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Or grant the bard whose distich all commend
[In power a servant, out of power a friend]
To W-le guilty of some venial sin ;
What's that to you who ne'er was out nor in ?
The priest whose flattery bedropt the crown,
How hurt he you ? he only stain'd the gown.
And how did, pray, the florid youth offend,
Whose speech you took, and gave it to a friend?
P. 'Faith, it imports not much from whom it came;
Whoever borrow'd could not be to blame,
Since the whole house did afterward the same.
Let courtly wits to wits afford supply,
As hog to hog in huts of Westphaly:
If one, through nature's bounties or his lord's,
Has what the frugal, dirty soil affords,
From him the next receives it, thick or thin,
As pure a mess almost as it came in;
The blessed benefit, not there confined,
Drops to the third, who nuzzles close behind ;
From tail to mouth, they feed and they carouse;
The last full fairly gives it to the house.
F. This filthy simile, this beastly line
Quite turns my stomach-
So does flattery mine :
And all your courtly civet-cats can vent,
Perfume to you, to me is excrement.
But hear me further-Japhet, 'tis agreed,
Writ not, and Chartres scarce could write or read,
In all the courts of Pindus guiltless quite :
But pens can forge, my friend, that cannot write ;
And must no egg in Japhet's face be thrown,
Because the deed he forged was not my own?
Must never patriot then declaim at gin,
Unless, good man ! he has been fairly in?
No zealous pastor blame a failing spouse,
Without a staring reason on his brows?
And each blasphemer quite escape the rod,
Because the insult's not on man, but God?
Ask you what provocation I have had ? The strong antipathy of good to bad. When truth or virtue an affront endures, Th' affront is mine, my friend, and should be yours.
Mine, as a foe profess'd to false pretence,
Who think a coxcomb's honour like his sense :
Mine, as a friend to every worthy mind :
And mine as man, who feel for all mankind.
F. You're strangely proud.
So proud, I am no slave;
So impudent, I own myself no knave;.
So odd, my country's ruin makes me grave.
Yes, I am proud : I must be proud to see
Men not afraid of God, afraid of me:
Safe from the bar, the pulpit, and the throne,
Yet touch'd and named by ridicule alone.
O sacred weapon ! left for truth's defence,
Sole dread of folly, vice, and insolence!
To all but heaven-directed hands denied,
The muse may give thee, but the gods must guide.
Reverent I touch thee ! but with honest zeal ;
To rouse the watchmen of the public weal,
To virtue's work provoke the tardy hall,
And goad the prelate slumbering in his stall.
Ye tinsel insects! whom a court maintains,
That counts your beauties only by your stains,
Spin all your cobwebs o'er the eye of day!
The muse's wing shall brush you all away:
All his grace preaches, all his lordship sings,
All that makes saints of queens, and gods of kings;
All, all but truth, drops dead-born from the press,
Like the last gazette, or the last address.
When black ambition stains a public cause,
A monarch's sword when mad vain-glory draws,
Not Waller's wreathe can hide the nation's scar,
Not Boileau turn the feather to a star.
Not so, when, diadem'd with rays divine,
Touch'd with the flame that breaks from virtue's shrine,
Her priestess muse forbids the good to die,
And opes the temple of eternity,
There, other trophies deck the truly brave,
Than such as Anstis casts into the grave;
Far other stars than * and *. wear,
may descend to Mordington from Stair ; (Such as on Hough's unsullied mitre shine, Or beam, good Digby, from a heart like thine)
Let envy howl, while heaven's whole chorus sings,
And bark at honour not conferr'd by kings;
Let flattery sickening see the incense rise,
Sweet to the world, and grateful to the skies:
Truth guards the poet, sanctities the line,
And makes immortal verse as mean as mine.
Yes, the last pen for freedom let me draw,
When truth stands trembling on the edge of law;
Here, last of Britons! let your names be read :
Are none, none living? let me praise the dead,
And for that cause which made your fathers shine,
Fall by the votes of their degenerate line.
F. Alas, alas! pray end what you began, And write next winter more Essays on Man.
IMITATED IN THE MANNER OF DR. SWIFT. Tis true, my lord, I gave my word, I would be with you June the third ; Changed it to August, and (in short) Have kept it--as you do at court, You humour me when I am sick, Why not when I am splenetic? In town, what objects could I meet; The shops shut up in every street, And funerals blackening all the doors, And yet more melancholy whores : And what a dust in every place ! And a thin court that wants your face, And fevers raging up and down, And W* and H*• both in town!
• The dog-days are no more the case.' 'Tis true, but winter comes apace: Then southward let your bard retire, Hold out some months 'twixt sun and fire, And you shall see the first warm weather, Me and the butterflies together.
My lord, your favours well I know; "Tis with distinction you bestow;
And not to every one that comes,
Just as a Scotsman does his plums.
* Pray take them, sir-Enough's a feast:
Eat some, and pocket up the rest-
What, rob your boys those pretty rogues !
No, sir, you'll leave them to the hogs.'
Thus fools with compliments besiege ye,
Contriving never to oblige ye.
Scatter your favours on a fop,
Ingratitude's the certain crop:
And 'tis but just, I'll tell you wherefore,
You give the things you never care for.
A wise man always is or should
Be mighty ready to do good;
But makes a difference in his thought
Betwixt a guinea and a groat.
Now this I'll say, you'll find in me
A safe companion and a free;
But if you'd have me always near
A word, pray, in your honour's ear:
I hope it is your resolution
To give me back my constitution !
The sprightly wit, the lively eye,
Th' engaging smile, the gaiety,
That laugh'd down many a summer sun,
And kept you up so oft till one;
And all that voluntary vein,
As when Belinda raised my strain.
A weazel once made shift to slink
In at a corn-loft through a chink ;
But having amply stuff'd his skin,
Could not get out as he got in;
Which one belonging to the house
('Twas not a man, it was a mouse)
Observing, cried,“ You ’scape not so,
Lean as you came, sir, you must go.'
Sir, you may spare your application,
I'm no such beast, nor his relation;
Nor one that temperance advance,
Cramm'd to the throat with ortolans ;
Extremely ready to resign
All that may make me none of mine.
South-sea subscriptions take who please,
Leave me but liberty and ease.
'Twas what I said to Craggs and Child,
Who praised my modesty, and smiled.
«Give me,' I cried (enough for me),
My bread, and independency!'
So bought an annual-rent or two,
-- just as you see I do;
Near fifty, and without a wife,
I trust that sinking fund, my life.
Can I retrench? Yes, mighty well,
Shrink back to my paternal cell,
A little house, with trees a-row,
And, like its master, very low.
There died my father, no man's debtor,
And there I'll die, nor worse nor better.
To set this matter fall before ye,
Our old friend Swift will tell his story.
• Harley, the nation's great support But you may read it, I stop short.
THE LATTER PART OF SATIRE VI, B, II.* O CHARMING noons ! and nights divine ! Or when I sup, or when I dine, My friends above, my folks below, Chatting and laughing all a-row, The beans and bacon set before 'em, The grace-cup served with all decorum : Each willing to be pleased, and please, And e'en the very dogs at ease! Here no man prates of idle things, How this or that Italian sings, A neighbour's madness, or his spouse's, Or what's in either of the houses : But something much more our concern, And quite a scandal not to learn : Which is the happier, or the wiser, A man of merit, or a miser ? Whether we ought to our friends, For their own worth, or our own ends?
#See the first part in Swift's Poems.