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But knottier points, we knew not half so well,
70 If I would scribble, rather than repose.
Years following years, steal something every day,
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.
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,
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.
4 Two villages within a few miles of London.
Call Tibbald Shakspeare, and he'll swear the Nine,
shall rise up Otway for your pains.”
In vain, bad rhymers all mankind reject,
“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,
Well, on the whole, plain prose must be my fate:
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,
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 :
Indeed, could wealth bestow or wit or merit,
If there be truth in law, and use can give
Heathcote himself, and such large-acred men,10
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.]