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Or e'en to crack live crawfish recommend ;
I'd never doubt at court to make a friend.
'Tis yet in vain, I own, to keep a pother
About one vice, and fall into the other :
Between excess and famine lies a mean;
Plain, but not sordid, though not splendid, clean.
Avidien or his wife (no matter which,
For him you'll call a dog, and her a bitch)
Sell their presented partridges and fruits,
And humbly live on rabbits and on roots:
One half-pint bottle serves them both to dine,
And is at once their vinegar and wine:
But on some lucky day (as when they found
A lost bank-bill, or heard their son was drown'd)
At such a feast, old vinegar to spare,
Is what two souls so generous cannot bear:
Oil, though it stink, they drop by drop impart,
But souse the cabbage with a bounteous heart.
He knows to live who keeps the middle state,
And neither leans on this side nor on that;
Nor stops for one bad cork his butler's pay,
Swears, like Albutius, a good cook away;
Nor lets, like Nævius, every error pass,
The musty wine, foul cloth, or greasy glass.
Now hear what blessings temperance can bring:
(Thus said our friend, and what he said I sing)
First health the stomach cramm'd from every
A tomb of boil'd and roast, and flesh and fish,
Where bile, and wind, and phlegm, and acid, jar,
And all the man is one intestine war)
Remembers oft the schoolboy's simple fare,
The temperate sleeps, and spirits light as air.
How pale each worshipful and reverend guest
Rise from a clergy or a city feast!
What life in all that ample body say?
What heavenly particle inspires the clay?
The soul subsides, and wickedly inclines
To seem but mortal e'en in sound divines.
On morning wings how active springs the mind That leaves the load of yesterday behind! How easy every labour it pursues! How coming to the poet every Muse! Not but we may exceed some holy time, Or tired in search of truth or search of rhyme: Ill-health some just indulgence may engage, And more the sickness of long life, old age: For fainting age what cordial drop remains, If our intemperate youth the vessel drains?
Our fathers praised rank venison. You suppose,
Perhaps, young men! our fathers had no nose.
Not so: a buck was then a week's repast,
And 'twas their point, I ween, to make it last ;
More pleased to keep it till their friends could come,
Than eat the sweetest by themselves at home.
Why had not I in those good times my birth,
Ere coxcomb-pies or coxcombs were on earth?
Unworthy he the voice of Fame to hear,
That sweetest music to an honest ear,
(For 'faith, Lord Fanny! you are in the wrong,
The world's good word is better than a song)
Who has not learn'd fresh sturgeon and ham-pie
Are no rewards for want and infamy!
When luxury has lick'd up all thy pelf,
Cursed by thy neighbours, thy trustees, thyself;
To friends, to fortune, to mankind, a shame,
Think how posterity will treat thy name;
And buy a rope, that future times may tell
Thou hast at least bestow'd one penny well.
Right, (cries his lordship) for a rogue in need To have a taste, is insolence indeed:
In me 'tis noble, suits my birth and state,
My wealth unwieldy, and my heap too great.'-
Then, like the sun, let bounty spread her ray,
And shine that superfluity away.
Oh, impudence of wealth! with all thy store
How darest thou let one worthy man be poor?
Shall half the new-built churches round thee fall?
Make quays, build bridges, or repair Whitehall;
Or to thy country let that heap be lent,.
As M**o's was, but not at five per cent.
Who thinks that Fortune cannot change her
Prepares a dreadful jest for all mankind. [mind,
And who stands safest? tell me, is it he
That spreads and swells in puff'd prosperity,
Or, bless'd with little, whose preventing care
In peace provides fit arms against a war!'
Thus Bethel spoke, who always speaks his
And always thinks the very thing he ought;
His equal mind I copy what I can,
And, as I love, would imitate the man.
In South-sea days, not happier, when surmised
The lord of thousands, than if now excised;
In forest planted by a father's hand,
Than in five acres now of rented land.
Content with little, I can piddle here
On brocoli and mutton round the year;
But ancient friends (though poor or out of play)
That touch my bell, I cannot turn away.
'Tis true, no turbots dignify my boards,
But gudgeons, flounders, what my Thames affords :
To Hounslow-heath I point, and Bansted-down, Thence comes your mutton, and these chicks my
From yon old walnut-tree a shower shall fall,
And grapes, long lingering on my only wall;
And figs from standard and espalier join;
The devil is in you if you cannot dine: [place)
Then cheerful healths, (your mistress shall have
And, what's more rare, a poet shall say grace.
Fortune not much of humbling me can boast;
Though double-tax'd, how little have I lost!
My life's amusements have been just the same,
Before and after standing armies came.
My lands are sold, my father's house is gone;
I'll hire another's; is not that my own, [gate
And yours, my friends? through whose free-opening
None comes too early, none departs too late:
For I, who hold sage Homer's rule the best,
Welcome the coming, speed the going guest.
'Pray Heaven it last! (cries Swift) as you go on;
I wish to God this house had been your own!
Pity! to build without a son or wife:
Why, you'll enjoy it only all your life.'
Well, if the use be mine, can it concern one
Whether the name belong to Pope or Vernon?
What's property? dear Swift!-you see it alter
From you to me, from me to Peter Walter;
Or in a mortgage prove a lawyer's share,
Or in a jointure vanish from the heir;
Or in pure equity (the case not clear)
The chancery takes your rents for twenty year:
At best it falls to some ungracious son,
Who cries, 'My father's damn'd, and all's my
Shades, that to Bacon could retreat afford, [own.'
Become the portion of a booby lord;
And Hemsley, once proud Buckingham's delight, Slides to a scrivener or a city-knight.
Let lands and houses have what lords they will, Let us be fix'd, and our own masters still.
THE FIRST PART IMITATED IN THE YEAR 1714, BY DR.
SWIFT; THE LATTER PART ADDED AFTERWARDS.
I'VE often wish'd that I had clear
For life six hundred pounds a year,
A handsome house to lodge a friend,
A river at my garden's end,
A terrace-walk, and half a rood
Of land set out to plant a wood.
Well, now I have all this, and more,
I ask not to increase my store;
But here a grievance seems to lie,
All this is mine but till I die;
I can't but think 'twould sound more clever,
To me and to my heirs for ever.
If I ne'er got or lost a groat
By any trick or any fault;
And if I pray by reason's rules,
And not like forty other fools,
As thus: Vouchsafe, O gracious Maker!
To grant me this and t'other acre;
Or, if it be thy will and pleasure,
Direct my plough to find a treasure ;
But only what my station fits,
And to be kept in my right wits,
Preserve, almighty Providence!
Just what you gave me, competence;