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Tis miar tu vish a few light stains; but theirs
To delugn sin, and drown a court in tears.
Howe'er, what's now Apocrypha, my wit,
In time to come may pass for Holy Writ.
EPILOGUE TO THE SATIRES.
IN TWO DIALOGUES.
Fr. Not twice a twelvemonth you appear in print,
And when it comes the court sees nothing in't.
You grow correct, that once with rapture writ,
And are, besides, too moral for a wit.
Decay of parts, alas! we all must feel
Why now, this moment, don't I see you steal ?
"Tis all from Horace: Horace long before ye
Said, “Tories call'd him Whig, and Whigs a Tory ;'
And taught his Romans in much better metre,
To laugh at fools who put their trust in Peter.'
But Horace, sir, was delicate, was nice;
Bubo observes, he lash'd no sort of vice :
Horace would say, Sir Billy served the crown,
Blunt could do business, Higgins knew the town;
In Sappho touch the failings of the sex,
in reverend bishops note some small neglects,
And own the Spaniard did a waggish thing,
Who cropp'd our ears, and sent them to the king.
His sly, polite, insinuating style
Could please at court, and make Augustus smile :
An artful manager,
His friend and shame, and was a kind of screen.
But 'faith your very friends will soon be sore ;
Patriots there are, who wish you'd jest no more..
And where's the glory ? 'twill be only thought
The great man never offer'd you a groat.
Go see Sir Robert
P. See Sir Robert !-hum-
And never laugh-for all my life lo come?
Seen him I have, but in his happier hour
Of social pleasure, ill-exchanged for power ;
Seen him, uncumber'd with a venal tribe,
Smile without art, and win without a bribe
Would he oblige me? let me only find,
He does not think me what he thinks mankind
Come, come, at all I laugh he laughs, no doubt,
The only difference is, I dare laugh out.
F. Why yes : with Scripture still you may be free A horse-laugh, if you please, at honesty ; A joke on Jekyll, or some odd old Whig, Who never changed his principle, or wig; A patriot is a fool in every age, Whom all lord chamberlains allow the stage: These nothing hurts: they keep their fashion still, And wear their strange old virtue as they will.
If any ask you, 'Who's the man so near His prince, that writes in verse, and has his ear?" Why answer, Lyttleton; and I'll engage The worthy youth shall ne'er be in a rage : But were his verses vile, his whisper base, You'd quickly find him in lord Fanny's case. Sejanus, Wolsey, hurt not honest Fleury, But well may put some statesmen in a fury.
Laugh then at any, but at fools or foes;
mend not those. Laugh at your friends, and, if your friends are sore, So much the better, you may laugh the more. To vice and folly to confine the jest, Sets half the world, God knows, against the rest ; Did not the sneer of more impartial men At sense and virtue balance all again. Judicious wits spread wide the ridicule, And charitably comfort knave and fool.
P. Dear sir, forgive the prejudice of youth :
Adieu distinction, satire, warmth, and truth!
Come, harmless characters that no one hit ;
Come, Henley's oratory, Osborn's wit!
The honey dropping from Favonio's tongue,
The flowers of Bubo, and the flow of Young !
The gracious dew of pulpit eloquence,
And all the well-whipp'd cream of courtly sense,
That first was H-vy's, F_'s next, and then,
The S-te's, and then H-vy's once again.
O come, that easy Ciceronian style,
So Latin, yet so English all the while,
As, though the pride of Middleton and Bland,
All boys may read, and girls may understand !
Then might I sing, without the least offence,
And all I sung should be the nation's sense ;
Or teach the melancholy muse to mourn,
Hang the sad verse on Carolina's urn,
And hail her passage to the realms of rest,
All parts perform'd, and all her children bless'd!
So-satire is no more-I feel it die
No gazetteer more innocent than I-
And let, a God's name, every fool and knave
Be graced through life, and flatter'd in his grave.
F. Why so ? if satire knows its time and place,
You still may lash the greatest in disgrace:
For merit will by turns forsake them all;
Would you know when ? exactly when they fall.
But let all satire in all changes spare
Immortal S-k, and grave D-re.
Silent and soft, as saints removed to heaven,
All ties dissolved, and every sin forgiven,
These may some gentle ministerial wing
Receive, and place for ever near a king !
There, where no passion, pride, or shame transport,
Lull'd with the sweet nepenthe of a court ;
There, where no father's, brother's, friend's disgrace
Once break their rest, or stir them from their place ;
But past the sense of human miseries,
All tears are wiped for ever from all eyes ;
No cheek is known to blush, no heart to throb,
Save when they lose a question, or a job.
P. Good Heaven forbid, that I should blast their glory,
Who know how like Whig ministers to Tory ;
And when three sovereigns died could scarce be ver'i,
Considering what a gracious prince was next.
Have I, in silent wonder, seen such things
As pride in slaves, and avarice in kings;
And at a peer or peeress, shall I fret,
Who starves a sister, or forswears a debt?
Virtue, I grant you, is an empty boast;
But shall the dignity of vice be lost?
Ye Gods ! shall Cibber's son, without rebuke,
Swear like a lord, or Rich outwhore a duke?
A favourite's porter with his master vie,
Be bribed as often, and as often lie?
Shall Ward draw contracts with a statesman's skill ?
Or Japhet pocket, like his grace, a will ?
Is it for Bond or Peter (paltry things)
To pay their debts, or keep their faith like kings?
If Blunt dispatch'd himself, he play'd the man;
And so may'st thou, illustrious Passeran!
But shall a printer, weary of his life,
Learn, from their books, to hang himself and wife?
This, this, my friend, I cannot, must not bear :
Vice thus abused, demands a nation's care:
This calls the church to deprecate our sin,
And hurls the thunder of the laws on gin.
Let modest Foster, if he will, excel
Ten metropolitans in preaching well ;
A simple quaker, or a quaker's wife,
Outdo Landaff in doctrine,-yea in life:
Let humble Allen, with an awkward shame,
Do good by stealth, and blush to find it fame.
Virtue may choose the high or low degree,
Tis just alike to virtue and to me;
Dwell in a monk, or light upon a king,
She's still the same beloved, contented thing.
Vice is undone, if she forgets her birth,
And stoops from angels to the dregs of earth
But 'tis the fall degrades her to a whore ;
Let greatness own her, and she's mean no more,
Her birth, her beauty, crowds and courts confess,
Chaste matrons praise her, and grave bishops bless ,
In golden chains the willing world she draws,
And hers the Gospel is, and hers the laws ;
Mounts the tribunal, lifts her scarlet head,
And sees pale Virtue carted in her stead.
Lo! at the wheels of her triumphal car,
Old England's genius, rough with many a scar
Dragg'd in the dust! his arms hang idly round,
His flag inverted trails along the ground!
Our youth, all liveried o'er with foreign gold,
Before her dance : behind her crawl the old !
See thronging millions to the pagod run,
And offer country, parent, wife, or son!
Hear her black trumpet through the land proclaim,
That not to be corrupted is the shame.
In soldier, churchman, patriot, man in power,
'Tis avarice all, ambition is no more!
See, all our nobles begging to be slaves !
See, all our fools aspiring to be knaves !
The wit of cheats, the courage of a whore,
Are what ten thousand envy and adore:
All, all look up, with reverential awe,
At crimes that 'scape or triumph o'er the law
While truth, worth, wisdom, daily they decry-
Nothing is sacred now but villany.'
Yet may this verse (if such a verse remain)
Show there was one who held it in disdain