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'T is here grave poets urge their clajin,
Hail mighty thane, for Scotland born, For some thin blast of tiny fame;
To fill her almost empty horn: Here bind their temples drunk with praise,
Hail to thy ancient glorious stem, With half a sprig of wither'd bays.
Not they from kings, but kings from them. O poet, if that honour'd name Befits such idle childish aim; If Virgil ask thy sacred care, If Horace charm thee, oh forbear
THE CIT'S COUNTRY BOX, 1757. To spoil with sacrilegious hand,
Vos sapere & solos aio bene vivere, quorum, The glories of the classic land:
Conspicitur nitidis fundata pecunia villis. Hor. Nor sow thy dowlas on the satin, Of their pure uncorrupted Latin.
The wealthy Cit, grown old in trade, Retter be native in thy verse,
Now wishes for the rural shade, What is Fingal but genuine Erse?
And buckles to his one horse chair, Which all sublime sonorous flows,
Old Dobbin, or the founder'd mare; Like Hervey's thoughts in drunken prose.
While wedg'd in closely by his side, Hail Scotland, hail, to thee belong
Sits madam, his unwieldy bride, All pow'rs, but most the pow'rs of song;
With Jacky on a stool before 'em, Whether the rude unpolish'd Erse
And out they jog in due decorum. Stalk in the buckram prose or verse,
Scarce past the turnpike half a mile, Or bonny Ramsay please thee ino',
How all the country seems to smile! Who sang sae sweetly aw his woe.
And as they slowly jog together, If aught (and say who knows so well)
The cit commends the road and weather; The second-sighted Muse can teil,
Wbile madam doats upon the trees, The happy lairds shall laugh and sing,
And longs for every house she sees, When England's Genius droops his wing.
Admires its views, its situation, So shall thy soil new wealth disclose,
And thus she opens her oration : So thy own thistle choke the rose.
“ What signify the loads of wealth, But what comes here? Methinks I see
Without that richest jewel, health? A walking university.
Excuse the fondness of a wife, See how they press to cross the Tweed,
Who doats upon your precious life! And strain their limbs with eager speed !
Such ceaseless toil, such constant care, While Scotland, from her fertile shore,
Is more than human strength can bear. Cries, “ On my sons, return no more."
One may observe it in your face Hither they haste with willing mind,
Indeed, my dear, you break apace : Nor cast one longing look behind;
And nothing can your health repair, On ten-toe carriage to salute
But exercise and country air. The king, and queen, and earl of Bute.
Sir Traffic has a house, you know, No more the gallant northern sons
About a mile from Cheney-Row; Spout forth their strings of Latin puns;
He's a good man, indeed 't is true, Nor course all languages to frame
But not so warm, my dear, as you: The quibble suited to their name;
And folks are always apt to speerAs when their ancestors be-vers'd
One would not be out-done, my dear!” That glorious Stuart, James the First.
Sir Traflic's name, so well apply'd, But with that elocution's grace,
Awak'd his brother merchant's pride; That oratorial flashy lace,
And Thrifty, who had all his life Which the fam'd Irish Tommy Puff,
Paid utmost deference to his wife, Would sow on sentimental stuff;
Confess'd her arguments bad reason, Twang with a sweet pronunciation,
And by th' approaching summer season, The flow'rs of bold imagination.
Draws a few hundreds from the stocks, Macpherson leads the flaming van,
And purchases his country box. Laird of the new Fingalian clan;
Some three or four miles out of town, While Jacky Home brings up the rear,
(An hour's ride will bring you down,) With new-got pension neat and clear
He fixes on bis choice abode, Three bundred English pounds a year.
Not balf a furlong from the road : While sister Peg, our ancient friend,
And so convenient does it lay, Sends Macs and Donalds without end;
The stages pass it ev'ry day: To George awhile they tune their lays,
And then so snug, so mighty pretty, Then all their choral voices raise,
To have an house so near the city! To heap their panegyric wit on
Take but your places at the Boar Th’illustrious chief, and our North Briton. You're set down at the very door. Hail to the thane, whose patriot skill
Well then, suppose them fix'd at lasty Can break all nations to his will;
White-washing, painting, scrubbing past, Master of sciences and arts,
Hugging themselves in ease and clover, Mæcenas to all men of parts;
With all the fuss of moving over; Whose fost'ring hand, and ready wit,
Lo, a new heap of whims are bred! Shall find us all in places fit;
And wanton in my lady's head. So shall thy friends no longer roam,
“ Well to be sure, it must be own’d, But change to meet a settled home,
It is a charming spot of ground;
So sweet a distance for a ride,
No doubt her arguments prevail,
Blest age! when all men may procure
Now bricklay'rs, carpenters, and joiners,
The villa thus completely grac'd,
GENIUS, ENVY, AND TIME,
Moderns! He hates the very name;
Genius, a bustling lad of parts,
Envy, a squint-ey'd, mere old maid,
Honour she held at bold defiance,
Whate'er he tries with due attention, Talk'd much of faction, gang, alliance,
Rarely escapes his apprehension; As if the real sons of taste
Surmounting every opposition, Had clubbid to lay a desert waste.
You'd swear he learnt by intuition. In short, wherever Genius came,
Shou'd he rely alone on parts, You'd find this antiquated dame;
And study therefore but by starts, Whate'er be did, where'er he went,
Sure of success whene'er he tries, She follow'd only to torment;
Should be forego the means to rise ? Callid Merit by a thousand names,
Suppose your watch a Graham make, Which decency or truth disclaims,
Gold, if you will, for value's sake; While all her business, toil, and care,
Its springs within in order due, Was to depreciate, lie, compare,
No watch, when going, goes so true; To pull the modest maiden down,
If ne'er wound up with proper care, And blast her fame to all the town.
Wbat service is it in the wear? The youth, inflam'd with conscious pride,
Some genial spark of Phæbus' rays, To prince Posterity apply'd,
Perhaps within your bosom plays: Who gave his answer thus in rhyme,
O how the purer rays aspire, By his chief minister, old Time:
If application fans the fire! “ Repine not at what pedants say,
Without it genius vainly tries, We'll bring thee forward on the way;
Howe'er sometimes it seem to rise: If wither'd Envy strive to hurt
Nay application will prevail, With lies, with impudence, and dirt,
When braggart parts and genius fail: You only pay a common tax
And now to lay my proof before ye, Which fool, and knave, and dunce exacts.
I here present you with a story, Be this thy comfort, this thy joy,
In days of yore, when Time was young, Thy strength is in its prime, my boy,
When birds convers'd as well as sung, And ev'ry year thy vigour grows,
When use of speech was not confiu'd Iinpairs the credit of my foes.
Merely to brutes of human kind, Envy shall sink, and be no more
A forward Hare, of swiftness vain, Than what her Naiads were before;
The genius of the neighb'ring plain, Mere excremental maggots, bred,
Wou'd oft deride the drudging crowd: In poet's topsy-turvy head,
For geniuses are ever proud. Born like a momentary Ay,
He'd boast, his flight 't were vain to follow, To flutter, buzz about, and die.
For dog and horse he'd beat them hollow, “ Yet, Genius, mark what I presage,
Nay, if he put forth all his strength, Who look through every distant age:
Outstrip his brethren half a length. Merit shall bless thee with her charms,
A Tortoise heard his vain oration, Fame lift thy offspring in her arms,
And vented thus his indignation. And stamp eternity of grace
“ Oh Puss, it bodes thee dire disgrace, On all thy numerous various race.
When I defy thee to thy race. Roubilliac, Wilton, names as high
Come, 't is a match, nay, no denial, As Phidias of antiquity,
I lay my shell upon the trial," Shall strength, expression, manner give,
'T was done and gone, all fair, a bet, And make e'en marble breathe and live;
Judges prepar'd, and distance set. While Sigismunda's deep distress,
The scamp'ring Hare outstript the wind, Which looks the soul of wretchedness,
The creeping Tortoise lagg'd behind, When I, with slow and softning pen,
And scarce had pass'd a single pole, Have gone o'er all the tints again,
When Puss had almost reach'd the goal. Shall urge a bold and proper claim
“ Priend Tortoise,” quoth the jeering Hare, To levei half the ancient fame;
Your burthen's more than you can bear, While future ages yet unknown
To help your speed, it were as well With critic air shall proudly own
That I should ease you of your sheil: Thy Hogarth first of every clime
Jog on a little faster prythee, For humour keen, or strong sublime,
I'll take a nap, and then be with thee." And hail him from his fire and spirit,
So said, so done, and safely sure,
For say, what conquest more secure?
The Tortoise heard his taunting jeer,
Still draw'd along, as who should say, A FABLE.
“I'll win, like Fabius, by delay;" Genius, blest term, of meaning wide,
On to the goal securely crept, For sure no term so misapply'd,
While Puss unknowing soundly slept. How many bear thy sacred name,
The bets were won, the Hare awake, That never felt a real fame!
When thus the victor Tortoise spake: Proud of the specious appellation,
“ Puss, tho' I own thy quicker parts, Thus fools have christen'd inclination.
Things are not always done by starts, But yet suppose a genius true,
You may deride my awkward pace, Exempli gratiâ, me or you:
But slow and steady wins the race."
THE SATYR AND PEDLAR. 1757. THE NIGHTINGALE, THE OUL, AND THE WORDS
CUCKOO, are, so Wollaston defines, Of our ideas merely signs,
A FABLE; ADDRESSED TO DAVID GARRICK, ESQ. Which have a pow'r at will to vary,
ON THE REPORT OF HIS RETIRING FROM THE As being vague and arbitrary.
STAGE, DEC. 1760. Now dimn'd for instance—all agree,
Critics, who like the scarecrows stand Damn'd's the superlative degree;
Upon the poet's common land, Means that alone, and nothing more,
And with severity of sense, However taken heretofore;
Drive all imagination thence, Damu'd is a word can't stand alone,
Say that in truth lies all sublime, Which has no meaning of its own,
Whether you write in prose or rhyme. But signifies or bad or good
And yet the truth may lose its grace, Just as its neighbour's understood.
If blurted to a person's face; Examples we may find enough.
Especially if what you speak Damu'd high, damn'd low, damn'd fine, damn'd Shou'd crimson o'er the glowing cheek: stuff.
For when you throw that slaver o'er him, So fares it too with its relation,
And tumble out your praise before him, I mean its substantive, damnation.
However just the application, The wit with metaphors makes bold,
It looks a-squint at adulation. And tells you he's damnation cold;
I would be honest and sincere, Perhaps, that metaphor forgot,
But not a fiatterer, or severe. The self-same wit's damnation hot,
Need I be surly, rough, uncouth, And here a fable I remember
That folks inay think I love the Truth? Once in the middle of December,
And she, good dame, with beauty's queen, When ev'ry mead in snow is lost,
Was not at all times naked seen: And ev'ry river bound with frost,
For every boy, with Prior, knows, When families get all together,
By accident she lost her clothes, And feelingly talk o'er the weather;
When Falshood stole them to disguise When-pox on the descriptive rhyme
Her misbegotten brood of lies. In short it was the winter time.
Why should the prudish goddess dwell It was a Pedlar's happy lut,
Down at the bottom of a well, To fall into a Satyr's cot:
But that she is in piteous fright, Sbiv'ring with cold, and alınost froze,
Lest, rising up to mortal sight, With pearly drop upon his nose,
The modest world should feer and flout her, His fingers' ends all pinch'd to death,
With not a ray of clothes about her? He blew upon them with his breath.
Yet she might wear a proper dress “ Friend,” quoth the Satyr,“ what intends
And keep her essence ne'ertheless, That blowing on thy fingers' ends?”
So Delia's bosom still will rise, “ It is to warm them tbus I blow,
And fascinate her lover's eyes, For they are froze as cold as snow.
Though round her ivory neck she draws And so inclement has it been,
The decent shade of specious gauze. I'm like a cake of ice within."
I hear it buzz'd about the table, * Come,” quoth the Satyr, “ comfort, man! “ What can this lead to?"-Sirs, I'll cheer thy inside, if I can;
When birds allow'd the Eagle's sway,
Ere Eagles turn'd to fowls of prey, A bowl prepar'd of sav'ry broth,
His royal majesty of Air Which with delight the Pedlar view'd,
Took Music underneath his care; As smoking on the board it stood.
And, for his queen and court's delight, But, though the very steain arose
Commanded concerts ev'ry night. With grateful odour to his nose,
Here every bird of parts might enter, One siogle sip he ventur'd nut,
The Nightingale was made præcentor; The gruel was so wond're us hot.
Under whose care and just direction, What can be done? --with gentle puff
Merit was sure to meet protection. He blows it, 'till it's cool enough.
The Lark, the Blackbird, and the Robin " Why how now, Pedlar, what's the matter? This concert always bore a bob in: Still at thy blowing !” quoth the Satyr.
The best performers all were in it, “I blow to cool it," cries the clown,
The Thrush, Canary-bird, and Linnet. “ That I may get the liquor down:
But birds, alas! are apt to aim For though I grant, you've made it well,
At things, to which they've smallest claim. You've boil'd it, sir, as hot as Hell.”
The staring Owl, with hideous hoot, Then raising high his cloven stump,
Offer'd his service for a flute. The Satyr smote him on the rump.
The Cuckoo needs would join the band; “ Begone, thou double knare, or fool,
“ The Thrush is but a paltry hand: With the same breath to warm and cool:
And I cap best supply that place, Friendship with such I never hold
For I've a shake, a swell, a grace.” Who're so damn'd hot, and so damn'd cold." The manager their suit preferr'd:
Both tun'd their pipes, and both were beard;
Yet each their several praises miss'd,
Thinking that bell and knocker too For both were heard, and both were hiss'd. Were found out nothing else to do, The Cuckoo hence, with rancour stirr'd,
But to inform the house, no doubt, (A kind of periodic bird,
That there was somebody without, Of nasty hue, and body scabby,
Who, if they might such favour win, No would-be-play-wright haif so shabby)
Would rather choose to be within. Reviles, abuses, and defames,
But had our servants no more sense, Screams from a branch, and calls hard names, Lord! what must be the consequence? And strikes at Nightingale or Lark,
Errour would errour still pursue, Like Lisbon ruffians, in the dark.
And strife.and anarchy ensue, The Owl harangues the gaping throng
Punctilio from her altar hurl'd, On pow'rs, and excellence of song,
Whence she declares unto the world “ The Blackbird's note has lost its force;
Wbate'er by Fancy is decreed, The Nightingale is downright hoarse;
Through all her niceties must bleed, The Linnet's harsh; the Robin shrill;
For if there was not to be found -The Sparrow has prodigious skill!"
Some wholesome difference of sound, At length they had what they desir'd;
But the same rap foretold th' approach The skilful Nightingale retird.
Of him who walk'd, or rode in coach, When Folly came, with wild Uproar,
A poor relation now and then,
Might to my lord admittance gain,
And, what is more unhappy still,
The stupid wretch who brings a bill,
Might pass through all the motley tribe, The greatest demirep above,
As free as one, who brings a bribe. Who scorn'd restriction, hated custom,
My lady.too might pique her grace knew her own sex too well to trust 'em,
With carriage stiff and formal face, Proceeded on the noble plan,
Which, she deceivd, had taken care At any rate, to have her man;
For some inferior to prepare; Look'd on decorum as mere trash,
Or might some wretch from Lombard-street And liv'd like *** and ***
With greater ease and freedom meet, From Paphos, where they her revere
Than sense of honour will admit As much as we do Cælia here,
Between my lady and a cit. Or from Cythera, where her altars
Those evils wisely to prevent, Are deck'd with daggers, true-love halters, And root out care and discontent, Garters yclept, and other trophies,
Ev'ry gay smart, who rides behind, Which prove that man in love an oaf is,
With rose and bag in taste refin’d, According to appointment, came
Must music fully understand, To see Cæcilia, tuneful dame,
Have a nice ear and skilful hand; Whose praise by Dryden's Ode is grown
At ev'ry turn be always found Bright and immortal as his own;
A perfect connoisseur in sound; And who hath been for many years
'Through all the gamut skilful fly, The chief directress of the spheres.
Varying his notes, now low, now high, Thomas, who rode bebind the car,
According as he shifts his place; And for a flambeau held a star,
Now boarsely grumbling in the base, Who, in the honest way of trade,
Now turning tenor, and again Hath forg'd more horns, and cuckolds made, To treble raising his shrill strain; Than Vulcan and his brawny dolts
So to declare, where'er he be, Ever for Jove forg'd thunderbolts,
His master's fortune and degree, Slipt gently down, and ran before 'em,
By the distinguishing address, Ringing the bell with due decorum.
Which he'll upon the door express. But, truth to say, 1 cannot tell
Thomas, whom I have nam'd before Whether it knocker was or bell,
As ringing at Cæcilia's door, (This for Vertù an anecdote is,)
Was perfect master of this art, Which us'd to give Cæcilia notice,
And vers'd alike in ev'ry part: When any lady of the sky
So that Cæcilia knew, before Was come to bear her company.
Her footman came unto the door, But this I'm sure, be which it will,
And in due form had told her so, Thomas perform'd his part with skill.
That madai Venus was below. Methinks I hear the reader cry
The doors immediate open fiew, “ His part with skill? why, you or I,
The goddess, without more ado, Or any body else, as well
Displaying beauty's thousand airs, As Thomas, sure, could ring a bell,
Skim'd through the hall, and trip'd up
stairs. Nor did I ever hear before
Cæcilia met ber with a smile Of skill in knocking at a door.”
Of great delight, when all the wbile, Poor low-liv'd creature! I suppose,
If her false heart could have been seen, Nay, and am sure, you're one of those
She wish'd she had at Cyprus been. Who, at what door so'er they be,
But ladies, skill'd in forms and arts, Will always knock in the same key.
Don't in their faces wear their hearts,