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Thron'd on the centre of his thin designs,
Proud of a vaft extent of flimzy lines!
Whom have I hurt? has Poet yet, or Peer,
Loft the arch'd eye-brow, or Parnafsian sneer?
And has not Colly ftill his lord, and whore?
His butchers Henley, his free-mafons Moor?
Does not one table Bavius ftill admit?
Still to one Bishop Philips feems a wit?
Still Sappho A. Hold; for God-fake-you'll offend,
No names be calm-learn prudence of a friend:
I too could write, and I am twice as tall;
But foes like thefe-P. One Flatt'rer's worse than all.
Of all mad creatures, if the learn'd are right,
It is the flaver kills, and not the bite.
A fool quite angry is quite innocent:
Alas! 't's ten times worfe when they repent.
One dedicates in high heroic profe,
And ridicules beyond a hundred foes:
One from all Grubstreet will my fame defend,
And more abufive, calls himfelf my friend.
VER III. in the MS.
For fong, for filence fome expect a bribe;
And others roar aloud, "Subscribe, subscribe."
Time, praise, or money, is the least they crave;
Yet each declares the other fool or knave.
They both spin; not from the bead [reafon] but from the guts [paffions and prejudices] and fuch a thread that can entangle none but creatures weaker than themselves.
VER. 98. free-mafons Moor?] He was of this fociety, and frequently headed their proceffions,
This prints my Letters, that expects a bribe,
And others roar aloud, "Subscribe, fubfcribe."
There are, who to my person pay their court: 115
I cough like Horace, and, tho' lean, am fhort,
Ammon's great fon one shoulder had too high,
Such Ovid's nofe, and, "Sir! you have an Eye-
Go on, obliging creatures, make me fee
All that disgrac'd my Betters, met in me.
Say for my comfort, languishing in bed,
Juft fo immortal Maro held his head:”
And when I die, be fure you let me know
Great Homer dy'd three thousand years ago.
Why did I write? what fin to me unknown 125
Dipt me in ink, my parents', or my own?
As yet a child, nor yet a fool to fame,
I lifp'd in numbers, for the numbers came.
After VER. 124. in the MS.
But friend, this shape, which You and Curl a admire,
Came not from Ammon's fon, but from my Sire :
And for my head, if you'll the truth excufe,
I had it from my Mother, not the Muse.
Happy, if he, in whom these frailties join'd,
Had heir'd as well the virtues of the mind.
a Curl fet up his head for a fign. b His father was crooked? His Mother was much afflicted with head-achs.
VER. 118. Sir, you have an Eye] It is remarkable that amongst these compliments on his infirmities and deformities, he mentions his eye, which was fine, fharp, and piercing. It was done to intimate, that flattery was as odious to him when there was fome
I left no calling for this idle trade,
No duty broke, no father disobey'd.
The Mufe but ferv'd to eafe fome friend, not Wife,
To help me thro' this long difeafe, my Life,
To fecond, ARBUTHNOT! thy Art and Care,
And teach, the Being you preferv'd, to bear.
But why then publish? Granville the polite, 135
And knowing Walfe, would tell me I could write;
Well-natur'd Garth inflam'd with early praise,
And Congreve lov'd, and Swift endur'd my lays;
The courtly Talbot, Somers, Shefield read,
Ev'n mitred Rochester would nod the head,
And St. John's self (great Dryden's friends before)
With open arms receiv'd one Poet more.
Happy my ftudies, when by thefe approv'd!
Happier their author, when by thefe belov'd!
From these the world will judge of men and books,
Not from the Burnets, Oldmixons, and Cooks.
VER. 139. Talbot, &c.] All thefe were Patrons or Admirers of Mr. Dryden; though a scandalous libel against him, entitled, Dryden's Satyr to his Mufe, has been printed in the name of the Lord Somers, of which he was wholly ignorant.
Thefe are the perfons to whofe account the Author charges the publication of his first pieces: perfons, with whom he was converfant (and he adds beloved) at 16 or 17 years of age; an early period for fuch acquaintance. The catalogue might be made yet more illuftrious, had he not confined it to that time when he writ the Paftorals and Windfor Forest, on which he passes a fort of Cenfure in the lines following,
While pure Defeription held the place of Senfe? &c.
Soft were my numbers; who could take offence
While pure Defcription held the place of Senfe?
Like gentle Fanny's was my flow'ry theme,
A painted mistress, or a purling ftream.
Yet then did Gilden draw his venal quill;
I with'd the man a dinner, and fate ftill.
Yet then did Dennis rave in furious fret ;
I never anfwer'd, I was not in debt.
If want provok'd, or madness made them print, 155
I wag'd no war with Bedlam or the Mint.
Did fome more fober Critic come abroad;
If wrong, I fmil'd; if right, I kifs'd the rod.
Pains, reading, ftudy, are their just pretence,
And all they want is fpirit, tafte, and fenfe.
Comma's and points they set exactly right,
And 'twere a fin to rob them of their mite.
Yet ne'er one fprig of laurel grac'd these ribalds,
From flashing Bentley down to pidling Tibalds:
Each wight, who reads not, and but scans and spells,
Each Word-catcher, that lives on fyllables, 166
Ev'n fuch fmall Critics fome regard may claim,
Preferv'd in Milton's or in Shakespear's name.
VER. 15c. A painted meadow, or a purling stream, is a verse of Mr. Addifon.
VER. 164. Sabing Bentley] This great man, with all his faults, deferved to be put into better company. The following words of icero defcribe him not amifs. "Habuit à natura ge
nus quoddam acuminis, quod etiam arte limaverat, quod erat "in reprehendendis verbis verfatum et follers: fed fæpe fto
Pretty! in amber to obferve the forms
Of hairs, or straws, or dirt, or grubs, or worms! 170
The things we know, are neither rich nor rare,
But wonder how the devil they got there.
Were others angry: I excus'd them too;
Well might they rage, I gave them but their due.
A man's true merit 'tis not hard to find;
But each man's fecret standard in his mind,
That Cafting-weight pride adds to emptiness,
This, who can gratify? for who can guess ?
The Bard whom pilfer'd Pastorals renown,
Who turns a Perfian tale for half a Crown,
Juft writes to make his barrenness appear,
And strains from hard-bound brains, eight lines
He, who still wanting, tho' he lives on theft,
Steals much, spends little, yet has nothing left: 184
VER. 169. Pretty in amber, &c] The wit and imagʼry of this paffage has been much and juftly admired. The most detestable things in nature, as a toad, or a beetle, become pleafing when well represented in a work of Art. But it is no less eminent for the beauty of the thought. For though a scribler exifts by being thus incorporated, yet he exifts intombed, a lafting monument of the wrath of the Muses.
VER. 173. Were others angry :] The Poets.
EVER. 174. I gave them but their due.] Our Author always found thofe he commended lefs fenfible than those he reproved. The reafon is plain. He gave the latter but their due; and the other thought they had no more.
· VER. 180. —a Persian tale.] Amb. Philips translated a Book called the Perfian tales.