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And her’s the gospel is, and her’s the laws;
Mounts the tribunal, lifts her scarlet head,
And sees pale virtue carted in her stead.
Lo at the wheels of her triumphal car,
Old England's genius, rough with many a scar,
Dragg'd in the dust! his arms hang idly round,
His flag inverted trails along the ground !
Our youth, all livery'd o'er with foreign gold,
Before her dance: behind her, crawl the old !
See thronging millions to the pagod run,
And offer country, parent, wife, or son!
Hear her black trumpet through the land proclaim,
That Not to be corrupted is the shame.
In soldier, churchman, patriot, man in power,
'Tis avarice all, ambition is no more 1
See, all our nobles begging to be slaves |
See, all our fools aspiring to be knaves!
The wit of cheats, the courage of a whore,
Are what ten thousand envy and adore:
All, all look up, with reverential awe,
At crimes that 'scape, or triumph o'er the law:
While truth, worth, wisdom, daily they decry—
“Nothing is sacred now but villainy.”
Yet may this verse (if such a verse remain)
Show there was one who held it in disdain.
Fr. "Tis all a libel–Paxton (sir) will say.
P. Not yet, my friend! to-morrow 'faith it may;
And for that very cause I print to-day.
How should I fret to mangle every line,
In reverence to the sins of thirty-nine!
Vice with such giant-strides comes on amain,
Invention strives to be before in vain;
Feign what I will, and paint it e'er so strong,
Some rising genius sins up to my song.
F. Yet none but you by name the guilty lash;
Elen Guthry saves half Newgate by a dash.
Spare then the person, and expose the vice.
P. How, sir! not damn the sharper, but the dice?
Come on then, satire! general, unconfin'd,
Spread thy broad wing, and souse on all the kind,
Ye statesmen, priests, of one religion all!
Ye tradesmen, vile in army, court, or hall! [who?
Ye reverend Atheists. F. Scandal! name them,
P. Why that's the thing you bid me not to do.
Who starv’d a sister, who forswore a debt,
I never nam'd; the town's inquiring yet.
The poisoning dame—F. You mean—P. I don't.
F. You do.
P. See, now I keep the secret, and not you!
The bribing statesman—F. Hold, too high you go.
P. The brib'd elector—F. There you stoop too
P. I fain would please you, if I knew with what;
Tell me, which knave is lawful game, which not?
Must great offenders, once escap'd the crown,
Like royal harts, be never more run down
Admit your law to spare the knight requires,
As beasts of nature may we hunt the squires
Suppose I censure—you know what I mean—
To save a bishop, may I name a dean
F. A dean, sir? no; his fortune is not made, You hurt a man that's rising in the trade. P. If not the tradesman who set up to-day, Much less the 'prentice who to-morrow may. Down, down, proud satire I though a realm be spoil'd, Arraign no mightier thief than wretched Wild; Or, if a court or country's made a job, Godrench a pickpocket, and join the mob. But, sir, I beg you, (for the love of vices) The matter's weighty, pray consider twice; Have you less pity for the needy cheat, The poor and friendless villain, than the great? Alas! the small discredit of a bribe Scarce hurts the lawyer, but undoes the scribe. Then better sure it charity becomes To tax directors, who (thank God) have plums; Still better, ministers; or, if the thing May pinch ev'n there—why lay it on a king. F. Stop! stop ! P. Must satire, then, nor rise nor fall 2 Speak out, and bid me blame no rogues at all. F. Yes, strike that Wild, I'll justify the blow. P. Strike why the man was hang'd ten years Who now that obsolete example fears [ago: Ev’n Peter trembles only for his ears. F. What, always Peter? Peter thinks you mad. You make men desperate, if they once are bad: Else might he take to virtue some years hence— P. As S-k, if he lives, will love the prince. F. Strange spleen to S-k! P. Do I wrong the man? God knows, I praise a courtier where I can. When I confess, there is who feels for fame, And melts to goodness, need I Scarborough name? Pleas'd let me own, in Esher's peaceful grove (where Kent and nature vie for Pelham's love) The scene, the master, opening to my view, I sit and dream I see my Craggs anewl Ev’n in a bishop I can spy desert: Secker is decent; Rundel has a heart; Manners with candour are to Benson given; To Berkley, every virtue under Heaven. But does the court a worthy man remove That instant, I declare, he has my love: I shun his zenith, court his mild decline; Thus Sommers once, and Halifax, were mine. Oft, in the clear, still mirror of retreat, I study'd Shrewsbury, the wise and great; Carleton's calm sense, and Stanhope's noble flame, Compar'd, and knew their generous end the same: How pleasing Atterbury's softer hour ! How shin'd the soul, unconquer'd in the tower How can I Pulteney, Chesterfield forget, While Roman spirit charms, and Attic wit: Argyll, the state's whole thunder born to wield, And shake alike the senate and the field : Or Wyndham, just to freedom and the throne, The master of our passions, and his own Names, which I long have lov'd, nor lov’d in vain, Rank'd with their friends, not number'd with their train:
And if yet higher the proud list should end, Still let me say! No follower, but a friend. Yet think not, friendship only prompts my lays: I follow virtue; where she shines, I praise; Point she to priest or elder, Whig or Tory, Or round a Quaker's beaver cast a glory. I never (to my sorrow I declare) Din'd with the Man of Ross, or my Lord Mayor. Some, in their choice of friends (nay, look not grave) Have still a secret bias to a knave: To find an honest man, I beat about; And love him, court him, praise him, in or out. F. Then why so few commended ? P. Not so fierce; Find you the virtue, and I'll find the verse. But random praise—the task can ne'er be done: Each mother asks it for her booby son. Each widow asks it for the best of men, For him she weeps, for him she weds again. Praise cannot stoop, like satire, to the ground: The number may be hang'd, but not be crown'd. Enough for half the greatest of these days, To 'scape my censure, not expect my praise. Are they not rich what more can they pretend ? Dare they to hope a poet for their friend? What Richlieu wanted, Louis scarce could gain, And what young Ammon wish'd, but wish'd in vain. No power the Muse's friendship can command; No power, when virtue claims it, can withstand: To Cato, Virgil paid one honest line; O let my country's friends illumine mine ! [no sin, —What are you thinking F. Faith the thought's I think your friends are out, and would be in. P.If merely to come in, sir, they go out, The way they take is strangely round about. F. They too may be corrupted, you'll allow? P. I only call those knaves who are so now. Is that too little come then, I'll comply— Spirit of Arnall! aid me while I lie. Cobham's a coward, Polwarth is a slave, And Lyttleton a dark, designing knave; St. John has ever been a mighty fool— Butlet me add, Sir Robert's mighty dull, Has never made a friend in private life, And was, besides, a tyrant to his wife. But pray, when others praise him; do I blame? Call Verres, Wolsey, any odious name * Why rail they then, if but a wreath of mine, O all-accomplished St. John deck thy shrine What! shall each spur-gall'd hackney of the day, When Paxton gives him double pots and pay, Or each new-pension'd sycophant, pretend To break my windows if I treat a friend? Then wisely plead, to me they meant no hurt, But 'twas my guest at whom they threw the dirt? Sure, if I spare the minister, no rules Of honour bind me, not to maul his tools; Sure, if they cannot cut, it may be said His saws are toothless, and his hatchets lead. It anger'd Turenne, once upon a day, To see a footman kick'd that took his pay: But when he heard th’ affront the fellow gave,
Knew one a man of honour, one a knave, The prudent general turn'd it to a jest; And begg'd he'd take the pains to kick the rest: Which not at present having time to do— F. Hold, sir! for God's sake, where's th’ affront to you? Against your worship when had S-k writ? Or P-ge pour'd forth the torrent of his wit? Or grant the bard whose distich all commend [In power a servant, out of power a friend] To W-le guilty of some venial sin; What's that to you who ne'er was out nor in The priest whose flattery bedropt the crown, How hurt he you? he only stain'd the gown. And how did, pray, the florid youth offend, Whose speech you took, and gave it to a friend? P. Faith it imports not much from whom it came: Whoever borrow'd, could not be to blame, Since the whole house did afterwards the same. Let courtly wits to wits afford supply, As hog to hog in huts of Westphaly; If one, through nature's bounty or his lord's, Has what the frugal dirty soil affords, From him the next receives it, thick or thin, As pure a mess almost as it came in ; The blessed benefit, not there confin'd, Drops to the third, who nuzzles close behind; From tail to mouth, they feed and they carouse: The last full fairly gives it to the house. F. This filthy simile, this beastly line Quite turns my stomach— P. So does flattery mine: And all your courtly civet-cats can vent, Perfume to you, to me is excrement. But hear me further—Japhet, 'tis agreed, Writ not, and Chartres scarce could write or read, In all the courts of Pindus guiltless quite; But pens can forge, my friend, that cannot write; And must no egg in Japhet's face be thrown, Because the deed be forg’d was not my own? Must never patriot then declaim at gin, Unless, good man! he has been fairly in No zealous pastor blame a failing spouse, Without a staring reason on his brows? And each blasphemer quite escape the rod, Because the insult's not on man, but God? Ask you what provocation I have had The strong antipathy of good to bad. When truth or virtue an affront endures, Th'affront is mine, my friend, and should be your's. Mine, as a foe profess'd to false pretence, Who think a coxcomb's honour like his sense; Mine, as a friend to every worthy mind; And mine as man, who feel for all mankind. F. You're strangely proud. P. So proud, I am no slave: So impudent, I own myself no knave: So odd, my country's ruin makes me grave. Yes, I am proud; I must be proud to see Men not afraid of Goad, afraid of me: Safe from the bar, ther pulpit, and the throne, Yet touch'd and sham'd by ridicule alone. | |
O sacred weapon: left for truth's defence, Sole dread of folly, vice, and insolence 1 To all but heaven-directed hands deny'd, The Muse may give thee, but the gods must guide: Reverent I touch thee! but with honest zeal; To rouse the watchmen of the public weal, To virtue's work provoke the tardy hall, And goad the prelate slumbering in his stall. Ye tinsel insects' whom a court maintains, That counts your beauties only by your stains, Spin all your cobwebs o'er the eye of day ! The Muse's wing shall brush you all away: All his grace preaches, all his lordship sings, All that makes saints of queens, and gods of kings. All, all but truth, drops dead-born from the press, Like the last gazette, or the last address. When black ambition stains a public cause, A monarch's sword when mad vain-glory draws, Not Waller's wreath can hide the nation's scar, Not Boileau turn the feather to a star. Not so, when, diadem'd with rays divine, Touch"d with the flame that breaks from virtue's Her priestess Muse forbids the good to die, [shrine, And opes the temple of eternity. There, other trophies deck the truly brave, Than such as Anstis casts into the grave; Far other stars than * and ** wear, And may descend to Mordington from Stair; (Such as on Hough's unsully'd mitre shine, Or beam, good Digby, from a heart like thine). Let envy howl, while Heaven's whole chorus sings, And bark at honour not conferr'd by kings; Let flattery sickening see the incense rise, Sweet to the world, and grateful to the skies: Truth guards the poet, sanctifies the line; And makes immortal, verse as mean as mine. Yes, the last pen for freedom let me draw, When truth stands trembling on the edge of law; Here, last of Britons' let your names be read; Are none, none living? let me praise the dead, And for that cause which made your fathers shine, Fall by the votes of their degenerate line. F. Alas, alas! pray end what you began, And write next winter more Essays on Man.
EPISTLE TO ROBERTEARL OF OXFORD, AND EARL MORTIMER, with PARNEll's poeMs.
Such were the notes thy once-lov’d poet sung,
Till death untimely stopp'd his tuneful tongue.
Oh..just beheld, and lost admir’d, and mourn'd?
With softest manners, gentlest arts adorn'd 1
Best in each science, blest in every strain
Dear to the Muse! to Harley dear—in vain :
For him, thou oft hast bid the world attend,
Fond to forget the statesman in the friend;
For Swift and him, despis’d the farce of state,
The sober follies of the wise and great;
Dext'rous, the craving, fawning crowd to quit,
And pleas'd to 'scape from flattery to wit.
Absent or dead, still let a friend be dear,
(A sigh the absent claims, the dead a tear)
Recal those nights that clos'd thy toilsome days,
Still hearthy Parnell in his living lays,
Who, careless now of interest, fame, or fate,
Perhaps forgets that Oxford e'er was great;
Or deeming meanest what we greatest call,
Beholds thee glorious only in thy fall.
And sure, if aught below the seats divine
Can touch immortals, 'tis a soul like thine:
A soul supreme, in each hard instance try'd,
Above all pain, and passion, and all pride,
The rage of power, the blast of public breath,
The lust of lucre, and the dread of death.
In vain to deserts thy retreat is made;
The Muse attends thee to thy silent shade:
"Tis her's, the brave man's latest steps to trace,
Re-judge his acts, and dignify disgrace.
When interest calls off all her sneaking train,
And all th’ oblig'd desert, and all the vain;
She waits, or to the scaffold, or the cell,
When the last lingering friend has bid farewell.
Ev’n now, she shades thy evening-walk with bays
(No hireling she, no prostitute to praise);
Ev’n now, observant of the parting ray,
Eyes the calm sunset of thy various day,
Through fortune's cloud one truly great can see,
Nor fears to tell, that Mortimer is he.
EPISTLE TO MR. JER WAS, with MR. DRYDEN's TRANslArion of FREsNoy's
This verse be thine, my friend, nor thou refuse
This, from no venal or ungrateful Muse.
Whether thy hand strike out some free design,
Where life awakes, and dawns at every line;
Or blend in beauteous tints the colour'd mass,
And from the canvas call the mimic face:
Read these instructive leaves, in which conspire
Fresnoy's close art, and Dryden's native fire:
And reading wish, like theirs, our fate and fame,
So mix'd our studies, and so join'd our name:
Like them to shine through long succeeding age,
So just thy skill, so regular my rage.
Smit with the love of sister-arts we came,
And met congenial, mingling flame with flame;
Like friendly colours found them both unite,
And each from each contract new strength and light.
How oft in pleasing tasks we wear the day,
While summer-suns roll unperceiv'd away !
How oft our slowly-growing works impart,
While images reflect from art to art!
How oft review ; each finding like a friend
Something to blame, and something to commend!
What flattering scenes our wandering fancy
Rome's pompous glories rising to our thought!
Together o'er the Alps methinks we fly,
Fir'd with ideas of fair Italy.
With thee on Raphael's monument I mourn,
Or wait inspiring dreams at Maro's urn :
With thee repose, where Tully once was laid,
Or seek some ruin's formidable shade:
While fancy brings the vanish'd piles to view,
And builds imaginary Rome anew.
Here thy well-studied marbles fix our eye;
A fading fresco here demands a sigh :
Each heavenly piece unwearied we compare,
Match Raphael's grace with thy lov'd Guido's air,
Carracci's strength, Correggio's softer line,
Paulo's free stroke, and Titian's warmth divine.
How finish'd with illustrious toil appears,
This small, well-polish'd gem, the work of years!
Yet still how faint by precept is express'd
The living image in the painter's breast!
Thence endless streams of fair ideas flow,
Strike in the sketch, or in the picture glow;
Thence beauty, waking all her forms, supplies
An Angel's sweetness, or Bridgewater's eyes.
Muse! at that name thy sacred sorrows shed,
Those tears eternal that embalm the dead;
Call round her tomb each object of desire,
Each purer frame inform'd with purer fire:
Bid her be all that cheers or softens life,
The tender sister, daughter, friend, and wife:
Bid her be all that makes mankind adore;
Then view this marble, and be vain no more 1
Yet still her charms in breathing paint engage;
Her modest cheek shall warm a future age.
Beauty, frail flower, that every season fears,
Blooms in thy colours for a thousand years.
Thus Churchill's race shall other hearts surprise,
And other beauties envy Wortley's eyes;
Each pleasing Blount shall endless smiles bestow,
And soft Belinda's blush for ever glow.
Oh, lasting as those colours may they shine,
Free as thy stroke, yet faultless as thy line;
New graces yearly like thy works display,
Soft without weakness, without glaring gay;
Led by some rule, that guides, but not constrains;
And finish'd more through happiness than pains!
The kindred arts shall in their praise conspire,
One dip the pencil, and one string the lyre.
Yet should the graces all thy figures place,
And breathe an air divine on every face;
Yet should the muses bid my numbers roll
Strong as their charms, and gentle as their soul;
With Zeuxis' Helen thy Bridgewater vie,
And these be sung till Granville's Myra die:
Alas! how little from the grave we claim!
Thou but preserv'st a face, and I a name.
EPISTLE TO MISS BLOUNT, WITH THE WORKs of VoITURE.
In these gay thoughts the loves and graces shine,
And all the writer lives in every line:
His easy art may happy nature seem,
Trifles themselves are elegant in him.
Sure to charm all was his peculiar fate,
Who without flattery pleas'd the fair and great;
Still with esteem no less convers'd than read;
With wit well-natur'd, and with books well-bred:
His heart, his mistress and his friend did share;
His time, the muse, the witty and the fair.
Thus wisely careless, innocently gay,
Cheerful he play'd the trifle, life, away;
Till fate scarce felt his gentle breath supprest,
As smiling infants sport themselves to rest.
Ev’n rival wits did Voiture's death deplore,
And the gay mourn’d who never mourn'd before;
The truest hearts for Voiture heav'd with sighs,
Voiture was wept by all the brightest eyes:
The smiles and loves had died in Voiture's death,
But that for ever in his lines they breathe.
Let the strict life of graver mortals be
A long, exact, and serious comedy ;
In every scene some moral let it teach,
And, if it can, at once both please and preach.
Let mine an innocent, gay farce appear,
And more diverting still than regular,
Have humour, wit, a native ease and grace,
Though not too strictly bound to time and place:
Critics in wit, or life, are hard to please;
Few write to those, and none can live to these.
Too much your sex are by their forms confin'd,
Severe to all, but most to womankind;
Custom, grown blind with age, must be your guide;
Your pleasure is a vice, but not your pride;
By nature yielding, stubborn but for fame;
Made slaves by honour, and made fools by shame.
Marriage may all those petty tyrants chase,
But sets up one, a greater, in their place:
Well might you wish for change by those accurst,
But the last tyrant ever proves the worst.
Still in constraint your suffering sex remains,
Or bound in formal, or in real chains:
Whole years neglected, for some months ador'd,
The fawning servant turns a haughty lord.
Ah, quit not the free innocence of life,
For the dull glory of a virtuous wife;
Nor let false shows, nor empty titles please:
Aim not at joy, but rest content with ease.
The gods, to curse Pamela with her prayers,
Gave the gilt coach and dappled Flanders mares,
The shining robes, rich jewels, beds of state,
And, to complete her bliss, a fool for mate.
She glares in balls, front boxes, and the ring,
A vain, unquiet, glittering, wretched thing!
Pride, pomp, and state, but reach her outward part;
She sighs, and is no duchess at her heart.
But, madam, if the fates withstand, and you
Are destin'd Hymen's willing victim too,
Trust not too much your now resistless charms,
Those, age or sickness, soon or late disarms:
Good-humour only teaches charms to last,
Still makes new conquests, and maintains the past;
Love, raised on beauty, will like that decay,
Our hearts may bear its slender chain a day;
As flowery bands in wantonness are worn,
A morning's pleasure, and at evening torn;
This binds in ties more easy, yet more strong,
The willing heart, and only holds it long.
Thus Voiture's early care still shone the same,
And Monthausier was only chang'd in name;
By this, ev'n now they live, ev'n now they charm,
Their wit still sparkling, and their flames still warm.
Now crown'd with myrtle, on th' Elysian coast,
Amid those lovers, joys his gentle ghost:
Pleas'd, while with smiles his happy lines you view,
And finds a fairer Ramboiiillet in you.
The brightest eyes in France inspir'd his Muse;
The brightest eyes in Britain now peruse;
And dead, as living, 'tis our author's pride
Still to charm those who charm the world beside.
CONCLUSION OF THE DUNCIAD.
More she had spoke, but yawn'd—All Nature What mortal can resist the yawn of gods? [nods: Churches and chapels instantly it reach'd (St. James's first, for leaden G— preach'd): Then catch'd the schools; the hall scarce kept aThe convocation gap'd, but could not speak; [wake; Lost was the nation's sense, nor could be found, While the long solemn unison went round; Wide, and more wide, it spread o'er all the realm; Ev’n Palinurus nodded at the helm: The vapour mild o'er each committee crept; Unfinish'd treaties in each office slept ; And chiefless armies doz'd out the campaign; And navies yawn'd for orders on the main!
O Muse! relate (for you can tell alone, Wits have short memories, and dunces none) Relate, who first, who last resign'd to rest; Whose heads she partly, whose completely blest;
What charms could faction, what ambition lull,
The venal quiet, and entrance the dull; [wrong—
Till drown'd was sense, and shame, and right, and
O sing, and hush the nations with thy song !
+ + o +
In vain, in vain, the all-composing hour
Resistless falls: the Muse obeys the power.
She comes she comes the sable throne behold
Of Night primaeval, and of Chaos old !
Before her, Fancy's gilded clouds decay,
And all its varying rainbows die away.
Wit shoots in vain its momentary fires,
The meteor drops, and in a flash expires.
As one by one at dread Medea's strain,
The sickening stars fade off th’ ethereal plain;
As Argus’ eyes by Hermes' wand opprest,
Clos'd one by one to everlasting rest;
Thus at her felt approach, and secret might,
Art after Art goes out, and all is night:
See sculking Truth to her old cavern fled,
Mountains of casuistry heap'd o'er her head!
Philosophy, that lean'd on Heaven before,
Shrinks to her second cause, and is no more.
Physic of Metaphysic begs defence,
And Metaphysic calls for aid on Sense !
See Mystery to Mathematics fly!
In vain they gaze, turn giddy, rave, and die.
Religion blushing veils her sacred fires,
And unawares Morality expires.
Nor public flame, nor private dares to shine:
Nor human spark is left, nor glimpse divine !
Lo! thy dread empire, Chaos is restor'd,
Light dies before thy uncreating word:
Thy hand, great Anarch 1 lets the curtain fall i
And universal Darkness buries All.