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I only wear it in a land of Hectors,
Thieves, Supercargoes, Sharpers, and Directors,
Save but our Army! and let Jove incrust
Swords, pikes, and guns, with everlasting ruft.
Peace is

my

dear delight-not FLEURY's more ; Bit touch me, and no Minister so sore.

76 Whoe'er offends, at some unlucky time Slides into verse, and hitches in a rhyme, Sacred to Ridicule his whole life long, And the sad burthen of some merry song. 80

Slander or Poison dread from Delia's rage, Hard words or hanging, if your Judge be Page. From furious Sappho scarce a milder fate, P-x'd by her love, or libelld by her hate. Its proper pow'r to hurt, each creature feels; 85 Bulls aim their horns, and Asses lift their heels; 'Tis a Bear's talent not to kick but hug ; And no man wonders he's not stung by Pug. So drink with Walters, or with Chartres eat, They'll never poison you, they'll only cheat. 90

Then, leamed Sir! (to cut the matter short) Whate'er my fate, or well or ill at Court, Whether Old age, with faint but chearful ray, Attends to gild the Ev’ning of my day, Or Death's black wing already be display'd, 95 To wrap me in the universal shade; Whether the darken'd room to muse invite, Or whiten'd wall provoke the skew'r to write ;

III

In durance, exile, Bedlam, or the Mint,
Like Lee or Budgell, I will rhyme and print. 100

F. Alas young man! your days can ne'er be long,
In flow'r of age you perish for a song!
Plums and Directors, Shylock and his Wife,
Will club their Testers, now, to take your life.

P. What? arm'd for Virtue when I point the pen, Brand the bold front of shameless guilty men; Dash the proud Gamester in his gilded car; Bare the mean Heart that lurks beneath a Star; Can there be wanting, to defend Her cause, Lights of the Church, or Guardians of the Laws ? Could penfion'd Boileau lash in honest strain Flatt'rers and Bigots ev’n in Louis' reign? Could Laureate Dryden Pimp and Fry'r engage, Yet neither Charles nor James be in a rage ? And I not strip the gilding off a Knave, 115 Unplac'd, unpenfion'd, no man's heir, or slave? I will, or perish in the gen’rous cause; Hear this, and tremble ! you, who 'fcape the Laws. Yes, while I live, no rich or noble knave Shall walk the world, in credit, to his grave. 120 To VIRTUE ONLY and HER FRIENDS A FRIEND, The World beside may murmur, or commend. Know, all the distant din that world can keep Rolls o'er my Grotto, and but sooths

my sleep. There, my retreat the best Companions grace, Chiefs out of war, and Statesmen out of place. There St. John mingles with my friendly bowl The Feast of Reason, and the flow of Soul:

And He",whose lightning pierc'd th'Iberian Lines,
Now forms my Quincunx, and now ranks my Vines,
Or tames the Genius of the stubborn plain, 131
Almost as quickly as he conquer'd Spain.
Envy must own, I live among

the Great,
No Pimp of pleasure, and no spy of state,
With eyes that pry not, tongue that ne'er repeats,
Fond to spread friend thips, but to cover heats;
To help who want, to forward who excel ;
This, all who know me, know; who love me, tell;
And who unknown defame me, let them be
Scribblers or Peers, alike are Mob to me. 140
This is my plea, on this I rest my cause
What faith my Council, learned in the laws ?

F. Your plea is good; but still I say, beware!
Laws are explain’d by Men-fo have a care.
It stands on record that in Richard's times

145
A man was hang'd for very honeft rhymes.
Consult the statute : quart. I think, it is,
Edrvardi sext, or prim. et quint. Eliz.
See Libels, Satires-here you have it-read.

P. Libels and Satires! lawless things indeed!
But grave Epifiles, bringing Vice to light, 151
Such as a King might read, a Bishop write,
Such as Sir Robert would approve-

F. Indeed ?
The Case is alter'd-you may then proceed;
In such a cause the Plaintiff will be hiss’d, 155
My Lords the Judges laugh, and you're dismiss'd.

!

* Earl of Peterborough.

A PROLOGUE

TO A PLAY FOR MR. DENNIS's BENEFIT, IN 1733, WHEN HE WAS OLD, BLIND, AND IN GREAT DISTRESS, A LIT

TLE BEFORE HIS DEATH.

BY THE SAML.

As when that Hero, who in each Campaign,
Had brav'd the Goth, and many a Vandal llain,
Lay Fortune-ftruck, a spectacle of Woe!
Wept by each Friend, forgiv'n by every Foe;
Was there a gen'rous, a reflecting mind, 5
But pitied BELISARIUs old and blind ?
Was there a Chief but melted at the Sight?
A common Soldier, but who clubb’d his Mite?
Such, such emotions should in Britons rise,
When press’d by want and weakness Dennis lies;
Dennis, who long had warr'd with modern Huns,
Their Quibbles routed, and defy'd their Puns;
A desp'rate Bulwark, furdy, firm, and fierce
Against the Gothic fons of frozen verse :
How chang'd from him who made the boxes groan,
And shook the stage with thunders all his own!

Stood up to dalh each vain Pretender's hope,
Maul the French Tyrant, or pull down the Pope !
If there's a Briton then, true bred and born,
Who holds Dragoons and wooden shoes in scorn;
If there's a Critic of distinguish'd rage ;
If there's a Senior, who contemns this

age;
Let him to-night his just affiftance lend,
And be the Critic's, Briton's, Old Man's Friend.

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Statesman, yet friend to truth! of foul fincere,
In action faithful, and in honour clear!
Who broke no promise, serv'd no private end,
Who gain’d no title, and who loft no friend;
Ennobled by himself, by all approv'd,
Prais’d, wept, and honour'd by the Muse he lov’d.

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