« السابقةمتابعة »
But like poor Andrew I advance,
False mimic of my master's dance;
Around the cord a while I sprawl,
And thence, though low, in earnest fall.
My preface tells you I digress'd :
He's half absolv'd who has confess'd.
'I like, (quoth Dick) your simile, And, in return, take two from me. As masters in the clare-obscure With various light your eyes allure, A flaming yellow here they spread, Draw off in blue, or charge in red; Yet from these colours oddly mix'd, Your sight upon the whole is fix'd: Or as, again, your courtly dames (Whose clothes returning birth-day claims) By arts improve the stuffs they vary, And things are best as most contrary; The gown with stiff embroidery shining, Looks charming with a slighter lining; The out-, if Indian figure stain, The in-side must be rich and plain : So you, great authors, have thought fit To make digression temper wit: When arguments too fiercely glare, You calm them with a milder air: To break their points, you turn their force, And furbelow the plain discourse.'
'Richard, (quoth Mat) these words of thine Speak something sly and something fine ; But I shall e'en resume my theme, However thou may'st praise or blame.
'As people marry now and settle,
Fierce Love abates his usual mettle;
Worldly desires and household cares
Disturb the godhead's soft affairs:
So now, as health or temper changes,
In larger compass Alma ranges ;
This day below, the next above,
As light or solid whimsies move.
So merchant has his house in Town
And country-seat near Bansted Down ;
From one he dates his foreign letters,
Sends out his goods and duns his debtors;
In t' other, at his hours of leisure,
He smokes his pipe and takes his pleasure.
"And now your matrimonial Cupid, Lash'd on by Time, grows tir'd and stupid: For story and experience tell us
That man grows cold, and woman jealous.
Both would their little ends secure ;
He sighs for freedom, she for pow'r:
His wishes tend abroad to roam,
And her's to domineer at home.
Thus passion flags by slow degrees,
And ruffled more, delighted less,
The busy mind does seldom go
To those once charming seats below;
But, in the breast encamp'd, prepares
For well-bred feints and future wars.
The man suspects his lady's crying
(When he last autumn lay a-dying)
Was but to gain him to appoint her,
By codicil, a larger jointure:
The woman finds it all a trick
That he could swoon when she was sick,
And knows that in that grief he reckon'd
On black-ey'd Susan for his second.
Thus having strove some tedious years
With feign'd desires and real fears,
And tir'd with answers and replies
Of John affirms, and Martha lies;
Leaving this endless altercation,
The mind affects a higher station.
'Poltis, that generous King of Thrace I think was in this very case.
All Asia now was by the ears,
And gods beat up for volunteers
To Greece and Troy, while Poltis sate
In quiet governing his state.
And whence, said the pacific king,
Does all this noise and discord spring?
Why, Paris took Atrides' wife-
With ease I could compose this strife:
The injur'd hero should not lose,
Nor the young lover want, a spouse.
But Helen chang'd her first condition,
Without her husband's just permission.
What from the dame can Paris hope?
She may as well from him elope.
Again, How can her old good-man
With honour take her back again?
From hence I logically gather
The woman cannot live with either.
Now I have two right honest wives,
For whose possession no man strives:
One to Atrides I will send,
And t' other to my Trojan friend.
Each prince shall thus with honour have
What both so warmly seem to crave;
The wrath of gods and man shall cease,
And Poltis live and die in peace.
Dick, if this story pleaseth thee,
Pray thank Dan Pope, who told it me.
'Howe'er swift Alma's flight may vary,
(Take this by way of corollary)
Some limbs she finds the very same
In place, and dignity, and name;
These dwell at such convenient distance,
That each may give his friend assistance.
Thus he who runs or dances, begs
The equal vigour of two legs;
So much to both does Alma trust,
She ne'er regards which goes the first.
Teague could make neither of them stay,
When with himself he ran away.
The man who struggles in the fight,
Fatigues left arm as well as right;
For whilst one hand exalts the blow,
And on the earth extends the foe,
T'other would take it wondrous ill
If in your pocket he lay still.
And when you shoot, and shut one eye,
You cannot think he would deny
To lend the other friendly aid,
Or wink as coward, and afraid.
No, sir; whilst he withdraws his flame,
His comrade takes the surer aim.
One moment if his beams recede,
As soon as e'er the bird is dead,
Opening again, he lays his claim
To half the profit, half the fame,
And helps to pocket up the game,
'Tis thus one tradesman slips away,
To give his partner fairer play.
'Some limbs again, in bulk or stature
Unlike, and not a-kin by nature,
In concert act, like modern friends,
Because one serves the other's ends.
The arm thus waits upon the heart,
So quick to take the bully's part,
That one, though warm, decides more slow
Than t' other executes the blow:
A stander-by may chance to have it,
Ere Hack himself perceives he gave it.
'The amorous eyes thus always go
A-strolling for their friends below;
For long before the 'squire and dame
Have tête à tête reliev'd their flame,
Ere visits yet are brought about,
The eye by sympathy looks out,
Knows Florimel, and longs to meet her,
And if he sees, is sure to greet her,
Though at sash-window, on the stairs,
At court, nay, (authors say) at pray'rs.-
The funeral of some valiant knight
May give this thing its proper light.
View his two gauntlets; these declare
That both his hands were us'd to war;
And from his two gilt spurs 'tis learn'd
His feet were equally concern'd;
But have you not with thought beheld
The sword hang dangling o'er the shield?
Which shows the breast that plate was us'd to,
Had an ally right-arm to trust to ;
And by the peep-holes in his crest,
Is it not virtually confess'd
That there his eye took distant aim,
And glanc'd respect to that bright dame
In whose delight his hope was center'd,
And for whose glove his life he ventur'd?
Objections to my general System
May rise, perhaps, and I have miss'd them;
But I can call to my assistance
Proximity (mark that!) and distance;
Can prove that all things, on occasion,
Love union, and desire adhesion;
That Alma merely is a scale,
And motives, like the weights, prevail :
If neither side turn down or up,
With loss or gain, with fear or hope,
The balance always would hang even,
Like Mah'met's tomb, 'twixt earth and heaven.
'This, Richard, is a curious case:
Suppose your eyes sent equal rays
Upon two distant pots of ale,
Not knowing which was mild or stale;
In this sad state your doubtful choice
Would never have the casting voice;
Which best or worst you could not think,
And die you must for want of drink,
Unless some chance inclines your sight,
Setting one pot in fairer light;
Then you prefer or A or B,
As lines and angels best agree;
Your sense resolv'd, impels your will;
She guides your hand-So drink your fill.
'Have you not seen a baker's maid
Between two equal panniers sway'd?