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Has life no joys for me? or (to be grave)
Have I no friend to serve, no soul 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 still:'
And then for mine obligingly mistakes
The first lampoon Sir Will, or Bubo makes.
Poor guiltless I! and can I choose but smile,
When every coxcomb knows me by my style?
Curst be the verse, how well soe'er it flow,
That tends to make one worthy man my foe,
Give virtue scandal, innocence a fear,
Or from the soft-ey'd virgin steal a tear!
But he who hurts a harmless neighbour's peace,
Insults fall'n worth, or beauty in distress,
Who loves a lie, lame slander helps about,
Who writes a libel, or who copies out;
That fop whose pride affects a patron's name,
Yet absent wounds an author's honest fame;
Who can your merit selfishly approve,
And show the sense of it without the love;
Who has the vanity to call you friend,
Yet wants the honour, injur'd, to defend;
Who tells whate'er you think, whate'er you say,
And, if he lie not, must at least betray;
Who to the dean and silver bell can swear,
And sees at Canons what was never there;
Who reads but with a lust to misapply,
Makes satire a lampoon, and fiction lie:
A lash like mine no honest man shall dread,
But all such babbling blockheads in his stead,
Let Sporus tremble-A. What? that thing of silk,
Sporus, that mere white curd of asses' milk?
Satire or sense, alas! can Sporus feel?
Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?
P. Yet let me flap this bug with gilded wings,
This painted child of dirt, that stinks and stings;
Whose buzz the witty and the fair annoys,
Yet wit ne'er tastes, and beauty ne'er enjoys:
So well-bred spaniels civilly delight
In mumbling of the game they dare not bite.
Eternal smiles his emptiness betray,
As shallow streams run dimpling all the way.
Whether in florid impotence he speaks,
And, as the prompter breathes, the puppet squeaks,
Or at the ear of Eve, familiar toad,
Half froth, half venom, spits himself abroad,
In puns, or politics, or tales, or lies,
Or spite, or smut, or rhymes, or blasphemies;
His wit all see-saw between that and this,
Now high, now low, now master up, now miss,
And he himself one vile antithesis.
Amphibious thing! that acting either part,
The trifling head, or the corrupted heart;
Fop at the toilet, flatterer at the board,
Now trips a lady, and now struts a lord.
Eve's tempter thus the rabbins have exprest,
A cherub's face, a reptile all the rest;
Beauty that shocks you, parts that none will trust,
Wit that can creep, and pride that licks the dust.
Not fortune's worshipper, nor fashion's fool,
Not lucre's madman, nor ambition's tool,
Not proud, nor servile; be one poet's praise,
That if he pleas'd he pleas'd by manly ways;
That flattery, ev'n to kings, he held a shanie,
And thought a lie in verse or prose the same;
That not in fancy's maze he wander'd long,
But stoop'd to truth, and moraliz'd his song;
That not for fame, but virtue's better end,
He stood the furious foe, the timid friend,
The damning critic, half-approving wit,
The coxcomb hit, or fearing to be hit;
Laugh'd at the loss of friends he never had,
The dull, the proud, the wicked, and the mad
The distant threats of vengeance on his head,
The blow unfelt, the tear he never shed;
The tale reviv'd, the lie so oft o'erthrown,
The' imputed trash, and dulness not his own;
The morals blacken'd when the writings 'scape,
The libell'd person, and the pictur'd shape;
Abuse on all he lov'd, or lov'd him, spread,
A friend in exile, or a father dead;
The whisper, that, to greatness still too near,
Perhaps yet vibrates on his sovereign's ear—
Welcome for thee, fair virtue! all the past:
For thee, fair virtue! welcome ev'n the last!
A. But why insult the poor, affront the great?
P. A knave's a knave to me in every state;
Alike my scorn, if he succeed or fail,
Sporus, at court, or Japhet in a jail;
A hireling scribbler, or a hireling peer,
Knight of the post corrupt, or of the shire;
If on a pillory, or near a throne,
He gain his prince's ear or lose his own.
Yet soft by nature, more a dupe than wit, Sappho can tell you how this man was bit: This dreaded satirist Dennis will confess Foe to his pride, but friend to his distress: So humble, he has knock'd at Tibbald's door, Has drunk with Cibber, nay, has rhym'd for Moore. Full ten years slander'd, did he once reply?Three thousand suns went down on Welsted's lie. To please a mistress, one aspers'd his life; He lash'd him not, but let her be his wife : Let Budgell charge low Grub-street on his quill, And write whate'er he pleas'd, except his will; Let the two Curlls of town and court abuse His father, mother, body, soul, and muse: Yet why? that father held it for a rule, It was a sin to call our neighbour fool;
That harmless mother thought no wife a whore: Hear this, and spare his family, James Moore ! Unspotted names, and memorable long!
If there be force in virtue, or in song.
Of gentle blood (part shed in honour's cause, While yet in Britain honour had applause) Each parent sprung-A. What fortune, pray?— P. Their own;
And better got than Bestia's from the throne,
Born to no pride, inheriting no strife,
Nor marrying discord in a noble wife,
Stranger to civil and religious rage,
The good man walk'd innoxious through his age:
No courts he saw, no suits would ever try,
Nor dar'd an oath, nor hazarded a lie.
Unlearn'd, he knew no schoolman's subtle art,
No language but the language of the heart.
By nature honest, by experience wise,
Healthy by temperance and by exercise;
His life, though long, to sickness past unknown,
His death was instant and without a groan.
O grant me thus to live, and thus to die!
Who sprung from kings shall know less joy than I.
O friend! may each domestic bliss be thine!
Be no unpleasing melancholy mine:
Me, let the tender office long engage
To rock the cradle of reposing age,
With lenient arts extend a mother's breath,
Make langour smile, and smoothe the bed of death;
Explore the thought, explain the asking eye,
And keep a while one parent from the sky!
On cares like these, if length of days attend,
May Heav'n, to bless those days, preserve my friend!
Preserve him social, cheerful, and serene,
And just as rich as when he serv'd a queen.
A. Whether that blessing be denied or giv'n, Thus far was right;-the rest belongs to Heav'n.
From Mr. Phillips to the Earl of Dorset.
Copenhagen, March 9, 1709.
FROM frozen climes and endless tracks of snow,
From streams that northern winds forbid to flow, What present shall the Muse to Dorset bring, Or how, so near the Pole, attempt to sing? The hoary winter here conceals from sight All pleasing objects that to verse invite. The hills and dales, and the delightful woods, The flow'ry plains, and silver streaming floods, By snow disguis'd, in bright confusion lie, And, with one dazzling waste, fatigue the eye.
No gentle breathing breeze prepares the spring, No birds within the desert region sing. The ships, unmov'd, the boist'rous winds defy, While rattling chariots o'er the ocean fly. The vast Leviathan wants room to play, And spout his waters in the face of day. The starving wolves along the main sea prowl, And to the moon in icy valleys howl. For many a shining league the level main Here spreads itself into a glassy plain: There solid billows, of enormous size, Alps of green ice, in wild disorder rise. And yet but lately have I seen, e'en here, The winter in a lovely dress appear. Ere yet the clouds let fall the treasur'd snow, Or winds begun thro' hazy skies to blow, At ev❜ning a keen eastern breeze arose ; And the descending rain unsullied froze. Soon as the silent shades of night withdrew, The ruddy morn disclos'd at once to view