes shall bend,
And the broad falchion in a plowshare end.
Then palaces shall rise; the joyful son
Shall finish what his short-liv'd sire begun;
Their vines a shadow to their race shall yield,
And the same hand that sow'd, shall reap the field
The swain in barren deserts with surprise
Sees lilies spring, and sudden verdure rise;
And starts, amidst the thirsty wilds, to hear
New falls of water murmuring in his ear.
On rifted rocks, the dragon's late abodes,
The green reed trembles, and the bulrush nods.
Waste sandy valleys, once perplex'd with thorn,
The spiry fir and shapely box adorn :
To leafless shrubs the flowery palms succeed,
And odorous myrtle to the noisome weed.
The lambs with wolves shall graze the verdant mead,
And boys in flowery bands the tiger lead:
The steer and lion at one crib shall meet,
And harmless serpents lick the pilgrim's feet.
The smiling infant in his hand shall take
The crested basilisk and speckled snake,
Pleas'd, the green lustre of the scales survey,
And with their forky tongue shall innocently play
Rise, crown'd with light, imperial Salem, rise!
Exalt thy towery head, and lift thy eyes!
See a long race thy spacious courts adorn;
See future sons, and daughters yet unborn,
In crowding ranks on every side arise,
Demanding life, impatient for the skies!
See barbarous nations at thy gates attend,
Walk in thy light, and in thy temple bend!
Let the two Curlls of town and court, abuse
His father, mother, body, soul, and Muse.
Yet why that father held it for a rule,
It was a sin to call our neighbor fool:
That harmless mother thought no wife a whore:
Hear this, and spare his family, James Moore;
Unspotted names, and memorable long;
If there be force in virtue, or in song.
Of gentle blood (part shed in Honor's cause,
While yet in Britain Honor had applause)
Each parent sprung.-A. What fortune,
P. Their own,
Be no unpleasing melancholy mine:
Me, let the tender office long engage,
To rock the cradle of reposing age,
With lenient arts extend a mother's breath,
Make languor smile, and smooth the bed of death,
Explore the thought, explain the asking eye,
And keep awhile one parent from the sky!
On cares like these if length of days attend,
May Heaven, to bless those days, preserve my friend,
Preserve him social, cheerful, and serene,
And just as rich as when he serv'd a queen!
A. Whether that blessings be denied or given,
Thus far was right, the rest belongs to Heaven.
A SACRED ECLOGUE, IN IMITATION OF VIRGIL'S POLLIO.
YE nymphs of Solyma! begin the song:
To heavenly themes sublimer strains belong.
The mossy fountains and the sylvan shades,
The dreams of Pindus and th' Aonian maids,
Delight no more-0 thou my voice inspire
Who touch'd Isaiah's hallow'd lips with fire!
Rapt into future times, the bard begun:
A Virgin shall conceive, a Virgin bear a Son!
From Jesse's root behold a branch arise,
Whose sacred flower with fragrance fills the skies:
Th' ethereal spirit o'er its leaves shall move,
And on its top descends the mystic Dove.
Ye Heavens! from high the dewy nectar pour,
And in soft silence shed the kindly shower!
The sick and weak the healing plant shall aid,
From storm a shelter, and from heat a shade.
All crimes shall cease, and ancient frauds shall fail;
Returning Justice lift aloft her scale;
Peace o'er the world her olive wand extend,
And white-rob'd Innocence from Heaven descend.
Swift fly the years, and rise th' expected morn!
Oh spring to light, auspicious Babe, be born!
See thy bright altars throng'd with prostrate kings,
And heap'd with products of Sabean springs!
For thee Idumé's spicy forests blow,
No friend's complaint, no kind domestic tear
Pleas'd thy pale ghost, or grac'd thy mournful bier
By foreign hands thy dying eyes were clos'd,
By foreign hands thy decent limbs compos'd;
By foreign hands thy humble grave adorn'd,
By strangers honor'd, and by strangers mourn'd!
What though no friends in sable weeds appear,
Grieve for an hour, perhaps, then mourn a year
And bear about the mockery of woe
And seeds of gold in Ophir's mountains glow.
See Heaven his sparkling portals wide display,
And break upon thee in a flood of day!
No more the rising Sun shall gild the morn,
Nor evening Cyr fill her silver horn;
But lost, dissolv'd in thy superior rays,
One tide of glory, one unclouded blaze
O'erflow thy courts: the Light himself shall shine
Reveal'd, and God's eternal day be thine!
The seas shall waste, the skies in smoke decay,
Rocks fall to dust, and mountains melt away!
But fix'd his word, his saving power remains;
Thy realm for ever lasts, thy own Messiah reigns!
TO THE MEMORY OF AN UNFORTUNATE LADY.
WHAT beckoning ghost, along the moonlight shade,
Invites my steps, and points to yonder glade?
"Tis she-but why that bleeding bosom gor'd,
Why dimly gleams the visionary sword?
Oh, ever beauteous, ever friendly! tell,
Is it, in Heaven, a crime to love too well?
To bear too tender, or too firm a heart,
To act a lover's or a Roman's part?
Is there no bright reversion in the sky,
For those who greatly think, or bravely die?
Why bade ye else, ye powers! her soul aspire
Above the vulgar flight of low desire?
Ambition first sprung from your blest abodes;
The glorious fault of angels and of gods:
Thence to their images on Earth it flows,
And in the breasts of kings and heroes glows.
Most souls, 'tis true, but peep out once an age,
Dull sullen prisoners in the body's cage:
Dim lights of life, that burn a length of years,
Useless, unseen, as lamps in sepulchres;
Like eastern kings a lazy state they keep,
And, close confin'd to their own palace, sleep.
From these perhaps (ere Nature bade her die) Fate snatch'd her early to the pitying sky. As into air the purer spirits flow, And separate from their kindred dregs below; So flew the soul to its congenial place, Nor left one virtue to redeem her race.
But thou, false guardian of a charge too good,
Thou, mean deserter of thy brother's blood!
See on these ruby lips the trembling breath,
These cheeks now fading at the blast of Death;
Cold is that breast which warm'd the world before,
And those love-darting eyes must roll no more.
Thus, if eternal Justice rules the ball,
Thus shall your wives, and thus your children fall:
On all the line a sudden ver
And frequent hearses shall besiege your gates:
There passengers shall stand, and pointing say,
(While the long funerals blacken all the way,)
"Lo! these were they, whose souls the Furies steel'd,
And curst with hearts unknowing how to yield."
Thus unlamented pass the proud away,
The gaze of fools, and pageant of a day!
So perish all, whose breast ne'er learn'd to glow
For others' good, or melt at others' woe.
What can atone, oh, ever-injur'd shade: Thy fate unpitied, and thy rites unpaid?
To midnight dances, and the public show?
What though no weeping Loves thy ashes grace,
Nor polish'd marble emulate thy face!
What though no sacred earth allow thee room,
Nor hallow'd dirge be mutter'd o'er thy tomb?
Yet shall thy grave with rising flowers be dress'd,
And the green turf lie lightly on thy breast:
There shall the morn her earliest tears bestow,
There the first roses of the year shall blow;
While angels with their silver wings o'ershade
The ground now sacred by thy relics made.
So, peaceful rests, without a stone, a name,
What once had beauty, titles, wealth, and fame.
How lov'd, how honor'd once, avails thee not,
To whom related, or by whom begot;
A heap of dust alone remains of thee,
"Tis all thou art, and all the proud shall be!
Poets themselves must fall, like those they sung,
Deaf the prais'd ear, and mute the tuneful tongue
Ev'n he, whose soul now melts in mournful lays,
Shall shortly want the generous tear he pays;
Then from his closing eyes thy form shal! part:
And the last pang shall tear thee from his heart;
Life's idle business at one gasp be o'er,
The Muse forgot, and thou belov'd no more!
The first Part (to verse 132.) imitated in the Year 1714, by Dr. Swift; the latter Part added afterwards.
I'VE often wish'd that I had clear For life, six hundred pounds a year, A handsome house to lodge a friend, A river at my garden's end,
A terrace-walk, and half a rood
Of land, set out to plant a wood.
Well, now I have all this and more,
I ask not to increase my store;
"But here a grievance seems to lie,
All this is mine but till I die;
I can't but think 'twould sound more clever
To me and to my heirs for ever.
"If I ne'er got or lost a groat,
By any trick, or any fault;
And if I pray by Reason's rules,
And not like forty other fools:
As thus, Vouchsafe, oh gracious Maker!
To grant me this and t'other acre:
Or, if it be thy will and pleasure,
Direct my plow to find a treasure :'
But only what my station fits,
And to be kept in my right wits,
Preserve, Almighty Providence!
Just what you gave me, competence:
And let me in these shades compose
Something in verse as true as prose;
Remov'd from all th' ambitious scene,
Nor puff'd by pride, nor sunk by spleen."