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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, or 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 praise-
Who 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 or 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 assign'd,
And others (harder still) he paid in kind.
Dryden alone (what wonder?) came not nigh,
Dryden alone escap'd this judging eye:
But still the great have kindness in reserve,
He help'd to bury whom he help'd to starve.
May some choice patron bless each grey
Whose buzz the witty and the fair annoys,
Yet wit ne'er tastes, and beauty ne'er enjoys:
So well-bred spaniels civilly delight
In mumbling of the game they dare not bite.
Eternal smiles his emptiness betray,
As shallow streams run dimpling all the way. goose-Whether in florid impotence he speaks,
May every Bavius have his Bufo still!
So when a statesman wants a day's defence,
Or envy holds a whole week's war with sense,
Or simple pride for flattery makes demands,
May dunce by dunce be whistled off my hands!
Blest be the great! for those they take away,
And those they left me; for they left me Gay:
Left me to see neglected genius bloom,
Neglected die, and tell it on his tomb:
Of all thy blameless life the sole return
And, as the prompter breathes, the puppet squeaks;
Or at the ear of Eve, familiar toad,
Half froth, half venom, spits himself abroad,
In puns, or politics, or tales, or lies,
Or spite, or smut, or rhymes, or blasphemies.
His wit all see-saw, between that and this,
Now high, now low, now master up, now miss,
And he himself one vile Antithesis.
Amphibious thing! that, acting either part,
The trifling head! or the corrupted heart,
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 too!
(To live and die is all I have to do :) Maintain a poet's dignity and ease,
Eve's tempter thus the Rabbins have exprest,
A cherub's face, a reptile all the rest.
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
Sometimes to call a minister my friend.
I was not born for courts or great affairs:
I pay my debts, believe, and say my prayers;
Can sleep without a poem in my head,
Nor know, if Dennis be alive or dead.
Why am I ask'd what next shall see the light?
Heavens! was I born for nothing but to write?
Has life no joys for me? or (to be grave)
Have I no friend to serve, no soul to save?
"I found him close with Swift-Indeed? no doubt
(Cries prating Balbus) something will come out."
"Tis all in vain, deny it as I will,
"No, such a genius never can lie still;"
And then for mine obligingly mistakes
The first lampoon Sir Will or Bubo makes.
Poor, guiltless I! and can I choose but smile,
When every coxcomb knows me by my style?
Curst be the verse, how well soe'er it flow,
That tends to make one worthy man my foe,
Give virtue scandal, innocence a fear,
Or from the soft-ey'd virgin steal a tear!
But he who hurts a harmless neighbor's peace,
Insults fall'n worth, or beauty in distress,
Who loves a lie, lame slander helps about,
Who writes a libel, or who copies out:
That fop, whose pride affects a patron's name,
Yet absent, wounds an author's honest fame:
Who can your merit selfishly approve,
And show the sense of it without the love;
Who has the vanity to call you friend,
Yet wants the honor, injur'd, to defend;
Who tells whate'er you think, whate'er you say,
And, if he lie not, must at least betray:
Who to the dean and silver bell can swear,
And sees at Cannons what was never there;
Who reads but with a lust to misapply,
Make satire a lampoon, and fiction lie;
A lash like mine no honest man shall dread,
But all such babbling blockheads in his stead.
Let Sporus tremble-A. What? that thing of silk,
Sporus, that mere white curd of ass's milk?
Satire of sense, alas! can Sporus feel?
Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?
P. Yet let me flap this bug with gilded wings,
This painted child of dirt, that stinks and stings;
Not Fortune's worshipper, nor Fashion's fool, Not Lucre's madman, nor Ambition's tool, Not proud, nor servile; be one poet's praise, That, if he pleas'd, he pleas'd by manly ways: That flattery, ev'n to kings, he held a shame, And thought a lie in verse or prose the same; That not in Fancy's maze he wander'd long, But stoop'd to Truth, and moraliz'd his song: That not for fame, but Virtue's better end, He stood the furious foe, the timid friend, The damning critic, half-approving wit, The coxcomb hit, or fearing to be hit; Laugh'd at the loss of friends he never had, The dull, the proud, the wicked, and the mad; The distant threats of vengeance on his head, The blow unfelt, the tear he never shed; The tale reviv'd, the lie so oft o'erthrown, Th' imputed trash, and dullness not his own; The morals blacken'd when the writings 'scape. The libell'd person and the pictur'd shape; Abuse, on all he lov'd, or lov'd him, spread, A friend in exile, or a father dead; The whisper, that, to greatness still too near, Perhaps, yet vibrates on his sovereign's earWelcome for thee, fair Virtue! all the past : For thee, fair Virtue! welcome ev'n the last!
A. But why insult the poor, affront the great? P. A knave's a knave, to me, in every state: Alike my scorn, if he succeed or fail, Sporus at court, or Japhet in a gaol; A hireling scribbler, or a hireling peer, Knight of the post corrupt, or of the shire; If on a pillory, or near a throne,
He gain his prince's ear, or lose his own.
Yet soft by nature, more a dupe than wit, Sappho can tell you how this man was bit: This dreaded sat 'rist Dennis will confess Foe to his pride but friend to his distress: So humble, he has knock'd at Tibbald's door, Has drunk with Cibber, nay, has rhym'd for Moor. Full ten years slander'd, did he once reply? Three thousand suns went down on Welsted's lie. To please his mistress one aspers'd his life; He lash'd him not, but let her be his wife: Let Budgell charge low Grub-street on his quill, And write whate'er he pleas'd, except his will;
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, pray?
P. Their own,
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.
O friend! may each domestic bliss be thine!
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, 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.
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.
As the good shepherd tends his fleecy care,
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!
See thy bright altars throng'd with prostrate kings,
And heap'd with products of Sabean springs!
For thee Idumé's spicy forests blow,
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 Cynthia fill her silver horn;
But lost, dissolv'd in thy superior rays,
One tide of glory, one unclouded blaze
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
To midnight dances, and the public show?
O'erflow thy courts: the Light himself shall shine What though no weeping Loves thy ashes grace,
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 vengeance waits,
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?
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 shall 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."
In short, I'm perfectly content, Let me but live on this side Trent; Nor cross the Channel twice a year, To spend six months with statesmen here. I must by all means come to town, 'Tis for the service of the crown. "Lewis, the Dean will be of use, Send for him up, take no excuse." The toil, the danger of the seas; Great ministers ne'er think of these; Or let it cost five hundred pound, No matter where the money's found. It is but so much more in debt, And that they ne'er consider'd yet.
"Good Mr. Dean, go change your gown,
Let my lord know you're come to town."
I hurry me in haste away,
Not thinking it is levee-day;
And find his honor in a pound,
Hemm'd by a triple circle round,
Chequer'd with ribbons blue and green.
How should I thrust myself between?
Some wag observes me thus perplext,
And smiling whispers to the next,
"I thought the Dean had been too proud,
To justle here among a crowd."
Another, in a surly fit,
Tells me I have more zeal than wit,
So eager to express your love,
You ne'er consider whom you shove,
But rudely press before a duke."
I own, I'm pleas'd with this rebuke,
And take it kindly meant to show
What I desire the world should know.
I get a whisper, and withdraw:
When twenty fools I never saw
Come with petitions fairly penn'd,
Desiring I would stand their friend.
This, humbly offers me his case-
That, begs my int'rest for a place-
A hundred other men's affairs,
Like bees, are humming in my ears.
"To-morrow my appeal comes on,
Without your help the cause is gone."
The duke expects my lord and you,
About some great affair, at two-
Put my lord Bolingbroke in mind,
To get my warrant quickly sign'd ·
Consider 'tis my first request.”-
Be satisfied, I'll do my best :-
Then presently he falls to tease,
"You may for certain, if you please;
I doubt not, if his lordship knew-
And, Mr. Dean, one word from you-"
"Tis (let me see) three years and more, (October next it will be four,) Since Harley bid me first attend, And chose me for an humble friend; Would take me in his coach to chat,
And question me of this and that;
As, "What's o'clock?" And, "How's the wind?" "Who's chariot's that we left behind?"
Or gravely try to read the lines
Writ underneath the country signs;
Or," Have you nothing new to-day
From Pope, from Parnell, or from Gay?"
Such tattle often entertains
My lord and me as far as Staines,
As once a week we travel down
To Windsor, and again to town,
Where all that passes, inter nos, Might be proclaim'd at Charing-Cross. Yet some I know with envy swell, Because they see me us'd so well:
How think you of our friend the Dean?
I wonder what some people mean;
My lord and he are grown so great,
Always together, tête-à-tête.
What, they admire him for his jokes-
See but the fortune of some folks!"
There flies about a strange report
Of some express arriv'd at court;
I'm stopt by all the fools I meet,
And catechis'd in every street.
"You, Mr. Dean, frequent the great;
Inform us, will the emp'ror treat?
Or do the prints and papers lie?"
Faith, Sir, you know as much as I.
"Ah, doctor, how you love to jest!
"Tis now no secret"-I protest
"Tis one to me-" Then tell us, pray,
When are the troops to have their pay?"
And, though I solemnly declare
I know no more than my lord-mayor,
They stand amaz'd, and think me grown
The closest mortal ever known.
Thus in a sea of folly toss'd, My choicest hours of life are lost; Yet always wishing to retreat, Oh, could I see my country-seat! There, leaning near a gentle brook, Sleep, or peruse some ancient book, And there in sweet oblivion drown Those cares that haunt the court and town. O charming noons! and nights divine! Or when I sup, or when I dine, My friends above, my folks below, Chatting and laughing all-a-row, The beans and bacon set before 'em, The grace-cup serv'd with all decorum : Each willing to be pleas'd, and please, And ev'n the very dogs at ease! Here no man prates of idle things, How this or that Italian sings, A neighbor's madness, or his spouse's, Or what's in either of the houses: But something much more our concern, And quite a scandal not to learn: Which is the happier, or the wiser, A man of merit, or a miser? Whether we ought to choose our friends, For their own worth, or our own ends?
What good, or better, we may call,
And what, the very best of all?
Our friend Dan Prior told (you know)
A tale extremely à propos :
Name a town life, and in a trice
He had a story of two mice.
Once on a time (so runs the fable)
A country mouse, right hospitable,
Receiv'd a town mouse at his board,
Just as a farmer might a lord.
A frugal mouse upon the whole,
Yet lov'd his friend, and had a soul,
Knew what was handsome, and would do't,
On just occasion, coûte qui coûte.
He brought him bacon (nothing lean);
Pudding, that might have pleas'd a dean;
Cheese, such as men in Suffolk make,
But wish'd it Stilton for his sake;