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His undisputed rights extend
Two bordering wits contend for glory;
Some fam'd for numbers soft and smooth,
But these are not a thousandth part
The vermin only tease and pinch Their foes superior by an inch. So, naturalists observe, a flea Hath smaller fleas that on him prey; And these have smaller still to bite 'em, And so proceed ad infinitum. Thus every poet in his kind Is bit by him that comes behind : Who, though too little to be seen, Can tease, and gall, and give the spleen; Call dunces fools and sons of whores, Lay Grub-street at each other's doors; Extol the Greek and Roman masters, And curse our modern poetasters; Complain, as many an ancient bard did, How genius is no more rewarded; How wrong a taste prevails among us; How much our ancestors outsung us; Can personate an awkward scorn For those who are not poets born; And all their brother-dunces lash, Who crowd the press with hourly trash.
O Grub-street! how do I bemoan thee, Whose graceless children scorn to own thee! Their filial piety forgot,
Deny their country, like a Scot;
To purchase fame by writing ill.
In bulk there are not more degrees
For though, in nature, depth and height Are equally held infinite;
In poetry, the height we know ;
For instance: when you rashly think,
Their heads attempt the nether skies.
By flattering kings, whom Heaven design'd
Fair Britain, in thy monarch blest, Whose virtues bear the strictest test; Whom never faction could bespatter, Nor minister nor poet flatter; What justice in rewarding merit! What magnanimity of spirit! What lineaments divine we trace Through all his figure, mien, and face! Though peace with olive bind his hands, Confess'd the conquering hero stands. Hydaspes, Indus, and the Ganges, Dread from his hand impending changes. From him the Tartar and Chinese, Short by the knees, entreat for peace. The consort of his throne and bed, A perfect goddess born and bred,
Appointed sovereign judge to sit
An heir for Britain to secure
As long as Sun and Moon endure.
The remnant of the royal blood Comes pouring on me like a flood: Bright goddesses, in number five; Duke William, sweetest prince alive. Now sing the minister of state, Who shines alone without a mate. Observe with what majestic port This Atlas stands to prop the court: Intent the public debts to pay, Like prudent Fabius, by delay. Thou great vicegerent of the king, Thy praises every Muse shall sing! In all affairs thou sole director, Of wit and learning chief protector; Though small the time thou hast to spare, The church is thy peculiar care. Of pious prelates what a stock You choose, to rule the sable flock! You raise the honor of the peerage, Proud to attend you at the steerage. You dignify the noble race, Content yourself with humbler place. Now, learning, valor, virtue, sense, To titles give the sole pretence. St. George beheld thee with delight Vouchsafe to be an azure knight, When on thy breasts and sides Herculean He fix'd the star and string cerulean.
Say, poet, in what other nation Shone ever such a constellation! Attend, ye Popes, and Youngs, and Gays, And tune your harps, and strow your bays: Your panegyrics here provide; You cannot err on flattery's side. Above the stars exalt your style, You still are low ten thousand mile. On Lewis, all his bards bestow'd Of incense many a thousand load; But Europe mortified his pride, And swore the fawning rascals lied. Yet what the world refus'd to Lewis, Applied to George, exactly true is. Exactly true! invidious poet! "Tis fifty thousand times below it.
Translate me now some lines, if you can,
We now can better do without him,
A DESCRIPTION OF A CITY-SHOWER.
| Returning home at night, you'll find the sink
Meanwhile the south, rising with dabbled wings,
Now in contiguous drops the flood comes down, Threatening with deluge this devoted town. To shops in crowds the daggled females fly, Pretend to cheapen goods, but nothing buy. The Templar spruce, while every spout's abroach, Stays till 'tis fair, yet seems to call a coach. The tuck'd-up sempstress walks with hasty strides, While streams run down her oil'd umbrella's sides Here various kinds, by various fortunes led, Commence acquaintance underneath a shed. Triumphant Tories and desponding Whigs Forget their feuds, and join to save their wigs. Box'd in a chair, the beau impatient sits, While spouts run clattering o'er the roof by fits, And ever and anon with frightful din The leather sounds; he trembles from within. So when Troy chairmen bore the wooden steed, Pregnant with Greeks impatient to be freed, (Those bully Greeks, who, as the moderns do, Instead of paying chairmen, ran them through,) Laocoon struck the outside with his spear, And each imprison'd hero quak'd for fear.
Now from all parts the swelling kennels flow, And bear their trophies with them as they go: Filths of all hues and odors seem to tell What street they sail'd from by their sight and smell They, as each torrent drives, with rapid force, From Smithfield or St. 'Pulchre's shape their course, And in huge confluence join'd at Snowhill ridge, Fall from the conduit prone to Holborn bridge. Sweepings from butchers' stalls, dung, guts, and blood, Drown'd puppies, stinking sprats, all drench'd in mud, Dead cats, and turnip-tops, come tumbling down the flood.
HORACE, BOOK III. ODE II.
TO THE EARL OF OXFORD, LATE LORD TREASURER.
Virtue repuls'd, yet knows not to repine,
Virtue, to crown her favorites, loves to try
Next, faithful silence hath a sure Within our breast be every secret barr'd! He who betrays his friend, shall never be Under one roof, or in one ship, with me. For who with traitors would his safety trust, Lest, with the wicked, Heaven involve the just? And, though the villain 'scape awhile, he feels Slow vengeance, like a blood-hound, at his heels.
MRS. HARRIS'S PETITION.
To their excellencies the lords justices of Ireland,† the humble petition of Frances Harris, Who must starve, and die a maid, if it miscarries;
That I went to warm myself in Lady Betty's chamber, because I was cold;
And I had in a purse seven pounds, four shillings, and sixpence, besides farthings, in money and gold: So, because I had been buying things for my lady last night,
I was resolv'd to tell my money, to see if it was right. Now, you must know, because my trunk has a very bad lock, Therefore all the money I have, which, God knows, is a very small stock,
I keep in my pocket, tied about my middle, next to my smock.
So when I went to put up my purse, as God would have it, my smock was unript, And, instead of putting it into my pocket, down it slipt; Then the bell rung, and I went down to put my lady to bed; And, God knows, I thought my money was as safe as my maidenhead.
Pugh! said I, but that's not the business that I ail. Says Cary, says he, I have been a servant this fiveand-twenty years, come spring,
And in all the places I liv'd, I never heard of such a thing.
Yes, says the steward,** I remember, when I was at my Lady Shrewsbury's, Such a thing as this happen'd just about the time of gooseberries.
So I went to the party suspected, and I found her full of grief,
(Now, you must know, of all things in the world, I hate a thief.)
However, I am resolv'd to bring the discourse slily about;
Dukes, said I, here's an ugly accident has happen'd out:
that I value the money three skips of a louse ;tt But the thing I stand upon is the credit of the house.
seven pounds, four shillings, and sixpence,
*Wife to one of the footmen.
† Earl of Berkeley's valet. The old deaf housekeeper. § Galway.
The Earl of Drogheda, who, with the primate, was to succeed the two earls.
TT Clerk of the kitchen.
†† An usual saying of hers.
Hard exercise and harder fare
Such is the poet fresh in pay (The third night's profits of his play); His morning-draughts till noon can Among his brethren of the quill; With good roast beef his belly full, Grown lazy, foggy, fat, and dull, Deep sunk in plenty and delight, What poet e'er could take his flight? Or, stuff'd with phlegm up to the throat, What poet e'er could sing a note? Nor Pegasus could bear the load Along the high celestial road;
The steed, oppress'd, would break his girth,