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TO A PLAY FOR MR. DENNIS'S BENEFIT, IN 1733, WHEN
HE WAS OLD, BLIND, AND IN GREAT DISTRESS,
A LITTLE BEFORE HIS DEATH.
As when that hero, who in each
campaign Had brav'd the Goth, and many a Vandal slain, Lay fortune-struck, a spectacle of woe, Wept by each friend, forgiven by every foe; Was there a generous, a reflecting mind, 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 defied their puns ; A desperate bulwark, sturdy, firm, and fierce, Against the Gothic sons 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 dash 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 assistance lend, And be the critic's, Briton's, old man's friend.
When simple Macer, now of high renown,
with these he ventur'd on the town, And with a borrow'd play outdid poor
Crowne.? There he stopp'd short, nor since has writ a tittle, But has the wit to make the most of little ; Like stunted hide-bound trees, that just have got Sufficient sap at once to bear and rot. Now he begs verse, and what he gets commends, Not of the wits his foes, but fools his friends.
So some coarse country wench, almost decay'd, Trudges to town and first turns chambermaid ; Awkward and supple each devoir to pay, She flatters her good lady twice a day; Thought wondrous honest, though of mean degree, And strangely lik’d for her simplicity :
1 Either James Moore Smith, or, more probably, Ambrose Philips.
2 John Crowne, the author of various dramas, contemporary with Dryden.
In a translated suit then tries the town,
SONG, BY A PERSON OF QUALITY.
WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1733.
FLUTTERING spread thy purple pinions,
Mild Arcadians, ever blooming,
Thus the Cyprian goddess weeping,
Cynthia, tune harmonious numbers ;
Gloomy Pluto, king of terrors,
Mournful cypress, verdant willow,
Thus when Philomela drooping
ON A CERTAIN LADY AT COURT.1
I KNOW the thing that's most uncommon;
Not warp'd by passion, aw'd by rumour,
1 Mrs. Howard, afterwards Countess of Suffolk.
“ Has she no faults then (Envy says), sir?”
ON HIS GROTTO AT TWICKENHAM,
COMPOSED OF MARBLES, SPARS, GEMS, ORES,
Thou who shalt stop where Thames' translucent
wave Shines a broad mirror through the shadowy cave; Where lingering drops from mineral roofs distil, And pointed crystals break the sparkling rill ; Unpolish'd gems no ray on pride bestow, And latent metals innocently glow; Approach. Great nature studiously behold ! And eye
the mine without a wish for gold. Approach ; but awful! lo! the Ægerian grot, Where, nobly pensive, St. John sate and thought ; Where British sighs from dying Wyndham stole, And the bright flame was shot through March
mont's soul. Let such, such only, tread this sacred floor, Who dare to love their country, and be poor.