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THE SPLENDID SHILLING. Happy the man, who void of cares and strife, In silken or in leathern purse retains A Splendid Shilling: he nor hears with pain New oysters cry’d, nor sighs for cheerful ale; But with his friends, when nightly mists arise, To Juniper's Magpie, or Town-hall repairs: Where, mindful of the nymph, whose wanton eye Transfix’d his soul, and kindled amorous flames, Cloe or Phyllis, he each circling glass Wisheth her health, and joy, and equal love. Meanwhile, he smokes, and laughs at merry tale, Or pun ambiguous, or conundrum quaint. But I, whom griping penury surrounds, And hunger, sure attendant upon want, With scanty offals, and small acid tiff, (Wretched repast !) my meagre corpse sustain ; Then solitary walk, or doze at home In garret vile, and with a warming puff Regale chill'd fingers; or from tube as black As winter-chimney, or well polish'd jet, Exhale mundungus, ill perfuming scent: Not blacker tube, nor of a shorter size, Smokes Cambro-Briton (vers'd in pedigree, Sprung from Cadwallador and Arthur, kings Full famous in romantic tale) when he O'er many a craggy hill and barren cliff, Upon a cargo of fam'd Cestrian cheese, High overshadowing rides, with a design To vend his wares, or at th' Arvonian mart, Or Maridunum, or the ancient town Yclept Brechinia, or where Vaga's stream Encircles Ariconium, fruitful soil 1 Whence flow nectareous wines, that well may vie With Massic, Setin, or renown'd Falern. Thus while my joyless minutes tedious flow, With looks demure, and silent pace, a dun, Horrible monster, hated by gods and men : To my aerial citadel ascends. With vocal heel thrice thundering at my gate, With hideous accent thrice he calls; I know The voice ill-boding, and the solemn sound. What should I do? or whither turn ? Amaz'd, Confounded, to the dark recess I fly Of wood-hole; straight my bristling hairs erect Through sudden fear; a chilly sweat bedevs My shuddering limbs, and (wonderful to tell!) My tongue forgets her faculty of speech; So horrible he seems' His faded brow Entrench'd with many a frown, and conic beard, And spreading band, admir’d by modern saints, Disastrous acts forbode; in his right hand Long scrolls of paper solemnly he waves, With characters and figures dire inscrib'd,
Grievous to mortal eyes; (ye gods, avert
Such plagues from righteous men!) Behind him stalks
Another monster not unlike himself,
Sullen of aspect, by the vulgar call’d
A catchpole, whose polluted hands the gods
With force incredible, and magic charms,
First have endued: if he his ample palm
Should haply on ill-fated shoulder lay
Of debtor, strait his body, to the touch
Obsequious (as whilom knights were wont)
To some enchanted castle is convey'd,
Where gates impregnable, and coercive chains,
In durance strict detain him, till, in form
Of money, Pallas sets the captive free.
Beware ye debtors! when ye walk, beware,
Be circumspect; oft with insidious ken
The caitiff eyes your steps aloof, and oft
Lies perdue in a nook or gloomy cave,
Prompt to inchant some inadvertent wretch
With his unhallow'd touch. So (poets sing)
Grimalkin, to domestic vermin sworn
An everlasting foe, with watchful eye
Lies nightly brooding o'er a chinky gap,
Protending her fell claws, to thoughtless mice
Sure ruin. So her disembowel'd web
Arachne, in a hall or kitchen, spreads
Obvious to vagrant flies: she secret stands
Within her woven cell; the humming prey,
Regardless of their fate, rush on the toils
Inextricable, nor will aught avail
Their arts, or arms, or shapes of lovely hue ;
The wasp insidious, and the buzzing drone,
And butterfly proud of expanded wings
Distinct with gold, entangled in her snares,
Useless resistance make: with eager strides,
She towering flies to her expected spoils;
Then, with envenom'd jaws, the vital blood
Drinks of reluctant foes, and to her cave
Their bulky carcases triumphant drags.
So pass my days. But, when nocturnal shades
This world envelop, and th’ inclement air
Persuades men to repel benumbing frosts
With pleasant wines, and crackling blaze of wood;
Me, lonely sitting, nor the glimmering light
Of make-weight candle, nor the joyous talk
Of loving friend, delights; distress'd, forlorn,
Amidst the horrors of the tedious night,
Darkling I sigh, and feed with dismal thoughts
My anxious mind; or sometimes mournful verse
Indite, and sing of groves and myrtle shades,
Or desperate lady near a purling stream,
Or lover pendent on a willow-tree.
Meanwhile I labour with eternal drought,
And restless wish, and rave; my parched throat
Finds no relief, nor heavy eyes repose:
But if a slumber haply does invade
My weary limbs, my fancy, still awake,
Thoughtful of drink, and eager, in a dream,
Tipples imaginary pots of ale,
In vain; awake I find the settled thirst
Still gnawing, and the pleasant phantom curse.
Thus do I live, from pleasure quite debarr'd,
Nor taste the fruits that the sun's genial rays
Mature, John-apple, nor the downy peach,
Nor walnut in rough-furrow'd coat secure,
Nor medlar fruit delicious in decay;
Afflictions great yet greater still remain:
My galligaskins, that have long withstood
The winter's fury, and encroaching frosts
By time subdued (what will not time subdue?)
An horrid chasm disclose with orifice
Wide, discontinuous; at which the winds
Eurus and Auster, and the dreadful force
Of Boreas, that congeals the Cronian waves,
Tumultuous enter with dire chilling blasts,
Portending agues. Thus a well-fraught ship,
Long sail'd secure, or through th' AFgean deep,
Or the Ionian, till cruising near
The Lilybean shore, with hideous crush
On Scylla, or Charybdis (dangerous rocks!)
She strikes rebounding; whence the shatter'd oak,
So fierce a shock unable to withstand,
Admits the sea; in at the gaping side
The crowding waves gush with impetuous rage
Resistless, overwhelming; horrors seize
The mariners; death in their eyes appears; [pray:
They stare, they lave, they pump, they swear, they
(Vain efforts!) still the battering waves rush in,
Implacable, till, delug'd by the foam,
The ship sinks foundering in the vast abyss.
ocCAsion ED BY A Postscript of PENN's LETTER.
Not all the threats or favour of a crown,
A prince's whisper, or a tyrant's frown,
Can awe the spirit, or allure the mind,
Of him, who to strict honour is inclin'd.
Though all the pomp and pleasure that does wait
On public places, and affairs of state,
Should fondly court him to be base and great;
With even passions, and with settled face,
He would remove the harlot's false embrace.
Though all the storms and tempests should arise,
That church-magicians in their cells advise,
And from their settled basis nations tear,
He would unmov’d the mighty ruin bear;
Secure in innocence contemn them all,
And decently array'd in honours fall.
For this, brave Shrewsbury and Lumley's name
Shall stand the foremost in the list of fame;
Who first with steady minds the current broke,
And to the suppliant monarch boldly spoke;
“Great Sir, renown'd for constancy, how just
Have we obey'd the crown, and serv'd our trust,
Espous’d your cause and interest in distress,
Yourself must witness, and our foes confess!
Permit us then ill fortune to accuse,
That you at last unhappy councils use,
And ask the only thing we must refuse.
Our lives and fortunes freely we'll expose,
Honour alone we cannot, must not lose;
Honour, that spark of the celestial fire,
That above nature makes mankind aspire;
Ennobles the rude passions of our frame
With thirst of glory, and desire of fame;
The richest treasure of a generous breast,
That gives the stamp and standard to the rest.
Wit, strength, and courage, are wild dangerous
Unless this softens and directs their course;
And would you robus of the noblest part?
Accept a sacrifice without a heart?
'Tis much beneath the greatness of a throne
To take the casket when the jewel's gone;
Debauch our principles, corrupt our race,
And teach the nobles to be false and base:
What confidence can you in them repose,
Who, ere they serve you, all their value lose
Who once enslave their conscience to their lust,
Have lost their reins, and can no more be just.
“Of honour, men at first like women nice,
Raise maiden scruples at unpractis'd vice;
Their modest nature curbs the struggling flame,
And stifles what they wish to act with shame.
But once this fence thrown down, when they per-
That they may taste forbidden fruit and live;
They stop not here their course, but safely in,
Grow strong, luxuriant and bold in sin;
True to no principles, press forward still,
And only bound by appetite their will:
Now fawn and flatter, while this tide prevails,
But shift with every veering blast their sails.
Mark those that meanly truckle to your power,
They once deserted, and chang'd sides before,
And would tomorrow Mahomet adore.
On higher springs true men of honour move,
Free is their service, and unbought their love:
When danger calls, and honour leads the way,
With joy they follow, and with pride obey:
When the rebellious foe came rolling on,
And shook with gathering multitudes the throne,
Where were thy minions then? What arm, what
Could they oppose to stop the torrent's course :
“Then Pembroke, then the nobles firmly stood,
Free of their lives, and lavish of their blood;
But, when your orders to mean ends decline,
With the same constancy they all resign.”
Thus spake the youth, who open'd first the way,
And was the phosph’rus to the dawning day;
Follow'd by a more glorious splendid host,
Than any age, or any realm can boast:
So great their fame, so numerous their train,
To name were endless, and to praise in vain;
But Herbert and great Oxford merit more;
Bold is their flight, and more sublime they soar;
So high their virtue as yet wants a name,
Exceeding wonder, and surpassing fame.
Rise, glorious church, erect thy radiant head;
The storm is past, th’ impending tempest fled;
Had fate decreed thy ruin or disgrace,
It had not given such sons, so brave a race.
When for destruction Heaven a realm designs,
The symptoms first appear in slavish minds.
These men would prop a sinking nation's weight,
Stop falling vengeance, and reverse ev'n fate.
Let other nations boast their fruitful soil,
Their fragrant spices, their rich wine and oil;
In breathing colours, and in living paint,
Let them excel; their mastery we grant.
But to instruct the mind, to arm the soul
With virtue which no dangers can controul,
Exalt the thought, a speedy courage lend,
That horror cannot shake, or pleasure bend;
These are the English arts, these we profess,
To be the same in misery and success;
To teach oppressors law, assist the good,
Relieve the wretched, and subdue the proud.
Such are our souls; but what doth worth avail
When kings commit to hungry priests the scale
All merit's light when they dispose the weight,
Who either would embroil or rule the state;
Defame those heroes who their yoke refuse,
And blast that honesty they cannot use;
The strength and safety of the crown destroy,
And the king's power against himself employ;
Affront his friends, deprive him of the brave;
Bereft of these, he must become their slave.
Men, like our money, come the most in play,
For being base, and of a coarse allay.
The richest medals, and the purest gold,
Of native value, and exactest mould,
By worth conceal’d, in private closets shine,
For vulgar use too precious and too fine;
Whilst tin and copper with new stamping bright,
Coin of base metal, counterfeit and light,
Do all the business of the nation's turn,
Rais'd in contempt, us'd and employ'd in scorn.
So shining virtues are for courts too bright,
Whose guilty actions fly the searching light:
Rich in themselves, disdaining to aspire,
Great without pomp, they willingly retire;
Give place to fools, whose rash misjudging sense
Increases the weak measures of their prince ;
They blindly and implicitly run on,
Nor see those dangers which the others shun:
Who slow to act, each business duly weigh,
Advise with freedom, and with care obey;
With wisdom fatal to their interest, strive
To make their monarch lov'd, and nation thrive.
Such have no place where priests and women reign,
Who love fierce drivers, and a looser rein.
WRITTEN FoR THE TOASTING-GLASSES OF THE kit-cAt club, 1703.
Duchess of St. Alban's. The line of Vere, so long renown'd in arms, Concludes with lustre in St. Alban's charms. Her conquering eyes have made their race complete; They rose in valour, and in beauty set.
Duchess of Beaufort. Offspring of a tuneful sire, Blest with more than mortal fire ; Likeness of a mother's face, Blest with more than mortal grace; You with double charms surprise, With his wit, and with her eyes.
Lady Mary Churchill. Fairest and latest of the beauteous race, [face; Blest with your parents' wit, and her first blooming Born with our liberties in William's reign, Your eyes alone that liberty restrain.
Duchess of Richmond. Of two fair Richmonds different ages boast, Their's was the first, and our's the brightest toast; Th' adorers offerings prove who's most divine, They sacrific'd in water, we in wine.
Lady Sunderland. All Nature's charms in Sunderland appear, Bright as her eyes, and as her reason clear: Yet still their force, to men not safely known, Seems undiscover'd to herself alone.
Mademoiselle Spanheime. Admir'd in Germany, ador'd in France, Your charms to brighter glory here advance; The stubborn Britons own your beauty's claim, And with their native toasts enrol your name.