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And let me in these shades compose
Something in verse as true as prose,
Removed from all the' ambitious scene,
Nor puff'd by pride, nor sunk by spleen.'
In short, I'm perfectly content,
Let me but live on this side Trent,
Nor cross the channel twice a year,
To spend six months with statesmen here.
I must by all means come to town,
'Tis for the service of the crown:
'Lewis, the Dean will be of use;
Send for him up; take no excuse.'
The toil, the danger of the seas,
Great ministers ne'er think of these;
Or, let it cost five hundred pound,
No matter where the money's found,
It is but so much more in debt,
And that they ne'er consider'd yet.
'Good Mr. Dean, go change your gown, Let my lord know you're come to town.' I hurry me in haste away,
Not thinking it is levee-day,
And find his honour in a pound,
Hemm'd by a triple circle round,
Chequer'd with ribbons blue and green:
How should I thrust myself between?
Some wag observes me thus perplex'd,
And, smiling, whispers to the next,
'I thought the Dean had been too proud
To jostle here among a crowd.'
Another, in a surly fit,
Tells me I have more zeal than wit;
'So eager to express your love,
You ne'er consider whom you shove.
But rudely press before a duke.'
I own I'm pleased with this rebuke,
And take it kindly meant, to show
What I desire the world should know.
I get a whisper, and withdraw;
When twenty fools I never saw
Come with petitions fairly penn'd,
Desiring I would stand their friend.
This humbly offers me his case—
That begs my interest for a place-
A hundred other men's affairs,
Like bees, are humming in my ears.
"To-morrow my appeal comes on;
Without your help the cause is gone.'-
'The duke expects my lord and you
About some great affair at two.'-
'Put my Lord Bolingbroke in mind
To get my warrant quickly sign'd:
Consider, 'tis my first request.'-
'Be satisfied, I'll do my best:'-
Then presently he falls to tease,
'You may for certain, if you please;
I doubt not, if his lordship knew—
And, Mr. Dean, one word from you.'--
'Tis (let me see) three years and more
(October next it will be four)
Since Harley bid me first attend,
And chose me for an humble friend;
Would take me in his coach to chat,
And question me of this and that;
As, 'What's o'clock?' and, 'How's the wind?'
Whose chariot's that we left behind?'
Or gravely try to read the lines
Writ underneath the country signs;
Or, 'Have you nothing new to-day
From Pope, from Parnell, or from Gay?'
Such tattle often entertains
My lord and me as far as Staines,
As once a week we travel down
To Windsor, and again to town,
Where all that passes inter nos
Might be proclaim'd at Charing-cross.
Yet some I know with envy swell
Because they see me used so well.
How think you of our friend the Dean?
I wonder what some people mean;
My lord and he are grown so great,
Always together tête à tête.
What! they admire him for his jokes-
See but the fortune of some folks!'
There flies about a strange report
Of some express arrived at court ;
I'm stopp'd by all the fools I meet,
And catechised in every street.
'You, Mr. Dean, frequent the great, Inform us, will the emperor treat? Or do the prints and papers lie?' 'Faith, sir, you know as much as I.' 'Ah! doctor, how you love to jest! 'Tis now no secret.'- 'I protest 'Tis one to me.'-'Then tell us, pray, When are the troops to have their pay?' And though I solemnly declare I know no more than my lord-mayor, They stand amazed, and think me grown The closest mortal ever known.
Thus in a sea of folly toss'd,
My choicest hours of life are lost;
Yet always wishing to retreat :
O, could I see my country-seat!
There, leaning near a gentle brook,
Sleep, or peruse some ancient book,
And there in sweet oblivion drown
Those cares that haunt the court and town.
O charming noon! 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 them,
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 choose our friends
For their own worth or our own ends?
What good, or better, we may call,
And what the very best of all?
Our friend Dan Prior told (you know)
A tale extremely à-propos :
Name a town life, and in a trice
He had a story of two mice.
Once on a time (so runs the fable)
A country mouse, right hospitable,
Received a town mouse at his board,
Just as a farmer might a lord.
A frugal mouse, upon the whole,
Yet loved his friend, and had a soul;
Knew what was handsome, and would do't,
On just occasion, coûte qui coûte.
He brought him bacon, (nothing lean)
Pudding that might have pleased a dean ;
Cheese, such as men in Suffolk make,
But wish'd it Stilton for his sake:
Yet, to his guest though no way sparing,
He ate himself the rind and paring,
Our courtier scarce could touch a bit,
But show'd his breeding and his wit;
He did his best to seem to eat,
And cry'd, I vow you're mighty neat;
But, lord, my friend, this savage scene!
For God's sake, come and live with men :
Consider, mice, like men, must die,
Both small and great, both you and I;
Then spend your life in joy and sport
(This doctrine, friend, I learn'd at court).'
The veriest hermit in the nation
May yield, God knows, to strong temptation.
Away they came, through thick and thin,
To a tall house near Lincoln's Inn
(Twas on the night of a debate,
When all their lordships had sat late).
Behold the place, where if a poet
Shined in description he might show it;
Tell how the moon-beam trembling falls,
And tips with silver all the walls;
Palladian walls, Venetian doors,
Grotesco roofs, and stucco floors:
But let it (in a word) be said,
The moon was up, and men a-bed,
The napkins white, the carpet red: