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'Tis hard to find a man of great estate,

A poetaster, in his raging fit, That can distinguish flatterers from friends.

(Follow'd and pointed at by fools and boys) Never delude yourself, nor read your book

Is dreaded and proscrib'd by men of sense : Before a brib'd and fawning auditor;

They make a lane for the polluted thing, For he'll commend and feign an extasy,

And fly as from th' infection of the plague, Grow pale or weep, do any thing to please.

Or from a man whom, for a just revenge, True friends appear less mov'd than counterfeit; Fanatic phrenzy sent by Heaven pursues. As men that truly grieve at funerals,

If (in the raving of a frantic Muse) Are not so loud as those that cry for hire.

And minding more his verses than his way, Wise were the kings who never chose a friend, Any of these should drop into a well, Till with full cups they had unmask'd his soul, Though he might burst his lungs to call for help, And seen the bottom of his deepest thoughts. No creature would assist or pity him, You cannot arm yourself with too much care But seem to think he fell on purpose in. Against the smiles of a designing knave.

Hear how an old Sicilian poet dy'd ; Quintilius (if his advice were ask'd)

Empedocles, mad to be thought a god, Would freely tell you what you should correct, In a cold fit leap'd into Ætna's flames. Or, if you could not, bid you blot it out,

Give poets leave to make themselves away ; And with more care supply the vacancy ;

Why should it be a greater sin to kill, But if he found you fond and obstinate

Than to keep men alive against their will ? (And apter to defend than mend your faults), Nor was this chance, but a deliberate choice; With silence leave you to admire yourself,

For if Empedocles were now reviv’d, And without rival hug your darling book.

He would be at his frolic once again, The prudent care of an impartial friend

And his pretensions to divinity. Will give you notice of each idle line,

'Tis hard to say, whether for sacrilege, Shew what sounds harsh, and what wants orna- Or incest, or some more unheard-of crime, ment,

The rhyming fiend is sent into these men: Or where it is too lavishly bestow'd;

But they are all most visibly possest, Make you explain all that he finds obscure,

And, like a baited bear when he breaks loose, And with a strict inquiry mark your faults ; Without distinction seize on all they meet : Nor for these trifles fear to lose your love.

None ever 'scap'd that came within their reach, Those things which now seem frivolous and slight, Sticking like leeches, till they burst with blood; Will be of a most serious consequence,

Without remorse insatiably they read, When they have made you once ridiculous.

And never leave till they have read men dead.

POMFRET-A. D. 1677-1703.

THE CHOICE. If Heaven the grateful liberty would give, That I might choose my method how to live; And all those hours propitious Fate should lend, In blissful ease and satisfaction spend ;

Near some fair town I'd have a private seat, Built uniform, not little, nor too great ; Better, if on a rising ground it stood; On this side fields, on that a neighbouring wood. It should within no other things contain But what are useful, necessary, plain: Methinks 'tis nauseous; and I'd ne'er endure The needless pomp of gaudy furniture. A little garden, grateful to the eye; And a cool rivulet run murmuring by: On whose delicious banks a stately row Of shady limes, or sycamores, should grow. At th' end of which a silent study plac'd, Should be with all the noblest authors grac'd: Horace and Virgil, in whose mighty lines Immortal wit, and solid learning, shines ; Sharp Juvenal, and amorous Ovid too, Who all the turns of love's soft passion knew : He that with judgment reads his charming lines, In which strong art with stronger nature joins, Must grant his fancy does the best excel; His thoughts so tender, and expressid so well. With all those moderns, men of steady sense, Esteem'd for learning, and for eloquence. In some of these, as fancy should advise, I'd always take my morning exercise : For sure no minutes bring us more content, Than those in pleasing, useful studies spent.

I'd have a clear and competent estate, That I might live genteelly, but not great : As much as I could moderately spend; A little more, sometimes t'oblige a friend. Nor should the sons of poverty repine Too much at fortune, they should taste of mine ; And all that objects of true pity were, Should be reliev'd with what my wants could spare; For that our Maker has too largely given, Should be return'd in gratitude to Heaven. A frugal plenty should my table spread; With healthy, not luxurious, dishes spread ; Enough to satisfy, and something more, To feed the stranger, and the neighbouring poor. Strong meat indulges vice, and pampering food Creates diseases, and inflames the blood. But what's sufficient to make nature strong, And the bright lamp of life continue long, I'd freely take; and, as I did possess, The bounteous Author of my plenty bless.

I'd have a little vault, but always stor'd

With the best wines each vintage could afford.
Wine whets the wit, improves its native force,
And gives a pleasant flavour to discourse ;
By making all our spirits debonair,
Throws off the lees, the sediment of care.
But as the greatest blessing Heaven lends
May be debauch'd, and serve ignoble ends;
So, but too oft, the grape's refreshing juice
Does many mischievous effects produce.
My house should no such rude disorders know,
As from high drinking consequently flow;
Nor would I use what was so kindly given,
To the dishonour of indulgent Heaven.
If any neighbour came, he should be free,
Us’d with respect, and not uneasy be,
In my retreat, or to himself or me.
What freedom, prudence, and right reason gave,
All men may, with impunity, receive:
But the least swerving from their rule's too much ;
For what's forbidden us, 'tis death to touch.

That life may be more comfortable yet,
And all my joys refin'd, sincere, and great;
I'd choose two friends, whose company would be
A great advance to my felicity:
Well-born, of humours suited to my own,
Discreet, and men as well as books have known:
Brave, generous, witty, and exactly free
From loose behaviour, or formality :
Airy and prudent; merry, but not light;
Quick in discerning, and in judging right:
Secret they should be, faithful to their trust ;
In reasoning cool, strong, temperate, and just ;
Obliging, open; without huffing, brave;
Brisk in gay talking, and in sober grave:
Close in dispute, but not tenacious; try'd
By solid reason, and let that decide :
Not prone to lust, revenge, or envious hate;
Nor busy medlers with intrigues of state:
Strangers to slander, and sworn foes to spite ;
Not quarrelsome, but stout enough to fight;
Loyal, and pious, friends to Cæsar ; true,
As dying Martyrs, to their Maker too.
In their society I could not miss
A permanent, sincere, substantial bliss. [choose

Would bounteous Heaven once more indulge, I'd (For who would so much satisfaction lose, As witty nymphs, in conversation, give) Near some obliging modest fair to live: For there's that sweetness in a female mind, Which in a man's we cannot hope to find; That, by a secret, but a powerful art, Winds up the spring of life, and does impart Fresh vital heat to the transported heart.

I'd have her reason all her passion sway:

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Easy in company, in private gay:

And what would cheer the spirits in distress, Coy to a fop, to the deserving free;

Ruins our health, when taken to excess. Still constant to herself, and just to me.

I'd be concern’d in no litigious jar; A soul she should have for great actions fit; Belov'd by all, not vainly popular. Prudence and wisdom to direct her wit :

Whate'er assistance I had power to bring, Courage to look bold danger in the face ;

T'oblige my country, or to serve my king, No fear, but only to be proud, or base :

Whene'er they call, I'd readily afford Quick to advise, by an emergence prest,

My tongue, my pen, my counsel, or my sword. To give good counsel, or to take the best.

Law-suits I'd shun with as much studious care I'd have th' expression of her thoughts be such,

As I would dens where hungry lions are ; She might not seem reserv'd, nor talk too much : And rather put up injuries, than be That shews a want of judgment, and of sense; A plague to him, who'd be a plague to me. More than enough is but impertinence.

I value quiet at a price too great, Her conduct regular, her mirth refin'd;

To give for my revenge so dear a rate : Civil to strangers, to her neighbours kind;

For what do we by all our bustle gain, Averse to vanity, revenge, and pride;

But counterfeit delight for real pain ? In all the methods of deceit untry'd :

If Heaven a date of many years would give, So faithful to her friend, and good to all,

Thus I'd in pleasure, ease, and plenty live. No censure might upon her actions fall :

And as I near approach'd the verge of life, Then would ev'n envy be compellid to say,

Some kind relation (for I'd have no wife) She goes the least of womankind astray.

Should take upon him all my worldly care, To this fair creature I'd sometimes retire ;

Whilst I did for a better state prepare. Her conversation would new joys inspire ;

Then I'd not be with any trouble vex’d, Give life an edge so keen, no surly care

Nor have the evening of my days perplex'd; Would venture to assault my soul, or dare,

But by a silent and a peaceful death, Near my retreat, to hide one secret snare.

Without a sigh, resign my aged breath. But so divine, so noble a repast

And when committed to the dust, I'd have I'd seldom, and with moderation, taste :

Few tears, but friendly, dropt into my grave; For highest cordials all their virtue lose,

Then would my exit so propitious be, By a too frequent and too bold a use;

All men would wish to live and die like me.

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She let her ivory needle fall,

I dare not permit her to come to Whitehall, And hurl'd away the twisted ball :

For she'd outshine the ladies, paint, jewels, and all: But straight gave Strephon such a call,

If a lord should but whisper his love in the crowd, As would have rais'd the dead.

She'd sell him a bargain, and laugh out aloud :

Then the queen, overhearing what Betty did say, Dear gentle youth, is't none but thee ?

Would send Mr. Roper to take her away.
With innocence I dare be free;
By so much truth and modesty

But to those that have had my dear Bess in their No nymph was e'er betray'd.

arms,

She's gentle and knows how to soften her charms; Come, lean thy head upon my lap ;

And to every beauty can add a new grace, While thy smooth cheeks I stroke and clap,

Having learn’d how to lisp, and to trip in her pace; Thou mayst securely take a nap;

And with head on one side, and a languishing eye, Which he, poor fool, obey'd.

To kill us by looking as if she would die.

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