« EelmineJätka »
To Mr. DELANY, Nov. 10, 1718.
To you, whofe virtues, I must own
With fhame, I have too lately known;
To you, by art and nature taught
To be the man I long have fought,
Had not ill Fate, perverfe and blind,
Plac'd you in life too far behind;
Or, what I should repine at more,
Plac'd me in life too far before :
the Mufe this verse bestows,
Which might as well have been in profe;
No thought, no fancy, no fublime,
But fimple topicks told in rhyme.
Talents for converfation fit,
Are humour, breeding, fenfe, and wit:
The laft, as boundless as the wind,
Is well conceiv'd, though not defin'd:
For, fure, by wit is chiefly meant
Applying well what we invent.
What humour is, not all the tribe
Of logick-mongers can defcribe;
Here nature only acts her part,
Unhelp'd by practice, books, or art:
For wit and humour differ quite;
That gives furprize, and this delight.
Humour is odd, grotefque, and wild,
Only by affectation fpoil'd:
'Tis never by invention got,
Men haye it when they know it not.
Our converfation to refine,
Humour and wit muft both combine :
From both we learn to railly well,
Wherein fometimes the French excel.
Voiture, in various lights, difplays
That irony which turns to praise :
His genius first found out the rule
For an obliging ridicule :
He flatters with peculiar air
The brave, the witty, and the fair :
And fools would fancy he intends
A fatire, where he most commends.
But, as a poor pretending beau,
Because he fain would make a show,
Nor can arrive at filver lace,
Takes up with copper in the place :
So the pert dunces of mankind,
Whene'er they would be thought refin'd,
As if the difference lay abftrufe
"Twixt raillery and grofs abuse;
To fhew their parts, will fcold and rail,
Like porters o'er a pot of ale.
Such is that clan of boifterous bears,
Always together by the ears;
Shrewd fellows and arch wags, a tribe
That meet for nothing but a gibe;
Who first run one another down,
And then fall foul on all the town;
Skill'd in the horse-laugh and dry rub,
And call'd by excellence The Club.
I mean your Butler, Dawfon, Car,
All fpecial friends, and always jar.
The mettled and the vicious steed
Differ as little in their breed;
Nay, Voiture is as like Tom Leigh
As rudeness is to repartee.
If what you faid I wifh unfpoke,
'Twill not fuffice it was a joke:
Reproach not, though in jeft, a friend
For those defects he cannot mend;
His lineage, calling, fhape, or fense,
If nam'd with fcorn, gives juft offence.
What ufe in life to make men fret,
Part in worfe humour than they met ?
Thus all fociety is loft,
Men laugh at one another's coft;
And half the company is teaz'd,
hat came together to be pleas'd:
or all buffoons have moft in view
o please themselves by vexing you.
You wonder now to fee me write
gravely on a fubject light ;
me part of what I here defign
egards a friend of your's and mine
Who, neither void of fenfe nor wit,
et feldom judges what is fit,
But fallies oft' beyond his bounds,
And takes unmeasurable rounds.
When jefts are carried on too far,
And the loud laugh begins the war,
You keep your countenance for fhame,
Yet ftill you think your friend to blame :
For, though men cry they love a jest,
"Tis but when others ftand the teft;
And (would you have their meaning known)
They love a jeft that is their own.
You muft, although the point be nice,
Beftow your friend fome good advice:
One hint from you will fet him right,
And teach him how to be polite.
Bid him, like you, observe with care,
Whom to be hard on, whom to fpare;
Nor indiftinctly to fuppofe
All fubjects like Dan Jackson's nofe *.
To ftudy the obliging jeft,
By reading those who teach it best;
For profe I recommend Voiture's, ·
For verfe (I fpeak my judgement) yours.
He 'll find the fecret out from thence,
To rhyme all day without offence;
And I no more fhall then accuse
The flirts of his ill-manner'd Muse.
If he be guilty, you must mend him ;
If he be innocent, defend him.
* Which was afterwards the fubject of feveral poems
DELANY reports it, and he has a fhrewd tongue, That we both at the part of the clown and cow-dung;
We lye cramming ourselves, and are ready to burft,
Yet ftill are no wifer than we were at first.
Pudet hæc opprobria, I freely must tell ye,
Et dici potuiffe, et non potuiffe refelli.
Though Delany advis'd you to plague me no longer,
You reply and rejoin like Hoadly of Bangor.
I muft now, at one fitting, pay off my old fcore;
How many to anfwer? One, two, three, four.
But, because the three former are long ago paft,
I fhall, for method fake, begin with the last.
You treat me like a boy that knocks down his foe,
Who, ere t'other gets up, demands the rifing blow.
Yet I know a young rogue, that, thrown flat on the field,
Would, as he lay under, cry out, Sirrah! yield.
So the French, when our Generals foundly did pay them:
Went triumphant to church, and fang ftoutly Te Deum.
So the famous Tom Leigh, when quite run aground,
Comes off by out-laughing the company round.
In every vile pamphlet you 'll read the fame fancies,
Having thus overthrown all our further advances.
* The humour of this poem is partly loft, by the impoffibility of printing it left-handed as it was written.