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Nor are those enemies I mention'd, all; Beware, O florist, thy ambition's fall.
A friend of mine indulg'd this noble flame;
A Quaker serv'd him, Adam was his name;
To one lov'd tulip oft the master went,
Hung o'er it, and whole days in rapture spent ;
But came, and miss'd it, one ill-fated hour:
He rag'd! he roar'd! "What demon cropt my
Serene, quoth Adam, "Lo! 'twas crush'd by me ;
Fall'n is the Baal to which thou bow'dst thy knee."
But all men want amusement; and what crime
In such a Paradise to fool their time?
None: but why proud of this? To fame they soar:
We grant they're idle, if they'll ask no more.
We smile at florists, we despise their joy,
And think their hearts enamour'd of a toy :
But are those wiser whom we most admire,
Survey with envy, and pursue with fire?
Who, with the charms of his own genius smit,
Conceives all virtues are compris'd in wit!
But time his fervent petulance may cool;
For though he is a wit, he is no fool.
In time he'll learn to use, not waste, his sense;
Nor make a frailty of an excellence.
He spares nor friend nor foe; but calls to mind,
Like doom's-day, all the faults of all mankind.
What though wit tickles? tickling is unsafe,
If still 'tis painful while it makes us laugh.
Who, for the poor renown of being smart,
Would leave a sting within a brother's heart?
Parts may be prais'd, good-nature is ador'd;
Then draw your wit as seldom as your sword;
And never on the weak; or you'll appear
As there no hero, no great genius here.
As in smooth oil the razor best is whet,
So wit is by politeness sharpest set:
Their want of edge from their offence is seen;
What's he who sighs for wealth, or fame, or power? Both pain us least when exquisitely keen.
Another Florio doting on a flower!
A short-liv'd flower; and which has often sprung
From sordid arts, as Florio's out of dung.
With what, O Codrus! is thy fancy smit?
The flower of learning, and the bloom of wit.
Thy gaudy shelves with crimson bindings glow,
And Epictetus is a perfect beau.
How fit for thee, bound up in crimson too,
Gilt, and, like them, devoted to the view!
Thy books are furniture. Methinks 'tis hard
That science should be purchas'd by the yard;
And Tonson, turn'd upholsterer, sent home
The gilded leather to fit up thy room.
If not to some peculiar end design'd,
Study's the specious trifling of the mind;
Or is at best a secondary aim,
A chase for sport alone, and not for game.
If so, sure they who the mere volume prize,
But love the thicket where the quarry lies.
On buying books Lorenzo long was bent,
But found at length that it reduc'd his rent;
The fame men give is for the joy they find;
Dull is the jester, when the joke's unkind.
Since Marcus, doubtless, thinks himself a wit,
To pay my compliment, what place so fit?
His most facetious letters* came to hand,
Which my First Satire sweetly reprimand:
If that a just offence to Marcus gave,
Say, Marcus, which art thou, a fool, or knave?
For all but such with caution I forbore;
That thou wast either, I ne'er knew before:
I know thee now, both what thou art, and who;
No mask so good, but Marcus must shine through:
False names are vain, thy lines their author tell;
Thy best concealment had been writing well:
But thou a brave neglect of fame hast shown,
Of others' fame, great genius! and thy own.
Write on unheeded; and this maxim know,
The man who pardons, disappoints his foe.
In malice to proud wits, some proudly lull
Their peevish reason; vain of being dull;
When some home joke has stung their solemn souls,
His farms were flown; when, lo! a sale comes on, In vengeance they determine-to be fools;
A choice collection! what is to be done?
He sells his last; for he the whole will buy;
Sells e'en his house; nay, wants whereon to lie :
So high the generous ardor of the man
For Romans, Greeks, and Orientals ran.
Through spleen, that little Nature gave, make less,
Quite zealous in the ways of heaviness;
To lumps inanimate a fondness take;
And disinherit sons that are awake.
These, when their utmost venom they would spit,
When terms were drawn, and brought him by the Most barbarously tell you-" He's a wit.”
Lorenzo sign'd the bargain-with his mark.
Unlearned men of books assume the care,
As eunuchs are the guardians of the fair.
Not in his authors' liveries alone
Is Codrus' erudite ambition shown:
Editions various, at high prices bought,
Inform the world what Codrus would be thought;
And to this cost another must succeed,
To pay a sage, who says that he can read;
Who titles knows, and indexes has seen;
But leaves to Chesterfield what lies between ;
Of pompous books who shuns the proud expense,
And humbly is contented with their sense.
O Stanhope, whose accomplishments make good
The promise of a long-illustrious blood,
In arts and manners eminently grac'd,
The strictest honor! and the finest taste!
Accept this verse; if Satire can agree
With so consummate an humanity.
By your example would Hilario mend,
How would it grace the talents of my friend;
Poor negroes, thus to show their burning spite
To cacodemons, say, they're devilish white.
Lampridius, from the bottom of his breast,
Sighs o'er one child; but triumphs in the rest.
How just his grief! one carries in his head
A less proportion of the father's lead;
And is in danger, without special grace,
To rise above a justice of the peace.
The dung-hill breed of men a diamond scorn,
And feel a passion for a grain of corn;
Some stupid, plodding, money-loving wight,
Who wins their hearts by knowing black from white,
Who with much pains, exerting all his sense,
Can range aright his shillings, pounds, and pence.
The booby father craves a booby son;
And by Heaven's blessing thinks himself undone.
Wants of all kinds are made to fame a plea;
One learns to lisp; another, not to see:
Miss D, tottering, catches at your hand:
Was every thing so pretty born to stand?
* Letters sent to the author, signed Marcus.
Is't not enough the blockhead scarce can read,
But must he wisely look, and gravely plead?
As far a formalist from wisdom sits,
In judging eyes, as libertines from wits.
These subtle wights (so blind are mortal men,
Though Satire couch them with her keenest pen)
For ever will hang out a solemn face,
To put off nonsense with a better grace:
As pedlars with some hero's head make bold,
Illustrious mark! where pins are to be sold.
What's the bent brow, or neck in thought reclin'd?
The body's wisdom to conceal the mind.
A man of sense can artifice disdain;
As men of wealth may venture to go plain;
And be this truth eternal ne'er forgot,
Solemnity's a cover for a sot.
I find the fool, when I behold the screen;
For 'tis the wise man's interest to be seen.
Hence, Chesterfield, that openness of heart,
And just disdain for that poor mimic art;
Hence (manly praise!) that manner nobly free,
Which all admire, and I commend, in thee.
With generous scorn how oft hast thou survey'd
Of court and town the noontide masquerade;
Where swarms of knaves the vizor quite disgrace,
And hide secure behind a naked face!
Where Nature's end of language is declin'd,
And men talk only to conceal the mind:
Where generous hearts the greatest hazard run,
And he who trusts a brother, is undone !
These all their care expend on outward show
For wealth and fame: for fame alone, the beau.
Of late at White's was young Florello seen!
How blank his look! how discompos'd his mien!
So hard it proves in grief sincere to feign!
Sunk were his spirits; for his coat was plain.
Next day his breast regain'd its wonted peace;
His health was mended with a silver lace.
A curious artist, long inured to toils
Of gentler sort, with combs, and fragrant oils,
Whether by chance or by some god inspir'd,
So touch'd his curls, his mighty soul was fir'd.
The well-swo!n ties an equal homage claim,
And either shoulder has its share of fame;
His sumptuous watch-case, though conceal'd it lies,
Like a good conscience, solid joy supplies.
He only thinks himself (so far from vain!)
Stanhope in wit, in breeding Deloraine.
Whene'er, by seeming chance, he throws his eye
On mirrors that reflect his Tyrian dye,
With how sublime a transport leaps his heart!
But Fate ordains that dearest friends must part.
In active measures, brought from France, he wheels,
And triumphs, conscious of his learned heels.
So have I seen, on some bright summer's day,
A calf of genius, debonnair and gay,
Dance on the bank, as if inspir'd by fame,
Fond of the pretty fellow in the stream.
Morose is sunk with shame, whene'er surpris'd In linen clean, or peruke undisguis'd.
No sublunary chance his vestments fear;
Valued, like leopards, as their spots appear.
A fam'd surtout he wears, which once was blue,
And his foot swims in a capacious shoe;
One day his wife (for who can wives reclaim?)
Level'd her barbarous needle at his fame:
But open force was vain; by night she went,
And, while he slept, surpris'd the darling rent:
Where yawn'd the frieze is now become a doubt,
"And glory, at one entrance, quite shut out."*
He scorns Florello, and Florello him;
This hates the filthy creature; that, the prim:
Thus, in each other, both these fools despise
Their own dear selves, with undiscerning eyes;
Their methods various, but alike their aim;
The sloven and the fopling are the same.
Ye Whigs and Tories! thus it fares with you,
When party-rage too warmly you pursue;
Then both club nonsense, and impetuous pride,
And folly joins whom sentiments divide.
You vent your spleen, as monkeys, when they pass
Scratch at the mimic monkey in the glass;
While both are one: and henceforth be it known,
Fools of both sides shall stand for fools alone.
"But who art thou?" methinks Florello cries;
"Of all thy species art thou only wise?"
Since smallest things can give our sins a twitch,
As crossing straws retard a passing witch,
Florello, thou my monitor shalt be;
I'll conjure thus some profit out of thee.
O THOυ myself! abroad our counsels roam,
And, like ill husbands, take no care at home.
Thou too art wounded with the common dart,
And Love of Fame lies throbbing at thy heart;
And what wise means to gain it hast thou chose?
Know, fame and fortune both are made of prose.
Is thy ambition sweating for a rhyme,
Thou unambitious fool, at this late time?
While I a moment name, a moment's past;
I'm nearer death in this verse, than the last:
What then is to be done? Be wise with speed;
A fool at forty is a fool indeed.
And what so foolish as the chase of fame ?
How vain the prize! how impotent our aim!
For what are men who grasp at praise sublime,
But bubbles on the rapid stream of time,
That rise, and fall, that swell, and are no more,
|Born, and forgot, ten thousand in an hour?
TO THE RIGHT HON. MR. DODINGTON.
LONG, Dodington, in debt I long have sought
To ease the burthen of my grateful thought;
And now a poet's gratitude you see;
Grant him two favors, and he'll ask for three :
For whose the present glory, or the gain?
You give protection, I a worthless strain.
You love and feel the poet's sacred flame,
And know the basis of a solid fame;
Though prone to like, yet cautious to commend
You read with all the malice of a friend;
Nor favor my attempts that way alone,
But, more to raise my verse, conceal your own.
An ill-tim'd modesty! turn ages o'er,
When wanted Britain bright examples more?
Her learning, and her genius too, decays;
And dark and cold are her declining days;
As if men now were of another cast,
They meanly live on alms of ages past.
Men still are men; and they who boldly dare,
Shall triumph o'er the sons of cold despair;
Or, if they fail, they justly still take place
Of such who run in debt for their disgrace;
Who borrow much, then fairly make it known,
And damn it with improvements of their own.
We bring some new materials, and what's old
New-cast with care, and in no borrow'd mould;
Late times the verse may read, if these refuse;
And from sour critics vindicate the Muse.
"Your work is long," the critics cry. "Tis true,
And lengthens still, to take in fools like you:
Shorten my labor, if its length you blame;
For, grow but wise, you rob me of my game;
As hunted hags, who, while the dogs pursue,
Renounce their four legs, and start up on two.
Like the bold bird upon the banks of Nile,
That picks the teeth of the dire crocodile,
Will I enjoy (dread feast!) the critic's rage,
And with the fell destroyer feed my page.
For what ambitious fools are more to blame,
Than those who thunder in the critic's name?
Good authors damn'd, have their revenge in this,
To see what wretches gain the praise they miss.
Balbutius, muffled in his sable cloak,
Like an old Druid from his hollow oak,
As ravens solemn, and as boding, cries,
Ten thousand worlds for the three unities!"
Ye doctors sage, who through Parnassus teach,
Or quit the tub, or practise what you preach.
One judges as the weather dictates; right
The poem is at noon, and wrong at night:
Another judges by a surer gauge,
An author's principles, or parentage;
Since his great ancestors in Flanders fell,
The poem doubtless must be written well.
Another judges by the writer's look;
Another judges, for he bought the book;
Some judge, their knack of judging wrong to keep;
Some judge, because it is too soon to sleep.
Thus all will judge, and with one single aim,
To gain themselves, not give the writer, fame.
The very best ambitiously advise,
Half to serve you, and half to pass for wise.
Critics on verse, as squibs on triumphs wait,
Proclaim the glory, and augment the state;
Hot, envious, noisy, proud, the scribbling fry
Burn, hiss, and bounce, waste paper, stink, and die.
Rail on, my friends! what more my verse can crown
Than Compton's smile, and your obliging frown?
Not all on books their criticism waste:
The genius of a dish some justly taste,
And eat their way to fame; with anxious thought
The salmon is refus'd, the turbot bought.
Impatient art rebukes the Sun's delay,
And bids December yield the fruits of May;
Their various cares in one great point combine,
The business of their lives, that is-to dine.
Half of their precious day they give the feast;
And to a kind digestion spare the rest.
Apicius, here, the taster of the town,
Feeds twice a week, to settle their renown.
These worthies of the palate guard with care
The sacred annals of their bills of fare;
In those choice books their panegyrics read,
And scorn the creatures that for hunger feed.
If man by feeding well commences great,
Much more the worm to whom that man is meat.
To glory some advance a lying claim,
Thieves of renown, and pilferers of fame :
Their front supplies what their ambition lacks;
They know a thousand lords, behind their backs.
Cottil is apt to wink upon a peer,
When turn'd away, with a familiar leer;
And Harvey's eyes, unmercifully keen,
Have murder'd fops, by whom she ne'er was seen
Niger adopts stray libels; wisely prone
To covet shame still greater than his own.
Bathyllus, in the winter of threescore,
Belies his innocence, and keeps a whore.
Absence of mind Brabantio turns to fame,
Learns to mistake, nor knows his brother's name;
Has words and thoughts in nice disorder set,
And takes a memorandum to forget.
Thus vain, not knowing what adorns or blots,
Men forge the patents that create them sots.
As love of pleasure into pain betrays,
So most grow infamous through love of praise.
But whence for praise can such an ardor rise,
When those, who bring that incense, we despise ?
For such the vanity of great and small,
Contempt goes round, and all men laugh at all.
Nor can e'en Satire blame them; for 'tis true,
They have most ample cause for what they do.
O fruitful Britain! doubtless thou wast meant
A nurse of fools, to stock the continent.
Though Phoebus and the Nine for ever mow,
Rank folly underneath the scythe will grow.
The plenteous harvest calls me forward still,
Till I surpass in length my lawyer's bill;
A Welsh descent, which well-paid heralds damn,
Or, longer still, a Dutchman's epigram.
When cloy'd, in fury I throw down my pen,
In comes a coxcomb, and I write again.
See Tityrus, with merriment possest,
Is burst with laughter ere he hears the jest:
What need he stay? for, when the joke is o'er,
His teeth will be no whiter than before.
Is there of these, ye fair! so great a dearth,
That you need purchase monkeys for your mirth?
Some, vain of paintings, bid the world admire;
Of houses some; nay, houses that they hire:
Some (perfect wisdom!) of a beauteous wife;
And boast, like Cordeliers, a scourge for life.
Sometimes, through pride, the sexes change their airs
My lord has vapors, and my lady swears;
Then, stranger still! on turning of the wind,
My lord wears breeches, and my lady's kind.
To show the strength, and infamy of pride,
By all 'tis follow'd, and by all denied.
What numbers are there, which at once pursue
Praise, and the glory to contemn it, too!
Vincenna knows self-praise betrays to shame,
And therefore lays a stratagem for fame;
Makes his approach in modesty's disguise,
To win applause; and takes it by surprise.
To err," says he, "in small things is my fate."
You know your answer, "He's exact in great."
"My style," says he, "is rude and full of faults."
But oh! what sense! what energy of thoughts!"
That he wants algebra, he must confess;
I own 'twas wrong, when thousands call'd me back, Gaudy devotion, like a Roman, shown,
To make that hopeless, ill-advis'd, attack;
All say, 'twas madness; nor dare I deny ;
Sure never fool so well deserv'd to die."
Could this deceive in others, to be free,
It ne'er, Vincenna, could deceive in thee;
Whose conduct is a comment to thy tongue,
So clear, the dullest cannot take thee wrong.
Thou on one sleeve wilt thy revenues wear;
And haunt the court, without a prospect there.
Are these expedients for renown? Confess
Thy little self, that I may scorn thee less.
Be wise, Vincenna, and the court forsake;
Our fortune there, nor thou nor I shall make.
Even men of merit, ere their point they gain,
In hardy service make a long campaign;
Most manfully besiege the patron's gate,
And, oft repuls'd, as oft attack the great
With painful art, and application warm,
And take, at last, some little place by storm;
Enough to keep two shoes on Sunday clean,
And starve upon discreetly, in Sheer-lane.
Already this thy fortune can afford;
Then starve without the favor of my lord.
"Tis true, great fortunes some great men confer;
But often, even in doing right, they err:
From caprice, not from choice, their favors come;
They give, but think it toil to know to whom :
The man that's nearest, yawning, they advance :
"Tis inhumanity to bless by chance.
If merit sues, and greatness is so loth
To break its downy trance, I pity both.
I grant at court, Philander, at his need,
(Thanks to his lovely wife,) finds friends indeed.
Of every charm and virtue she's possest:
Philander! thou art exquisitely blest;
The public envy! Now then, 'tis allow'd,
The man is found, who may be justly proud:
But, see! how sickly is ambition's taste!
Ambition feeds on trash, and lothes a feast;
For, lo! Philander, of reproach afraid,
In secret loves his wife, but keeps her maid.
Some nymphs sell reputation; others buy;
And love a market where the rates run high:
Italian music's sweet, because 'tis dear;
Their vanity is tickled, not their ear:
Their tastes would lessen, if the prices fell,
And Shakspeare's wretched stuff do quite as well;
Away the disenchanted fair would throng,
And own, that English is their mother tongue.
To show how much our northern tastes refine,
Imported nymphs our peeresses outshine;
While tradesmen starve, these Philomels are gay;
For generous lords had rather give than pay.
Behold the masquerade's fantastic scene!
The legislature join'd with Drury-lane!
When Britain calls, th' embroider'd patriots run,
And serve their country—if the dance is done.
"Are we not then allow'd to be polite ?"
Yes, doubtless! but first set your notions right.
Worth, of politeness is the needful ground;
Where that is wanting, this can ne'er be found.
Triflers not e'en in trifles can excel;
"Tis solid bodies only polish well.
Great, chosen prophet! for these latter days,
To turn a willing world from righteous ways!
Well, Heydegger, dost thou thy master serve;
Well has he seen his servant should not starve.
Thou to his name hast splendid temples rais'd;
In various forms of worship seen him prais'd,
And sung sweet anthems in a tongue unknown.
Inferior offerings to thy god of vice
Are duly paid, in fiddles, cards, and dice;
Thy sacrifice supreme, an hundred maids!
That solemn rite of midnight masquerades!
If maids the quite exhausted town denies,
An hundred head of cuckolds may suffice.
Thou smil'st, well pleas'd with the converted land,
To see the fifty churches at a stand.
And that thy minister may never fail,
But what thy hand has planted still prevail,
Of minor prophets a succession sure
The propagation of thy zeal secure.
See commons, peers, and ministers of state,
In solemn council met, and deep debate!
What godlike enterprise is taking birth?
What wonder opens on th' expecting Earth?
'Tis done! with loud applause the council rings!
Fix'd is the fate of whores and fiddle-strings!
Though bold these truths, thou, Muse, with truths
Wilt none offend, whom 'tis a praise to please:
Let others flatter to be flatter'd; thou,
Like just tribunals, bend an awful brow.
How terrible it were to common-sense,
To write a satire, which gave none offence!
And, since from life I take the draughts you see,
If men dislike them, do they censure me?
The fool, and knave, 'tis glorious to offend,
And godlike an attempt the world to mend ;
The world, where lucky throws to blockheads fall,
Knaves know the game, and honest men pay all.
How hard for real worth to gain its price!
A man shall make his fortune in a trice,
If blest with pliant, though but slender, sense,
Feign'd modesty, and real impudence :
A supple knee, smooth tongue, an easy grace,
A curse within, a smile upon his face :
A beauteous sister, or convenient wife,
Are prizes in the lottery of life;
Genius and virtue they will soon defeat,
And lodge you in the bosom of the great.
To merit, is but to provide a pain
For men's refusing what you ought to gain.
May, Dodington, this maxim fail in you,
Whom my presaging thoughts already view
By Walpole's conduct fir'd, and friendship grac'd,
Still higher in your prince's favor plac'd;
And lending, here, those awful councils aid,
Which you, abroad, with such success obey'd!
Bear this from one, who holds your friendship dear;
What most we wish, with ease we fancy near.
TO THE RIGHT HON. SIR SPENCER COMPTON.
ROUND some fair tree th' ambitious woodbine grows,
And breathes her sweets on the supporting boughs:
So sweet the verse, th' ambitious verse, should be,
(O! pardon mine) that hopes support from thee;
Thee, Compton, born o'er senates to preside,
| Their dignity to raise, their councils guide;
Deep to discern, and widely to survey,
And kingdoms' fates, without ambition, weigh;
Of distant virtues nice extremes to blend,
The crown's asserter, and the people's friend.
Nor dost thou scorn, amid sublimer views,
To listen to the labors of the Muse;
Thy smiles protect her, while thy talents fire,
And 'tis but half thy glory to inspire.
Vex'd at a public fame, so justly won,
The jealous Chremes is with spleen undone;
Chremes, for airy pensions of renown,
Devotes his service to the state and crown:
All schemes he knows, and, knowing, all improves,
Though Britain's thankless, still this patriot loves:
But patriots differ; some may shed their blood,
He drinks his coffee, for the public good;
Consults the sacred steam, and there foresees
What storms, or sun-shine, Providence decrees;
Knows, for each day, the weather of our fate;
A quidnunc is an almanac of state.
You smile, and think this statesman void of use;
Why may not time his secret worth produce?
Since apes can roast the choice Castanian nut;
Since steeds of genius are expert at put;
Since half the Senate "Not content" can say,
Geese nations save, and puppies plots betray.
What makes him model realms, and counsel
An incapacity for smaller things:
Poor Chremes can't conduct his own estate,
And thence has undertaken Europe's fate.
Gehenno leaves the realm to Chremes' skill,
And boldly claims a province higher still:
To raise a name, th' ambitious boy has got,
At once, a Bible, and a shoulder-knot;
Deep in the secret, he looks through the whole,
And pities the dull rogue that saves his soul;
To talk with rev'rence you must take good heed,
Nor shock his tender reason with the Creed;
Howe'er, well-bred, in public he complies,
Obliging friends alone with blasphemies.
Peerage is poison, good estates are bad
For this disease; poor rogues run seldom mad.
Have not attainders brought unhop'd relief,
And falling stocks quite cur'd an unbelief?
While the sun shines, Blunt talks with wondrous
But thunder mars small beer, and weak discourse.
Such useful instruments the weather show,
Just as their mercury is high or low:
Health chiefly keeps an atheist in the dark;
A fever argues better than a Clarke :
Let but the logic in his pulse decay,
The Grecian he'll renounce, and learn to pray;
While C mourns, with an unfeigned zeal,
Th' apostate youth, who reason'd once so well.
C, who makes merry with the Creed,
He almost thinks he disbelieves indeed :
But only thinks so: to give both their due,
Satan, and he, believe, and tremble too.
Of some for glory such the boundless rage,
That they 're the blackest scandal of their age.
Narcissus the Tartarian club disclaims;
Nay, a free-mason, with some terror, names;
Omits no duty; nor can envy say,
He miss'd, these many years, the church, or play :
He makes no noise in parliament, 'tis true;
But pays his debts, and visit, when 'tis due;
His character and gloves are ever clean,
And then, he can out-bow the bowing dean;
A smile eternal on his lip he wears,
Which equally the wise and worthless shares.
In gay fatigues, this most undaunted chief,
Patient of idleness beyond belief,
Most charitably lends the town his face,
For ornament, in every public place;
As sure as cards, he to th' assembly comes,
And is the furniture of drawing-rooms:
When ombre calls, his hand and heart are free,
And, join'd to two, he fails not-to make three:
Narcissus is the glory of his race;
For who does nothing with a better grace?
To deck my list, by Nature were design'd Such shining expletives of human-kind, Who want, while through blank life they dream along,
Sense to be right, and passion to be wrong.
To counterpoise this hero of the mode,
Some for renown are singular and odd:
What other men dislike, is sure to please,
Of all mankind, these dear antipodes ;
Through pride, not malice, they run counter still
And birth-days are their days of dressing ill.
Arbuthnot is a fool, and F--
S-ly will fright you, E engage;
By nature streams run backward, flame descends,
Stones mount, and Sussex is the worst of friends;
They take their rest by day, and wake by night,
And blush, if you surprise them in the right;
If they by chance blurt out, ere well aware,
A swan is white, or Queensberry is fair.
Nothing exceeds in ridicule, no doubt,
A fool in fashion, but a fool that's out.
His passion for absurdity's so strong,
He cannot bear a rival in the wrong;
Though wrong the mode, comply; more sense is
In wearing others' follies, than your own.
If what is out of fashion most you prize,
Methinks you should endeavor to be wise.
But what in oddness can be more sublime
Than Sloane, the foremost toyman of his time?
His nice ambition lies in curious fancies,
His daughter's portion a rich shell enhances,
And Ashmole's baby-house is, in his view,
Britannia's golden mine, a rich Peru!
How his eyes languish! how his thoughts adore
That painted coat, which Joseph never wore!
He shows, on holidays, a sacred pin,
That touch'd the ruff, that touch'd Queen Bess's chin
"Since that great dearth our chronicles deplore,
Since that great plague that swept as many more,
Was ever year unblest as this?" he'll cry,
"It has not brought us one new butterfly!"
In times that suffer such learn'd men as these,
Unhappy I-y! how came you to please?
Not gaudy butterflies are Lico's game;
But, in effect, his chase is much the same :
Warm in pursuit, he levées all the great,
Staunch to the foot of title and estate:
Where'er their lordships go, they never find
Or Lico, or their shadows, lag behind;
He sets them sure, where'er their lordships run,
Close at their elbows, as the morning-dun;
As if their grandeur by contagion wrought,
And fame was, like a fever, to be caught:
But after seven years' dance, from place to place,
The Dane* is more familiar with his grace.
Who'd be a crutch to prop a rotten peer;
Or living pendant dangling at his ear,
For ever whispering secrets, which were blown
For months before, by trumpets, through the town?
A Danish dog of the Duke of Argyll.