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Past six, and not a living soul!
I might by this have won a vole."
A dreadful interval of spleen!
How shall we pass the time between?
"Here, Betty, let me take my drops;
And feel my pulse, I know it stops:
This head of mine, Lord, how it swims!
And such a pain in all my limbs!"
"Dear madam, try to take a nap."-
But now they hear a footman's rap:
"Go, run, and light the ladies up:
It must be one before we sup."
The table, cards, and counters, set,
And all the gamester-ladies met,
Her spleen and fits recover'd quite,
Our madam can sit up all night:
"Whoever comes, I'm not within."-
Quadrille's the word, and so begin.
How can the Muse her aid impart,
Unskill'd in all the terms of art?
Or in harmonious numbers put
The deal, the shuffle, and the cut?
The superstitious whims relate,
That fill a female gamester's pate?
What agony of soul she feels
To see a knave's inverted heels!
She draws up card by card, to find
Good-fortune peeping from behind;
With panting heart, and earnest eyes,
In hope to see spadillo rise:
In vain, alas! her hope is fed;
She draws an ace, and sees it red;
In ready counters never pays,
But pawns her snuff-box, rings, and keys:
Ever with some new fancy struck,
Tries twenty charms to mend her luck.
"This morning, when the parson came,
I said I should not win a game.
This odious chair, how came I stuck in't?
I think I never had good luck in't.
I'm so uneasy in my stays;
Your fan a moment, if you please.
Stand further, girl, or get you gone;
I always lose when you look on."
"Lord! madam, you have lost codille!
I never saw you play so ill."
"Nay, madam, give me leave to say,
"Twas you that threw the game away:
When lady Tricksey play'd a four,
You took it with a mattadore;
I saw you touch your wedding-ring
Before my lady call'd a king;
You spoke a word began with H,
And I know whom you meant to teach,
Because you held the king of hearts;
Fie, madam, leave these little arts."
"That's not so bad as one that rubs
Her chair, to call the king of clubs;
And makes her partner understand
A mattadore is in her hand."
"Madam, you have no cause to flounce,
I swear I saw you thrice renounce."
"And truly, madam, I know when,
Instead of five, you scor'd me ten.
Spadillo here has got a mark;
A child may know it in the dark:
I guess'd the hand: it seldom fails:
I wish some folks would pare their nails."
While thus they rail, and scold, and storm,
It passes but for common form :
But, conscious that they all speak true,
And give each other but their due,
It never interrupts the game,
Or makes them sensible of shame.
The time too precious now to waste,
The supper gobbled up in haste;
Again afresh to cards they run,
As if they had but just begun.
But I shall not again repeat,
How oft they squabble, snarl, and cheat.
At last they hear the watchman knock.
"A frosty morn-past four o'clock."
The chairmen are not to be found,
This maxim more than all the rest
Is thought too base for human breast:
"In all distresses of our friends,
We first consult our private ends;
While nature, kindly bent to ease us,
Points out some circumstance to please us."
If this perhaps your patience move,
Let reason and experience prove.
We all behold with envious eyes
Our equals rais'd above our size.
Who would not at a crowded show
Stand high himself, keep others low?
I love my friend as well as you:
But why should he obstruct my view?
Then let me have the higher post;
Suppose it but an inch at most.
If in a battle you should find
One, whom you love of all mankind,
Had some heroic action done,
A champion kill'd, or trophy won;
Rather than thus be over-topt,
Would you not wish his laurels cropt?
Dear honest Ned is in the gout,
Lies rack'd with pain, and you without:
*Written in November, 1731.-There are two distinct poems on this subject, one of them containing many spu. rious lines. In what is here printed, the genuine parts of both are preserved. N.
How patiently you hear him groan!
How glad the case is not your own!
What poet would not grieve to see
His brother write as well as he?
But, rather than they should excel,
Would wish his rivals all in hell?
Her end when emulation misses,
She turns to envy, stings, and hisses:
The strongest friendship yields to pride,
Unless the odds be on our side.
Vain human-kind! fantastic race!
Thy various follies who can trace?
Self-love, ambition, envy, pride,
Their empire in our heart divide.
Give others riches, power, and station,
"Tis all to me an usurpation.
I have no title to aspire;
Yet, when you sink, I seem the higher.
In Pope I cannot read a line,
But with a sigh I wish it mine:
When he can in one couplet fix
More sense than I can do in six;
It gives me such a jealous fit,
I cry, "Pox take him and his wit!"
I grieve to be outdone by Gay
In my own humorous biting way.
Arbuthnot is no more my friend,
Who dares to irony pretend,
Which I was born to introduce,
Refin'd at first, and show'd its use.
St. John, as well as Pulteney, knows
That I had some repute for prose;
And, till they drove me out of date,
Could maul a minister of state.
If they have mortified my pride,
And made me throw my pen aside;
If with such talents Heaven hath bless'd 'em,
Have I not reason to detest 'em?
To all my foes, dear Fortune, send
Thy gifts; but never to my friend:
I tamely can endure the first;
But this with envy makes me burst.
Thus much may serve by way of proem;
Proceed we therefore to our poem.
The time is not remote when I
Must by the course of nature die;
When, I foresee, my special friends
Will try to find their private ends:
And, though 'tis hardly understood
Which way my death can do them good,
Yet thus, methinks, I hear them speak:
"See how the Dean begins to break!
Poor gentleman, he droops apace!
You plainly find it in his face.
That old vertigo in his head
Will never leave him till he's dead.
Besides, his memory decays:
He recollects not what he says;
He cannot call his friends to mind;
Forgets the place where last he din'd;
Plies you with stories o'er and o'er;
He told them fifty times before.
How does he fancy we can sit
To hear his out-of-fashion wit?
But he takes up with younger folks,
Who for his wine will bear his jokes.
Faith! he must make his stories shorter,
Or change his comrades once a quarter;
In half the time he talks them round,
There must another set be found.
"For poetry, he's past his prime;
He takes an hour to find a rhyme :
His fire is out, his wit decay'd,
His fancy sunk, his Muse a jade.
I'd have him throw away his pen;
But there's no talking to some men !"
And then their tenderness appears
By adding largely to my years:
"He's older than he would be reckon'd,
And well remembers Charles the Second.
He hardly drinks a pint of wine;
And that, I doubt, is no good sign.
His stomach too begins to fail;
Last year we thought him strong and hale;
But now he's quite another thing:
I wish he may hold out till spring!"
They hug themselves, and reason thus :
"It is not yet so bad with us!"
In such a case they talk in tropes,
And by their fear express their hopes.
Some great misfortune to portend,
No enemy can match a friend.
With all the kindness they profess,
The merit of a lucky guess
(When daily how-d'ye 's come of course,
And servants answer, "Worse and worse!")
Would please them better, than to tell,
That, "God be prais'd, the Dean is well."
Then he who prophesied the best,
Approves his foresight to the rest :
"You know I always fear'd the worst,
And often told you so at first."
He'd rather choose that I should die,
Than his predictions prove a lie.
Not one foretells I shall recover;
But, all agree to give me over.
Yet should some neighbor feel a pain
Just in the parts where I complain;
How many a message would he send !
What hearty prayers that I should mend!
Inquire what regimen I kept?
What gave me ease, and how I slept?
And more lament, when I was dead,
Than all the snivellers round my bed.
My good companions, never fear;
For, though you may mistake a year,
Though your prognostics run too fast,
They must be verified at last.
Behold the fatal day arrive!
"How is the Dean ?"-"He's just alive."
Now the departing prayer is read;
He hardly breathes-the Dean is dead.
Before the passing-bell begun,
The news through half the town is run.
"Oh! may we all for death prepare!
What has he left? and who's his heir ?"
"I know no more than what the news is;
"Tis all bequeath'd to public uses.'
"To public uses! there's a whim!
What had the public done for him?
Mere envy, avarice, and pride:
He gave it all-but first he died.
And had the Dean, in all the nation,
No worthy friend, no poor relation?
So ready to do strangers good,
Forgetting his own flesh and blood!"
Now Grub-street wits are all employ'd; With elegies the town is cloy'd: Some paragraph in every paper, To curse the Dean, or bless the Drapier.
Mrs. Howard, at one time a favorite with the Dean. N † Which the Dean in vain expected, in return for a small present he had sent to the princess. N.
Why do we grieve that friends should die? No loss more easy to supply.
One year is past; a different scene!
No farther mention of the Dean,
Who now, alas! no more is miss'd,
Than if he never did exist.
Where's now the favorite of Apollo?
Departed-and his works must follow;
Must undergo the common fate;
His kind of wit is out of date.
Some country squire to Lintot goes,
Inquires for Swift in verse and prose.
Says Lintot, "I have heard the name;
He died a year ago."-"The same."
He searches all the shop in vain.
"Sir, you may find them in Duck-lane :
I sent them, with a load of books,
Last Monday, to the pastry-cook's.
To fancy they could live a year!
I find you're but a stranger here.
The Dean was famous in his time,
And had a kind of knack at rhyme.
His way of writing now is past:
The town has got a better taste.
I keep no antiquated stuff;
But spick and span I have enough.
Pray, do but give me leave to show 'em.:
Here's Colley Cibber's birth-day poem.
This ode you never yet have seen,
By Stephen Duck, upon the queen.
Then here's a letter finely penn'd
Against the Craftsman and his friend:
It clearly shows that all reflection
On ministers is disaffection.
Next, here's Sir Robert's vindication,
And Mr. Henley's last oration.
The hawkers have not got them yet:
Your honor, please to buy a set?
"Here's Wolston's tracts, the twelfth edition :
'Tis read by every politician:
The country-members, when in town,
To all their boroughs send them down;
You never met a thing so smart;
The courtiers have them all by heart:
Those maids of honor who can read,
Are taught to use them for their creed.
The reverend author's good intention
Hath been rewarded with a pension:*
He doth an honor to his gown,
By bravely running priestcroft down:
He shows, as sure as God's in Gloucester,
That Moses was a grand impostor;
That all his miracles were cheats,
Perform'd as jugglers do their feats:
The church had never such a writer;
A shame he hath not got a mitre !"
Suppose me dead; and then suppose
A club assembled at the Rose;
Where, from discourse of this and that,
I grow the subject of their chat.
And while they toss my name about,
With favor some, and some without;
One, quite indifferent in the cause,
My character impartial draws.
"The Dean, if we believe report,
Was never ill receiv'd at court,
Although, ironically grave,
He sham'd the fool, and lash'd the knave;
To steal a hint was never known,
But what he writ was all his own."
"Sir, I have heard another story;
He was a most confounded Tory,
And grew, or he is much belied,
Extremely dull, before he died."
"Can we the Drapier then forget? Is not our nation in his debt?
'Twas he that writ the Drapier's letters!"-
"He should have left them for his betters:
We had a hundred abler men,
Nor need depend upon his pen.-
Say what you will about his reading,
You never can defend his breeding;
Who, in his satires running riot,
Could never leave the world in quiet;
Attacking, when he took the whim,
Court, city, camp-all one to him.-
But why would he, except he slobber'd,
Offend our patriot, great Sir Robert,
Whose counsels aid the sovereign power
To save the nation every hour!
What scenes of evil he unravels,
In satires, libels, lying travels;
Not sparing his own clergy cloth,
But eats into it, like a moth!"
"Perhaps I may allow the Dean
Had too much satire in his vein,
And seem'd determin'd not to starve it,
Because no age could more deserve it.
Yet malice never was his aim;
He lash'd the vice, but spar'd the name.
No individual could resent,
Where thousands equally were meant:
His satire points at no defect,
But what all mortals may correct;
For he abhorr'd the senseless tribe
Who call it humor when they gibe:
He spar'd a hump, or crooked nose,
Whose owners set not up for beaux.
True genuine dullness mov'd his pity,
Unless it offer'd to be witty.
Those who their ignorance confest,
He ne'er offended with a jest;
But laugh'd to hear an idiot quote
A verse from Horace learn'd by rote.
Vice, if it e'er can be abash'd,
Must be or ridicul'd or lash'd.
If you resent it, who's to blame?
He neither knows you, nor your name.
Should vice expect to 'scape rebuke,
Because its owner is a duke?
His friendships, still to few confin'd,
Were always of the middling kind;
No fools of rank, or mongrel breed,
Who fain would pass for lords indeed:
Where titles give no right or power,
And peerage is a wither'd flower;
He would have deem'd it a disgrace,
If such a wretch had known his face.
On rural squires, that kingdom's bane,
He vented oft his wrath in vain :
******* squires to market brought,
Who sell their souls and **** for nought:
The **** **** go joyful back,
To rob the church, their tenants rack;
Go snacks with ***** justices,
And keep the peace to pick up fees;
In every job to have a share,
A gaol or turnpike to repair;
And turn ******* to public roads
Commodious to their own abodes.
He never thought an honor done him, Because a peer was proud to own him; Would rather slip aside, and choose
To talk with wits in dirty shoes;
And scorn the tools with stars and garters,
So often seen caressing Chartres.
He never courted men in station,
Nor persons held in admiration;
Of no man's greatness was afraid,
Because he sought for no man's aid.
Though trusted long in great affairs,
He gave himself no haughty airs:
Without regarding private ends,
Spent all his credit for his friends;
And only chose the wise and good;
No flatterers; no allies in blood:
But succor'd virtue in distress,
And seldom fail'd of good success;
As numbers in their hearts must own,
Who, but for him, had been unknown.
"He kept with princes due decorum;
Yet never stood in awe before 'em,
He follow'd David's lesson just;
In princes never put his trust;
And, would you make him truly sour,
Provoke him with a slave in power.
The Irish senate if you nam'd,
With what impatience he declaim'd!
Fair LIBERTY was all his cry;
For her he stood prepar'd to die;
For her he boldly stood alone;
For her he oft expos'd his own.
Two kingdoms, just as faction led,
Had set a price upon his head;
But not a traitor could be found,
To sell him for six hundred pound.
"Had he but spar'd his tongue and pen, He might have rose like other men: But power was never in his thought, And wealth he valued not a groat:
Ingratitude he often found,
And pitied those who meant the wound;
But kept the tenor of his mind,
To merit well of human-kind;
Nor made a sacrifice of those
Who still were true, to please his foes.
He labor'd many a fruitless hour,
To reconcile his friends in power;
Saw mischief by a faction brewing,
While they pursued each other's ruin.
But, finding vain was all his care,
He left the court in mere despair.
And, oh! how short are human schemes' Here ended all our golden dreams.
What St. John's skill in state affairs,
What Ormond's valor, Oxford's cares,
To save their sinking country lent,
Was all destroy'd by one event.
Too soon that precious life was ended,
On which alone our weal depended.
When up a dangerous faction starts,
With wrath and vengeance in their hearts;
By solemn league and covenant bound,
To ruin, slaughter, and confound;
To turn religion to a fable,
And make the government a Babel;
Pervert the laws, disgrace the gown,
Corrupt the senate, rob the crown;
To sacrifice Old England's glory,
And make her infamous in story:
When such a tempest shook the land,
How could unguarded virtue stand!
"With horror, grief, despair, the Dean
Beheld the dire destructive scene:
His friends in exile, or the Tower,
Himself within the frown of power;
Pursued by base envenom'd pens,
Far to the land of s and fens ;
A servile race in folly nurs'd,
Who truckle most, when treated worst.
"By innocence and resolution,
He bore continual persecution;
While numbers to preferment rose,
Whose merit was to be his foes;
When ev'n his own familiar friends,
Intent upon their private ends,
Like renegadoes now he feels,
Against him lifting up their heels.
"The Dean did, by his pen, defeat
An infamous destructive cheat;
Taught fools their interest how to know,
And gave them arms to ward the blow.
Envy hath own'd it was his doing,
To save that hapless land from ruin;
While they who at the steerage stood,
And reap'd the profit, sought his blood.
"To save them from their evil fate,
In him was held a crime of state.
A wicked monster on the bench,
Whose fury blood could never quench;
As vile and profligate a villain,
As modern Scroggs, or old Tressilian;
Who long all justice had discarded,
Nor fear'd he God, nor man regarded;
Vow'd on the Dean his rage to vent,
And make him of his zeal repent:
But Heaven his innocence defends,
The grateful people stand his friends;
Not strains of law, nor judges' frown,
Nor topics brought to please the crown,
Nor witness hir'd, nor jury pick'd,
Prevail to bring him in convict.
"In exile, with a steady heart,
He spent his life's declining part;
Where folly, pride, and faction sway,
Remote from St. John, Pope, and Gay."
"Alas, poor Dean! his only scope
Was to be held a misanthrope.
This into general odium drew him,
Which if he lik'd, much good may't do him.
His zeal was not to lash our crimes,
But discontent against the times:
For, had we made him timely offers,
To raise his post, or fill his coffers,
Perhaps he might have truckled down,
Like other brethren of his gown;
For party he would scarce have bled:I say no more-because he's dead.What writings has he left behind ?"
"I hear they're of a different kind: A few in verse; but most in prose-" "Some high-flown pamphlets, I suppose:All scribbled in the worst of times, To palliate his friend Oxford's crimes; To praise queen Anne, nay more, defend her, As never favoring the Pretender: Or libels yet conceal'd from sight, Against the court to show his spite: Perhaps his travels, part the third; A lie at every second wordOffensive to a loyal ear:
But not one sermon, you may swear."
"He knew an hundred pleasing stories, With all the turns of Whigs and Tories: Was cheerful to his dying day;
And friends would let him have his way.
"As for his works in verse or prose,
I own myself no judge of those.
Nor can I tell what critics thought them;
But this I know, all people bought them,
As with a moral view design'd
To please and to reform mankind :
And, if he often miss'd his aim,
The world must own it to their shame,
The praise is his, and theirs the blame.
He gave the little wealth he had
To build a house for fools and mad;
To show, by one satiric touch,
No nation wanted it so much.
That kingdom he hath left his debtor;
I wish it soon may have a better.
And, since you dread no further lashes,
Methinks you may forgive his ashes."
ON THE EVER-LAMENTED LOSS OF THE TWO YEW-TREES IN THE PARISH OF CHILTHORNE, SOMERSET.-1708.
Imitated from the Eighth Book of Ovid.
IN ancient times, as story tells,
The saints would often leave their cells,
And stroll about, but hide their quality,
To try good people's hospitality.
It happen'd on a winter-night,
As authors of the legend write,
Two brother-hermits, saints by trade,
Taking their tour in masquerade,
Disguis'd in tatter'd habits, went
To a small village down in Kent;
Where, in the strollers' canting strain,
They begg'd from door to door in vain,
Tried every tone might pity win;
But not a soul would let them in.
Our wandering saints, in woful state,
Treated at this ungodly rate,
Having through all the village past,
To a small cottage came at last;
Where dwelt a good old honest ye'man,
Call'd in the neighborhood Philemon;
Who kindly did these saints invite
In his poor hut to pass the night;