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Lesbia the fair, to fire her jealous lord,
Pretends, the fop she laughs at, is ador'd.
In vain she's proud of secret innocence;
The fact she feigns were scarce a worse offence.
Mira, endow'd with every charm to bless,
Has no design, but on her husband's peace:
He lov'd her much; and greatly was he mov'd
At small inquietudes in her he lov'd.
"How charming this!"--The pleasure lasted long;
Now every day the fits come thick and strong:
At last he found the charmer only feign'd;
And was diverted when he should be pain'd.
What greater vengeance have the gods in store?
How tedious life, now she can plague no more!
She tries a thousand arts; but none succeed:
She's forc'd a fever to procure indeed:
Thus strictly prov'd this virtuous, loving wife,
Her husband's pain was dearer than her life.
Anxious Melania rises to my view,
Who never thinks her lover pays his due:
Visit, present, treat, flatter, and adore;
Her majesty, to-morrow, calls for more.
His wounded ears complaints eternal fill,
As unoil'd hinges, querulously shrill.
"You went last night with Celia to the ball."
You prove it false. "Not go! that's worst of all."
Nothing can please her, nothing not inflame;
And arrant contradictions are the same.
Her lover must be sad, to please her spleen;
His mirth is an inexpiable sin;
For of all rivals that can pain her breast,
There's one, that wounds far deeper than the rest;
To wreck her quiet, the most dreadful shelf
Is if her lover dares enjoy himself.
And this, because she's exquisitely fair: Should I dispute her beauty, how she'd stare! How would Melania be surpris'd to hear She's quite deform'd! And yet the case is clear; What's female beauty, but an air divine, Through which the mind's all-gentle graces shine? They, like the Sun, irradiate all between; The body charms because the soul is seen. Hence, men are often captives of a face, They know not why, of no peculiar grace: Some forms, though bright, no mortal man can bear; Some, none resist, though not exceeding fair.
Aspasia's highly born, and nicely bred, Of taste refin'd, in life and manners read; Yet reaps no fruit from her superior sense, But to be teas'd by her own excellence.
Folks are so awkward! Things so unpolite!" She's elegantly pain'd from morn till night. Her delicacy's shock'd where'er she goes; Each creature's imperfections are her woes. Heaven by its favor has the fair distrest, And pour'd such blessings-that she can't be blest.
Ah! why so vain, though blooming in thy spring? Thou shining, frail, ador'd, and wretched thing! Old-age will come; disease may come before; Fifteen is full as mortal as threescore. Thy fortune, and thy charms, may soon decay: But grant these fugitives prolong their stay, Their basis totters, their foundation shakes; Life, that supports them, in a moment breaks; Then wrought into the soul let virtues shine; The ground eternal, as the work divine.
Julia's a manager; she's born for rule; And knows her wiser husband is a fool; Assemblies holds, and spins the subtle thread That guides the lover to his fair-one's bed:
For difficult amours can smooth the way,
And tender letters dictate, or convey.
But, if depriv'd of such important cares,
Her wisdom condescends to less affairs.
For her own breakfast she'll project a scheme,
Nor take her tea without a stratagem;
Presides o'er trifles with a serious face;
Important, by the virtue of grimace.
Ladies supreme among amusements reign;
By nature born to soothe, and entertain.
Their prudence in a share of folly lies:
Why will they be so weak, as to be wise?
Syrena is for ever in extremes,
And with a vengeance she commends, or blames
Conscious of her discernment, which is good,
She strains too much to make it understood.
Her judgment just, her sentence is too strong;
Because she's right, she's ever in the wrong.
Brunetta's wise in actions, great, and rare:
But scorns on trifles to bestow her care.
Thus every hour Brunetta is to blame,
Because th' occasion is beneath her aim.
Think nought a trifle, though it small appear;
Small sands the mountain, moments make the year
And trifles life. Your care to trifles give,
Or you may die, before you truly live.
Go breakfast with Alicia, there you'll see, Simplex munditiis, to the last degree: Unlac'd her stays, her night-gown is untied, And what she has of head-dress, is aside. She draws her words, and waddles in her pace; Unwash'd her hands, and much besnuff'd her face A nail uncut, and head uncomb'd, she loves; And would draw on jack-boots, as soon as gloves. Gloves by queen Bess's maidens might be mist; Her blessed eyes ne'er saw a female fist. Lovers, beware! to wound how can she fail, With scarlet finger, and long jetty nail? For Harvey, the first wit she cannot be, Nor, cruel Richmond, the first toast, for thee. Since full each other station of renown, Who would not be the greatest trapes in town? Women were made to give our eyes delight; A female sloven is an odious sight.
Fair Isabella is so fond of fame,
That her dear self is her eternal theme;
Through hopes of contradiction, oft she 'll say
Methinks I look so wretchedly to-day!"
When most the world applauds you, most beware,
"Tis often less a blessing than a snare.
Distrust mankind; with your own heart confer;
And dread even there to find a flatterer.
The breath of others raises our renown;
Our own as surely blows the pageant down.
Take up no more than you by worth can claim,
Lest soon you prove a bankrupt in your fame.
But own I must, in this perverted age,
Who most deserve, can't always most engage.
So far is worth from making glory sure,
It often hinders what it should procure.
Whom praise we most? The virtuous, brave, and wise?
No; wretches, whom, in secret, we despise.
And who so blind, as not to see the cause?
No rivals rais'd by such discreet applause;
And yet, of credit it lays in a store,
By which our spleen may wound true worth the more.
Ladies there are who think one crime is all:
Can women, then, no way but backward fall?
So sweet is that one crime they don't pursue
To pay its loss, they think all others few.
Who hold that crime so dear, must never claim
Of injur'd modesty the sacred name.
But Clio thus: "What! railing without end? Mean task! how much more generous to commend!"
Grand reservoirs of public happiness,
Through secret streams diffusively they bless,
And, while their bounties glide, conceal'd from view,
Relieve our wants, and spare our blushes too.
But Satire is my task; and these destroy
Her gloomy province, and malignant joy.
Help me, ye misers! help me to complain,
And blast our common enemy, Germain :
But our invectives must despair success;
For, next to praise, she values nothing less.
What picture's yonder, loosen'd from its frame ?
Or is 't Asturia, that affected dame?
The brightest forms, through affectation, fade
To strange new things, which Nature never made.
Frown not, ye fair! so much your sex we prize,
We hate those arts that take you from our eyes.
In Albucinda's native grace is seen
What you, who labor at perfection, mean.
Short is the rule, and to be learnt with ease,
Retain your gentle selves, and you must please
Here might I sing of Memmia's mincing mien,
And all the movements of the soft machine:
How two red lips affected Zephyrs blow,
To cool the bohea, and inflame the beau:
While one white finger and a thumb conspire
To lift the cup, and make the world admire.
Tea! how I tremble at thy fatal stream!
As Lethe, dreadful to the Love of Fame.
What devastations on thy banks are seen!
What shades of mighty names which once have been
A hecatomb of characters supplies
Thy painted altars' daily sacrifice.
H—, P—————, B, aspers'd by thee, decay,
As grains of finest sugars melt away,
And recommend thee more to mortal taste;
Scandal's the sweetener of a female feast.
But this inhuman triumph shall decline,
And thy revolting Naiads call for wine;
Spirits no longer shall serve under thee;
But reign in thy own cup, exploded tea!
Citronia's nose declares thy ruin nigh,
And who dares give Citronia's nose the lie?
Yes, to commend as you are wont to do,
My kind instructor, and example too.
"Daphnis," says Clio, "has a charming eye:
What pity 'tis her shoulder is awry!
Aspasia's shape indeed-But then her air-
The man has parts who finds destruction there.
Almeria's wit has something that's divine;
And wit's enough-how few in all things shine!
Selina serves her friends, relieves the poor-
Who was it said Selina's near threescore?
At Lucia's match I from my soul rejoice;
The world congratulates so wise a choice;
His lordship's rent-roll is exceeding great-
But mortgages will sap the best estate.
In Shirley's form might cherubims appear;
But then-she has a freckle on her ear."
Without a but, Hortensia she commends,
The first of women, and the best of friends;
Owns her in person, wit, fame, virtue bright;
But how comes this to pass ?-She died last night.
Thus nymphs commend, who yet at Satire rail:
Indeed that's needless, if such praise prevail.
And whence such praise? Our virulence is thrown
On others' fame, through fondness for our own.
Of rank and riches proud, Cleora frowns;
For are not coronets akin to crowns?
Her greedy eye, and her sublime address,
The height of avarice and pride confess.
You seek perfections worthy of her rank;
Go, seek for her perfections at the Bank.
By wealth unquench'd, by reason uncontroll'd,
For ever burns her sacred thirst of gold.
As fond of five-pence, as the veriest cit;
And quite as much detested as a wit.
Can gold calm passion, or make reason shine?
Can we dig peace, or wisdom, from the mine?
Wisdom to gold prefer; for 'tis much less
To make our fortune, than our happiness.
That happiness which great ones often see,
With rage and wonder, in a low degree;
Themselves unblest. The poor are only poor!
But what are they who droop amid their store!
Nothing is meaner than a wretch of state;
The happy only are the truly great.
Peasants enjoy like appetites with kings;
And those best satisfied with cheapest things.
Could both our Indies buy but one new sense,
Our envy would be due to large expense.
Since not, those pomps which to the great belong,
Are but poor arts to mark them from the throng.
See how they beg an alms of flattery!
They languish! oh support them with a lie!
A decent competence we fully taste;
It strikes our sense, and gives a constant feast:
More, we perceive by dint of thought alone;
The rich must labor to possess their own,
To feel their great abundance; and request
Their humble friends to help them to be blest;
To see their treasures, hear their glory told,
And aid the wretched impotence of gold.
But some, great souls! and touch'd with warmth
Give gold a price, and teach its beams to shine.
All hoarded treasures they repute a load;
Nor think their wealth their own, till well bestow'd.
The ladies long at men of drink exclaim'd,
And what impair'd both health and virtue, blam'd.
At length, to rescue man, the generous lass
Stole from her consort the pernicious glass;
As glorious as the British queen renown'd,
Who suck'd the poison from her husband's wound
Nor to the glass alone are nymphs inclin'd,
But every bolder vice of bold mankind.
O Juvenal! for thy severer rage!
To lash the ranker follies of our age.
Are there, among the females of our isle,
Such faults, at which it is a fault to smile?
There are. Vice, once by modest Nature chain'd
And legal ties, expatiates unrestrain'd;
Without thin decency held up to view,
Naked she stalks o'er Law and Gospel too.
Our matrons lead such exemplary lives,
Men sigh in vain for none but for their wives;
Who marry to be free, to range the more,
And wed one man, to wanton with a score.
Abroad too kind, at home 'tis stedfast hate,
And one eternal tempest of debate.
What foul eruptions, from a look most meek!
What thunders bursting, from a dimpled cheek!
Their passions bear it with a lofty hand!
But then, their reason is at due command.
Is there whom you detest, and seek his life?
Trust no soul with the secret-but his wife.
Wives wonder that their conduct I condemn,
And ask, what kindred is a spouse to them?
What swarms of amorous grandmothers I see!
And misses, ancient in iniquity!
What blasting whispers, and what loud declaiming!
What lying, drinking, bawding, swearing, gaming!
Friendship so cold, such warm incontinence;
Such griping avarice, such profuse expense;
Such dead devotion, such a zeal for crimes;
Such licens'd ill, such masquerading times;
Such venal faith, such misapplied applause;
Such flatter'd guilt, and such inverted laws!
Such dissolution through the whole I find, "Tis not a world, but chaos of mankind. Since Sundays have no balls, the well-dress'd belle Shines in the pew, but smiles to hear of Hell; And casts an eye of sweet disdain on all Who listen less to Collins than St. Paul. Atheists have been but rare; since Nature's birth, Till now, she-atheists ne'er appear'd on Earth. Ye men of deep researches, say, whence springs This daring character, in timorous things? Who start at feathers, from an insect fly, A match for nothing-but the Deity. But, not to wrong the fair, the Muse must own In this pursuit they court not fame alone; But join to that a more substantial view, "From thinking free, to be free agents too."
They strive with their own hearts, and keep them down,
In complaisance to all the fools in town.
O how they tremble at the name of prude!
And die with shame at thought of being good!
For what will Artimis, the rich and gay,
What will the wits, that is, the coxcombs, say?
They Heaven defy, to Earth's vile dregs a slave;
Through cowardice, most execrably brave.
With our own judgments durst we to comply,
In virtue should we live, in glory die.
Rise then, my Muse, in honest fury rise;
They dread a Satire, who defy the skies.
Atheists are few: most nymphs a Godhead own;
And nothing but his attributes dethrone.
From atheists far, they stedfastly believe
God is, and is Almighty-to forgive.
His other excellence they'll not dispute;
But mercy, sure, is his chief attribute.
Shall pleasures of a short duration chain
A lady's soul in everlasting pain?
Will the great Author us poor worms destroy,
For now and then a sip of transient joy?
No, he's for ever in a smiling mood;
He's like themselves; or how could he be good?
And they blaspheme, who blacker schemes suppose.
Devoutly, thus, Jehovah they depose,
The pure! the just! and set up, in his stead,
A deity, that's perfectly well-bred.
"Dear Tillotson! be sure the best of men ;
Nor thought he more, than thought great Origen.
Though once upon a time he misbehav'd;
Poor Satan! doubtless, he'll at length be sav'd.
Let priests do something for their one in ten;
It is their trade; so far they're honest men.
Let them cant on, since they have got the knack,
And dress their notions, like themselves, in black;
Fright us with terrors of a world unknown,
From joys of this, to keep them all their own.
Of Earth's fair fruits, indeed, they claim a fee;
But then they leave our untith'd virtue free.
Virtue's a pretty thing to make a show:
Did ever mortal write like Rouchefoucault ?"
Thus pleads the Devil's fair apologist,
And, pleading, safely enters on his list.
Let angel-forms angelic truths maintain;
Nature disjoins the beauteous and profane.
For what's true beauty, but fair virtue's face?
Virtue made visible in outward grace?
She, then, that's haunted with an impious mind,
The more she charms, the more she shocks mankind
But charms decline: the fair long vigils keep.
They sleep no more! Quadrille has murder'd sleep*
Poor K-p!" cries Livia; "I have not been there These two nights; the poor creature will despai I hate a crowd-but to do good, you know— And people of condition should bestow." Convinc'd, o'ercome, to K-p's grave matrons ru Now set a daughter, and now stake a son; Let health, fame, temper, beauty, fortune, fly; And beggar half their race-through charity.
Immortal were we, or else mortal quite,
I less should blame this criminal delight:
But since the gay assembly's gayest room
Is but an upper story to some tomb,
Methinks, we need not our short being shun,
And, thought to fly, contend to be undone.
We need not buy our ruin with our crime;
And give eternity to murder time.
The love of gaming is the worst of ills;
With ceaseless storms the blacken'd soul it fills;
Inveighs at Heaven, neglects the ties of blood;
Destroys the power and will of doing good;
Kills health, pawns honor, plunges in disgrace,
And, what is still more dreadful-spoils your face
See yonder set of thieves that live on spoil,
The scandal and the ruin of our isle!
And see (strange sight!) amid that ruffian band,
A form divine high wave her snowy hand;
That rattles loud a small enchanted box,
Which, loud as thunder, on the board she knocks.
And as fierce storms, which Earth's foundation
From Eolus's cave impetuous broke,
From this small cavern a mix'd tempest flies,
Fear, rage, convulsion, tears, oaths, blasphemies!
For men, I mean-the fair discharges none;
She (guiltless creature!) swears to Heaven alone.
See her eyes start! cheeks glow! and muscles
Like the mad maid in the Cumean cell.
Thus that divine one her soft nights employs!
Thus tunes her soul to tender nuptial joys!
And when the cruel morning calls to bed,
And on her pillow lays her aching head,
With the dear images her dreams are crown'd,
The die spins lovely, or the cards go round;
Imaginary ruin charms her still;
Her happy lord is cuckol'd by spadille:
And if she's brought to bed, 'tis ten to one,
He marks the forehead of her darling son.
O scene of horror, and of wild despair, Why is the rich Atrides' splendid heir Constrain'd to quit his ancient lordly seat, And hide his glories in a mean retreat?
Why that drawn sword? and whence that dismal cry?
Why pale distraction through the family?
See my lord threaten, and my lady weep,
And trembling servants from the tempest creep.
Why that gay son to distant regions sent?
What fiends that daughter's destin'd match prevent?
Why the whole house in sudden ruin laid,
O nothing, but last night-my lady play'd.
But wanders not my Satire from her theme?
Is this too owing to the love of fame?
Though now your hearts on lucre are bestow'd,
"Twas first a vain-devotion to the mode;
Nor cease we here, since 'tis a vice so strong;
The torrent sweeps all woman-kind along.
This may be said, in honor of our times,
That none now stand distinguish'd by their crimes.
If sin you must, take Nature for your guide:
Love has some soft excuse to soothe your pride:
Ye fair apostates from love's ancient power!
Can nothing ravish, but a golden shower?
Can cards alone your glowing fancy seize;
Must Cupid learn to punt, e'er he can please?
When you're enamour'd, of a lift or cast,
What can the preacher more, to make us chaste?
Why must strong youths unmarried pine away?
They find no woman disengag'd-from play.
Why pine the married?-O severer fate!
They find from play no disengag'd-estate.
Flavia, at lovers false, untouch'd, and hard,
Turns pale, and trembles at a cruel card.
Nor Arria's Bible can secure her age;
Her threescore years are shuffling with her page.
While Death stands by, but till the game is done,
To sweep that stake, in justice, long his own;
Like old cards ting'd with sulphur, she takes fire;
Or, like snuffs sunk in sockets, blazes higher.
Ye gods! with new delights inspire the fair;
Or give us sons, and save us from despair.
Sons, brothers, fathers, husbands, tradesmen,
In my complaint, and brand your sins in prose:
Yet I believe, as firmly as my Creed,
In spite of all our wisdom, you'll proceed :
Our pride so great, our passion is so strong,
Advice to right confirms us in the wrong.
I hear you cry, "This fellow's very odd."
When you chastise, who would not kiss the rod ?
But I've a charm your anger shall control,
And turn your eyes with coldness on the vole.
The charm begins! To yonder flood of light, That bursts o'er gloomy Britain, turn your sight. What guardian power o'erwhelms your souls with
Her deeds are precepts, her example law;
'Midst empire's charms, how Carolina's heart
Glows with the love of virtue, and of art!
Her favor is diffus'd to that degree,
Excess of goodness! it has dawn'd on me :
When in my page, to balance numerous faults,
Or godlike deeds were shown, or generous thoughts,
She smil'd, industrious to be pleas'd, nor knew
From whom my pen the borrow'd lustre drew.
Thus the majestic mother of mankind,* To her own charms most amiably blind, On the green margin innocently stood, And gaz'd indulgent on the crystal flood; Survey'd the stranger in the painted wave, And, smiling, prais'd the beauties which she gave.
TO THE RIGHT HON. SIR ROBERT WALPOLE
Carmina tum melius, cum venerit Ipse, canemus.
On this last labor, this my closing strain,
Smile, Walpole, or the Nine inspire in vain :
To thee, 'tis due; that verse how justly thine,
Where Brunswick's glory crowns the whole design'
That glory, which thy counsels make so bright;
That glory, which on thee reflects a light.
Illustrious commerce, and but rarely known,
To give, and take, a lustre from the throne.
Nor think that thou art foreign to my theme;
The fountain is not foreign to the stream.
How all mankind will be surpris'd to see
This flood of British folly charg'd on thee!
Say, Britain! whence this caprice of thy sons,
Which through their various ranks with fury runs ?
The cause is plain, a cause which we must bless;
For caprice is the daughter of success.
(A bad effect, but from a pleasing cause!)
And gives our rulers undesign'd applause;
Tells how their conduct bids our wealth increase,
And lulls us in the downy lap of peace.
While I survey the blessings of our isle,
Her arts triumphant in the royal smile,
Her public wounds bound up, her credit high,
Her commerce spreading sails in every sky,
The pleasing scene recalls my theme again,
And shows the madness of ambitious men,
Who, fond of bloodshed, draw the murdering sword,
And burn to give mankind a single lord.
The follies past are of a private kind; Their sphere is small; their mischief is confin'd: But daring men there are (awake, my Muse, And raise thy verse!) who bolder frenzy choose: Who, stung by glory, rave, and bound away: The world their field, and human-kind their prey.
The Grecian chief, th' enthusiast of his pride, With Rage and Terror stalking by his side, Raves round the globe; he soars into a god! Stand fast, Olympus! and sustain his nod. The pest divine in horrid grandeur reigns, And thrives on mankind's miseries and pains. What slaughter'd hosts! what cities in a blaze! What wasted countries! and what crimson seas! With orphans' tears his impious bowl o'erflows, And cries of kingdoms lull him to repose.
And cannot thrice ten hundred years unpraise The boisterous boy, and blast his guilty bays? Why want we then encomiums on the storm, Or famine, or volcano? They perform Their mighty deeds; they, hero-like, can slay, And spread their ample deserts in a day. O great alliance! O divine renown! With dearth, and pestilence, to share the crown. When men extol a wild destroyer's name, Earth's Builder and Preserver they blaspheme.
One to destroy, is murder by the law;
And gibbets keep the lifted hand in awe;
To murder thousands, takes a specious name,
War's glorious art, and gives immortal fame.
When, after battle, I the field have seen
Spread o'er with ghastly shapes, which once were
A nation crush'd, a nation of the brave!
A realm of death! and on this side the grave!
Are there, said I, who from this sad survey,
This human chaos, carry smiles away?
How did my heart with indignation rise!
How honest nature swell'd into my eyes!
How was I shock'd to think the hero's trade
Of such materials, fame and triumph, made!
How guilty these! Yet not less guilty they,
Who reach false glory by a smoother way;
Who wrap destruction up in gentle words,
And bows, and smiles, more fatal than their swords;
Who stifle nature, and subsist on art;
Who coin the face, and petrify the heart;
All real kindness for the show discard,
As marble polish'd, and as marble hard;
Who do for gold what Christians do through grace,
"With open arms their enemies embrace;"
Who give a nod when broken hearts repine;
“The thinnest food on which a wretch can
Or, if they serve you, serve you disinclin'd,
And, in their height of kindness, are unkind.
Such courtiers were, and such again may be,
Walpole, when men forget to copy thee.
But oh! this passion planted in the soul,
On eagle's wings to mount her to the Pole,
The flaming minister of virtue meant,
Set up false gods, and wrong'd her high descent.
Ambition, hence, exerts a doubtful force,
Of blots, and beauties, an alternate source;
Hence Gildon rails, that raven of the pit,
Who thrives upon the carcasses of wit;
And in art-loving Scarborough is seen
How kind a patron Pollia might have been.
Pursuit of fame with pedants fills our schools,
And into coxcombs burnishes our fools;
Pursuit of fame makes solid learning bright,
And Newton lifts above a mortal height;
That key of Nature, by whose wit she clears
Her long, long secrets of five thousand years.
Would you then fully comprehend the whole,
Why, and in what degrees, pride sways the soul?
(For, though in all, not equally she reigns)
dine:"Awake to knowledge, and attend my strains.
Ye doctors! hear the doctrine I disclose,
As true, as if 't were writ in dullest prose;
As if a letter'd dunce had said, ""Tis right,"
And imprimatur usher'd it to light.
Ambition, in the truly noble mind,
With sister Virtue is for ever join'd;
Here cease, my Muse! the catalogue is writ;
Nor one more candidate for fame admit,
Though disappointed thousands justly blame
Thy partial pen, and boast an equal claim:
Be this their comfort, fools, omitted here,
May furnish laughter for another year.
Then let Crispino, who was ne'er refus'd
The justice yet of being well abus'd,
With patience wait; and be content to reign
The pink of puppies in some future strain.
Some future strain, in which the Muse shall tell
How science dwindles, and how volumes swell.
How commentators each dark passage shun, And hold their farthing candle to the Sun.
How tortur'd texts to speak our sense are made, And every vice is to the Scripture laid.
How misers squeeze a young voluptuous peer; His sins to Lucifer not half so dear.
This swarm of themes that settles on my pen,
Which I, like summer flies, shake off again,
Let others sing; to whom my weak essay
But sounds a prelude, and points out their prey:
That duty done, I hasten to complete
My own design, for Tonson's at the gate.
The Love of Fame in its effect survey'd,
The Muse has sung: be now the cause display'd:
Since so diffusive, and so wide its sway,
What is this power, whom all mankind obey?
Shot from above, Heaven's indulgence, came
This generous ardor, this unconquer'd flame,
To warm, to raise, to deify, mankind,
Still burning brightest in the noblest mind.
By large-soul'd men, for thirst of fame renown'd,
Wise laws were fram'd, and sacred arts were found;
Desire of praise first broke the patriot's rest;
And made a bulwark of the warrior's breast;
It bids Argyll in fields and senate shine :
What more can prove its origin divine?
As in fam'd Lucrece, who, with equal dread,
From guilt and shame, by her last conduct, fled :
Her virtue long rebell'd in firm disdain,
And the sword pointed at her heart in vain;
But, when the slave was threaten'd to be laid
Dead by her side, her Love of Fame obey'd.
In meaner minds Ambition works alone;
But with such art puts Virtue's aspect on,
That not more like in feature and in mien,
The God and mortal in the comic scene :*
False Julius, ambush'd in this fair disguise,
Soon made the Roman liberties his prize.
No mask in basest minds Ambition wears,
But in full light pricks up her ass's ears:
All I have sung are instances of this,
And prove my theme unfolded not amiss.
Ye vain! desist from your erroneous strife;
Be wise, and quit the false sublime of life.
The true ambition there alone resides,
Where justice vindicates, and wisdom guides;
Where inward dignity joins outward state;
Our purpose good, as our achievement great;
Where public blessings public praise attend;
Where glory is our motive, not our end.
Wouldst thou be fam'd? Have those high deeds
Brave men would act, though scandal should ensue.
Behold a prince! whom no swoln thoughts in
No pride of thrones, no fever after fame :
But when the welfare of mankind inspires,
And death in view to dear-bought glory fires,
Proud conquests then, then regal pomps delight;
Then crowns, then triumphs, sparkle in his sight;
Tumult and noise are dear, which with them bring
His people's blessings to their ardent king:
But, when those great heroic motives cease,
His swelling soul subsides to native peace;
From tedious grandeur's faded charms withdraws,
A sudden foe to splendor and applause;
Greatly deferring his arrears of fame,
Till men and angels jointly shout his name.