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Though some had spread a thousand lies,
'Twas he defeated the excise.
'Twas known, though he had borne aspersion,
That standing troops were his aversion :
His practice was, in every station,
To serve the king, and please the nation.
Though hard to find in every case
The fittest man to fill a place :
His promises he ne'er forgot,
But took memorials on the spot ;
His enemies, for want of charity,
Said, he affected popularity :
'Tis true, the people understood,
That all he did was for their good ;
Their kind affections he has tried ;
No love is lost on either side.
He came to court with fortune clear,
Which now he runs out every year ;
Must, at the rate that he goes on,
Inevitably be undone :
O! if his majesty would please
To give him but a writ of ease,
Would grant him license to retire,
As it has long been his desire,
By fair accounts it would be found,
He's poorer by ten thousand pound.
He owns, and hopes it is no sin,
He ne'er was partial to his kin ;
He thought it base for men in stations,
To crowd the court with their relations :
His country was his dearest mother,
And every virtuous man his brother;
Through modesty or awkward shame,
(For which he owns himself to blame,)
He found the wisest man he could,
Without respect to friends or blood ;
Nor ever acts on private views,
When he has liberty to choose.
The Sharper swore he hated play,
Except to pass an hour away :
And well he might ; for, to his cost,
By want of skill, he always lost ;
He heard there was a club of cheats,
Who had contrived a thousand feats ;
Could change the stock, or cog a die,
And thus deceive the sharpest eye :
Nor wonder how his fortune sunk,
His brothers fleece him when he's drunk.
I own the moral not exact,
Besides, the tale is false, in fact ;
And so absurd, that could I raise up,
From fields Elysian, fabling Æsop,
I would accuse him to his face,
For libelling the four-foot race.
Creatures of every kind but ours
Well comprehend their natural powers,
While we, whom reason ought to sway,
Mistake our talents every day.
The Ass was never known so stupid,
To act the part of Tray or Cupid ;
Nor leaps upon his master's lap,
There to be stroked, and fed with pap,
As Æsop would the world persuade ;
He better understands his trade :
Nor comes whene'er his lady whistles,
But carries loads, and feeds on thistles.
Our author's meaning, I presume, is
A creature bipes et implumis;
Wherein the moralist design'd
A compliment on human kind ;
For here he owns, that now and then
Beasts may degen te into men.
(First printed in a letter from Lord Chesterfield to Voltaire, Aug. 27, 1752.)
With a whirl of thought oppress’d,
I sunk from reverie to rest.
A horrid vision seized my head,
I saw the graves give up their dead !
Jove, arm’d with terrors, bursts the skies,
And thunder roars and lightning flies !
Amazed, confused, its fate unknown,
The world stands trembling at his throne !
While each pale sinner hung his head,
Jove, nodding, shook the heavens, and said :
‘Offending race of human kind,
By nature, reason, learning, blind ;
You who, through frailty, stepp'd aside;
And you, who never fell from pride :
You who in different sects were shamm’d,
And come to see each other damn'd;
(So some folk told you, but they knew
No more of Jove's designs than you ;)
-The world's mad business now is o'er,
And I resent these pranks no more.
-I to such blockheads set my wit !
I damn such fools !-Go, go, you're bit.'
FROM VERSES ON THE DEATH OF DR. SWIFT.'
Vain human kind! fantastic race !
Thy various follies who can trace ?
Self-love, ambition, envy, pride,
Their empire in our hearts divide.
Give others riches, power, and station,
'Tis all on me a usurpation.
I have no title to aspire ;
Yet, when you sink, I seem the higher.
In Pope I cannot read a line,
But with a sigh I wish it mine ;
When he can in one couplet fix
More sense than I can do in six,
It gives me such a jealous fit,
I cry, 'Pox take him and his wit !'
I grieve to be outdone by Gay
In my own humorous biting way.
Arbuthnot is no more my friend,
Who dares to irony pretend,
Which I was born to introduce,
Refined it first, and show'd its use.
St. John, as well as Pultney, knows
That I had some repute for prose ;
And, till they drove me out of date,
Could maul a minister of state.
If they have mortified my pride,
And made me throw my pen aside ;
If with such talents Heaven has bless'd 'em,
Have I not reason to detest 'em ?
From Dublin soon to London spread,
'Tis told at court, the Dean is dead.'
And Lady Suffolk, in the spleen,
Runs laughing up to tell the queen.
The queen, so gracious, mild, and good,
Cries, 'Is he gone ! 'tis time he should.
He's dead, you say; then let him rot:
I'm glad the medals were forgot."
I promised him, I own; but when ?
I only was the princess then;
But now, as consort of the king,
You know, 'tis quite another thing.'
1 The Queen had promised Swift a present which she never gave him.
Now Chartres, at Sir Robert's 1 levee,
Tells with a sneer the tidings heavy :
"Why, if he died without his shoes,'
Cries Bob, “I'm sorry for the news :
O, were the wretch but living still,
And in his place my good friend Will !?
Or had a mitre on his head,
Provided Bolingbroke were dead !'
Now Curll his shop from rubbish drains :
Three genuine tomes of Swift's remains !
And then, to make them pass the glibber,
Revised by Tibbalds, Moore, and Cibber.
He'll treat me as he does my betters,
Publish my will, my life, my letters :
Revive the libels born to die;
Which Pope must bear, as well as I.
Here shift the scene, to represent
How those I love my death lament.
Poor Pope would grieve a month, and Gay
A week, and Arbuthnot a day.
St. John himself will scarce forbear
To bite his pen, and drop a tear.
The rest will give a shrug, and cry,
'I'm sorry—but we all must die !!
Suppose me dead; and then suppose
A club assembled at the Rose ;
Where, from discourse of this and that,
I grow the subject of their chat.
And while they toss my name about,
With favour some, and some without,
One, quite indifferent in the cause,
My character impartial draws :
'The Dean, if we believe report,
Was never ill-received at court.
Sir Robert Walpole. The Dublin edition describes Chartres as “an infamous vile scoundrel, grown from a footboy, or worse, to a prodigious fortune.'
· William Pultney, who went over from Walpole to Bolingbroke.