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The wise and wealthy love the surest way,
And are content to thrive and to obey :
But wisdom is to sloth too great a slave ;
None are so busy as the fool and knave.
Those let me curse ; what vengeance will they urge,
Whose ordures neither plague nor fire can purge?
Nor sharp experience can to duty bring,
Nor angry Heaven, nor a forgiving King!
In gospel-phrase their chapmen they betray;
Their shops are dens, the buyer is their prey :
The knack of trades is living on the spoil;
They boast, ev'n when each other they beguile.
Customs to steal is such a trivial thing,
That 'tis their charter to defraud their king.
All hands unite of every jarring sect;
They cheat the country first, and then infect.
They for God's cause their monarchs dare dethrone,
And they'll be sure to make his cause their own.
Whether the plotting jesuit laid the plan
Of murdering kings, or the French puritan,
Our sacrilegious sects their guides outgo,
And kings and kingly power would murder too.
What means their traitorous combination less,
Too plain to' evade, too shameful to confess?
But treason is not own'd when 'tis descried ;
Successful crimes alone are justified.
The men who no conspiracy would find,
Who doubts but, had it taken, they had join'd;
Join'd in a mutual covenant of defence,
At first without, at last against their prince:
If sovereign right by sovereign power they scan,
The same bold maxim holds in God and man:
God were not safe, his thunder could they shun;
He should be forc'd to crown another Son.
Thus, when the heir was from the vineyard thrown,
The rich possession was the murderers' own.
In vain to sophistry they have recourse ;
By proving theirs no plot, they prove 'tis worse,
Unmask'd rebellion, and audacious force;
Which though not actual, yet all eyes may see
'Tis working, in the immediate power to be;
For, from pretended grievances they rise,
First to dislike, and after to despise ;
Then, cyclop-like, in human flesh to deal,
Chop up a minister at every meal ;
Perhaps not wholly to melt down the King,
But clip his regal rights within the ring:
From thence to assume the power of peace and war,
And ease him, by degrees, of public care.
Yet, to consult his dignity and fame,
He should have leave to exercise the name.
And hold the cards, while Commons play'd the
For what can power give more than food and drink,
To live at ease, and not be bound to think?
These are the cooler methods of their crime,
But their hot zealots think 'tis loss of time ;
On utmost bounds of loyalty they stand,
And grin and whet like a Croatian band,
That waits impatient for the last command.
Thus outlaws open villainy maintain ;
They steal not, but in squadrons scow'r the plain ;
And if their power the passengers subdue,
The most have right, the wrong is in the few.
Such impious axioms foolishly they show,
For in some soils republics will not grow;
Our temperate isle will no extremes sustain
Of popular sway or arbitrary reign;
But slides between them both into the best,
Secure in freedom, in a monarch blest:
And though the climate, vex'd with various winds,
Works, through our yielding bodies, on our minds,
The wholesome tempest purges what it breeds,
To recommend the calmness that succeeds.
But though, the pander of the people's hearts,
O crooked soul, and serpentine in arts !
Whose blandishments a royal land have whord,
And broke the bonds she plighted to her lord ;
What curses on thy blasted name will fall !
Which age to age their legacy shall call;
For all must curse the woes that must descend
Religion thou hast none; thy mercury
Has past through every sect, or theirs through thee:
But what thou givs't, that venom still remains,
And the pox'd nation feels thee in their brains.
What else inspires the tongues,and swells the breasts
Of all thy bellowing renegado priests,
That preach up thee for God; dispense thy laws;
And with thy stum ferment their fainting cause;
Fresh fumes of madness raise, and toil and sweat
To make the formidable cripple great ? (pow'r
Yet, should thy crimes succeed; should lawless
Compass those ends thy grecdy hopes devour,
Thy canting friends thy mortal foes would be ;
Thy god and theirs will never long agree.
For thine (if thou hast any) must be one
That lets the world and humankind alone ,
A jolly god, that passes hours too well
To promise heaven, or threaten us with hell:
That unconcern'd can at rebellion sit,
And wink at crimes he did himself comimit,
A tyrant theirs; the heaven their priesthood paints
A conventicle of gloomy sullen saints ;
A heaven, like Bedlam, slovenly and sad,
Foredoom'd for souls with false religion mad.
Without a vision, poets can foreshow
What all but fools, by common sense, may know:
If true succession from our isle should fail,
And crowds profane, with impious arms, prevail ;
Not thou, nor those thy factious arts engage,
Shall reap that harvest of rebellious rage,
With which thou flatter'st thy decrepit age.
The swelling poison of the several sects,
Which, wanting vent, the nation's health infects,
Shall burst its bag: and, fighting out their way,
The various venoms on each other prey.
The Presbyter, puft up with spiritual pride,
Shall on the necks of the lewd nobles ride,
His brethren damn, the civil power defy,
And parcel out republic-prelacy:
But short shall be his reign ; his rigid yoke
And tyrant power
sects provoke; And frogs and toads, and all the tadpole train, Will croak to Heaven for help from this devouring
The cut-throat Sword and clamorous Gown shall jar,
In sharing their ill-gotten spoils of war :
Chiefs shall be grudg'd the part which they pre-
Lords envy lords, and friends with
About their impious merit shall contend.
The surly Commons shall respect deny,
And justle Peerage out with property.
Their General either shall his trust betray,
And force the crowd to arbitrary sway;
Or they, suspecting his ambitious aim,
In hate of kings, shall cast anew the frame,
And thrust out Collatine that bore their name.
Thus inborn broils the factions would engage,
Or wars of exild heirs, or foreign rage,
Till halting Vengeance overtook our age :
And our wild labours, wearied into rest,
Reclin'd us on a rightful monarch's breast.
-Pudet hæc opprobria, vobis
Et dici potuisse, et non potuisse refelli,