« EelmineJätka »
WELL, if it be my time to quit the stage,
Adieu to all the follies of the age!
I die in charity with fool and knave,
Secure of peace at least beyond the grave.
I've had my Purgatory here betimes,
And paid for all my fatires, all my rhymes.
The Poet's hell, its tortures, fiends, and flames,
To this were trifles, toys and empty names.
With foolish pride my heart was never fir'd,
Nor the vain itch t'admire, or be admir'd;
I hop'd for no commiffion from his Grace ;
I bought no benefice, I begg'd no place;
Had no new verses, nor new fuit to show;
Yet went to Court !--- the Dev'l would have it so.
grave writers tell us, it could be contained in nothing but the Scull of an Afs. SCRIBL. This is a grievous error. It was the hoofe of an Afs; a much likelier vehicle of mifchief. ARIST. VER. 7. The Poet's hell,] He has here with great prudence corrected the licentious expreffion of his Original.
VER. 10. Nor the vain itch t'admire, or be admir'd;] Courtiers have the fame pride in admiring, that Poets have in being admired. For Vanity is as often gratified in paying our court to our fuperiors, as in receiving it from our inferiors.
VER. 13. Had no new verses, nor new fuit to show ;] Infinuating that Poetry and new clothes only come to Court, in honcur of the Sovereign, and only ferve to supply a day's converfation.
To Mass in jeft, catch'd, was fain to disburse Two hundred markes, which is the Statutes curse, Before he fcap'd; fo it pleas'd my destiny
(Guilty of my fin of going) to think me As prone to all ill, and of good as forgetfull, as proud, luftfull, and as much in debt, As vain, as witlefs, and as falfe, as they Which dwell in Court, for once going that way.
Therefore I fuffer'd this; towards me did run
A thing more strange, than on Nile's flime the Sun
E'er bred, or all which into Noah's Ark came:
A thing which would have pos'd Adam to name :
Stranger than feven Antiquaries ftudies,
Than Africk Monsters, Guianaes rarities,
Stranger than strangers: one who, for a Dane,
In the Danes Massacre had fure been slain,
If he had liv'd then; and without help dies,
When next the Prentices 'gainst strangers rise;
One whom the watch at noon lets scarce
go by; One, to whom the examining Justice sure would cry, Sir, by your Priesthood tell me what you are? His cloaths were ftrange, tho' coarfe, and black, though bare,
This is ill expreffed, for it only means, he would be more ftared at than Strangers are.
But, as the Fool that in reforming days
Would go to Mass in jest (as story says)
Could not but think, to pay his fine was odd,
Since 'twas no form'd defign of serving God;
So was I punish'd, as if full as proud
As prone to ill, as negligent of good,
As deep in debt, without a thought to pay,
As vain, as idle, and as falfe, as they
Who live at Court, for going once that way!
Scarce was I enter'd, when, behold! there came
A thing which Adam had been pos'd to name ;25
Noah had refus'd it lodging in his Ark,
Where all the Race of Reptiles might embark:
A verier monster, than on Africk's shore
The fun e'er got, or flimy Nilus bore,
Or Sloane or Woodward's wondrous fhelves contain,
Nay, all that lying Travellers can feign.
The watch would hardly let him pass at noon,
At night, would swear him dropt out of the Moon.
One whom the mob, when next we find or make
A popish plot, fhall for a Jesuit take,
And the wife Justice starting from his chair
Cry, By your Priesthood tell me what you are?
Such was the wight: Th' apparel on his back, Tho' coarse, was rev'rend, and tho' bare, was black:
Sleeveless his jerkin was, and it had been
Velvet, but 'twas now (fo much ground was feen)
Become Tufftaffaty; and our children shall
See it plain rash a while, then nought at all.
The thing hath travail'd, and, faith, speaks all
And only knoweth what to all States belongs,
Made of th' accents, and beft phrase of all thefe,
He speaks one language. If ftrange meats displease,
Art can deceive, or hunger force my
But pedants motly tongue, foldiers bumbast,
Mountebanks drug-tongue, nor the terms of law,
Are strong enough preparatives to draw
Me to hear this, yet I must be content
With his tongue, in his tongue call'd Complement:
In which he can win widows, and pay scores,
Make men speak treason, couzen subtlest whores,
Out-flatter favourites, or out-lie either
Jovius, or Surius, or both together.
He names me, and comes to me; I whisper, God, How have I finn'd, that thy wrath's furious Rod,
The suit, if by the fashion one might guess,
Was velvet in the youth of good Queen Bess,
But mere tuff-taffety what now remain'd;
So Time, that changes all things, had ordain'd!
Our fons shall see it leifurely decay,
First turn plain rash, then vanish quite away. 45
This thing has travel'd, fpeaks each language too,
And knows what's fit for ev'ry ftate to do;
Of whose best phrase and courtly accent join'd,
He forms one tongue, exotic and refin’d.
Talkers I've learn'd to bear; Motteux I knew,50
Henley himself I've heard, and Budgel too.
The Doctor's Wormwood style, the Hash of tongues
A Pedant makes, the ftorm of Gonfon's lungs,
The whole Artill'ry of the terms of War,
And (all thofe plagues in one) the bawling Bar:55
These I could bear; but not a rogue fo civil,
Whofe tongue will compliment you to the devil.
that can cheat widows, cancel scores,
Make Scots speak treason, cozen subtlest whores,
With royal Favourites in flatt'ry vie,
And Oldmixon and Burnet both out-lie.
He spies me out; I whisper, Gracious God!
What fin of mine could merit fuch a rod?
That all the shot of dulness now must be
From this thy blunderbufs discharg'd on me! 65