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Soon as the Sun the face of Nature gilds, For health and pleasure will we range the fields; O'er her gay scenes and opening beauties run, While all the vast creation is our own. But when his golden globe with faded light Yields to the solemn empire of the night; And in her sober majesty the Moon With milder glories mounts her silver throne; Amidst ten thousand orbs with splendour crown'd, That pour their tributary beams around; Through the long levell'd tube our strengthen'd sight Shall mark distinct the spangles of the night; From world to world shall dart the boundless eye, And stretch from star to star, from sky to sky.
The buzzing insect families appear,
When suns unbind the rigour of the year;
Quick glance the myriads round the evening bower,
Hosts of a day, or nations of an hour.
Astonish'd we shall see th' unfolding race,
Stretch'd out in bulk, within the polish'd glass;
Through whose small convex a new world we spy,
Ne'er seen before, but by a seraph's eye!
So long in darkness shut from human kind
Lay half God's wonders to a point confin'd!
But in one peopled drop we now survey
In pride of power some little monster play;
O'er tribes invisible he reigns alone,
And struts a tyrant of a world his own.
Now will we study Homer's awful page,
Now warm our souls with Pindar's noble rage:
To English lays shall Flaccus' lyre be strung,
And lofty Virgil speak the British tongue.
Immortal Virgil! at thy sacred name
I tremble now, and now I pant for fame;
With eager hopes this moment I aspire
To catch or emulate thy glorious fire;
The next pursue the rash attempt no more,
But drop the quill, bow, wonder, and adore;
By thy strong genius overcome and aw'd!
That fire from Heaven! that spirit of a god!
Pleas'd and transported with thy name I tend
Beyond my theme, forgetful of my friend;
And from my first design by rapture led,
Neglect the living poet for the dead.
WHEN TUTOR TO LORD MIDDLESEX.
IN IMITATION OF HORACE, BOOK I. EPIST. XVIII.
SPENCE, with a friend you pass the hours away
In pointed jokes, yet innocently gay :
You ever differ'd from a flatterer more,
Than a chaste lady from a flaunting whore.
'Tis true you rallied every fault you found,
But gently tickled, while you cur'd the wound:
Unlike the paultry poets of the town,
Rogues who expose themselves for half a crown:
And still impose on every soul they meet
Rudeness for sense, and ribaldry for wit:
Who, though half-starv'd, in spite of time and place,
Repeat their rhymes, though dinner stays for grace:
And as their poverty their dresses fit,
They think of course a sloven is a wit;
But sense (a truth these coxcombs ne'er suspect)
Lies just 'twixt affectation and neglect.
One step still lower, if you can, descend,
To the mean wretch, the great man's humble friend;
That moving shade, that pendant at his ear,
That two-legg'd dog, still pawing on the peer.
Studying his looks, and watching at the board,
He gapes to catch the droppings of my lord;
And, tickled to the soul at every joke,
Like a press'd watch, repeats what t'other spoke :
Echo to nonsense! such a scene to hear!
'Tis just like Punch and his interpreter.
On trifles some are earnestly absurd,
You'll think the world depends on ev'ry word.
"What, is not every mortal free to speak?
I'll give my reasons, tho' I break my neck."
And what's the question?-if it shines or rains,
Whether it is twelve or fifteen miles to Staines.
The wretch reduc'd to rags by every vice,
Pride, projects, races, mistresses, and dice,
The rich rogue shuns, though full as bad as he,
And knows a quarrel is good husbandry.
""This strange," cries Peter," you are out of
I'm sure I thought you wiser than myself;"
Yet gives him nothing-but advice too late,
Retrench, or rather mortgage your estate,
I can advance the sum,-'tis best for both;
But henceforth cut your coat to match your cloth.
A minister, in mere revenge and sport,
Shall give his foc a paltry place at court.
The dupe for every royal birth-day buys
New horses, coaches, clothes, and liveries;'
Plies at the levee, and distinguish'd there
Lives on the royal whisper for a year;
His wenches shine in Brussels and brocade!
And now the wretch, ridiculously mad,
Draws on his banker, mortgages and fails,
Then to the country runs away from jails: ́
There, ruin'd by the court, he sells a vote
To the next burgess, as of old he bought;
Rubs down the steeds which once his chariot bore,
Or sweeps the town, which once he serv'd before.
But, by this roving meteor led, I tend
Beyond my theme, forgetful of my friend.
Then take advice; I preach not out of time,
When good lord Middlesex is bent on rhyme.
Their humour check'd, or inclination cross'd,
Sometimes the friendship of the great is lost.
Uniess call'd out to wench, be sure comply,
Hunt when he hunts, and lay the Fathers by:
For your reward you gain his love, and dine
On the best venison and the best French wine :
Nor to lord ****** make the observation,
How the twelve peers have answer'd their creation,
Nor in your wine or wrath betray your trust,
Be silent still, and obstinately just:
Explore no secrets, draw no characters,
For Echo will repeat, and walls have ears:
Nor let a busy fool a secret know,
A secret gripes him till he lets it go:
Words are like bullets, and we wish in vain,
When once discharg'd, to call them back again.
* * * ** * *
* * * * * * * * Defend, dear Spence, the honest and the civil, But to cry up a rascal- -that's the devil. Who guards a good man's character, 'tis known, At the same time protects and guards his own. For as with houses 'tis with people's names, A shed may set a palace all on flames; The fire neglected on the cottage preys, But mounts at last into a general blaze.
'Tis a fine thing, some think, a ford to know; I wish his tradesmen could but think so too.
He gives his word-then all your hopes are gone: He gives his honour-then you're quite undone. His and some women's love the same are found; You rashly board a fireship, and are drown'd.
Most folks so partial to themselves are grown, They hate a temper differing from their own. The grave abhor the gay, the gay the sad, And formalists pronounce the witty mad: The sot, who drinks six bottles in a place, Swears at the flinchers who refuse their glass. Would you not pass for an ill-natured man, Comply with every humour that you can.
Pope will instruct you how to pass away Your time like him, and never lose a day;
From hopes or fears your quiet to defend,
To all mankind as to yourself a friend,
And, sacred from the world, retir'd, unknown,
To lead a life with mortals like his own.
When to delicious Pimperne I retire,
What greater bliss, my Spence, can I desire?
Contented there my easy hours I spend
With maps, globes, books, my bottle, and a friend.
There can I live upon my income still,
F'en though the house should pass the Quakers' bill:
Yet to my share should some good prebend fall,
I think myself of size to fill a stall.
For life or wealth let Heaven my lot assign,
A firm and even soul shall still be mine.