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But, sage historians ! 'tis your task to prove
'Tis from high life, high characters are drawn ;
'Tis education forms the common mind,
Ask men's opinions : Scoto now shall tell
That gay free-thinker, a fine talker once,
Judge we by nature? habit can efface,
Manners with fortunes, humours turn with climes, Tenets with books, and principles with times.
Search then the ruling passion : there, alone, The wild are constant, and the cunning known; The fool consistent, and the false sincere ; Priests, princes, women, no dissemblers here. This clue once found, unravels all the rest, The prospect clears, and Wharton stands confest. Wharton, the scorn and wonder of our days, Whose ruling passion was the lust of praise : Born with whate'er could win it from the wise, Women and fools must like him, or he dies ; Tho' wond'ring senates hung on all he spoke, The Club must hail him master of the joke. Shall parts so various aim at nothing new ? He'll shine a Tully and a Wilmot too ; Then turns repentant, and his God adores With the same spirit that he drinks and whores : Enough, if all around him but admire, And now the punk applaud, and now the friar. Thus with each gift of nature and of art, And wanting nothing but an honest heart ; Grown all to all, from no one vice exempt ; And most contemptible to shun contempt ; His passion still to covet general praise, His life to forfeit it a thousand ways; A constant bounty which no friend has made ; An angel tongue, which no man can persuade! A fool, with more of wit than half mankind, Too rash for thought, for action too refin'd : A tyrant to the wife his heart approves ; A rebel to the very king he loves ; He dies, sad outcast of each church and state, And, harder still ! fagitious, yet not great. Ask you why Wharton broke thro' ev'ry rule ? 'Twas all for fear the knaves should call him fool.
Nature well known, no prodigies remain, Comets are regular, and Wharton plain.
EPISTLE TO DR. ARBUTHNOT.
P. Shut, shut the door, good John ! fatigued I said,
Is there a parson much be-mus’d in beer,
Friend to my life ; (which did not you prolong,
To laugh, were want of goodness and of grace,
Nine years : cries he, who high in Drury-lane,
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. Dare you refuse him ? Curl invites to dine, 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 play'rs and I are, luckily, no friends. Fir'd that the house reject him, “'sdeath, I'll print it, And shame the fools-your int'rest, sir, with Lintot.' Lintot, dull rogue! will think your price too much : Not, sir, if you revise it, and retouch.' All my demurs but double his attacks : At last he whispers, 'Do, and we go snacks.' Glad of a quarrel, straight I clap the door, Sir, let me see your works and you no more.
'Tis sung, when Midas' ears began to spring, (Midas, a sacred person and a king,) His very minister who spied them first, (Some say his queen) was forc'd to speak, or burst.
And is not mine, my friend, a sorer case,
A. Good friend, forbear: you deal in dang’rous things.
You think this cruel ? take it for a rule, No creature smarts so little as a fool. Let peals of laughter, Codrus ! round thee break, Thou unconcern'd canst hear the mighty crack ! Pit, box, and gall’ry in convulsions hurld, Thou stand'st unshook amidst a bursting world. Who shames a scribbler ? break one cobweb thro', He spins the slight, self-pleasing thread anew : Destroy his fib, or sophistry, in vain, The creature's at his dirty work again, Thron'd in the centre of his thin designs, Proud of a vast extent of flimsy lines ! Whom have I hurt? has poet yet, or peer, Lost the arch'd eye-brow, or Parnassian sneer? And has not Colley still his lord and whore? His butchers Henley, his free-masons Moore? Does not one table Bavius still admit? Still to one bishop Philips seem a wit? Still Sappho—A. Hold ! for God sake—you 'll offend. No names—be calm-learn prudence of a friend. I too could write, and I am twice as tall; But foes like these—P. One flatt'rer'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 :