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POEMS

OF

DR. JOHNSON.

LONDON;

A POEM:

IN IMITATION OF THE THIRD SATIRE OF JUVENAL.

WRITTEN IN 1738.

-Quis ineptæ

Tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus ut teneat se? Juv. 'THO' grief and fondness in my breast rebel, When injur'd Thales 2 bids the town farewell,

Juv, Sat. III.

1 Quamvis digressu veteris confusus amici; Laudo, tamen, vacuis quod sedem figere Cumis Destinet, atque unum civem donare Sibyllæ.

2 Sir John Hawkins says, that by Thales we are here to understand Savage. Mr. Boswell asserts that this is entirely groundless, and adds," I have been assured that Dr. Johnson said, he was not so much as acquainted with Savage when he wrote his London." This, added to the circumstance of the date (for Savage did not set out for Wales till July 1739) might be decisive, if, unfortunately for Mr. Boswell, he had not a few pages after, given us some highly complimentary lines which " he was assured were written by Dr. Johnson," Ad Ricardum Savage, in April 1738, about a month before London was published. This surely implies previous acquaintance* with Savage, for Dr. Johnson would not have praised a stranger in such terms, and gives a very strong probability to sir John Hawkins's conjecture. That Savage did not set out for Wales until the following year, is a matter of little consequence, as the intention of such a journey would justify the lines alluding to it. See Boswell's Life of Johnson, vol. i. p. 100, and p. 139. 8vo. edit. 1804. C.

Yet still my calmer thoughts his choice com-
mend,

I praise the hermit, but regret the friend,
Resolv'd at length from vice and London far
To breathe in distant fields a purer air,
And fix'd on Cambria's solitary shore,
Give to St. David one true Briton more.

3 For who would leave, unbrib'd, Hibernia's
land,

Or change the rocks of Scotland for the Strand?
There none are swept by sudden fate away,
But all, whom hunger spares, with age decay:
Here malice, rapine, accident, conspire,
And now a rabble rages, now a fire;
Their ambush here relentless ruffians lay,
And here the fell attorney prowls for prey;
Here falling houses thunder on your head,
And here a female atheist talks you dead.

While Thales waits the wherry that con-
tains

Of dissipated wealth the small remains,
On Thames's banks, in silent thought we stood
Where Greenwich smiles upon the silver flood;
Struck with the seat that gave Eliza 5 birth,
We kneel, and kiss the consecrated earth;
In pleasing dreams the blissful age renew,
And call Britannia's glories back to view;
Behold her cross triumphant on the main,
The guard of commerce, and the dread of Spain,
Ere masquerades debauch'd, excise oppress'd,
Or English honour grew a standing jest.

3-Ego vel Prochytam præpono Suburræ,
Nam quid tam miserum, tam solum vidi:nus, ut

non

Deterius credas horrere incendia, lapsus
Tectorum assiduos, & mille pericula sæva
Urbis, & Augusto recitantes mense poetas?
4 Sed, dum tota domus rhedâ componitur unâ,
Subst tit ad veteres arcus.—

• Queen Elizabeth, born at Greenwich.

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A transient calm the happy scenes bestow, And for a moment lull the sense of woe. At length awaking, with contemptuous frown, Indignant Thales eyes the neighb'ring town.

6 Since worth, he cries, in these degenerate
days

Wants ev'n the cheap reward of empty praise;
In those curs'd walls, devote to vice and gain,
Since unrewarded science toils in vain ;
Since hope but sooths to double my distress,
And every moment leaves my little less;
While yet my steady steps no 7 staff sustains,
And life still vig'rous revels in my veins;
Grant me, kind Heaven, to find some happier
place,

Where honesty and sense are no disgrace;
Some pleasing bank where verdant osiers play,
Some peaceful vale with Nature's paintings gay;
Where once the harass'd Briton found repose,
And safe in poverty defy'd his foes;
Some secret cell, ye pow'rs, indulgent give,
Letlive here, for has learn'd to live.
Here let those reign, whom pensions can incite
To vote a patriot black, a courtier white;
Explain their country's dear-bought rights away,
And plead for 9 pirates in the face of day;
With slavish tenets taint our poison'd youth
And lend a lie the confidence of truth.

10 Let such raise palaces, and manors buy, Collect a tax, or farm a lottery; With warbling eunuchs fill our "silenc'd stage, And lull to servitude a thoughtless age. Heroes, proceed! what bounds your pride shall hold ? (gold? What check restrain your thirst of pow'r and Behold rebellious virtue quite o'erthrown, Behold our fame, our wealth, our lives your

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To pluck a titled poet's borrow'd wing;
A statesman's logic unconvinc'd can hear,
And dare to slumber o'er the Gazetteer's;
Despise a fool in half his pension dress'd,
And strive in vain to laugh at Clodio's jest.

13 Others with softer smiles, and subtle art,
Can sap the principles, or taint the heart;
With more address a lover's note convey,
Or bribe a virgin's innocence away:

Well may they rise, while I, whose rustic tongue
Ne'er knew to puzzle right, or varnish wrong,
Spurn'd as a beggar, dreaded as a spy,
Live unregarded, unlamented die.

14 For what but social guilt the friend en dears?

Who shares Orgilio's crimes, his fortune shares. 15 But thou, should tempting villany present All Marlb'rough hoarded, or all Villiers spent, Turn from the glittering bribe thy scornful eye, Nor sell for gold, what gold could never buy, The peaceful slumber, self-approving day, Unsullied fame, and conscience ever gay.

The cheated nation's happy fav'rites, see! Mark whom the great caress, who frown on me! London! the needy villain's gen'ral home, The common-sewer of Paris and of Rome; With eager thirst, by folly or by fate, Sucks in the dregs of each corrupted state. Forgive my transports on a theme like this, 17 I cannot bear a French metropolis.

18 Illustrious Edward! from the realms of day,

The land of heroes and of saints survey;
Nor hope the British lineaments to trace,
The rustic grandeur, or the surly grace;
But, lost in thoughtless ease and empty show
Behold the warrior dwindled to a beau;
Sense, freedom, piety, refin'd away,
Of France the mimic, and of Spain the prey.
All that at home no more can beg of stea!,
Or like a gibbet better than a wheel:
Hiss'd from the stage, or hooted from the court,
Their air, their dress, their polities, import;
19Obsequious, artful, voluble, and gay,
On Britain's fond credulity they prey.

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No gainful trade their industry can 'scape,
20 They sing, they dance, clean shoes, or cure a
clap:

All sciences a fasting Monsieur knows,
And, bid him go to Hell, to Hell he goes.

21 Ah! what avails it, that, from slav'ry far,
I drew the breath of life in English air;
Was early taught a Briton's right to prize,
And lisp the tale of Henry's victories;
If the gull'd conqueror receives the chain,
And flattery prevails when arms are vain ?

22 Studious to please, and ready to submit; The supple Gaul was born a parasite: Still to bis int'rest true, where'er he goes, Wit, brav'ry, worth, his lavish tongue bestows; In ev'ry face a thousand graces shine, From ev'ry tongue flows harmony divine. 23 These arts in vain our rugged natives try, Strain out with fault'ring diffidence a lie, And get a kick for awkward flattery.

Besides, with justice, this discerning age Admires their wond'rous talents for the stage:

24 Well may they venture on the mimic's art, Who play from morn to night a borrow'd part; Practis'd their master's notions to embrace, Repeat his maxims, and reflect his face; With ev'ry wild absurdity comply, And view each object with another's eye; To shake with laughter ere the jest they hear, To pour at will the counterfeited tear; And, as their patron hints the cold or heat, To shake in dog-days, in December sweat.

25 How, when competitors like these contend,
Can surly virtue hope to fix a friend;
Slaves that with serious impudence beguile,
And lie without a blush, without a smile :
Exalt each trifle, ev'ry vice adore,

Your taste in snuff, your judgment in a whore;
Can Balbo's eloquence applaud, and swear
He gropes his breeches with a monarch's air.

For arts like these preferr'd, admir'd, caress'd,
They first invade your table, then your breast;
26 Explore your secrets with insidious art,
Watch the weak hour, and ransack all the heart;
Then soon your ill-plac'd confidence repay,
Commence your lords, and govern or betray.

20 Augur, schoenobates, medicus, magus: omnia novit,

Græculus esurieus, in cœlum, jusseris, ibit.

21 Usque adeo nihil est, quod nostra infantia cœlum

Hausit Aventini ?

22 Quid? quod adulandi gens prudentissima, laudat

Sermonein indocti faciem deformis amici?

24 Hæc eadem licet & nobis laudare: sed illis Creditur.

24 Natio comoda est. Rides? majore cachinno

Concutitur, &c.

25 Non sumus ergo pares: melior, qui semper & omni

Nocte dieque potest alienum sumere vultum,
A facie jactare manus: laudare paratus,
Si bene ructavit, si rectum minxit amicus.-

26. Scire volunt secreta domus, atque inde timeri.

27 By numbers here from shame or censure free,

All crimes are safe but hated poverty.
This, only this, the rigid law pursues,
This, only this, provokes the snarling Muse.
The sober trader at a tatter'd cloak
Wakes from his dream, and labours for a joke;
With brisker air the silken courtiers gaze,
And turn the varied taunt a thousand ways.
28 Of all the griefs that harass the distress'd,
Sure the most bitter is a scornful jest ;
Fate never wounds more deep the gen'rous
heart,

Than when a blockhead's insult points the dart.
29 Has Heaven reserv'd, in pity to the poor,
No pathless waste, or undiscovered shore?
No secret island in the boundless main ?
No peaceful desert yet unclaim'd 30 by Spain?
Quick let us rise, the happy seats explore,
And bear oppression's insolence no more.
This mournful truth is every where confess'd,
31 Slow rises worth by poverty depress'd:
But here more slow, where all are slaves to gold,
Where looks are merchandise, and smiles aresold:
Where won by bribes, by flatteries implor'd,
The groom retails the favours of his lord.

But hark! th' affrighted crowd's tumultuous cries

Roll through the streets, and thunder to the skies: Rais'd from some pleasing dream of wealth aud

pow'r,

Some pompous palace or some blissful bower, Aghast you start, and scarce with aching sight Sustain th' approaching fire's tremendous light; Swift from pursuing horrours take your way, And leave your little all to flames a prey; 32 Then thro' the world a wretched vagrant roam, For where can starving merit find a home? In vain your mournful narrative disclose, While all neglect, and most insult your woes. 33 Should Heaven's just bolts Orgilio's wealth confound,

And spread his flaming palace on the ground, Swift o'er the land the dismal rumour flies, And public mournings pacify the skies;

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The laureat tribe in venal verse relate,
How virtue wars with persecuting fate;
31 With well-feign'd gratitude the pension'd
Refund the plunder of the beggar'd land.
See! while he builds, the gaudy vassals come,
And crowd with sudden wealth the rising dome;
The price of boroughs and of souls restore;
And raise his treasures higher than before:
Now bless'd with all the baubles of the great,
The polish'd marble and the shining plate,
35 Orgilio sees the golden pile aspire,
And hopes from angry Heav'n another fire.

36 Could'st thou resign the park and play content,

For the fair banks of Severn or of Trent;
There might'st thou find some elegant retreat,
Some hireling senator's deserted seat;
And stretch thy prospects o'er the smiling land,
For less than rent the dungeons of the Strand;
There prune thy walks, support thy drooping
flowers,

Direct thy rivulets, and twine thy bowers;
And, while thy grounds a cheap repast afford,
Despise the dainties of a venal lord:

There ev'ry bush with Nature's music rings,
There ev'ry breeze bears health upon its wings;
On all thy hours security shall smile,

And bless thine evening walk and morning toil.
37 Prepare for death if here at night you roam,
And sign your will before you sup from home.
39 Some fiery fop, with new commission vain,
Who sleeps on brambles till he kills his man;
Some frolic drunkard, reeling from a feast,
Provokes a broil, and stabs you for a jest.
39 Yet ev'n these heroes, mischievously gay;
Lords of the street and terrours of the way;
Flush'd as they are with folly, youth, and wine,
Their prudent insults to the poor confine;
Afar they mark the flambeau's bright approach,
And shun the shining train, and golden coach.
40 In vain, these dangers past, your doors you
And hope the balmy blessings of repose; [close,
Cruel with guilt, and daring with despair,
The midnight murd'rer bursts the faithless bar;

34 -- Jam accurrit, qui marmora donet, Conferat impensas: hic, &c. Hic modium argenti.

35 Meliora, ac plura reponit Persicus orborum lautissimus.-

36 Si potes avelli Circensibus, optima Sora, Aut Fabrateriæ domus, aut Fusinone paratur, Quanti nunc tenebras unum conducis in annum. Hortulus hic.

Vive bidentis amans et culti villicus horti, Unde epulum possis centum dare Pythagoræis, 37Possis ignavis haberi,

Et subiti casus improvidus, ad cœnam si
Intestatus eas.—

38 Ebrius, ac petulans, qui nullum forte cedidit, Dat pœnas, noctem patitur lugentis amicum Peleida.

39 -Sed, quamvis improbus annis, Atque mero fervens, cavet hunc, quem coccina Vitari jubet, & comitum longissimus ordo, [læna Multum præterea flammarum, atque ænea lampas. [spoliet te 40 Nec tamen hoc tantum metuas: nam qui Non deerit; clausis domibus, &c.

Invades the sacred hour of silent rest, And leaves, unseen, a dagger in your breast. 41 Scarce can our fields, such crowds at Ty

burn die,

With hemp the gallows and the fleet supply. Propose your schemes, ye senatorian band, Whose ways and means 2 support the sinking land,

Lest ropes be wanting in the tempting spring, To rig another convoy for the king 43.

44 A single jail, in ALFRED's golden reign, Could half the nation's criminals contain; Fair Justice, then, without constraint ador'd, Held high the steady scale, but sheath'd the

sword;

No spies were paid, no special juries known, Blest age! but ah! how diff'rent from our own!

45 Much could I add,-but see the boat at The tide retiring calls me from the land: [hand, 46 Farewell!-When youth, and health, and fortune spent,

Thou fly'st for refuge to the wilds of Kent;
And, tir'd like me with foilies and with crimes,
In angry numbers warns't succeeding times;
Then shall thy friend, nor thou refuse his aid,
Still foe to vice, forsake his Cambrian shade,
In virtue's cause once more exert his rage,
Thy satire point, and animate thy page.

THE VANITY OF HUMAN WISHES,

IN IMITATION OF THE TENTH SATIRE OF JUVENAL.

LET' observation with extensive view,
Survey mankind from China to Peru;
Remark each anxious toil, each eager strife,
And watch the busy scenes of crowded life;
Then say how hope and fear, desire and hate,
O'erspread with snares the clouded maze of fate,
Where wav'ring man, betray'd by vent'rous pride
To chase the dreary paths without a guide,
As treach'rous phantoms in the mist delude,
Shuns fancied ills, or chases airy good;
How rarely reason guides the stubborn choice,
Rules the bold hand, or prompts the suppliant

voice;

How nations sink by darling schemes oppress'd, When vengeance listens to the fool's request. Fate wings with ev'ry wish th' afflictive dart, Each gift of nature and each grace of art;

'Maximus in vinclis ferri modus; ut timeas, ne Vomer deficiat, ne marræ & sarcula desint,

42 A cant word in the house of commons for methods of raising money.

43 The nation was discontented at the visits made by the king to Hanover.

44 Felices proavorum atavos, felicia dicas Secula, quæ quondam sub regibus atque tribunis Viderunt uno contentam carcere Romam. 45 His alias poteram, & pluries subnectere Sed jumenta vocant.[causas:

46 -Ergo vale nostri memor: & quoties te Roma tuo refici properantem reddet Aquino, Me quoque ad Elvinam Cererem, vestramque

Dianam

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With fatal heat impetuous courage glows, With fatal sweetness elocution flows, Impeachment stops the speaker's pow'rful breath, And restless fire precipitates on death.

[bold

2 But, scarce observ'd, the knowing and the Fall in the gen'ral massacre of gold; Wide wasting pest! that rages unconfin'd, And crowds with crimes the records of mankind; For gold his sword the hireling ruffian diaws, For gold the hireling judge distorts the laws; Wealth heap'd on wealth, nor truth nor safety The dangers gather as the treasures rise. [buys, Let hist'ry tell where rival kings command, And dubious title shakes the madded land, When statutes glean the refuse of the sword, How much more safe the vassal than the lord; Low sculks the hind beneath the rage of power, And leaves the wealthy traitor in the Tower, Untouch'd his cottage, and his slumbers sound, Tho' confiscation's vultures hover round.

The needy traveller serene and gay, Walks the wild heath and sings his toil away. Does envy seize thee? crush th' upbraiding joy, Increase his riches, and his peace destroy, Now fears in dire vicissitude invade, The rustling brake alarms, and quiv'ring shade, Nor light nor darkness bring his pain relief, One shows the plunder, and one hides the thief. Yet 3 still one gen'ral cry the skies assails, And gain and grandeur load the tainted gales; Few know the toiling statesman's fear or care, Th' insidious rival and the gaping heir. Once more, Democritus arise on Earth, With cheerful wisdom and instructive mirth, See motley life in modern trappings dress'd, And feed with varied fools th' eternal jest: Thou who could'st laugh, where want enchain'd caprice,

A

Toil crush'd conceit, and man was of a piece;
Where wealth unlov'd without a mourner dy'd;
And scarce a sycophant was fed by pride;
Where ne'er was known the form of mock debate,
Or seen a new-made mayor's unwieldy state;
Where change of fav'rites made no change of laws,
And senates heard before they judg'd a cause;
How would'st thou shake at Briton's modish tribe,
Dart the quick taunt, and edge the piercing gibe?
Attentive truth and nature to descry,
And pierce each scene with philosophic eye,
To thee were solemn toys, or empty show,
The robes of pleasure, and the veils of woe:
All aid the farce, and all thy mirth maintain,
Whose joys are causeless, or whose griefs are vain.

Such was the scorn that fill'd the sage's mind, Renew'd at ev'ry glance un human kind; How just that scorn ere yet thy voice declare, Search ev'ry state, and canvass ev'ry pray'r. 5 Unnumber'd suppliants crowd Preferment's gate,

Athirst for wealth, and burning to be great,
Delusive Fortune hears th' incessant call,
They mount, they shine, evaporate and fall.
On e'ry stage the foes of
peace attend,
Hate dogs their flight, and insult mocks their end.
Love ends with hope, the sinking statesman's door
Pours in the morning worshipper no more;

2 Ver. 12-22. 3 Ver. 25-27. 4 Ver. 28-55. Ver. 56-107.

For growing names the weekly scribbler lies,
To growing wealth the dedicator flies;
From ev'ry room descends the painted face,
That hung the bright palladium of the place;
And, smok'd in kitchens, or in auctions sold,
To better features yields the frame of gold;
For now no more we trace in ev'ry line
Heroic worth, benevolence divine:
The form distorted justifies the fall,
And detestation rids th' indignant wall.

But will not Britain hear the last appeal,
Sign her foes' doon, or guard her fav'rites' zeal?
Thro' Freedom's sons no more remonstrance

rings,

Degrading nobles and controling kings;
Our supple tribes repress their patriot throats,
And ask no questions but the price of votes;
With weekly libels and septennial ale,
Their wish is full to riot and to rail.

In full-flown dignity, see Wolsey stand,
Law in his voice, and fortune in his hand :
To him the church, the realm, their pow'rs
consign,

Through him the rays of regal bounty shine,
Turn'd by his nod the stream of honour flows,
His sinile alone security bestows:

Still to new heights his restless wishes tow'r,
Claim leads to claim, and pow'r advances pow'r;
Tili conquest unresisted ceas'd to please,
And rights submitted left him none to seize:
At length his sov'reign frowns-the train of state
Mark the keen glance, and watch the sign to hate.
Where-e'er he turns, he meets a stranger's eye,
His suppliants scorn him, and his followers fly;
Now drops at once the pride of awful state,
The golden canopy, the glitt'ring plate,
The regal palace, the luxurious board,
The liv'ried army, and the menia! lord.
With age, with cares, with maladies oppress'd,
He seeks the refuge of monastic rest.
Grief aids disease, remember'd folly stings,
And his last sighs reproach the faith of kings.
Speak thou whose thoughts at humble peace

repine, [thine? Shall Wolsey's wealth with Wolsey's end be Or liv'st thou now, with safer pride content, The wisest justice on the banks of Trent?

For, why did Wolsey, near the steeps of fate, On weak foundations raise th' enormous weight? Why but to sink beneath misfortune's blow, With louder ruin to the gulphs below?

6 What gave great Villiers to th'assassin's knife, And fix'd disease on Harley's closing life? What murder'd Wentworth, and what exil'd

Hyde,

By kings protected, and to kings ally'd? What but their wish indulg'd in courts to shine, And pow'r too great to keep, or to resign?

7 When first the college rolls receive his uame, The young enthusiast quits his ease for fame; Resistless burns the fever of renown, Caught from the strong contagion of the gown: O'er Bodley's dome his future labours spread, And Bacon's mansion trembles o'er his head. Are these thy views? Proceed, illustrious youth, And Virtue guard thee to the throne of Truth!

6 Ver. 108-113. 7 Ver. 114-132. There is a tradition, that the study of friar

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