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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, Shefield read, Even mitred Rochester would nod the head, And St. John's felf (great Dryden's friends 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 tease :
Like gentle Fanny's was my flowery theme,
A painted mistress, or a purling stream.
Yet then did Gildon draw his venal quill;
I wish'd the man a dinner, and fate ftill.
Yet then did Dennis rave in furious fict;
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 juft pretence,
And all they want is 1pirit, taste, and fenfe.
Comma's and points they set exactly right,
And 'twere a fin to rob them of their nite.
Yet ne'er one sprig of laurel grac'd these rit aldse
Erom Aalhing Bentley down to pidling Tibaias:
Each wight, who reads not, and but scans and spells,
Each Word-catcher that lives on fyllables,
Every such finail Critics fome regard may claim,
Pieserv'd in Milton's, or in Shakespear's name.
Pretty! in amber to observe the worms
Of hairs, or 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 merít 'tis not hard to find;
But each man's secret standard in his mind,
That Casting-weight pride adds to emptir.is,
This who can gratify? for who can guess?
T'e Bard who pilfer'd Pattorals renown,
W ho turns a Persian tale for halt a Crown,
Just writes to make his barreness appear,
And strains from hard-bound brains, eight lines a year;
He, who still wanting, tho' he lives on theft,
Steals ruch, spends little, yet has nothing left :
And He, who now to fenfe, 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 bade transate,
And own'd that nine such poets made a Tate.
How did they fume, and stampt and roar, and chafe!
And swear, not Addison himself was fafe.
Peace to all such! but were there one whose fires True Genius kindles, and fair Fame inspires;
Bleft with each talent and each art to please,
And born to write, converse, and live with ease:
Should fuch a man, too fond to rule alone,
Bear, like he Turk, no brother near the throne,
View him with scornful, yet with jealous eyes,
And hate for arts that caus'd himels to rise;
Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer,
And without sneering teach the rest to sneer ;
Wliling to wound, and yet afraid to strike,
Just hint a fault, and hesitate dislike;
Alike reserv'd to blame, or to commend,
A tim'rous foe, and a suspicious friend;
Dreading even fools, by Flatterers besieg'd,
And so obliging, that he ne'er oblig'd ;
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 praise--
Who but must laugh, if such a man there be ?
Who would not weep, if Atticus were he !
What tho' my name stood rubric on the walls,
Or plaister'd posts, with claps, in capitals?
Or smoaking forth, a hundred hawkers load,
On wings of wind came Aying all abroad?
I sought no homage from the race that write;
I kept, like Asian Monarchs, from their light:
Poems I heeded (now berhym'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 thro’ the town.
To fetch aud carry sing-fong up and down ;
Nor at Rehearsals sweat, and mouth'd, and cry'd,
With handkerchief and orange at my side;
But sick of fops, and poetry and prate,
To Bufo left the whole Caftalian state.
Proud as Apollo on his forked hill,
Sat full- blown Bufo, puff d by every quill;
Fed with soft Dedication all day long,
Horace and he went hand and hand in fong.
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 alk'd, and then a place:
Much they extolla his pictures, much his seat,
And Aatter'd every day, and some days eat :
Till grown more frugal in his riper days,
He paid fome bards with sport, and some with praises
To fome a dry rehearsal' was assign’d,
And others (harder still) he paid in kind.
Dryden alone (what wonder ?) came not nigh,
Dryden alone escap'd this judging eye :
But still the Great have kindness in reserve,
He help'd to bury whom he help'd to starve.
May some choice patron bless each gray goose quill! May every Bavius have his Bufo ftill! So when a Statesmar. wants a day's defence, Or Envy holds a whole week's war with Sense, Or simple pride for flattery makes demand, May dunce by dunce be whistled off my hands!
Blert be the Great! for those they take away,
And those they left me; for they left me GAY;
Left me to see neglected Genius bloom,
Neglected die, and tell it on his tomb :
Of all thy blameless life the fole return
My verse, and QUEENSB'ry weeping o'er thy urn?
Oh let me live my own, and die fo too !
(To live and die is all I have to do :)
Maintain a Poet's dignity and ease,
And see what friends, and read what books I please:
Above a Patron, tho' I condescend
Sometimes to call a Minister my friend.
I was not born for courts or great affairs;
I pay my debts, believe, and say my prayers;
Can Neep without a Poem in my head,
Nor know, if Dennis be alive or dead.
Why am I ask'd what next shall see the light? Heavens! was I born for nothing but to write ? Has Life no joys for me? or (to be grave) Have I no friend to serve, no foul to save ? " I found him close with Swift --Indeed ? no doubt
(Cries prating Balbus) something will come out. 'Tis all in vain, deny it as I will. " No such a genius never can lie ftill; And then for mine obligingly mistakes The first Lampoon Sir Will. or Buho makes. Poor guiltless I! and can I chuse but smile, When every Coxcomb knows me by my Style?
Curst be the verse, how well foe'er it Aow, Tlat tends to make one worthy man my foe,