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Again you fail : yet Safe's the word ;
Or hire the party pamphleteers Take courage, and attempt a third.
To set Elysium by the ears. But first with care employ your thoughts
Then, poet, if you mean to thrive, Where critics mark'd your former faults; Employ your Muse on kings alive: The trivial turns, the borrow'd wit,
With prudence gathering up a cluster The similes that nothing fit;
Of all the virtues you can muster, The cant which every fool repeats,
Which, form'd into a garland sweet, Town jests and coffee-house conceits :
Lay humbly. at your monarch's feet; Descriptions tedious, flat and dry,
Who, as the odors reach his throne, And introduc'd the Lord knows why :
Will smile, and think them all his own ; Or where we find your fury set
For law and gospel both determine Against the harmless alphabet ;
All virtnes lodge in royal ermine : On A's and B's your malice vent,
(I mean the oracles of both, While readers wonder whom you meant;
Who shall de pose it upon oath.) A public or a private robber,
Your garland in the following reign, A statesman, or a South-sea jobber ;
Change but the names, will do again. A prelate who no God believes ;
But, if you think this trade too base, A parliament, or den of thieves ;
(Which seldom is the dunce's case,) A pick-purse at the bar or bench;
Put on the critic's brow, and sit A duchess, or a suburb-wench:
At Will's the puny judge of wit. Or oft, when epithets you link
A nod, a shrug, a scornful smile, In gaping lines to fill a chink;
With caution us'd, may serve awhile. Like slepping-stones to save a stride,
Proceed no further in your part, In streets where kennels are too wide;
Before you learn the terms of art; Or like a heel-piece, to support
For you can never be too far gone A cripple with one foot too short ;
In all our modern critic's jargon : Or like a bridge, that joins a marish
Then talk with more authentic face To moorlands of a different parish:
Of unities, in time and place ; So have I seen ill-coupled hounds
Get scraps of Horace from your friends, Drag different ways in miry grounds.
And have them at your fingers' ends; So geographers in Afric maps
Learn Aristotle's rules by rote, With savage pictures fill their gaps,
And at all hazards boldly quote ; And o'er unhabitable downs
Judicious Rymer oft review, Place elephants for want of towns.
Wise Dennis, and profound Bossu ; But, though you miss your third essay,
Read all the prefaces of Dryden, You need noi throw your pen away.
For these our critics much confide in, Lay now aside all thoughts of fame,
(Though merely writ at first for filling, To spring more profitable game.'
To raise the volume's price a shilling.) From party-merit seek support;
A forward critic often dupes us The vilest verse thrives best at court.
With sham quotations peri hupsous ; A pamphlet in Sir Bob's defence
And if we have not read Longinus, Will never fail to bring in pence:
Will magisterially outshine us. Nor be concern'd about the sale,
Then, lest with Greek he overrun ye, He pays his workmen on the nail.
Procure the book for love or money, A prince, the moment he is crown'd,
Translated from Boileau's translation, Inherits every virtue round,
And quote quotation on quotation. As emblems of the sovereign power,
At Will's you hear a poem read, Like other baubles in the Tower;
Where Battus, from the table head, Is generous, valiant, just, and wise,
Reclining on his elbow-chair, And so continues till he dies :
Gives judgment with decisive air; His humble senate this professes,
To whom the tribe of circling wits In all their speeches, votes, addresses.
As to an oracle submits. But once you fix him in a tomb,
He gives directions to the town, His virtues fade, his vices bloom ;
To cry it up or run it down ; And each perfection wrong imputed,
Like courtiers, when they send a note Is fully at his death confuted.
Instructing members how to vote. The loads of poems in his praise,
He sets the stamp of bad and good, Ascending, make one funeral blaze :
Though not a word be understood. As soon as you can hear his knell,
Your lesson learn'd, you'll be secure This god on Earth turns devil in Hell:
To get the name of connoisseur: And lo! his ministers of state,
And, when your merits once are known, Transform'd to imps, his levee wait;
Procure disciples of your own. Where, in the scenes of endless woe,
For poets (you can never want 'em) They ply their former arts below;
Spread through Augusta Trinobantum, And, as they sail in Charon's boat,
Computing by their pecks of coals, Contrive to bribe the judge's vote ;
Amount to just nine thousand souls : To Cerberus they give a sop,
These o'er their proper districts govern His triple-barking mouth to stop;
Of wit and humor judges sovereign. Or in the ivory gate of dreams
In every street a city-bard Project excise and South-sea schemes;
Rules, like an alderman, his ward ;
His undisputed rights extend
Two bordering wits contend for glory;
But these are not a thousandth part Of jobbers in the poet's art, Attending each his proper station, And all in dje subordination, Through every alley to be found, In garrets high, or under ground; And when they join their pericranies, Out skips a book of miscellanies. Hobbes clearly proves that every creature Lives in a state of war by nature. The greater for the smallest watch, But meddle seldom with their match. A whale of moderate size will draw A shoal of herrings down his maw; A fox with geese his belly crams; A wolf destroys a thousand lambs : But search among the rhyming race, The brave are worried by the base. If on Parnassus' top you sit, You rarely bite, are always bit. Each poet of inferior size On you shall rail and criticise, And strive to tear you limb from limb; While others do as much for him.
The vermin only tease and pinch Their foes superior by an inch. So, naturalists observe, a flea Hath smaller fleas that on him prey ; And these have smaller still to bite 'em, And so proceed ad infinitum. Thus every poet in his kind Is bit by him that comes behind : Who, though too little to be seen, Can tease, and gall, and give the spleen ; Call dunces fools and sons of whores, Lay Grub-street at each other's doors; Extol the Greek and Roman masters, And curse our modern poetasters; Complain, as many an ancient bard did, How genius is no more rewarded ; How wrong a taste prevails among us; How much our ancestors outsung us ; Can personate an awkward scorn For those who are not poets born; And all their brother-dunces lash, Who crowd the press with hourly trash.
O Grub-street! how do I bemoan thee, Whose graceless children scorn to own thee! Their filial piety forgot, Deny their country, like a Scot; Though, by their idiom and grimace, They soon betray their native place. Yet thou hast greater cause to be Asham'd of them, than they of thee, Degenerate from their ancient brood, Since first the court allow'd them food.
Remains a difficulty still,
In bulk there are not more degrees
Oh, what indignity and shame,
Fair Britain, in thy monarch blest,
Appointed sovereign judge to sit
The remnant of the royal blood
Say, poet, in what other nation Shone ever such a constellation ! Attend, ye Popes, and Youngs, and Gays, And tune your harps, and strow your bays: Your panegyrics here provide ; You cannot err on flattery's side. Above the stars exalt your style, You still are low ten thousand mile. On Lewis, all his bards bestow'd Of incense many a thousand load ; But Europe mortified his pride, And swore the fawning rascals lied. Yet what the world refus'd to Lewis, Applied to George, exactly true is. Exactly true! invidious poet! "Tis fifty thousand times below it.
Translate me now some lines, if you can, From Virgil, Martial, Ovid, Lucan. They could all power in Heaven divide, And do no wrong on either side; They teach you how to split a hair, Give George and Jove an equal share. Yet why should we be lac'd so straight? I'll give my monarch butter-weight. And reason good; for many a year Jove never intermeddled here : Nor, though his priests be duly paid, Did ever we desire his aid; We now can better do without him, Since Woolston gave us arms to rout him.
A DESCRIPTION OF A CITY-SHOWER.
In imitation of Virgil's Georgics.—1710.
While rain aepends, the pensive cat gives o'er
Returning home at night, you 'll find the sink
Meanwhile the south, rising with dabbled wings,
Not yet the dust had shunn'd th' unequal strise,
'Twas doubtful which was rain, and wbich was dust, Ah! where must needy poet seek for aid,
When dust and rain at once his coat invade ?
Now in contiguous drops the flood comes down,
Stays till 'tis fair, yet seems to call a coach.
Box'd in a chair, the beau impatient sits,
And ever and anon with frightful din
Now from all parts the swelling kennels flow,
blood, Drown'd puppies, stinking sprats, all drench'd in
mud, Dead cats, and turnip-tops, come tumbling down
So, when I came up again, I found my pocket feel HORACE, BOOK III. ODE II.
very light: But when I search'd, and miss'd my purse, Lord! I
thought I should have sunk outright. TO THE EARL OF OXFORD, LATE LORD TREASURER.
Lord ! madam, says Mary, how d'ye do? Indeed, Sent to him when in the Tower, 1617.
says I, never worse :
But pray, Mary, can you tell what I have done with How blest is he who for his country dies,
my purse? Since Death pursues the coward as he flies !
Lord help me! said Mary, I never stirr'd out of The youth in vain would fly from fate's attack,
this place : With trembling knees and terror at his back; ;
Nay, said I, I had it in Lady Betty's chamber, that's Though fear should lend him pinions like the wind,
a plain case. Yet swifter fate will seize him from behind.
So Mary got me to bed and cover'd me up warm: Virtue repuls'd, yet knows not to repine,
However, she stole away my garters, that I might But shall with unattainted honor shine;
do myself no harm. Nor stoops to take the staff,* nor lays it down, So I tumbled and toss'd all night, as you may very Just as the rabble please to smile or frown.
well think, Virtue, to crown her favorites, loves to try
But hardly ever set my eyes together, or slept a Some new unbeaten passage to the sky;
wink. Where Jove a seat among the gods will give
So I was a-dream'd, methought, that we went and To those who die for meriting to live.
search'd the folks round, Next, faithful silence hath a sure reward;
And in a corner of Mrs. Dukes's* box, tied in a rag, Within our breast be every secret barr'd!
the money was found. He who betrays his friend, shall never be
So next morning we told Whittle,t and he fell eUnder one roof, or in one ship, with me.
swearing: For who with traitors would his safety trust,
Then my dame Wadgert came; and she, you know, Lest, with the wicked, Heaven involve the just ?
is thick of hearing. And, though the villain 'scape awhile, he feels
Dame, said I, as loud as I could bawl, do you know Slow vengeance, like a blood-hound, at his heels.
what a loss I have had ? Nay, said she, my Lord Colway'sfolks are all very
sad ; For my Lord Dromedaryll comes a Tuesday without
fail. MRS. HARRIS'S PETITION.
Pugh! said I, but that's not the business that I ail. 1699.
Says Cary, IT says he, I have been a servant this five
and-twenty years, come spring, To their excellencies the lords justices of Ireland,t And in all the places I liv'd, I never heard of such the humble petition of Frances Harris,
a thing. Who must starve, and die a maid, if it miscarries ; Yes, says the steward,** I remember, when I was
at my Lady Shrewsbury's, Humbly showeth,
Such a thing as this happen'd just about the time of That I went to warm myself in Lady Betty's cham.
gooseberries. ber, because I was cold;
So I went to the party suspected, and I found her And I had in a purse seven pounds, four shillings,
full of grief, and sixpence, besides farthings, in money (Now, you must know, of all things in the world, I and gold :
hate a thief.) So, because I had been buying things for my lady However, I am resolv'd to bring the discourse slily last night,
about ; I was resolv'd to tell my money, to see if it was Mrs. Dukes, said I, here's an ugly accident has right.
happen'd out: Now, you must know, because my trunk has a very "Tis not that I value the money three skips of a bad lock,
louse ; tt Therefore all the money I have, which, God knows, But the thing I stand upon is the credit of the is a very small stock,
house. I keep in my pocket, tied about my middle, next to 'Tis true, seven pounds, four shillings, and sixpence,
makes a great hole in my wages : So when I went to put up my purse, as God would Besides, as they say, service is no inheritance in
have it, my smock was unript, And, instead of putting it into my pocket, down it
slipt; Then the bell rung, and I went down to put my lady
* Wife to one of the footmen. to bed ;
| Earl of Berkeley's valet. And, God knows, I thought my money was as safe 1 The old deaf housekeeper. as my maidenhead.
Galway. | The Earl of Drogheda, who, with the primate, was to
succeed the two earls. * The ensign of the lord treasurer's office.
I Clerk of the kitchen. | The Earls of Berkeley and of Galway.
** Ferris. 1 Lady Betty Berkeley, afterwards Germaine.
It An usual saying of hers.
TO THE EARL OF PETERBOROW,
WHO COMMANDED THE BRITISH FORCES IN SPAIN
MORDANTO fills the trump of fame,
In journeys he outrides the post, Sits up till midnight with his host, Talks politics, and gives the toast;
Now, Mrs. Dukes, you know, and every body un
derstands, That though 'tis hard to judge, yet money can't go
without hands. The devil take me! said she (blessing herself) if|
ever I saw't! So she roar'd like a Bedlam, as though I had callid
her all to naught. So, you know, what could I say to her any more? I e'en left her, and came away as wise as I was be
fore. Well; but then they would have had me gone to
the cunning man! No, said I, 'tis the same thing, the chaplain will be
here anon. So the chaplain* came in. Now, the servants say
he is my sweetheart, Because he's always in my chainber, and I always
take his part. So, as the devil would have it, before I was aware,
out I blunder'd : Parson, said I, can you cast a nativity, when a body's
plunder'd ? (Now, you must know, he hates to be call’d parson
like the devil!) Truly, says he, Mrs. Nab, it might become you to
be more civil ; If your money be gone, as a learned divine says,
d'ye see, You are no text for my handling ; so take that from
Knows every prince in Europe's face, Flies like a squib from place to place, And travels not, but runs a race.
From Paris gazette à-la-main,
A messenger comes all a-reek, Mordanto at Madrid to seek; He left the town above a week.
Next day the post-boy winds his horn, And rides through Dover in the morn: Mordanto's landed from Leghorn.
Mordanto gallops on alone:
His body active as his mind, Returning sound in limb and wind, Except some leather lost behind.
A skeleton in outward figure,
With that he twisted his girdle at me like a rope,
as who should say, Now you may go hang yourself for me! and so went
away. Well: I thought I should have swoon'd. Lord !
said I, what shall I do? I have lost my money, and shall lose my true love
too! Then my lord call'd me: Harry,t said my lord,
So wonderful his expedition,
Shines in all climates like a star; In senates bold, and fierce
war ; A land commander, and a tar:
don't cry :
Heroic actions early bred in,
I'll give you something towards thy loss; and, says
my lady, so will I. Oh! but, said I, what if, after all, the chaplain
won't come to? For that, he said, (an't please your excellencies,) I
must petition you. The promises tenderly consider'd, I desire your
Excellencies' protection, And that I may have a share in next Sunday's col
lection; And over and above, that I may have your excellen
cies' letter, With an order for the chaplain aforesaid, or, instead
of him, a better : And then your poor petitioner, both night and day, Or the chaplain (for 'tis his trade), as in duty bound,
shall ever pray.
THE PROGRESS OF POETRY.
The farmer's goose, who in the stubble
But, when she must be turn'd to graze, And round the barren common strays.
* Dr. Swift. | A cant word of Lord and Lady B. to Mrs. Harris.