Page images
[ocr errors]

But, sage historians ! 'tis your task to prove
One action conduct; one, heroic love:

'Tis from high life, high characters are drawn ;
A saint in crape is twice a saint in lawn;
A judge is just, a chanc'lor juster still ;
A gownman, learn’d; a bishop, what you will ;
Wise, if a minister ; but, if a king,
More wise, more learn'd, more just, more ev'ry thing.
Court-virtues bear, like gems, the highest rate,
Born where heaven's influence scarce can penetrate ::
In life's low vale, the soil the virtues like,
They please as beauties, here as wonders strike.
Though the same sun with all-diffusive rays
Blush in the rose, and in the diamond blaze,
We prize the stronger effort of his pow'r,
And justly set the gem above the flower.

'Tis education forms the common mind,
Just as the twig is bent, the tree 's inclin'd.
Boastful and rough, your first son is a squire ;
The next a tradesman, meek, and much a liar ;
Tom struts a soldier, open, bold, and brave;
Will sneaks a scriv'ner, an exceeding knave :
Is he a churchman ? then he's fond of power :
A quaker ? sly : a presbyterian? sour :
A smart free-thinker? all things in an hour.

Ask men's opinions : Scoto now shall tell
How trade increases, and the world goes well ;
Strike off his pension, by the setting sun,
And Britain, if not Europe, is undone.

That gay free-thinker, a fine talker once,
What turns him now a stupid silent dunce ?
Some god, or spirit he has lately found;
Or chanc'd to meet a minister that frown'd.

Judge we by nature? habit can efface,
Interest o'ercome, or policy take place :
By actions ? those uncertainty divides :
By passions ? these dissimulation hides :
Opinions ? they still take a wider range :
Find, if you can, in what you cannot change.

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.


P. Shut, shut the door, good John ! fatigued I said,
Tie up the knocker, say I'm sick, I'm dead.
The dog-star rages ! nay, 'tis past a doubt,
All Bedlam, or Parnassus, is let out :
Fire in each eye, and papers in each hand,
They rave, recite, and madden round the land.
What walks can guard me, or what shades can hide?
They pierce my thickets, through my grot they glide,
By land, by water, they renew the charge,
They stop the chariot, and they board the barge.
No place is sacred, not the church is free,
Ev'n Sunday shines no Sabbath-day to me:
Then from the Mint walks forth the man of rhyme,
Happy! to catch me, just at dinner-time.

Is there a parson much be-mus’d in beer,
A maudlin poetess, a rhyming peer,
A clerk foredoom'd his father's soul to cross,
Who pens a stanza, when he should engross?
Is there, who, lock'd from ink and paper, scrawls
With desp’rate charcoal round his darken'd walls ?
All fly to Twit'nam, and in humble strain
Apply to me, to keep them mad or vain.
Arthur, whose giddy son neglects the laws,
Imputes to me and my damn'd works the cause.
Poor Cornus sees his frantic wife elope,
And curses wit, and poetry, and Pope.

Friend to my life ; (which did not you prolong,
The world had wanted many an idle song)
What drop or nostrum can this plague remove ?
Or which must end me, a fool's wrath or love?
A dire dilemma ! either way I'm sped,
If foes, they write, if friends, they read me dead.
Seiz'd and tied down to judge, how wretched I!
Who can't be silent, and who will not lie :

To laugh, were want of goodness and of grace,
And to be grave, exceeds all pow'r of face.
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,
Lulld I 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. 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,
When ev'ry coxcomb perks them in my face?

A. Good friend, forbear: you deal in dang’rous things.
I'd never name queens, ministers, or kings;
Keep close to ears, and those let asses prick,
'Tis nothing-P. Nothing, if they bite and kick ?
Out with it, Dunciad! let the secret pass,
That secret to each fool, that he's an ass :
The truth once told (and wherefore should we lie ?)
The Queen of Midas slept, and so may I.

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 :

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »