Page images
PDF
EPUB

While if our elders break all Reason's laws,
These fools demand not pardon, but applause.

1 On Avon's bank, where flow'rs eternal blow, If I but ask if any weed can grow?

One tragic sentence if I dare deride,

Which 2 Betterton's grave action dignify'd,
Or well-mouth'd Booth with emphasis proclaims,
(Tho' but perhaps a muster-roll of names)
How will our fathers rise up in a rage,
And swear all shame is lost in George's age!
You'd think 3 no fools disgrac'd the former reign,
Did not some grave examples yet remain,
Who scorn a lad should teach his father skill,
And, having once been wrong, will be so still.
He, who to seem more deep than you or I,
Extols old bards, 4 or Merlin's Prophecy,
Mistake him not; he envies, not admires,
And to debase the sons exalts the sires.

120

125

130

Compositum, illepideve putetur, sed quia nuper;
Nec veniam antiquis, sed honorem et præmia posci.
I Recte necne crocum floresque perambulet Attæ
Fabula, si dubitem; clament perisse pudorem
Cuncti pene patres, ea cum reprehendere coner,
Quæ 2 gravis Esopus, quæ doctus Roscius egit:
Vel quia nil 3 rectum, nisi quod placuit sibi, ducunt;
Vel quia turpe putant parere minoribus, et quæ
Imberbes didicere, senes perdenda fateri.

Jam 4 saliare Numæ carmen qui laudat, et illud,
Quod mecum ignorat, solus vult scire videri;

Had ancient times conspir'd to disallow

What then was new, what had been ancient now?
Or what remain'd, so worthy to be read

By learned critics, of the mighty dead?

r35

2 In days of ease, when now the weary sword Was sheath'd, and Luxury with Charles restor'd; 140 In ev'ry taste of foreign courts improv'd,

"All, by the King's example, liv'd and lov'd."
Then peers grew proud in 3 horsemanship t'excel,'
Newmarket's glory rose, as Briton's fell;
The soldier breath'd the gallantries of France,
And ev'ry flow'ry courtier writ romance.
Then 4 marble, soften'd into life, grew warth,
And yielding metal flow'd to human form;
Lely on 5 animated canvas stole

The sleepy eye, that spoke the melting soul.
No wonder then, when all was love and sport,
The willing Muses were debauch'd at Court?"

[ocr errors]

145

150

Ingeniis non ille favet, plauditque sepultis,
Nostra sed impugnat, nos nostraque lividus odit.
. Quod si tam Græcis novitas invisa fuisset,
Quam nobis ; quid nunc esset vetus? aut quid haberet,
Quod legeret tereretque viritim publicus usus ?

2

Ut primum positis nugari Græcia bellis

Cœpit, et vitium fortuna labier æqua,

Nunc athletarum studiis, nunc arsit3 equorum; 4 Marmoris, aut eboris fabros, aut æris amavit; Suspendit 5 picta vultum mentemque tabella;

I

On 1 each enervate string they taught the note
To pant, or tremble, thro' an eunuch's throat.
But 2 Britain, changeful as a child at play,
Now calls in princes, and now turns away.
Now Whig, now Tory, what we lov'd we hate;
Now all for pleasure, now for church and state;
Now for prerogatives, and now for laws;
Effects unhappy! from a noble cause...、

3 Time was, a sober Englishman would knock His servants up, and rise by five o'clock; Instruct his family in ev'ry rule,

And send his wife to church, his son to school.

4

To worship like his fathers, was his care;

To teach their frugal virtues to his heir;

*

155

160.

165

To prove that luxury could never hold;
And place on good security his gold.
Now times are chang'd, and one poetic itch
Has seiz'd the Court and City, poor and rich:

170

Nunc tibicinibus, nunc est gavisa tragœdis:
3 Sub nutrice puella velut si luderet infans,
Quod cupide petiit, mature plena reliquit.
Quid placet, aut odio est, quod non mutabile credas?
Hoc paces habuere bonæ, ventique secundi.

3 Romæ dulce diu fuit et solenne, reclusa
Mane domo vigilare, clienti promere jura,
Scriptos 4 nominibus rectis expendere nummos,
Majores audire, minori dicere, per quæ
Crescere res posset, minui damnosa libido,
Mutavit mentem populus levis, 5 et calet uno

Sons, sires, and grandsires, all will wear the bays,
Our wives read Milton, and our daughters plays;
To theatres and to rehearsals throng,

And all our grace at table is a song.

I, who so oft renounce the Muses, lie,

Not-self e'er tells more fibs than I.

175

When sick of Muse, our follies we deplore,

And promise our best friends to rhyme no more;
We wake next morning in a raging fit,

And call for pen and ink, to show our, wit..

180

185

2 He serv'd a 'prenticeship, who sets up shop; Ward try'd on puppies, and the poor, his drop; Ev'n 3 Radcliff's doctors travel first to France, Nor dare to practice till they've learn'd to dance. Who builds a bridge that never drove a pile? (Should Ripley venture, all the world would smile:) But 4 those who cannot write, and those who can, All rhyme, and scrawl, and scribble, to a man. Yet, Sir, 5 reflect; the mischief is not great; These madmen never hurt the church, or state:

190

Scribendi studio: pueri patresque severi
Fronde comas vincti cœnant, et carmina dictant.
Ipse ego, qui nullos me affirmo scribere versus,
Invenior Parthis mendacior, er prius orto
Sole, vigil, calamum, et chartas, et scrinia posco.
Navem agere ignarus navis timet: abrotonum ægro
Non audet, nisi qui didicit, dare: quod medicorum est,
Promittunt 3 medici: tractant fabrilia fabri:

4

Scribimus indocti doctique poemata passim.

Hic error tamen et levis hæc insania quantas,

Sometimes the folly benefits mankind,

And rarely av'rice taints the tuneful mind.
Allow him but his 2 plaything of a pen,
He ne'er rebels, or plots, like other men:
3 Flight of cashiers, or mobs, he'll never mind,
And knows no losses while the Muse is kind.
To 4 cheat a friend, or ward, he leaves to Peter;
The good man heaps up nothing but mere metre;
Enjoys his garden, and his book in quiet;
And then---a perfect hermit in his 5 diet.

95

.200

Of little use the man you may suppose
Who says in verse what others say in prose;
Yet let me show, a poet's of some weight;
And ( tho' no soldier) useful to the state.
7 What will a child learn sooner than a song?
What better teach a foreigner the tongue?
What's long, or short, each accent where to place,
And speak in public with some sort of grace?

I scarce can think him such a worthless thing,
Unless he praise some monster of a king ; '

Virtutes habeat, sic collige: vatis avarus

205

210

[unum;

Non temere est animus: 2 versus amat, hoc studet
Detrimenta, 3 fugas servorum, incendia ridet;
Non 5 fraudem socio, puerove incogitat ullam
Pupillo; vivit siliquis, et pane secundo;
Militiæ quanquam piger et malus, utilis urbi;
Si das hoc, parvis quoque rebus magna juvari,
6 Os tenerum pueri balbumque poeta figurat;
Torquet 7 ab obscenis jam nunc sermonibus aurem;

« EelmineJätka »