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W or turn the volumes of the wile and good,
HILST you at Twick’nham plan the future wood,
Our fenate meets; at parties, parties bawl,
And pamphlets ftun the streets, and load the stall;
So rushing tides bring things obscene to light,
Foul wrecks emerge, and dead dogs swim in sight;
The civil torrent foams, the tumult reigns,
And Codrus' prose works up, and Lico's strains.
Lo! what from cellars rise, what rush from high,
Where speculation roofted near the sky;
Letters, Essays, Sock, Buskin, Satire, Song,
And all the Garret thunders on the throng!
O Pope ! I burst; nor can, nor will, refrain ;
I'll write ; let others, in their turn, complain :
Truce, truce, ye Vandals ! my tormented ear
Less dreads a pillory than a pamphleteer ;
I've heard myself to death; and, plagu'd each hour,
Shan't I return the vengeance
For who can write the true absurd like me?
Thy pardon, CODRUS! who, I mean, but thee?
Pope! if like mine, or COD Rus', were thy style,
The blood of vipers had not stain’d thy file ;
Merit less solid, less despite had bred;
They had not bit, and then they had not bled.
Fame is a public mistress, none enjoys,
But, more or less, his rival's peace destroys;
With fame, in just proportion, envy grows ;
The man that makes a character, makes foes :
Slight, peevish insects round a genius rise,
As a bright day awakes the world of flies;
With hearty malice, but with feeble wing,
(To Thew they live) they flutter, and they sting:
But as by depredations wasps proclaim
The fairest fruit, so these the faireft fame.
Shall we not censure all the motley train,
Whether with ale irriguous, or champaign?
Whether they tread the vale of prose, or climb,
And whet their appetites on cliffs of rhyme;
The college sloven, or embroider'd spark;
The purple prelate, or the parish clerk;
The quiet quidnunc, or demanding prig;
The plaintiff tory, or defendant whig ;
Rich, poor, male, female, young, old, gay, or fad;
Whether extremely witty, or quite mad;
Profoundly dull, or shallowly polite;
Men that read well, or men that only write ;
Whether peers, porters, taylors, tune the reeds,
And measuring words to measuring thapes succeeds ;
For bankrupts write, when ruin'd shops are shut,
As maggots crawl from out a perish'd nut.
His hammer this, and that his trowel quits,
And, wanting sense for tradesmen, serve for wits.
By thriving men fubfifts each other trade;
Of every broken craft à Writer's made:
Thus his material, Paper, takes its birth
From tatter'd rags of all the fuff on earth.
Hail, fruitful ille! to thee alone belong
Millions of wits, and brokers in old song :
Thee well a land of liberty we name,
Where all are free to scandal and to shame;
Thy fons, by print, may set their hearts at ease,
And be mankind's contempt, whene'er they please ;
Like trodden filth, their vile and abject sense
Is unperceiv'd, but when it gives offence:
This heavy prose our injur'd reason tires ;
Their verse immoral kindles loose desires :
Our age they puzzle, and corrupt our prime,
Our sport and pity, punishment and crime.
What glorious motives urge our Authors on,
Thus to undo, and thus to be undone ?
One loses his estate, and down he fits,
To shew (in vain !) he still retains his wits ;
Another marries, and his dear proves keen;
He writes as an Hypnotic for the spleen:
Some write, confin’d by phyfic; fome, by debt;
Some, for 'tis Sunday; fome, because 'tis wet;
Through private pique fome do the public right,
And love their king and country out of spite :
Another writes because his father writ,
proves himself a bastard by his wit. Has Lico learning, humour, thought profound? Neither : Why write then? He wants twenty pound:
His belly, not his brains, this impulse give;
immortal ; for he cannot live :
He rubs his awful front, and takes his ream,
With no provision made, but of his theme;
Perhaps a title has his fancy smit,
Or a quaint motto, which he thinks has wit :
He writes, in inspiration puts his truft,
Tho' wrong his thoughts, the gods will make them juft;
Genius directly from the gods descends,
And who by labour would distrust his friends ?
Thus having reason'd with consummate kill,
In immortality he dips his quill :
And, since blank paper is deny'd the press,
He mingles the whole alphabet by guess :
In various sets, which various words compose,
Of which, he hopes, mankind the meaning knows.
So sounds spontaneous from the Sibyl broke,
Dark to herself the wonders which she spoke ;
The priefts found out the meaning, if they cou'd;
And nations star'd at what none understood.
CLODIO dress’d, danc'd, drank, vifited, (the whole
And great concern of an immortal soul!)
Oft have I said, “ Awake! exist! and strive
« For birth! nor think to loiter is to live !"
As oft I overheard the dæmon say,
Who daily met the loit'rer in his way,
« P'll meet thee, youth, at White's:" The youth replies,
" I'll meet thee there," and falls his sacrifice ;
His fortune squander'd, leaves his virtue bare
To ev'ry bribe, and blind to ev'ry snare:
Clodio for bread his indolence muft quit,
Or turn a soldier, or commence a wit.
Such heroes have we! all, but life, they stake;
How must Spain tremble, and the German shake!