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But something much more our concern,
And quite a scandal not to learn:
Which is the happier, or the wiser,
A man of merit, or a miser?
Whether we ought to choose our friends,
For their own worth, or our own ends?
What good, or better, we may call,
And what, the very best of all?
Our friend Dan Prior told (you know)
A tale extremely à propos :
Name a town life, and in a trice
He had a story of two mice.
Once on a time (so runs the fable)
A country mouse, right hospitable,
Receiv'd a town mouse at his board,
Just as a farmer might a lord.
A frugal mouse upon the whole,
Yet lov'd his friend, and had a soul,
Knew what was handsome, and would do 't,
On just occasion, coûte qui coûte.
He brought him bacon (nothing lean);
Pudding, that might have pleas'd a dean ;
Cheese, such as men in Suffolk make,
But wish'd it Stilton for his sake;
Yet, to his guest though no way sparing,
He eat himself the rind and paring.
Our courtier scarce could touch a bit,
But show'd his breeding and his wit;
He did his best to seem to eat,
And cry'd, "I vow you 're mighty neat.
But Lord, my friend, this savage scene!
For God's sake, come, and live with men :
Consider, mice, like men, must die,
Both small and great, both you and I:
Then spend your life in joy and sport;
(This doctrine, friend, I learnt at court.")
The veriest hermit in the nation
May yield, God knows, to strong temptation.
Away they come, through thick and thin,
To a tall house near Lincoln's-inn :
('Twas on the night of a debate,
When all their lordships had sate late.)
Behold the place, where if a poet
Shin'd in description, he might show it;
Tell how the moon-beam trembling falls,
And tips with silver all the walls;
Palladian walls, Venetian doors,
Grotesco roofs, and stucco floors:
But let it (in a word) be said,
The Moon was up, and men a-bed,
The napkins white, the carpet red:
The guests withdrawn had left the treat,
And down the mice sate, tête-à-tête.
Our courtier walks from dish to dish,
Tastes for his friend of fowl and fish;
Tells all their names, lays down the law,
"Que ça est bon ! Ah goûtez ça !
That jelly's rich, this malmsey healing,
Pray dip your whiskers and your tail in."
Was ever such a happy swain!
He stuffs and swills, and stuffs again.
"I'm quite asham'd-'tis mighty rude
To eat so much-but all 's so good.
I have a thousand thanks to giveMy lord alone knows how to live." No sooner said, but from the hall Rush chaplain, butler, dogs, and all: "A rat! a rat! clap to the door”— The cat comes bouncing on the floor. O for the heart of Homer's mice, Or gods to save them in a trice! (It was by Providence they think, For your damn'd stucco has no chink.) "An't please your honour," quoth the peasant,
"This same dessert is not so pleasant:
Give me again my hollow tree,
A crust of bread, and liberty!"
ROBERT EARL OF OXFORD AND
Sent to the Earl of Oxford, with Dr. Parnell's Poems published by our Author, after the said Earl's Imprisonment in the Tower, and Retreat into the Country, in the Year 1721.
SUCH were the notes thy once-lov'd poet sung,
Till Death untimely stopp'd his tuneful tongue.
Oh just beheld, and lost! admir'd, and mourn'd!
With softest manners, gentlest arts adorn'd!
Blest in each science, blest in every strain !
Dear to the Muse! to Harley dear — in vain!
For him, thou oft hast bid the world attend,
Fond to forget the statesman in the friend;
For Swift and him, despis'd the farce of state,
The sober follies of the wise and great;
Dextrous, the craving, fawning crowd to quit,
And pleas'd to 'scape from flattery to wit.
Absent or dead, still let a friend be dear,
(A sigh the absent claims, the dead a tear,)
Recall those nights that clos'd thy toilsome days,
Still hear thy Parnell in his living lays,
Who, careless now of interest, fame, or fate;
Perhaps forgets that Oxford e'er was great;
Or, deeming meanest what we greatest call,
Beholds thee glorious only in thy fall.
And sure, if aught below the seats divine
Can touch immortals, 'tis a soul like thine:
A soul supreme, in each hard instance try'd,
Above all pain, and passion, and all pride,
The rage of power, the blast of public breath,
The lust of lucre, and the dread of Death.
In vain to deserts thy retreat is made;
The Muse attends thee to thy silent shade:
'Tis hers, the brave man's latest steps to trace,
Re-judge his acts, and dignify disgrace.
When interest calls off all her sneaking train,
And all th' oblig'd desert, and all the vain ;
She waits, or to the scaffold, or the cell,
When the last lingering friend has bid farewell.
Ev'n now she shades thy evening-walk with bays
(No hireling she, no prostitute to praise);
Ev'n now, observant of the parting ray,
Eyes the calm sun-set of thy various day,
Through Fortune's cloud one truly great can see
Nor fears to tell, that Mortimer is he.
JONATHAN ONATHAN SWIFT, a person who has carried one species of poetry, that of humorous satire, to a degree never before attained, was, by his parentage, of English descent, but probably born in Ireland. It is known that his father, also called Jonathan, having married a Leicestershire lady, died at an early age, leaving a daughter, and a posthumous son. His widow, being left in narrow circumstances, was invited by her husband's brother, Godwin, who resided in Dublin, to his house; and there, it is supposed, Jonathan was born, on November 30th, 1667. After passing some time at a school in Kilkenny, he was removed to Trinity College, Dublin, in his 15th year; in which university he spent seven years, and then obtained with difficulty the degree of bachelor of arts, conferred speciali gratia. The circumstance affords sufficient proof of the misapplication of his talents to mathematical pursuits; but he is said to have been at this period engaged eight hours a day in more congenial studies.
So profuse are the materials for the life of Swift, that it has become almost a vain attempt to give, in