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Just scars us as we reap the golden grain ;
And feel I, Death! no joy from thought of thee?
LOVE OF FAME,
THE UNIVERSAL PASSION.
To His Grace the Duke of Dorset.
-Tanto major famæ sitis est, quam
Juv. Sat, 10.
MY verse is Satire; Dorset ! lend your ear,
And patronise a Muse you cannot fear. To poets sacred is a Dorset's name, Their wonted passport through the gates of Fame: It bribes the partial reader into praise, And throws a glory round the shelter'd lays: The dazzled judgment fewer faults can see, And gives applause to Blackmore, or to me. But you decline the mistress we pursue; Others are fond of Fame, but Fame of you.
Instructive Satire! true to Virtue's cause ! Thou shining supplement of public laws ! When flatter'd crimes of a licentious age Reproach our silence, and demand our rage; When purchas'd follies, from each distant land, Like arts, improve in Britain's skilful hand; When the Law shows her teeth but dares not bite, And South-Sea treasures are not brought to light; When Churchmen scripture for the classics quit, Polite apostates from God's grace to wit: When men grow great from their revenue spent, And fly from bailiffs into parliament; When dying sinners, to blot out their score, Bequeath the Church the leavings of a whore; To chafe our spleen, when themes like these increase, Shall panegyric reign, and censure cease?
Shall poesy, like law, turn wrong to right, And dedications wash an Ethiop white? Set up each senseless wretch for Nature's boast, On whom praise shines, as trophies on a post? Shall funeral Eloquence her colours spread, And scatter roses on the wealthy dead ? Shall authors smile on such illustrious days, And satirize with nothing but their praise?
Why slumbers Pope, who leads the tuneful train, Nor hears that virtuę which he loves complain? Donne, Dorset, Dryden, Rochester, are dead, And guilt's chief foe in Addison is fled ; Congreve, who, crown'd with laurels fairly won, Sits smiling at the goal while others run, He will not write ; and (more provoking still!) Ye gods! he will not write, and Mævius will.
Doubly distress'd, what author shall we find Discreetly daring, and severely kind, The courtly Roman's shining path to tread, And sharply smile prevailing folly dead? Will no superior genius snatch the quill, And save me, on the brink, from writing ill? Though vain the strife, I'll strive my voice to raise: What will not men attempt for sacred praise ?
The love of praise, howe'er conceal'd by art, Reigns, more or less, and glows in every heart; The proud, to gain it, toils on toils endure; The modest shun it, but to make it sure. O’er globes and sceptres, now on thrones it swells, Now trims the nsidnight lamp in college cells : 'Tis tory, whig; it plots, prays, preaches, pleads, Harangues in senates, squeaks in masquerades : Here to Steele's humour makes a bold pretence, There, bolder, aims at Pulteney's eloquence : It aids the dancer's heel, the writer's head, And heaps the plain with mountains of the dead; Nor ends with life, but nods in sable plumes, Adorns our hearse, and flatters on our tombs.
What is not proud ? the pimp is proud to see So many like himself in high degree:
The whore is proud her beauties are the dread
Some go to church, proud humbly to repent,
Others with wishful eyes on glory look, When they have got their picture tow'rds a book, Or pompous title, like a gaudy sign, Meant to betray dull sots to wretched wine. If at his title Trapp had dropp'd his quill, Trapp might have pass'd for a great genius still, But Trapp, alas ! (excuse him, if you can) Is now a scribbler, who was once a man. Imperious, some a classic fane demand, For heaping up, with a laborious hand, A waggon-load of meanings for one word, While A's depos'd, and B with pomp restor'd.
Some, for renown, on scraps of learning dote, And think they grow immortal as they quote. To patch-work learn'd quotations are allied ; Both strive to make our poverty our pride.
On glass how witty is a noble peer? Did ever diamond cost a man so dear?
Polite diseases make some idiots vain, Which, if unfortunately well, they feign.
Of folly, vice, disease, men proud we see; And (stranger still!) of blockheads' flattery, Whose praise defames; as if a fool should mean, By spitting on your face to make it clean.
Nor is't enough all hearts are swoln with Pride, Her power is mighty, as her realm is wide. What can she not perform the love of Fame Made bold Alphonsus his Creator blame; Empedocles huri'd down the burning steep ;. And (stronger still) made Alexander weep:
Nay, it holds Delia from a second bed,
This passion with a pimple have I seen
Sick with the Love of Fame, what throngs pour in, Unpeople court, and leave the senate thin? My growing subject seems but just begun, And, chariot-like, I kindle as I run.
Aid me, great Homer! with thy epic rules, To take a catalogue of British fools. Satire! had I thy Dorset's force divine, A knave or fool should perish in each line, Though for the first all Westminster should plead, And for the last all Gresham intercede.
Begin. Who first the catalogue shall grace? To quality belongs the highest place. My Lord comes forward; forward let him come! Ye vulgar! at your peril give him room : He stands for fame on his forefathers' feet, By heraldry prov'd valiant or discreet. With what a decent pride he throws his eyes Above the man by three descents less wise ? If virtues at his noble hands you crave, You bid him raise his fathers from the grave. Men should press forward in Fame's glorious chase; Nobles look backward, and so lose the race.
Let high birth triumph! what can be more great ? Nothing-but merit in a low estate. To Virtue's humblest son let none prefer Vice, though descended from the Conqueror. Shall men, like figures, pass for high or base, Slight or important, only by their place? Titles are marks of honest men, and wise ; The fool or kpave that wears a title lies.