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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 players and I are, luckily, no friends. Fir'd that the House rejects him,
And shame the fools-your interest, 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 every coxcomb perks them in my face?
A. Good friend, forbear! you deal in dangerous 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 lic?)
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, 83
Thou unconcern'd canst hear the mighty crack:
Pit, box, and gallery in convulsions hurl'd,
Thou stand'st unshook amidst a bursting world.
Who shames a scribbler? break one cobweb through,
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 on 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 eyebrow or Parnassian sacer?
And has not Colly still his lord and whore?
His butchers Henley, his free-masons Moore?
Does not one table Bavius still admit?
Still to one bishop Philips seems a wit?
Still Sappho.-A. Hold! for God's sake you'll of fend;
No names-be calm-learn prudence of a friend : I too could write, and I am twice as tali;
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 Grubstreet 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 creatures! 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:
1 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, 195 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 friends 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
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 sat 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, 155
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 ribbalds,
From slashing Bentley down to piddling Tibbalds:
Each wight who reads not, and but scaus 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! 170
The things, we know, are neither rich nor rare,
But wonder how the devil they got there.
Were others angry; I excus'd them toc;
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 inind.
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
He who still wanting, though he lives on theft,
Steals much, spends little, yet has nothing left; 184
And he who now to sense, now nonsense, leaning,
Mcans 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 bade 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,
Bless'd with each talent and each art to please, 195
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;
enim Aristoteles More Ottomanorum regnes
I tutt's posse putaret misifratres suoson-
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 oblig'd;
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
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
Sat 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 bead)