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The guests withdrawn, had left the treat,
And down the mice sat tête à tête.
Our courtier walks from dish to dish,
Tastes for his friend of fowl and fish;
Tells all their names, lays down the law,
"Que ça est bon! Ah, goutez ça!
That jelly's rich, this Malmsey healing,
Pray, dip your whiskers and
your tail in.'
Was ever such a happy swain!
He stuffs and swills, and stuffs again.
'I'm quite ashamed-'tis mighty rude
To eat so much—but all's so good-
I have a thousand thanks to give-
My lord alone knows how to live.'
No sooner said, but from the hall
Rush chaplain, butler, dogs, and all:
'A rat, a rat! clap to the door'-
The cat comes bouncing on the floor.
O for the art of Homer's mice,
Or gods to save them in a trice!
(It was by Providence they think,
For your damn'd stucco has no chink)
'An't please your honour, (quoth the peasant) This same desert is not so pleasant:
Give me again my hollow tree,
A crust of bread and liberty!'
BOOK I. EPISTLE I.
To Lord Bolingbroke.
ST. JOHN, whose love indulged my labours past, Matures my present, and shall bound my last! Why will you break the sabbath of my days? Now sick alike of envy and of praise.
Public too long, ah! let me hide my age:
See modest Cibber now has left the stage:
Our generals now, retired to their estates,
Hang their old trophies o'er the garden gates;
In life's cool evening satiate of applause,
Nor fond of bleeding e'en in Brunswick's cause.
A voice there is, that whispers in my ear
(Tis Reason's voice, which sometimes one can
'Friend Pope! be prudent, let your Muse take
And never gallop Pegasus to death;
Lest stiff and stately, void of fire or force,
You limp, like Blackmore on a lord-mayor's horse.'
Farewell then verse, and love, and every toy,
The rhymes and rattles of the man or boy;
What right, what true, what fit, we justly call,
Let this be all my care--for this is all;
To lay this harvest up, and hoard with haste
What every day will want, and most the last.
But ask not to what doctors I apply?
Sworn to no master, of no sect am I:
As drives the storm, at any door I knock,
And house with Montaigne now,or now with Locke.
Sometimes a patriot, active in debate,
Mix with the world, and battle for the state;
Free as young Lyttelton her cause pursue,
Still true to virtue, and as warm as true:
Sometimes with Aristippus or Saint Paul,
Indulge my candour, and grow all to all;
Back to my native moderation slide,
And win my way by yielding to the tide.
Long as to him who works for debt the day,
Long as the night to her whose love's away,
Long as the year's dull circle seems to run
When the brisk minor pants for twenty-one;
So slow the' unprofitable moments roll
That lock up all the functions of my soul,
That keep me from myself, and still delay
Life's instant business to a future day;
That task which, as we follow or despise,
The eldest is a fool, the youngest wise;
Which done, the poorest can no wants endure ;
And which not done, the richest must be
Late as it is, I put myself to school,
And feel some comfort not to be a fool.
Weak though I am of limb, and short of sight,
Far from a lynx, and not a giant quite,
I'll do what Mead and Cheselden advise,
To keep these limbs, and to preserve these eyes.
Not to go back is somewhat to advance,
And men must walk, at least, before they dance.
Say, does thy blood rebel, thy bosom move
With wretched avarice, or as wretched love?
Know there are words and spells which can control
Between the fits, this fever of the soul;
Know there are rhymes which, fresh and fresh apWill cure the arrant'st puppy of his pride. [plied, Be furious, envious, slothful, mad, or drunk, Slave to a wife, or vassal to a punk,
A Switz, a High Dutch or a Low Dutch bear; All that we ask is but a patient ear.
"Tis the first virtue vices to abhor,
And the first wisdom to be fool no more :
But to the world no bugbear is so great
As want of figure and a small estate.
To either India see the merchant fly,
Scared at the spectre of pale poverty!
See him with pains of body, pangs of soul,
Burn through the tropic, freeze beneath the pole!
Wilt thou do nothing for a nobler end,
Nothing to make philosophy thy friend?
To stop thy foolish views, thy long desires,
And ease thy heart of all that it admires?
Here Wisdom calls, 'Seek virtue first, be bold!
As gold to silver, virtue is to gold.'
There, London's voice, 'Get money, money still !
And then let Virtue follow, if she will.'
This, this the saving doctrine preach'd to all,
From low Saint James's up to high Saint Paul;
From him whose quills stand quiver'd at his ear,
To him who notches sticks at Westminster.
Barnard in spirit, sense, and truth, abounds;
'Pray then what wants he?' Fourscore thousand
A pension, or such harness for a slave [pounds;
As Bug now has, and Dorimant would have.
Barnard! thou art a cit, with all thy worth;
But Bug and D*1, their honours! and so forth.
Yet every child another song will sing,
'Virtue, brave boys! 'tis virtue makes a king.'
True conscious honour is to feel no sin;
He's arm'd without that 's innocent within:
Be this thy screen, and this thy wall of brass;
Compared to this a minister 's an ass.
And say, to which shall our applause belong, This new court jargon, or the good old song? The modern language of corrupted peers, Or what was spoke at Cressy and Poitiers? Who counsels best? who whispers, 'Be but great, With praise or infamy leave that to Fate; Get place and wealth, if possible, with grace; If not, by any means get wealth and place.' For what? to have a box where eunuchs sing, And foremost in the circle eye a king;
Or he, who bids thee face with steady view Proud Fortune, and look shallow Greatness through,
And, while he bids thee, sets the' example too?
If such a doctrine in Saint James's air, [stare;
Should chance to make the well-dress'd rabble
If honest S**z take scandal at a spark
That less admires the palace than the park;
Faith, I shall give the answer Reynard gave:
'I cannot like, dread sir! your royal cave;
Because I see, by all the tracks about,
Full many a beast goes in, but none come out.'
Adieu to virtue, if you're once a slave:
Send her to court, you send her to her
Well, if a king's a lion, at the least
The people are a many-headed beast:
Can they direct what measures to pursue
Who know themselves so little what to do?
Alike in nothing but one lust of gold,
Just half the land would buy, and half be sold:
Their country's wealth our mightier misers drain,
Or cross, to plunder provinces, the main ;
The rest, some farm the poor-box, some the pews;
Some keep assemblies, and would keep the stews;
Some with fat bucks on childless dotards fawn;
Some win rich widows by their chine and brawn;
While with the silent growth of ten per cent.
In dirt and darkness hundreds stink content.
Of all these ways, if each
Satire! be kind, and let the wretch alone;
But show me one, who has it in his power
To act consistent with himself an hour.
Sir Job sail'd forth, the evening bright and still,
'No place on earth (he cried) like Greenwich-hill?'