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But knottier points, we knew not half so well,
Deprived us soon of our paternal cell;
And certain laws, by sufferers thought unjust,
Denied all posts of profit or of trust:
Hopes after hopes of pious papists fail'd,
While mighty William's thundering arm prevail’d.
For right hereditary tax'd and fined,
He stuck to poverty with peace of mind;

And me, the muses help'd to undergo it;
Convict a papist he, and I a poet.
But (thanks to Homer) since I live and thrive,
Indebted to no prince or peer alive,
Sure I should want the care of ten Monroes,3

70 If I would scribble, rather than repose.

Years following years, steal something every day,
At last they steal us from ourselves away ;
In one our frolics, one amusements end,
In one a mistress drops, in one a friend :

This subtle thief of life, this paltry time,
What will it leave me, if it snatch my rhyme ?

every wheel of that unwearied mill, That turn'd ten thousand verses, now stands still ? But, after all, what would you have me do?

80 When out of twenty I can please not two; When this Heroics only deigns to praise, Sharp Satire that, and that Pindaric lays ? One likes the pheasant's wing, and one the leg; The vulgar boil, the learned roast an egg.

Hard task! to hit the palate of such guests,
When Oldfield loves what Dartineuf detests.
But grant I may relapse, for want of grace,

Again to rhyme : can London be the place ?
Who there his muse, or self, or soul attends,

In crowds and courts, law, business, feasts, and friends ?
My counsel sends to execute a deed :
A poet begs me I will hear him read :
In Palace-yard at nine you 'll find me there
At ten for certain, sir, in Bloomsbury-square-

95 Before the Lords at twelve my cause comes on There's a rehearsal, sir, exact at one.

3 Dr. Monroe, physician to Bedlam Hospital.

Oh, but a wit can study in the streets,
“ And raise his mind above the mob he meets."
Not quite so well however as one ought;

A hackney-coach may chance to spoil a thought;
And then a nodding beam, or pig of lead,
God knows, may hurt the very ablest head.
Have you not seen, at Guildhall's narrow pass,
Two aldermen dispute it with an ass ?

105 And peers give away, exalted as they are, Even to their own S-r-V--nce in a car?

Go, lofty poet! and, in such a crowd, Sing thy sonorous verse—but not aloud. Alas! to grottoes and to groves we run,

110 To ease and silence, every muse's son: Blackmore himself, for any grand effort, Would drink and doze at Tooting or Earl's-Court.4 How shall I rhyme in this eternal roar ? How match the bards whom none e'er match'd before ? 115

The man, who, stretch'd in Isis' calm retreat, To books and study gives seven years complete, See! strow'd with learned dust, his nightcap on, He walks, an object new beneath the sun ! The boys flock round him, and the people stare : 120 So stiff, so mute! some statue you would swear, Stepp'd from its pedestal to take the air ! And here, while town, and court, and city roars, With mobs, and duns, and soldiers, at their doors; Shall I, in London, act this idle part ?

125 Composing songs, for fools to get by heart ?

The Temple late two brother serjeants saw, Who deem'd each other oracles of law; With equal talents, these congenial souls, One lulld the Exchequer, and one stunn'd the Rolls ; 130 Each had a gravity would make you split, And shook his head at Murray, as a wit. 'Twas, “Sir, your law”—and “Sir, your eloquence,” Yours, Cowper's manner—and yours, Talbot's sense.” Thus we dispose of all poetic merit,

135 Yours Milton's genius, and mine Homer's spirit.

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4 Two villages within a few miles of London.





Call Tibbald Shakspeare, and he'll swear the Nine,
Dear Cibber! never match'd one ode of thine.
Lord! how we strut through Merlin's Cave, to see
No poets there, but Stephen, you, and me.
Walk with respect behind, while we at ease
Weave laurel crowns, and take what names we please.
“My dear Tibullus !” if that will not do,
“Let me be Horace, and be Ovid you :
Or, I’m content, allow me Dryden's strains,

shall rise up Otway for your pains.”
Much do I suffer, much, to keep in peace
This jealous, waspish, wrong-head, rhyming race;
And much must flatter, if the whim should bite
To court applause by printing what I write :
But let the fit pass o'er, I'm wise enough
To stop my ears to their confounded stuff.

In vain, bad rhymers all mankind reject,
They treat themselves with most profound respect ;
'Tis to small purpose that you hold your tongue,
Each, praised within, is happy all day long:
But how severely with themselves proceed
The men, who write such verse as we can read !
Their own strict judges, not a word they spare,
That wants or force, or light, or weight, or care,
Howe'er unwillingly it quits its place,
Nay though at court (perhaps) it may


grace :
Such they'll degrade; and sometimes, in its stead,
In downright charity revive the dead;
Mark where a bold expressive phrase appears,
Bright through the rubbish of some hundred years;
Command old words, that long have slept, to wake,
Words that wise Bacon or brave Raleigh spake;
Or bid the new be English, ages hence,
(For use will father what's begot by sense,)
Pour the full tide of eloquence along,
Serenely pure, and yet divinely strong,
Rich with the treasures of each foreign tongue ;
Prune the luxuriant, the uncouth refine,
But show no mercy to an empty line ;
Then polish all, with so much life and ease,
You think 'tis nature, and a knack to please :





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“But ease in writing flows from art, not chance ; As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance." 5

If such the plague and pains to write by rule, 180 Better (say I) be pleased, and play the fool ; Call, if you will, bad rhyming a disease, It gives men happiness, or leaves them ease. There lived in primo Georgië (they record) A worthy member, no small fool, a lord ;

185 Who, though the House was up, delighted sate, Heard, noted, answer'd, as in full debate : In all but this, a man of sober life, Fond of his friend, and civil to his wife ; Not quite a madman, though a pasty fell,

And much too wise to walk into a well.
Him, the damn'd doctors and his friends immured,
They bled, they cupp'd, they purged; in short, they cured :
Whereat the gentleman began to stare
“My friends!” he cried, “ pox take you for your care! 195
That, from a patriot of distinguish'd note,
Have bled and purged me to a simple vote.”

Well, on the whole, plain prose must be my fate:
Wisdom (curse on it !) will come soon or late.
There is a time when poets will grow dull :

200 I'll e'en leave verses to the boys at school: 'To rules of poetry to more confined, I'll learn to smooth and harmonize my mind, Teach every thought within its bounds to roll, And keep the equal measure of the soul.

205 Soon as I enter at my country door, My mind resumes the thread it dropp'd before ; Thoughts, which at Hyde-park-corner I forgot, Meet, and rejoin me, in the pensive grot. There all alone, and compliments apart,

210 I ask these sober questions of my heart:

If, when the more you drink, the more you crave,
You tell the doctor; when the more you have,
The more you want, why not with equal ease
Confess as well your folly, as disease ?

215 The heart resolves this matter in a trice, “ Men only feel the smart, but not the vice."

5 [Two lines in the Essay on Criticism.]



When golden angels cease to cure the evil :
You give all royal witchcraft to the devil:
When servile chaplains 6 cry, that birth and place
Endue a peer with honour, truth, and grace,
Look in that breast, most dirty D--! be fair,7
Say, can you find out one such lodger there ?
Yet still, not heeding what your art can teach,
You go to church to hear these flatterers preach.

Indeed, could wealth bestow or wit or merit,
A grain of courage, or a spark of spirit,
The wisest man might blush, I must agree,
If D ** loved sixpence more than he.8

If there be truth in law, and use can give
A property, that's yours on which you live.
Delightful Abbs Court, if its fields afford
Their fruits to you, confesses you its lord :
All Worldly's hens, nay, partridge, sold to town,
His venison too, a guinea makes your own :
He bought at thousands, what with better wit
You purchase as you want, and bit by bit;
Now, or long since, what difference will be found ?
You pay a penny, and he paid a pound.

Heathcote himself, and such large-acred men,10
Lords of fat E’sham, or of Lincoln-fen,




6 Dr. Ken-t.

[Dr. White Kennet bad made a fulsome dedication of one of his works to the Duke of Devonshire, through whose influence he was made Dean of Peterborough. In 1718 he was promoted to the bishopric of Peterborough, which he held till his death in 1728. There were two circumstances which must have marked out this divine as a fit object for Pope's satire. He had written against Atterbury on the subject of the Convocation, and he had seceded from the Tory party to join the Whigs. Dr. Walton, the rector of Whitechapel, put up a painting of the Last Supper as an altar-piece in his church, and Dr. Kennet was represented in the character of Judas !]

7 [The“ dirty D-" was the Duke of Devonshire-William, the third Duke, a stanch Whig, of whom Horace Walpole said, “ the Duke's outside was unpolished, his inside unpolishable."]

8 [Devonshire, the Duke previously alluded to.]

9 [Abbs Court, near Hampton Court. The “Worldly" mentioned in the next couplet was probably Edward Wortley Montagu, whose general avarice, and practice of selling his game, Pope satirizes in his imitation of the second satire of the second book of Horace.]

10 [Sir Gilbert Heathcote. See Moral Essays, Ep. III.]

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