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Oh! could I mount on the Mæonian wing,

Your Arms, your Actions, your Repose to sing! 395
What seas you travers'd, and what fields you fought!
Your Country's Peace, how oft, how dearly bought!
How barb'rous rage subsided at your word,

And Nations wonder'd while they dropp'd the sword!
How, when you nodded, o'er the land and deep, 400
Peace stole her wing, and wrapt the world in sleep;
'Till earth's extremes your mediation own,
And Asia's Tyrants tremble at your Throne-
But Verse alas! your Majesty disdains;

And I'm not us'd to Panegyric strains:
The Zeal of Fools offends at any time,

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But most of all, the Zeal of Fools in rhyme.
Besides, a fate attends on all I write,

That when I aim at praise, they say I bite.
A vile Encomium doubly ridicules:
There's nothing blackens like the ink of fools.
If true, a woeful likeness; and if lies,
"Praise undeserv'd is scandal in disguise":
Well may he blush, who gives it, or receives;
And when I flatter, let my dirty leaves
(Like Journals, Odes, and such forgotten things
As Eusden, Philips, Settle, writ of Kings)
Clothe spice, line trunks, or flutt'ring in a row,
Befringe the rails of Bedlam and Soho.

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[1737]

THE SECOND EPISTLE OF THE
SECOND BOOK OF HORACE

DEAR Col'nel, COBHAM'S and your country's Friend!
You love a Verse, take such as I can send.
A Frenchman comes, presents you with his Boy,

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Bows and begins-"This Lad, Sir, is of Blois :
Observe his shape how clean! his locks how curl'd! 5
My only son, I'd have him see the world:

His French is pure; his Voice too-you shall hear.
Sir, he's your slave, for twenty pounds a year.
Mere wax as yet, you fashion him with ease,
Your Barber, Cook, Upholst'rer, what you please:
A perfect genius at an Op'ra song-

To say too much, might do my honour wrong.
Take him with all his virtues, on my word;
His whole ambition was to serve a Lord;
But, Sir, to you, with what would I not part?
Tho' faith, I fear, 'twill break his Mother's heart.
Once (and but once) I caught him in a lie,
And then, unwhipp'd, he had the grace to cry:
The fault he has I fairly shall reveal,
(Could you o'erlook but that) it is, to steal."

If, after this, you took the graceless lad,
Could you complain, my Friend, he prov'd so bad?
Faith, in such case, if you should prosecute,
I think Sir Godfrey should decide the suit;
Who sent the Thief that stole the Cash away,
And punish'd him that put it in his way.
Consider then, and judge me in this light;
I told you when I went, I could not write;
You said the same; and are you discontent
With Laws, to which you gave your own assent?
Nay worse, to ask for Verse at such a time!
D'ye think me good for nothing but to rhyme?
In ANNA'S Wars, a Soldier poor and old,
Had dearly earn'd a little purse of gold:
Tir'd with a tedious march, one luckless night,
He slept, poor dog! and lost it, to a doit.
This put the man in such a desp'rate mind,

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Between revenge, and grief, and hunger join'd,
Against the foe, himself, and all mankind,

He leap'd the trenches, scal'd a Castle-wall,
Tore down a Standard, took the Fort and all.
"Prodigious well!" his great Commander cry'd,
Gave him much praise, and some reward beside.
Next pleas'd his Excellence a town to batter;
(His name I know not, and 'tis no great matter)
"Go on, my Friend (he cry'd), see yonder walls!
Advance and conquer! go where glory calls!
More Honours, more rewards, attend the brave."
Don't you remember what reply he gave?
"D'ye think me, noble Gen'ral, such a Sot?
Let him take castles who has ne'er a groat."
Bred up at home, full early I begun
To read in Greek the wrath of Peleus' son.
Besides, my Father taught me from a lad,
The better art to know the good from bad:
(And little sure imported to remove,

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To hunt for Truth in Maudlin's learned grove.)

But knottier points we knew not half so well,
Depriv'd us soon of our paternal Cell;

And certain Laws, by suff'rers thought unjust,
Deny'd all posts of profit or of trust:

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Hopes after hopes of pious Papists fail'd,

While mighty WILLIAM'S thund'ring arm prevaiï'd.
For Right Hereditary tax'd and fin'd,
He stuck to poverty with peace of mind;

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And me, the Muses help'd to undergo it;
Convict a Papist he, and I a Poet.

But (thanks to Homer) since I live and thrive,
Indebted to no Prince or Peer alive,

Sure I should want the care of ten Monroes,
If I would scribble, rather than repose.

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Years foll'wing years, steal something ev'ry day,
At last they steal us from ourselves away;
In one our Frolics, one Amusements end,
In one a Mistress drops, in one a Friend:
This subtle Thief of life, this paltry Time,
What will it leave me, if it snatch my rhyme?
If ev'ry wheel of that unweary'd Mill,

That turn'd ten thousand verses, now stands still?
But after all, what would you have me do?
When out of twenty I can please not two;
When this Heroics only deigns to praise,
Sharp Satire that, and that Pindaric lays?
One likes the Pheasant's wing, and one the leg;
The vulgar boil, the learned roast an egg;
Hard task! to hit the palate of such guests,
When Oldfield loves, what Dartineuf detests.
But grant I may relapse, for want of grace,
Again to rhyme; can London be the place?
Who there his Muse, or self, or soul attends,

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In crowds and courts, law, business, feasts, and friends? My counsel sends to execute a deed:

A Poet begs me, I will hear him read:

In Palace Yard at nine you'll find me there—

At ten for certain, Sir, in Bloomsb'ry Square-
Before the Lords at twelve my Cause comes on-
There's a Rehearsal, Sir, exact at one.-
"Oh but a Wit can study in the streets,

"And raise his mind above the mob he meets."
Not quite so well however as one ought;
A hackney-coach may chance to spoil a thought;
And then a nodding beam, or pig of lead,
God knows, may hurt the very ablest head.
Have you not seen, at Guildhall's narrow pass,
Two Aldermen dispute it with an Ass?

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And Peers give away, exalted as they are,
Even to their own S-r-v--nce in a Car?

Go, lofty Poet! and in such a crowd,
Sing thy sonorous verse-but not aloud.
Alas! to Grottoes and to Groves we run,
To ease and silence, ev'ry Muse's son:
Blackmore himself, for any grand effort,
Would drink and doze at Tooting or Earl's Court.
How shall I rhyme in this eternal roar?

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How match the bards whom none e'er match'd be

fore?

The Man, who, stretch'd in Isis' calm retreat,
To books and study gives sev'n years complete,
See! strow'd with learned dust, his night-cap on,
He walks, an object new beneath the sun!
The boys flock round him, and the people stare:
So stiff, so mute! some statue you would swear,
Stept from its pedestal to take the air!
And here, while town, and court, and city roars,
With mobs, and duns, and soldiers, at their doors;
Shall I, in London, act this idle part?
Composing songs, for Fools to get by heart?
The Temple late two brother Serjeants saw,
Who deem'd each other Oracles of Law;
With equal talents, these congenial souls,

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One lull'd th' Exchequer, and one stunn'd the Rolls; 130 Each had a gravity would make you split,

And shook his head at Murray, as a Wit.

'Twas, "Sir, your law" and "Sir, your eloquence," "Yours, Cowper's manner-and yours Talbot's sense." Thus we dispose of all poetic merit,

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Yours Milton's genius, and mine Homer's spirit. Call Tibbald Shakespeare, and he'll swear the Nine, Dear Cibber! never match'd one Ode of thine.

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