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If once for principle 'tis laid,
That thought is trouble to the head;
I argue thus: the world agrees
That he writes well, who writes with ease:
Then he, by sequel logical,
Writes best that never thinks at all.
Verse comes from heaven, like inward light;
Mere human pains can ne'er come by’t;
The god, not we, the poem makes;
We only tell folks what he speaks.
Hence, when anatomists discourse,
How like brutes' organs are to ours;
They grant, if higher powers think fit,
A bear might soon be made a wit;
And that, for anything in nature,
Pigs might squeak love-odes, dogs bark satire.
Memnon, though stone, was counted vocal ;
But 'twas the god, meanwhile, that spoke all.
Rome oft has heard a cross haranguing,
With prompting priest behind the hanging:
The wooden head resolv'd the question
While you and Pettis help'd the jest on.
Your crabbed rogues, that read Lucretius,
Are against gods, you know ; and teach us,
The gods make not the poet; but
The thesis, vice-versa put,
Should Hebrew-wise be understood;
And means, the poet makes the god.
Egyptian gardeners thus are said to
Have set the leeks they after pray'd to ;
And Romish bakers praise the deity
They chipp'd while yet in its paniety.
That when you poets swear and cry,
The god inspires; I rave, I die;
If inward wind does truly swell ye,
*T must be the cholic in your belly:
That writing is but just like dice,
And lucky mains make people wise:
That jumbled words, if fortune throw 'em,
Shall, well as Dryden, form a poem;
Or make a speech, correct and witty,
As you know who—at the committee.
So atoms dancing round the centre,
They urge, made all things at a venture.
But, granting matters should be spoke
By method, rather than by luck;
This may confine their younger styles,
Whom Dryden pedagogues at Will's;
But never could be meant to tie
Authentic wits, like you and I:
For as young children, who are tied in
Go-carts, to keep their steps from sliding;
When members knit, and legs grow stronger,
Make use of such machine no longer;
But leap pro libitu, and scout
On horse call'd hobby, or without;
So when at school we first declaim,
Old Busby walks us in a theme,
Whose props support our infant vein,
And help the rickets in the brain :
But, when our souls their force dilate,
And thoughts grow up to wit's estate;
In verse or prose, we write or chat,
Not sixpence matter upon what.
'Tis not how well an author says;
But 'tis how much, that gathers praise.
Tonson, who is himself a wit, -
Counts writers' merits by the sheet.
Thus each should down with all he thinks,
As boys eat bread, to fill up chinks.
Kind Sir, I should be glad to see you;
I hope y' are well; so God be wi' you;
Was all I thought at first to write:
But things since then are alter'd quite;
Fancies flow in, and Muse flies high:
So God knows when my clack will lie:
I must, Sir, prattle on, as afore,
And beg your pardon yet this half-hour.
So at pure barn of loud Non-con,
Where with my grannum I have gone,
When Lobb had sifted all his text,
And I well hop'd the pudding next;
“Now to apply,” has plagu'd me more
Than all his villain cant before.
For your religion, first, of her,
Your friends do savoury things aver;
They say, she's honest as your claret,
Nor sour’d with cant, nor stumm'd with merit;
Your chamber is the sole retreat
Of chaplains every Sunday night:
Of grace, no doubt, a certain sign,
When layman herds with man divine;
For if their fame be justly great,
Who would no Popish nuncio treat;
That his is greater, we must grant,
Who will treat nuncios Protestant.
One single positive weighs more,
You know, than negatives a score.
In politics, I hear, you’re stanch,
Directly bent against the French;
Deny to have your free-born toe
Dragoon'd into a wooden shoe:
Are in no plots; but fairly drive at
The public welfare, in your private;
And will for England's glory try
Turks, Jews, and Jesuits, to defy,
And keep your places till you die.
For me, whom wandering fortune threw
From what I lov'd, the town and you :
Let me just tell you how my time is
Past in a country life.—Imprimis,
As soon as Phoebus' rays inspect us,
First, Sir, I read, and then I breakfast;
So on, till foresaid God does set,
I sometimes study, sometimes eat.
Thus, of your heroes and brave boys,
With whom old Homer makes such noise,
The greatest actions I can find,
Are, that they did their work, and din'd.
The books, of which I'm chiefly fond,
Are such as you have whilom conn'd;
That treat of China's civil law,
And subjects' rights in Golconda;
Of highway elephants at Ceylon,
That rob in clans, like men o' th' Highland;
Of apes that storm or keep a town,
As well almost as Count Lauzun ;
Of unicorns and alligators,
Elks, mermaids, mummies, witches, satyrs,
And twenty other stranger matters;
Which, though they're things I've no concern in,
Make all our grooms admire my learning.
Critics I read on other men,
And hypers upon them again;
From whose remarks I give opinion
On twenty books, yet ne'er look in one.
Then all your wits that fleer and sham,
Down from Don Quixote to Tom Tram :
From whom Ijests and puns purloin,
And slily put them off for mine :
Fond to be thought a country wit:
The rest—when fate and you think fit.
Sometimes I climb my mare, and kick her
To bottled ale, and neighbouring vicar;
Sometimes at Stamford take a quart,
Squire Shephard's health—With all my heart.
Thus without much delight or grief,
I fool away an idle life:
Till Shadwell from the town retires
(Chok'd up with fame and sea-coal fires)
To bless the wood with peaceful lyric:
Then hey for praise and panegyric;
Justice restor'd, and nations freed,
And wreaths round William's glorious head.
To The HON. CHARLES MONTAGUE, ESQ. AFTERwands EARL OF HALIFAX.
Howe'er, 'tis well, that while mankind
Through fate's perverse meander errs,
He can imagin'd pleasures find,
To combat against real cares.
Fancies and notions he pursues,
Which ne'er had being but in thought;
Each, like the Grecian artist, woos
The image he himself has wrought.
Against experience he believes;
He argues against demonstration;
Reas'd, when his reason he deceives;
And sets his judgment by his passion.
The hoary fool, who many days
Has struggled with continued sorrow,
Renews his hope, and blindly lays
The desperate bet upon tomorrow.
Tomorrow comes; 'tis noon, 'tis night;
This day like all the former flies:
Yet on he runs, to seek delight
Tomorrow, till to-night he dies.
Our hopes, like towering falcons, aim At objects in an airy height:
The little pleasure of the game Is from afar to view the flight.
Our anxious pains we, all the day,
In search of what we like, employ :
Scorning at night the worthless prey,
We find the labour gave the joy.
At distance through an artful glass
To the mind's eye things well appear:
They lose their forms, and make a mass
Confus'd and black is brought too near.
If we see right, we see our woes: Then what avails it to have eyes?
From ignorance our comfort flows: The only wretched are the wise.
We wearied should lie down in death :
This cheat of life would take no more ;
If you thought fame but empty breath,
I Phillis but a perjur'd whore.
THE LADY'S LOOKING-GLASS. IN IMITATION of A GREEK IDYLLIUM.
Celia and I the other day
Walk'd o'er the sand-hills to the sea:
The setting sun adorn'd the coast,
His beams entire, his fierceness lost;
And, on the surface of the deep,
The winds lay only not asleep.
The nymph did like the scene appear,
Serenely pleasant, calmly fair:
Soft fell her words, as flew the air.
With secret joy I heard her say,
That she would never miss one day
A walk so fine, a sight so gay.
But, oh the change the winds grow high 3
Impending tempests charge the sky: -
The lightning flies, the thunder roars;
And big waves lash the frighten’d shores.
Struck with the horror of the sight,
She turns her head, and wings her flight:
And, trembling, vows she'll ne'er again
Approach the shore, or view the main.
Once more at least look back, said I,
Thyself in that large glass descry :
When thou art in good-humour drest;
when gentle reason rules thy breast;
The sun upon the calmest sea
Appears not half so bright as thee:
'Tis then that with delight I rove
Upon thy boundless depth of love :
I bless my chain; I hand my oar;
Northink on all I left on shore.
But when vain doubt and groundle."”
Do that dear foolish bosom tear !
When the big lip and watery eye
Tell me, the rising storm is nigh;
*Tis then, thou art yon angry main,
Deform'd by winds, and dash'd by rain ;
And the poor sailor, that must try
Its fury, labours less than I.
Shipwreck'd, in vain to land I make,
While love and fate still drive me back:
Forc'd to dote on thee thy own way,
I chide thee first, and then obey.
Wretched when from thee, vex'd when migh,
I with thee, or without thee, die.
Beneath a myrtle's verdant shade
As Cloe half asleep was laid,
Cupid perch'd lightly on her breast,
And in that heaven desir'd to rest:
Over her paps his wings he spread:
Between he found a downy bed,
And nestled in his little head.
Still lay the god: the nymph, surpris'd,
Yet mistress of herself, devis'd
How she the vagrant might enthral,
And captive him, who captives all.
Her bodice half-way she unlac'd;
About his arms she slily cast
The silken bond, and held him fast.
The god awak'd ; and thrice in vain
He strove to break the cruel chain ;
And thrice in vain he shook his wing,
Incumber'd in the silken string.
Fluttering the god, and weeping, said,
Pity poor Cupid, generous maid,
Who happen'd, being blind, to stray,
And on thy bosom lost his way;
Who stray'd, alas! but knew too well,
He never there must hope to dwell:
Set an unhappy prisoner free,
Who ne'er intended harm to thee.
To me pertains not, she replies,
To know or care where Cupid flies;
What are his haunts, or which his way;
Where he would dwell, or whither stray:
Yet will I never set thee free;
For harm was meant, and harm to me.
Vain fears that vex thy virgin heart:
I'll give thee up my bow and dart;
Untangle but this cruel chain,
And freely let me fly again.
Agreed: secure my virgin heart:
Instant give up thy bow and dart:
The chain I’ll in return untie;
And freely thou again shalt fly.
Thus she the captive did deliver;
The captive thus gave up his quiver.
The god disarm’d, e'er since that day,
Passes his life in harmless play;
Flies round, or sits upon her breast,
A little, fluttering, idle guest.
E'er since that day, the beauteous maid
Governs the world in Cupid's stead;
Directs his arrow as she wills;
Gives grief, or pleasure; spares, or kills.
“-Tantaene animis coelestibus irae?” WIEg.
In Virgil's sacred verse we find, That passion can depress or raise
The heavenly, as the human mind: Who dare deny what Virgil says 2
But, if they should, what our great master
Has thus laid down, my tale shall prove:
Fair Venus wept the sad disaster
Of having lost her favourite dove.
In complaisance poor Cupid mourn'd : His grief reliev'd his mother's pain;
He vow'd he'd leave no stone unturn'd, But she should have her dove again.
Though none, said he, shall yet be nam'd,
I know the felon well enough :
But be she not, mamma, condemn'd
Without a fair and legal proof.
With that, his longest dart he took, As constable would take his staff:
That gods desire like men to look, Would make ev'n Heraclitus laugh.
Love's subalterns, a duteous band,
Like watchmen, round their chief appear:
Each had his lantern in his hand;
And Venus mask'd brought up the rear.
Accoutred thus, their eager step
To Cloe's lodging they directed:
(At once I write, alas! and weep,
That Cloe is of theft suspected).
Late they set out, had far to go :
St. Dunstan's as they pass'd struck one.
Cloe, for reasons good, you know,
Lives at the sober end o' th' town.
With one great peal they rap the door,
Like footmen on a visiting day.
Folks at her house at such an hour !
Lord! what will all the neighbours say?
The door is open: up they run:
Nor prayers, nor threats, divert their speed:
Thieves! thieves! cries Susan; we're undone;
They'll kill my mistress in her bed.
In bed indeed the nymph had been
Three hours: for all historians say,
She commonly went up at ten,
Unless piquet was in the way.
She wak'd, be sure, with strange surprise:
O Cupid, is this right or law,
Thus to disturb the brightest eyes
That ever slept, or ever saw
She sigh'd; she smil'd: and to the flowers
Pointing, the lovely moralist said;
See, friend, in some few fleeting hours,
See yonder, what a change is made.
Ah me! the blooming pride of May,
And that of Beauty, are but one:
At morn both flourish bright and gay;
Both fade at evening, pale, and gone.
At dawn poor Stella danc'd and sung;
The amorous youth around her bow’d:
At night her fatal knell was rung;
I saw, and kiss'd her in her shroud.
Such as she is, who died today; Such I, alas ! may be tomorrow :
Go, Damon, bid thy Muse display The justice of thy Cloe's sorrow.
Miss Danaë, when fair and young, (As Horace has divinely sung) Could not be kept from Jove's embrace By doors of steel, and walls of brass. The reason of the thing is clear, Would Jove the naked truth aver. Cupid was with him of the party; And show'd himself sincere and hearty; For, give that whipster but his errand, He takes my lord chief justice’ warrant; Dauntless as death away he walks: Breaks the doors open, snaps the locks; Searches the parlour, chamber, study; Nor stops till he has culprit's body. Since this has been authentic truth, By age deliver'd down to youth; Tell us, mistaken husband, tell us, Why so mysterious, why so jealous Does the restraint, the bolt, the bar, Make us less curious, her less fair? The spy, which does this treasure keep, Does she ne'er say her prayers, nor sleep? Does she to no excess incline Does she fly music, mirth, and wine? Or have not gold and flattery power To purchase one unguarded hour? Your care does further yet extend: That spy is guarded by your friend. But has this friend nor eye nor heart? May he not feel the cruel dart, Which, soon or late, all mortals feel? May he not, with too tender zeal, Give the fair prisoner cause to see How much he wishes she were free? May he not craftily infer The rules of friendship too severe, Which chain him to a hated trust; Which make him wretched, to be just? And may not she, this darling she, Youthful and healthy, flesh and blood,
Easy with him, illus’d by thee, Allow this logic to be good? Sir, will your questions never end? I trust to neither spy nor friend. In short, I keep her from the sight Of every human face.—She'll write.— From pen and paper she's debarr'd.— Has she a bodkin and a card? She'll prick her mind.—She will, you say: But how shall she that mind convey: I keep her in one room: I lock it: The key (look here) is in this pocket. The key-hole, is that left? Most certain. She'll thrust her letter through.-Sir Martin. Dear angry friend, what must be done? Is there no way —There is but one. Send her abroad: and let her see, That all this mingled mass, which she, Being forbidden, longs to know, Is a dull farce, an empty show, Powder, and pocket-glass, and beau; A staple of romance and lies, False tears and real perjuries: Where sighs and looks are bought and sold, And love is made but to be told; Where the fat bawd and lavish heir The spoils of ruin’d beauty share; And youth, seduc’d from friends and fame, Must give up age to want and shame. Let her behold the frantic scene, The women wretched, false the men: And when, these certain ills to shun, She would to thy embraces run; Receive her with extended arms, Seem more delighted with her charms; Wait on her to the park and play, Put on good-humour; make her gay; Be to her virtues very kind; Be to her faults a little blind; Let all her ways be unconfin'd; And clap your padlock—on her mind.
Hans Carvel, impotent and old,
Married a lass of London mould :
Handsome enough; extremely gay:
Lov’d music, company, and play:
High flights she had, and wit at will;
And so her tongue lay seldom still:
For in all visits who but she,
To argue or to repartee?
She made it plain, that human passion
Was order'd by predestination;
That, if weak women went astray,
Their stars were more in fault than they :
Whole tragedies she had by heart;
Enter'd into Roxana's part:
To triumph in her rival's blood,
The action certainly was good.
How like a vine young Ammon curl’d