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Tell me if Congreve's fools are fools indeed? . What pert low dialogue has Farquhar writ! How Van wants grace, who never wanted wit! The stage how loosely does Astraea tread, Who fairly puts all characters to bed! And idle Cibber, how he breaks the laws, To make poor Pinkey eat with vast applause ! But fill their purse, our poets' work is done, Alike to them, by pathos or by pun. O you! whom vanity's light bark conveys On fame's mad voyage by the wind of praise, With what a shifting gale your course you ply, For ever sunk too low, or borne too high Who pants for glory finds but short repose, A breath revives him, or a breath o'erthrows. Farewell the stage! if just as thrives the play, The silly bard grows fat, or falls away. There still remains, to mortify a wit, The many-headed monster of the pit; A senseless, worthless, and unhonour'd crowd: Who, to disturb their betters, mighty proud, Clattering their sticks before ten lines are spoke, Call for the farce, the bear, or the black-joke. What dear delight to Britons farce affords! Ever the taste of mobs, but now of lords; (Taste, that eternal wanderer, which flies From heads to ears, and now from ears to eyes.) The play stands still ; damn action and discourse, Back fly the scenes, and enter foot and horse; Pageants on pageants, in long order drawn, Peers, heralds, bishops, ermine, gold and lawn; The champion tool and, to complete the jest, Old Edward's armour beams on Cibber's breast. With laughter sure Democritus had dy'd, Had he beheld an audience gape so wide. Let bear or elephant be e'er so white, The people, sure, the people are the sight! Ah, luckless poet stretch thy lungs and roar, That bear or elephant shall heed thee more; While all its throats the gallery extends, And all the thunder of the pit ascends ! Loud as the wolves, on Orcas' stormy steep, Howl to the roarings of the northern deep, Such is the shout, the long-applauding note, At Quin's high plume, or Oldfield's petticoat; Or when from court a birth-day suit bestow'd, Sinks the lost actor in the tawdry load. Booth enters—hark the universal peal: “But has he spoken " Not a syllable. What shook the stage, and made the people stare? Cato's long wig, flower'd gown, and lacquer’d chair. Yet, lest you think I rally more than teach, Or praise malignly arts I cannot reach, Let me for once presume t' instruct the times, To know the poet from the man of rhymes: 'Tis he who gives my breast a thousand pains, Can make me feel each passion that he feigns; Enrage, compose, with more than magic art; With pity, and with terror, tear my heart; And snatch me, o'er the earth, or through the air, To Thebes, to Athens, when he will, and where. But not this part of the poetic state

Alone deserves the favour of the great:
Think of those authors, sir, who would rely
More on a reader's sense, than gazer's eye.
Or who shall wander where the Muses sing 2
Who climb their mountain, or who taste their spring
How shall we fill a library with wit,
When Merlin's cave is half unfurnish'd yet?
My liege why writers little claim your thought.
I guess; and, with their leave, will tell the fault.
We poets are (upon a poet's word)
Of all mankind, the creatures most absurd.:
The season, when to come, and when to go,
To sing, or cease to sing, we never know ;
And if we will recite nine hours in ten,
You lose your patience just like other men.
Then too we hurt ourselves, when, to defend
A single verse, we quarrel with a friend;
Repeat unask'd; lament the wit’s too fine
For vulgar eyes, and point out every line;
But most, when straining with too weak a wing,
We needs will write epistles to the king =
And from the moment we oblige the town,
Expect a place, or pension from the crown;
Or, dubb'd historians by express command,
To enroll your triumphs o'er the seas and land,
Be call'd to court to plan some work divine,
As once for Louis, Boileau and Racine.
Yet think, great sir! (so many virtues shown)
Ah, think, what poet best may make them known
Or choose at least some minister of grace,
Fit to bestow the laureat's weighty place.
Charles, to late times to be transmitted fair,
Assign'd his figure to Bernini's care;
And great Nassau to Kneller's hand decreed
To fix him graceful on the bounding steed;
So well in paint and stone they judg’d of merit:
But kings in wit may want discerning spirit.
The hero William, and the martyr Charles,
One knighted Blackmore, and one pension"
Which made old Ben and surly Dennis swear,
“No lord's anointed, but a Russian bear."
Not with such majesty, such bold relief,
The forms august, of king, or conquering chief,
E'er swell'd on marble; as in verse have shind
(In polish'd verse) the manners and the mind.
Oh! could I mount on the Maeonian wing,
Your arms, your actions, your repose to sing !
What seas you travers'd, and what fields you fought
Your country's peace, how oft, how dearly bought
How barbarous rage subsided at your word,
And nations wonder'd while they dropp'd thes”
How, when you nodded, o'er the land and deep.
Peace stoleher wing, and wrapp'd the world insleep;
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,
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 woful 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 fluttering in a row,
Befringe the rails of Bedlam and Soho.

B00K II. EPISTLE II. Ludentis speciem dabit, et torquebitur. Hon. .

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,
Bows, and begins—“This lad, sir, is of Blois;
Observe his shape how clean his locks how curl’d!
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 pound a-year.
Mere wax as yet, you fashion him with ease,
Your barber, cook, upholsterer, what you please:
A perfect genius at an opera 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?
Though 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 desperate mind,
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,
(Its 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 general, 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,
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 sufferers thought unjust,
Deny'd all posts of profit or of trust:
Hopes after hopes of pious Papists fail'd,
While mighty William's thundering arms prevail’d.
For right hereditary tax’d and fin'd,
He stuck to poverty with peace of mind;
And me, the Muses help'd to undergo it;
Convict a Papist he, and I a poet.
But (thanks to Homer) hence 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.
Years following years, steal something every 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 every 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 tasks 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,
In crowds, and courts, law, business, feasts, and
My counsel sends to execute a deed : [friends?
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 Bloomsbury-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?
And peers give way, exalted as they are,
Ev’n 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 grottos and to groves we run,
To ease and silence, every Muse's son:
N n

Blackmore himself, for any grand effort, Would drink and doze at Tooting or Earl's-court. How shall I rhyme in this eternal roar [fore ? How match the bard whom none e'er match'd beThe man, who, stretch'd in Isis’ calm retreat, To books and study gives seven years complete, See strow'd with learned dust, his nightcap 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, Stepp'd 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 sergeants saw, Who deem'd each other oracles of law ; With equal talents, these congenial souls, One lull'd th’ exchequer, and one stunn'd the rolls; 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,” “Your's Cowper's manner"—and your's “Talbot's Thus we dispose of all poetic merit, [sense.” Your's Milton's genius, and mine Homer's spirit. Call Tibbald Shakspeare, and he'll swear the Nine, Dear Cibber 1 never match'd one ode of thine. Lord! how we strut through Merlin's cave, to see No poets there but, Stephen, you and me. Walk with respect behind, while we at ease Weave laurel crowns, and take what names we “My dear Tibullus! if that will not do, [please. Let me be Horace, and be Ovid you! Or, I'm content, allow me Dryden's strains, And you shall rise up Otway for your pains.” Much do I suffer, much, to keep in peace This jealous, waspish, wrong-head, rhyming race; And much must flatter, if the whim should bite To court applause by printing what I write: But let the fit pass o'er, I’m wise enough To stop my ears to their confounded stuff. In vain bad rhymers all mankind reject, They treat themselves with most profound respect; 'Tis to small purpose that you hold your tongue, Each prais'd within, is happy all day long : But how severely with themselves proceed The men, who write such verse as we can read Their own strict judges, not a word they spare, That wants or force, or light, or weight, or care, Howe'er unwillingly it quits its place, Nay though at court (perhaps) it may find grace: Such they'll degrade; and sometimes, in its stead, In downright charity revive the dead; Mark where a bold, expressive phrase appears, Bright through the rubbish of some hundred years; Command old words that long have slept, to wake, Words, that wise Bacon, or brave Raleigh spake; Or bid the new be English, ages hence, (For use will father what's begot by sense) ; Pour the full tide of eloquence along, Seremely pure, and yet divinely strong, Rich with the treasures of each foreign tongue!

Prune the luxuriant, the uncouth refine,
But show no mercy to an empty line:
Then polish all with so much life and ease,
You think 'tis nature, and a knack to please:
“But ease in writing flows from art, not chance;
As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance.'
If such the plague and pains to write by rule,
Better (say I) be pleas'd, and play the fool;
Call, if you will, bad rhyming a disease,
It gives men happiness, or leaves them ease.
There liv'd in primo Georgii (they record)
A worthy member, no small fool, a lord ;
Who, though the house was up, delighted sate,
Heard, noted, answer'd, as in full debate:
In all but this, a man of sober life,
Fond of his friend, and civil to his wife;
Not quite a madman, though a pasty fell;
And much too wise to walk into a well.
Him, the damn'd doctors and his friends immur'd,
They bled, they cupp'd, they purg'd; in short they
Whereat the gentleman began to stare— [cur'd:
My friends! he cry'd, p—x take you for your care!
That from a patriot of distinguish'd note,
Have bled and purg'd me to a simple vote.
Well, on the whole, plain prose must be my fate:
Wisdom (curse on it) will come soon or late.
There is a time when poets will grow dull:
I'll e'en leave verses to the boys at school:
To rules of poetry no more confin'd,
I'll learn to smooth and harmonize my mind,
Teach every thought within its bounds to roll,
And keep the equal measure of the soul.
Soon as I enter at my country door,
My mind resumes the thread it dropp'd before;
Thoughts which at Hyde-park corner I forgot,
Meet and rejoin me, in the pensive grot.
There all alone, and compliments apart,
I ask these sober questions of my heart.
If, when the more you drink, the more you crave,
You tell the doctor; when the more you have,
The more you want, why not with equal ease
Confess as well your folly, as disease?
The heart resolves this matter in a trice,
“Men only feel the smart, but not the vice.”
When golden angels cease to cure the evil,
You give all royal witchcraft to the devil:
When servile chaplains cry, that birth and place
Indue a peer with honour, truth, and grace;
Look in that breast, most dirty Dean be fair,
Say, can you find out one such lodger there?
Yet still, not heeding what your heart can teach,
You go to church to hear these flatterers preach.
Indeed, could wealth bestow or wit or merit,
A grain of courage, or a spark of spirit,
The wisest man might blush, I must agree,
If D “*” lov’d sixpence, more than he.
If there be truth in law, and use can give
A property, that's your's on which you live.
Delightful Abs-court, if its fields afford
Their fruits to you, confesses you its lord:
All Worldly's hens, nay, partridge, sold to town,
His venison too, a guinea makes your own:

He bought at thousands, what with better wit
You purchase as you want, and bit by bit;
Now, or long since, what difference will be found?
You pay a penny, and he paid a pound.
Heathcote himself, and such large-acred men,
Lords of fat E'sham, or of Lincoln-fen,
Buy every stick of wood that lends them heat;
Buy every pullet they afford to eat.
Yet these are wights, who fondly call their own
Half that the devil o'erlooks from Lincoln-town.
The laws of God, as well as of the land,
Abhor a perpetuity should stand:
Estates have wings, and hang in fortune's power
Loose on the point of every wavering hour,
Ready, by force, or of your own accord,
By sale, at least by death, to change their lord.
Man 2 and for ever ? wretch ! what wouldst thou
Heir urges heir, like wave impelling wave. [have
All vast possessions (just the same the case
Whether you call them villa, park, or chase)
Alas, my Bathurst what will they avail?
Join Cotswood hills to Saperton's fair dale,
Let rising granaries and temples here,
There mingled farms and pyramids appear,
Link towns to towns with avenues of oak,
Enclose whole downs in walls, 'tis all a joke!
Inexorable death shall level all,
And trees, and stones, and farms, and farmer fall.
Gold, silver, ivory, vases sculptur'd high,
Paint, marble, gems, and robes of Persian dye, [are,
There are who have not—and thank Heaven there
Who, if they have not, think not worth their care.
Talk what you will of taste, my friend, you'll find
Two of a face, as soon as of a mind.
Why, of two brothers, rich and restless one
Ploughs, burns, manures, and toils from sun to sun;
The other slights, for women, sports, and wines,
All Townshend's turnips, and all Grosvenor's mines:
Why one like Bu- with pay and scorn content,
Bows and votes on, in court and parliament;
One, driven by strong benevolence of soul,
Shall fly, like Oglethorpe, from pole to pole:
is known alone to that Directing Power,
Who forms the genius in the natal hour;
That God of Nature who, within us still,
Inclines our action, not constrains our will ;
Various of temper, as of face or frame,
Each individual; his great end the same.
Yes, sir, how small soever be my heap,
A part I will enjoy, as well as keep.
My heir may sigh, and think it want of grace
A man so poor would live without a place:
But sure no statute in his favour says,
How free, or frugal, I shall pass my days:
l, who at some times spend, at others spare,
Divided between carelessness and care.
'Tis one thing madly to disperse my store;
Another, not to heed to treasure more :
Glad, like a boy, to snatch the first good day,
And pleas'd, if sordid want be far away.
What is't to me (a passenger God wot)
Whether my vessel be first-rate or not?

The ship itself may make a better figure;
But I that sail, am neither less nor bigger;
I neither strut with every favouring breath,
Nor strive with all the tempest in my teeth.
In power, wit, figure, virtue, fortune, plac'd
Behind the foremost, and before the last.
“But why all this of avarice I have none.”
I wish you joy, sir, of a tyrant gone;
But does no other lord it at this hour,
As wild and mad? the avarice of power?
Does neither rage inflame, nor fear appal
Not the black fear of death, that saddens all
With terrors round, can reason hold her throne,
Despise the known, nor tremble at th' unknown
Survey both worlds, intrepid and entire,
In spite of witches, devils, dreams, and fire
Pleas'd to look forward, pleas'd to look behind,
And count each birth-day with a grateful mind?
Has life no sourness, drawn so near its end ?
Canst thou endure a foe, forgive a friend ?
Has age but melted the rough parts away,
As winter fruits grow mild ere they decay
Or will you think, my friend, your business done,
When, of a hundred thorns, you pull out one *
Learn to live well, or fairly make your will;
You've play’d, and lov’d, and eat, and drank your
Walk sober off; before a sprightlier age [fill:
Comes tittering on, and shoves you from the stage:
Leave such to trifle with more grace and ease,
Whom folly pleases, and whose follies please.



Fr. Not twice a twelvemonth you appear in print,
And when it comes, the court see nothing in't.
You grow correct, that once with rapture writ,
And are besides too moral for a wit,
Decay of parts, alas! we all must feel—
Why now, this moment, don't I see you steal
'Tis all from Horace; Horace long before ye
Said, “ Tories call'd him. Whig, and Whigs a
And taught his Romans, in much better metre,
“To laugh at fools who put their trust in Peter.”
But Horace, sir, was delicate, was nice;
Bubo observes, he lash'd no sort of vice :
Horace would say, Sir Billy serv'd the crown,
Blunt could do business, Higgins knew the town;
In Sappho touch the sailings of the sex,
In reverend bishops note some small neglects,
And own, the Spaniard did a waggish thing,
Who cropt our ears, and sent them to the King.
His sly, polite, insinuating style
Could please at court, and make Augustus smile :
An artful manager, that crept between
His friend and shame, and was a kind of screen.
But 'faith your very friends will soon be sore;
Patriots there are, who wish you'd jest no more-
And where's the glory? 'twill be only thought

The great man never offer'd you a groat. Go see Sir Robert— P. See Sir Robert!—hum— And never laugh—for all my life to come Seen him I have, but in his happier hour Of social pleasure, ill-exchang'd for power; Seen him uncumber'd with a venal tribe, Smile without art, and win without a bribe. Would he oblige me? let me only find, He does not think me what he thinks mankind. Come, come, at all I laugh he laughs, no doubt; The only difference is, I dare laugh out. F. Why yes: with scripture still you may be free : A horse-laugh, if you please, at honesty; A joke on Jekyll, or some odd old Whig, Who never chang'd his principle, or wig ; A patriot is a fool in every age, Whom all Lord Chamberlains allow the stage: These nothing hurts; they keep their fashion still, And wear their strange old virtue, as they will. If any ask you, “Who's the man, so near His prince, that writes in verse, and has his ear?” Why answer, Lyttleton; and I'll engage The worthy youth shall ne'er be in a rage: But were his verses vile, his whisper base, You'd quickly find him in Lord Fanny's case. Sejanus, Wolsey, hurt not honest Fleury, But well may put some statesmen in a fury. Laugh then at any, but at fools or foes; These you but anger, and you mend not those. Laugh at your friends, and if your friends are sore, So much the better, you may laugh the more. To vice and folly to confine the jest, Sets half the world, God knows, against the rest; Did not the sneer of more impartial men At sense and virtue, balance all again. Judicious wits spread wide the ridicule, And charitably comfort knave and fool. P. Dear sir, forgive the prejudice of youth : Adieu distinction, satire, warmth, and truth! Come, harmless characters that no one hit; Come Henley's oratory, Osborn's wit I The honey dropping from Favonio's tongue, The flowers of Bubo, and the flow of Young The gracious dew of pulpit eloquence, And all the well-whipt cream of courtly sense, That first was H–vy's, F-'s next, and then, The S–te's, and then H–vy's once again. O come, that easy Ciceronian style, So Latin, yet so English all the while, As, though the pride of Middleton and Bland, All boys may read, and girls may understand : Then might I sing, without the least offence, And all I sung should be the nation's sense; Or teach the melancholy Muse to mourn, Hang the sad verse on Carolina's urn, And hail her passage to the realms of rest, All parts perform'd, and all her children blest! So—satire is no more—I feel it die— No gazetteer more innocent than I— And let, a God's name, every fool and knave He grac'd through life, and flatter'd in his grave.

F. Why so? if satire knows its time and place, You still may lash the greatest—in disgrace: For merit will by turns forsake them all; Would you know when exactly when they fall. Butlet all satire in all changes spare Immortal S-k, and grave De—re. Silent and soft, as saints remove to Heaven, All ties dissolv’d, and every sin forgiven, These may some gentle ministerial wing Receive, and place for ever near a king There, where no passion, pride, or shame transport, Lull'd with the sweet Nepenthe of a court; There, where no father's, brother's, friend's disgrace Once break their rest, or stir them from their place: But past the sense of human miseries, All tears are wip'd for ever from all eyes; No cheek is known to blush, no heart to throb, Save when they lose a question, or a job. [glory,

P. Good Heaven forbid, that I should blast their Who know how like Whig ministers to Tory, And when three sovereigns dy’d, could scarce be


Considering what a gracious prince was next.
Have I, in silent wonder seen such things
As pride in slaves, and avarice in kings;
And at a peer, or peeress, shall I fret,
Who starves a sister, or forswears a debt?
Virtue, I grant you, is an empty boast;
But shall the dignity of vice be lost?
Ye gods' shall Cibber's son, without rebuke,
Swear like a lord, or Rich outwhore a duke *
A favourite's porter with his master vie,
Be brib'd as often, and as often lie
Shall Ward draw contracts with a statesman's skill?
Or Japhet pocket, like his Grace, a will?
Is it for Bond, or Peter, (paltry things)
To pay their debts, or keep their faith, like kings?
If Blount dispatch'd himself, he play'd the man;
And so mayst thou, illustrious Passeran 1
But shall a printer, weary of his life,
Learn, from their books, to hang himself and wife?
This, this, my friend, I cannot, must not bear;
Vice thus abus'd, demands a nation's care:
This calls the church to deprecate our sin,
And hurls the thunder of the laws on gin.

Let modest Foster, it he will, excel
Ten metropolitans in preaching well;
A simple Quaker, or a Quaker's wife,
Outdo Landaff in doctrine,—yea in life:
Let low-born Allen, with an aukward shame,
Do good by stealth, and blush to find it fame;
Virtue may choose the high or low degree,
'Tis just alike to virtue, and to me;
Dwell in a monk, or light upon a king,
She's still the same belov'd, contented thing.
Vice is undone, if she forgets her birth,
And stoops from angels to the dregs of earth:
But 'tis the fall degrades her to a whore;
Let greatness own her, and she's mean no more;
Her birth, her beau ty, crowds and courts confess,
Chaste matrons praise her, and grave bishops bless;
In golden chains the willing world she draws,

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