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Or just as gay, at council, in a ring
Of mimick'd statesmen, and their merry king.
No wit to flatter, left of all his store;
No fool to laugh at, which he valued more.
There, victor of his health, of fortune, friends,
And fame, this lord of useless thousands ends.
His grace's fate sage Cutler could foresee,
And well (he thought) advis'd him, "Live like me!"
As well his grace replied, "Like you, Sir John!
That I can do, when all I have is gone."
Resolve me, Reason, which of these are worse,
Want with a full, or with an empty purse?
Thy life more wretched, Cutler, was confess'd:
Arise, and tell me, was thy death more bless'd?
Cutler saw tenants break, and houses fall,
For every want he could not build a wall.
His only daughter in a stranger's power,
For very want; he could not pay a dower.
A few grey hairs his reverend temples crown'd,
"Twas very want that sold them for two pound.
What! ev'n denied a cordial at his end,
Banish'd the doctor, and expell'd the friend?
What but a want, which you perhaps think mad,
Yet numbers feel, the want of what he had!
Cutler and Brutus dying, both exclaim,
"Virtue! and Wealth! what are ye but a name !"
Say, for such worth are other worlds prepar'd?
Or are they both, in this, their own reward?
A knotty point! to which we now proceed.
But you are tir'd-I'll tell a tale.-B. Agreed.
P. Where London's column, pointing at the skies,
Like a tall bully, lifts the head, and lies;
There dwelt a citizen of sober fame,
A plain good man, and Balaam was his name;
Religious, punctual, frugal, and so forth;
His word would pass for more than he was worth.
One solid dish his week-day meal affords,
And added pudding solemniz'd the Lord's:
Constant at church, and 'Change; his gains were
His givings rare, save farthings to the poor.
The devil was piqu'd such saintship to behold,
And long'd to tempt him, like good Job of old;
But Satan now is wiser than of yore,
And tempts by making rich, not making poor.
Rous'd by the prince of air, the whirlwinds sweep
The surge, and plunge his father in the deep;
Then full against his Cornish lands they roar,
And two rich shipwrecks bless the lucky shore.
Sir Balaam now, he lives like other folks,
He takes his chirping pint, and cracks his jokes:
"Live like yourself," was soon my lady's word;
And lo! two puddings smok'd upon the board.
Asleep and naked as an Indian lay,
An honest factor stole a gem away:
He pledg'd it to the knight, the knight had wit,
So kept the diamond, and the rogue was bit.
Some scruple rose, but thus he eas'd his thought,
"I'll now give sixpence where I gave a groat;
Where once I went to church, I'll now go twice-
And am so clear too of all other vice."
The tempter saw his time: the work he plied;
Stocks and subscriptions pour on every side,
Till all the demon makes his full descent
In one abundant shower of cent. per cent.,
Sinks deep within him, and possesses whole,
Then dubs director, and secures his soul.
Behold Sir Balaam, now a man of spirit,
Ascribes his gettings to his parts and merit;
What late he call'd a blessing, now was wit,
And God's good providence, a lucky hit.
Things change their titles, as our manners turn:
His compting-house employ'd the Sunday morn:
Seldom at church, ('twas such a busy life,)
But duly sent his family and wife.
There (so the devil ordain'd) one Christmas-tide
My good old lady catch'd a cold, and died.
A nymph of quality admires our knight;
He marries, bows at court, and grows polite :
Leaves the dull cits, and joins (to please the fair)
The well-bred cuckolds in St. James's air:
First, for his son a gay commission buys,
Who drinks, whores, fights, and in a duel dies:
His daughter flaunts a viscount's tawdry wife;
She bears a coronet and p-x for life.
In Britain's senate he a seat obtains,
And one more pensioner St. Stephen gains.
My lady falls to play: so bad her chance,
He must repair it; takes a bribe from France:
The house impeach him, Coningsby harangues;
The court forsake him, and Sir Balaam hangs :
Wife, son, and daughter, Satan! are thy own,
His wealth, yet dearer, forfeit to the crown:
The devil and the king divide the prize,
And sad Sir Balaam curses God and dies.
TO RICHARD BOYLE, EARL OF BURLINGTON.
OF THE USE OF RICHES.
The vanity of expense in people of wealth and quality. The abuse of the word taste. That the first principle and foundation in this, as in every thing else, is good sense. The chief proof of it is to follow Nature, even in works of nere luxury and elegance. Instanced in architecture and gardening, where all must be adapted to the genius and use of the place, and the beauties not forced into it, but resulting from it. How men are disappointed in their most expensive undertakings, for want of this true foundation, without which nothing can please long, if at all; and the best examples and rules will be but perverted into something burthensome and ridiculous. A description of the false taste of magnificence; the first grand error of which is, to imagine that greatness consists in the size and dimension, instead of the proportion and harmony of the whole; and the second, either in joining together parts incoherent, or too minutely resembling, or in the repetition of the same too frequently. A word or two of false taste in books, in music, in painting, even in preaching and prayer, and lastly in entertainments. Yet Providence is justifie in giving wealth to be squandered in this manner, since it is dispersed to the poor and laborious part of mankind. What are the proper objects of magnificence, and a proper field for the expense of great men; and finally the great and public works which become a prince.
"Tis strange, the miser should his cares employ To gain those riches he can ne'er enjoy;
Is it less strange, the prodigal should waste
His wealth, to purchase what he ne'er can taste?
Not for himself he sees, or hears, or eats;
Artists must choose his pictures, music, meats:
He buys for Topham drawings and designs;
For Pembroke statues, dirty gods, and coins;
Rare monkish manuscripts for Hearne alone,
And books for Mead, and butterflies for Sloane.
Think we all these are for himself? no more
Than his fine wife, alas! or finer whore.
For what has Virro painted, built, and planted? Only to show how many tastes he wanted. What brought Sir Visto's ill-got wealth to waste? Some demon whisper'd, "Visto! have a taste." Heaven visits with a taste the wealthy fool, And needs no rod but Ripley with a rule. See! sportive Fate, to punish awkward pride, Bids Bubo build, and sends him such a guide: A standing sermon, at each year's expense, That never coxcomb reach'd magnificence!
You show us, Rome was glorious, not profuse, And pompous buildings once were things of use. Yet shall, my lord, your just, your noble rules Fill half the land with imitating fools;
Without it, proud Versailles! thy glory falls;
And Nero's terraces desert their walls:
The vast parterres a thousand hands shall make,
Lo! Cobham comes, and floats them with a lake:
Or cut wide views through mountains to the plain
You'll wish your hill or shelter'd seat again.
Ev'n in an ornament its place remark,
Nor in an hermitage set Dr. Clarke.
Behold Villario's ten years' toil complete;
His quincunx darkens, his espaliers meet;
The wood supports the plain, the parts unite,
And strength of shade contends with strength of
A waving glow the bloomy beds display,
Blushing in bright diversities of day,
With silver-quivering rills meander'd o'er-
Enjoy them, you! Villario can no more;
Tir'd of the scene parterres and fountains yield,
He finds at last he better likes a field.
And of one beauty many blunders make;
Load some vain church with old theatric state,
Turn arts of triumph to a garden-gate;
Reverse your ornaments, and hang them all
On some patch'd dog-hole ek'd with ends of wall;
Then clap four slices of pilaster on 't,
That, lac'd with bits of rustic, makes a front.
Shall call the winds through long arcades to roar,
Proud to catch cold at a Venetian door;
Conscious they act a true Palladian part,
And if they starve, they starve by rules of art.
Oft have you hinted to your brother peer,
A certain truth, which many buy too dear:
Something there is more needful than expense,
And something previous ev'n to taste-'tis sense:
Good sense, which only is the gift of Heaven,
And, though no science, fairly worth the seven:
A light which in yourself you must perceive;
Jones and Le Nôtre have it not to give.
To build, to plant, whatever you intend,
To rear the column, or the arch to bend,
To swell the terrace, or to sink the grot;
In all, let Nature never be forgot.
But treat the goddess like a modest fair,
Nor over-dress, nor leave her wholly bare;
Let not each beauty everywhere be spied,
Where half the skill is decently to hide.
He gains all points, who pleasingly confounds,
Surprises, varies, and conceals the bounds.
Consult the genius of the place in all;
That tells the waters or to rise, or fall;
Or helps th' ambitious hill the heavens to scale,
Or scoops in circling theatres the vale;
Calls in the country, catches opening glades,
Joins willing woods, and varies shades from shades;
Now breaks, or now directs th' intending lines;
Paints as you plant, and, as you work, designs.
Still follows sense, of every art the soul, Parts answering parts shall slide into a whole, Spontaneous beauties all around advance, Start ev'n from difficulty, strike from chance; Nature shall join you; Time shall make it grow A work to wonder at-perhaps a Stow.
Through his young woods how pleas'd Sabinus stray'd,
Or sate delighted in the thickening shade, With annual joy the reddening shoots to greet, Or see the stretching branches long to meet!
Who randoin drawings from your sheets shall His son's fine taste an opener Vista loves,
Foe to the Dryads of his father's groves;
One boundless green, or flourish'd carpet views,
With all the mournful family of yews:
The thriving plants, ignoble broomsticks made, Now sweep those alleys they were born to shade. At Timon's villa let us pass a day,
Where all cry out, "What sums are thrown away!'
So proud, so grand; of that stupendous air,
Soft and agreeable come never there.
Greatness, with Timon, dwells in such a draught
As brings all Brobdignag before your thought.
To compass this, his building is a town,
His pond an ocean, his parterre a down:
Who but must laugh, the master when he sees,
A puny insect, shivering at a breeze!
Lo, what huge heaps of littleness around!
The whole a labor'd quarry above ground.
Two Cupids squirt before: a lake behind
Improves the keenness of the northern wind
His gardens next your admiration call,
On every side you look, behold the wall!
No pleasing intricacies intervene,
No artful wildness to perplex the scene;
Grove nods at grove, each alley has a brother,
And half the platform just reflects the other.
The suffering eye inverted Nature sees,
Trees cut to statues, statues thick as trees;
With here a fountain, never to be play'd;
And there a summer-house that knows no shade;
Here Amphitrite sails through myrtle bowers;
There gladiators fight, or die in flowers;
Unwater'd see the drooping sea-horse mourn,
And swallows roost in Nilus' dusty urn.
My lord advances with majestic mien,
Smit with the mighty pleasure to be seen:
But soft-by regular approach—not yet-
First through the length of yon hot terrace sweat;
And when up ten steep slopes you've dragg'd your
Just at his study-door he'll bless your eyes.
His study with what authors is it stor'd? In books, not authors, curious is my lord; To all their dated backs he turns you round; These Aldus printed, those Du Sueil has bound.
Lo, some are vellum, and the rest as good
For all his lordship knows, but they are wood.
For Locke or Milton, 'tis in vain to look,
These shelves admit not any modern book.
And now the chapel's silver bell you hear,
That summons you to all the pride of prayer:
Light quirks of music, broken and uneven,
Make the soul dance upon a jig to Heaven.
On painted ceilings you devoutly stare,
Where sprawl the saints of Verrio or Laguerre,
Or gilded clouds in fair expansion lie,
And bring all Paradise before your eye.
To rest, the cushion and soft dean invite,
Who never mentions Hell to ears polite.
TO MR. ADDISON.
OCCASIONED BY HIS DIALOGUES ON MEDALS. This was originally written in the year 1715, when Mr. Addison intended to publish his book of medals: it was some time before he was secretary of state; but not published till Mr. Tickell's edition of his works; at which time his verses on Mr. Craggs, which conclude the poem, were added, viz. in 1720.
As the third Epistle treated of the extremes of avarice and profusion; and the fourth took up one particular branch of the latter, namely, the vanity of expense in people of wealth and quality, and was, therefore, a corollary to the third; so this treats of one circumstance of that vanity, as it appears in the common collectors of old coins; and is, therefore, a corollary to the fourth.
But hark! the chiming clocks to dinner call;
A hundred footsteps scrape the marble hall:
The rich buffet well-color'd serpents grace,
And gaping Tritons spew to wash your face.
Is this a dinner? this a genial room?
No, 'tis a temple, and a hecatomb.
A solemn sacrifice perform'd in state,
You drink by measure, and to minutes eat.
So quick retires each flying course, you'd swear
Sancho's dread doctor and his wand were there.
Between each act the trembling salvers ring,
From soup to sweet-wine, and God bless the With nodding arches, broken temples spread!
SEE the wild waste of all-devouring years;
How Rome her own sad sepulchre appears,
In plenty starving, tantaliz'd in state,
And complaisantly help'd to all I hate,
Treated, caress'd, and tir'd, I take my leave,
Sick of his civil pride from morn to eve;
I curse such lavish cost, and little skill,
And swear no day was ever pass'd so ill.
The very tombs now vanish'd like their dead!
Imperial wonders rais'd on nations spoil'd, [toil'd:
Where, mix'd with slaves, the groaning martyr
Huge theatres, that now unpeopled woods,
Now drain'd a distant country of her floods:
Fanes, which admiring gods with pride survey;
Statues of men, scarce less alive than they!
Yet hence the poor are cloth'd, the hungry fed; Some felt the silent stroke of mouldering age,
Health to himself, and to his infants bread,
The laborer bears: What his hard heart denies,
His charitable vanity supplies.
Some hostile fury, some religious rage.
Barbarian blindness, christian zeal conspire,
And papal piety, and gothic fire.
Another age shall see the golden ear
Imbrown the slope, and nod on the parterre,
Deep harvest bury all his pride has plann'd,
And laughing Ceres reassume the land.
Perhaps, by its own ruins sav'd from flame,
Some buried marble half preserves a name;
That name the learn'd with fierce disputes pursue,
And give to Titus old Vespasian's due.
Ambition sigh'd: she found it vain to trust
The faithless column and the crumbling bust:
Huge moles, whose shadows stretch'd from shore to
Who then shall grace, or who improve the soil?
Who plants like Bathurst, or who builds like
"Tis use alone that sanctifies expense,
And splendor borrows all her rays from sense.
His father's acres who enjoys in peace,
Or makes his neighbors glad, if he increase:
Whose cheerful tenants bless their yearly toil,
Yet to their lord owe more than to the soil;
Whose ample lawns are not asham'd to feed
The milky heifer and deserving steed;
Whose rising forests, not for pride or show,
But future buildings, future navies, grow:
Let his plantations stretch from down to down,
First shade a country, and then raise a town.
You too proceed! make falling arts your care,
Erect new wonders, and the old repair;
Jones and Palladio to themselves restore,
And be whate'er Vitruvius was before:
Till kings call forth the ideas of your mind,
(Proud to accomplish what such hands design'd,)
Bid harbors open, public ways extend,
Bid temples worthier of the God ascend;
Bid the broad arch the dangerous flood contain,
The mole projected break the roaring main;
Back to his bounds their subject sea command,
And roll obedient rivers through the land;
These honors, Peace to happy Britain brings;
These are imperial works, and worthy kings.
Their ruins perish'd, and their place no more!
Convinc'd, she now contracts her vast design,
And all her triumphs shrink into a coin.
A narrow orb each crowded conquest keeps,
Beneath her palm here sad Judea weeps;
Now scantier limits the proud arch confine,
And scarce are seen the prostrate Nile or Rhine;
A small Euphrates through the piece is roll'd,
And little eagles wave their wings in gold.
The medal, faithful to its charge of fame,
Through climes and ages bears each form and name
In one short view subjected to our eye
Gods, emperors, heroes, sages, beauties, lie.
With sharpen'd sight pale antiquaries pore,
Th' inscription value, but the rust adore.
This the blue varnish, that the green endears,
The sacred rust of twice ten hundred years!
To gain Pescenius one employs his schemes,
One grasps a Cecrops in ecstatic dreams.
Poor Vadius, long with learned spleen devour'd,
Can taste no pleasure since his shield was scour'd.
And Curio, restless by the fair-one's side,
Sighs for an Otho, and neglects his bride.
Theirs is the vanity, the learning thine
Touch'd by thy hand, again Rome's glories shine:
Her gods and godlike heroes rise to view,
And all her faded garlands bloom anew.
Nor blush, these studies thy regard engage:
These pleas'd the fathers of poetic rage:
The verse and sculpture bore an equal part,
And art reflected images to art.
I sit with sad civility; I read
With honest anguish, and an aching head;
And drop at last, but in unwilling ears,
This saving counsel," Keep your piece nine years."
"Nine years!" cries he, who high in Drury-lane,
Lull'd by soft zephyrs through the broken pane,
Rhymes ere he wakes, and prints before term ends,
Oblig'd by hunger and request of friends:
"The piece, you think, is incorrect? why take it;
I'm all submission; what you'd have it, make it.”
Three things another's modest wishes bound,
My friendship, and a prologue, and ten pound.
Pitholeon sends to me: "You know his grace:
I want a patron; ask him for a place."
Pitholeon libell'd me—“ but here's a letter
Informs you, sir, 'twas when he knew no better.
Dare you refuse him? Curll invites to dine,
He'll write a journal, or he'll turn divine."
Bless me! a packet.-" "Tis a stranger sues,
A Virgin Tragedy, an Orphan Muse."
If I dislike it, "Furies, death, and rage!"
If I approve, "Commend it to the stage."
There (thank my stars) my whole commission ends,
The players and I are, luckily, no friends.
Fir'd that the house reject him, "'Sdeath! I'll print it, And shame the fools-your interest, sir, with Lintot."
Oh! when shall Britain, conscious of her claim, Stand emulous of Greek and Roman fame? In living medals see her wars enroll'd, And vanquish'd realms supply recording gold? Here, rising bold, the patriot's honest face; There, warriors frowning in historic brass? Then future ages with delight shall see How Plato's, Bacon's, Newton's looks agree; Or in fair series laurel'd bards be shown, A Virgil there, and here an Addison: Then shall thy Craggs (and let me call him mine) On the cast ore, another Pollio, shine: With aspect open shall erect his head,
And round the orb in lasting notes be read,
Statesman, best friend to truth! of soul sincere, In action faithful, and in honor clear; Who broke no promise, serv'd no private end, Who gain'd no title, and who lost no friend; Ennobled by himself, by all approv'd, And prais'd, unenvied, by the Muse he lov'd."
EPISTLE TO DR. ARBUTHNOT:
BEING THE PROLOGUE TO THE SATIRES.
P. SHUT, shut the door, good John! fatigu'd, I said,
Tie up the knocker, say I'm sick, I'm dead.
The Dog-star rages! nay, 'tis past a doubt,
All Bedlam, or Parnassus, is let out:
Fire in each eye, and papers in each hand,
They rave, recite, and madden round the land.
What walls can guard me, or what shades can hide?
They pierce my thickets, through my grot they glide.
By land, by water, they renew the charge;
They stop the chariot, and they board the barge.
No place is sacred, not the church is free,
Ev'n Sunday shines no sabbath-day to me;
Then from the mint walks forth the man of rhyme,
Happy to catch me, just at dinner-time.
Is there a parson, much bemus'd in beer,
A maudlin poetess, a rhyming peer,
A clerk, foredoom'd his father's soul to cross,
Who pens a stanza, when he should engross?
Is there, who, lock'd from ink and paper, scrawls
With desperate charcoal round his darken'd walls?
All fly to Twit'nam, and, in humble strain,
Apply to me, to keep them mad or vain.
Arthur, whose giddy son neglects the laws,
Imputes to me and my damn'd works the cause:
Poor Cornus sees his frantic wife elope,
And curses wit, and poetry, and Pope.
Friend to my life! (which did you not prolong,
The world had wanted many an idle song.)
What drop of nostrum can this plague remove?
Or which must end me, a fool's wrath or love?
A dire dilemma! either way I'm sped;
If foes, they write, if friends, they read me dead.
Seiz'd and tied down to judge, how wretched I!
Who can't be silent, and who will not lie:
To laugh, were want of goodness and of grace;
And to be grave, exceeds all power of face.
Lintot, dull rogue! will think your price too much :
"Not, sir, if you revise it, and retouch."
All my demurs but double his attacks:
At last he whispers, "Do; and we go snacks."
Glad of a quarrel, straight I clap the door,
"Sir, let me see your works and you no more."
'Tis sung, when Midas' ears began to spring, (Midas, a sacred person and a king,) His very minister, who spied them first, (Some say his queen,) was forc'd to speak, or burst. And is not mine, my friend, a sorer case, When every coxcomb perks them in my face? A. Good friend, forbear! you deal in dangerous things,
I'd never name queens, ministers, or kings;
Keep close to ears, and those let asses prick,
'Tis nothing-P. Nothing? if they bite and kick?
Out with it, Dunciad! let the secret pass,
That secret to each fool, that he's an ass:
The truth once told (and wherefore should we lie?)
The queen of Midas slept, and so may I.
You think this cruel? Take it for a rule,
No creature smarts so little as a fool.
Let peals of laughter, Codrus, round thee break,
Thou unconcern'd canst hear the mighty crack:
Pit, box, and gallery, in convulsions hurl'd,
Thou stand'st unshook amidst a bursting world.
Who shames a scribbler? Break one cobweb
He spins the slight, self-pleasing thread anew:
Destroy his fib or sophistry, in vain,
The creature's at his dirty work again,
Thron'd on the centre of his thin designs,
Proud of a vast extent of flimsy lines!
Whom have I hurt? has poet yet, or peer,
Lost the arch'd eyebrow, or Parnassian sneer?
And has not Colly still his lord, and whore?
His butchers Henley, his free-masons Moor?
Does not one table Bavius still admit?
Still to one bishop Philip seems a wit?
Still Sappho-A. Hold! for God's sake-you'll offend ;
No names-be calm-learn prudence of a friend :
I too could write, and I am twice as tall;
But foes like these-P. One flatterer's worse than all.
Of all mad creatures, if the learn'd are right,
It is the slaver kills, and not the bite.
A fool quite angry is quite innocent:
Alas! 'tis ten times worse when they repent.
One dedicates in high heroic prose,
And ridicules beyond a hundred foes;
One from all Grub-street will my fame defend,
And, more abusive, calls himself my friend.
This prints my letters, that expects a bribe,
And others roar aloud, "Subscribe, subscribe!"
There are, who to my person pay their court: I cough like Horace, and, though lean, am short. Ammon's great son one shoulder had too high, Such Ovid's nose, and, "Sir! you have an eye!" Go on, obliging creature, make me see All that disgrac'd my betters, met in me. Say, for my comfort, languishing in bed, "Just so immortal Maro held his head;" And when I die, be sure you let me know Great Homer died three thousand years ago.
Why did I write? what sin to me unknown Dipp'd me in ink, my parents', or my own? As yet a child, nor yet a fool to Fame, I lisp'd in numbers, for the numbers came. I left no calling for this idle trade, No duty broke, no father disobey'd; The Muse but serv'd to ease some friend, not wife; To help me through this long disease, my life; To second, Arbuthnot! thy art and care, And teach, the being you preserv'd, to bear.
But why then publish? Granville the polite, And knowing Walsh, would tell me I could write; Well-natur'd Garth inflam'd with early praise, And Congreve lov'd, and Swift endur'd my lays; The courtly Talbot, Somers, Sheffield read, Ev'n mitred Rochester would nod the head, And St. John's self (great Dryden's friend before) With open arms receiv'd one poet more. Happy my studies, when by these approv'd! Happier their author, when by these belov'd! From these the world will judge of men and books, Not from the Burnets, Oldmixons, and Cooks.
Soft were my numbers: who could take offence While pure description held the place of sense? Like gentle Fanny's was my flowery eme A painted mistress, or a purling stream. Yet then did Gildon draw his venal quill; I wish'd the man a dinner, and sate still. Yet then did Dennis rave in furious fret: I never answer'd, I was not in debt. If want provok'd, or madness made them print, I wag'd no war with Bedlam or the Mint.
Did some more sober critic come abroad; If wrong, I smil'd; if right, I kiss'd the rod. Pains, reading, study, are their just pretence, And all they want is spirit, taste, and sense. Commas and points they set exactly right, And 'twere a sin to rob them of their mite. Yet ne'er one sprig of laurel grac'd these ribalds, From slashing Bentley down to piddling Tibalds: Each wight, who reads not, and but scans and spells, Each word-catcher, that lives on syllables, Ev'n such small critics some regard may claim, Preserv'd in Milton's or in Shakspeare's name. Pretty! in amber to observe the forms Of hairs, straws, or dirt, or grubs, or worms! The things we know are neither rich nor rare, But wonder how the devil they got there.
Were others angry: I excus'd them too;
Well might they rage, I gave them but their due.
A man's true merit 'tis not hard to find;
But each man's secret standard in his mind,
That casting-weight pride adds to emptiness,
This, who can gratify? for who can guess?
The bard whom pilfer'd pastorals renown,
Who turns a Persian tale for half a crown,
Just writes to make his barrenness appear,
And strains from hard-bound brains, eight lines a year;
He, who, still wanting, though he lives on theft,
Steals much, spends little, yet has nothing left:
And he, who, now to sense, now nonsense leaning
Means not, but blunders round about a meaning:
And he, whose fustian's so sublimely bad,
It is not poetry, but prose run mad:
All these, my modest satire bad translate,
And own'd that nine such poets made a Tate.
How did they fume, and stamp, and roar, and chafe!
And swear, not Addison himself was safe.
Peace to all such! but were there one whose fires True genius kindles, and fair fame inspires; Blest with each talent and each art to please, And born to write, converse, and live with ease: Should such a man, too fond to rule alone, Bear, like the Turk, no brother near the throne, View him with scornful, yet with jealous eyes, And hate for arts that caus'd himself to rise; Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer, And, without sneering, teach the rest to sneer; Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike, Just hint a fault, and hesitate dislike; Alike reserv'd to blame, or to commend, A timorous foe, and a suspicious friend; Dreading ev'n fools, by flatterers besieg'd, And so obliging, that he ne'er obliged; Like Cato, give his little senate laws, And sit attentive to his own applause; While wits and templars every sentence raise, And wonder with a foolish face of praiseWho but must laugh, if such a man there be! Who would not weep, if Atticus were he!
What, though my name stood rubric on the walls Or plaster'd posts, with claps, in capitals? Or smoking forth, a hundred hawkers' load, On wings of winds came flying all abroad? I sought no homage from the race that write; I kept, like Asian monarchs, from their sight: Poems I heeded (now be-rhym'd so long) No more than thou, great George! a birth-day song I ne'er with wits or witlings pass'd my days, To spread about the itch of verse and praise; Nor, like a puppy, daggled through the town, To fetch and carry sing-song up and down; Nor at rehearsals sweat, and mouth'd, and cried, With handkerchief and orange at my side! But, sick of fops, and poetry, and prate, To Bufo left the whole Castalian state. Proud as Apollo on his forked hill, Sate full-blown Bufo, puff'd by every quill; Fed with soft dedication all day long, Horace and he went hand in hand in song. His library (where busts of poets dead And a true Pindar stood without a head) Receiv'd of wits an undistinguish'd race, Who first his judgment ask'd, and then a place; Much they extoll'd his pictures, much his seat, And flatter'd every day, and some days eat; Till, grown more frugal in his riper days, He paid some bards with port, and some with praise