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HEN wise Ulysses, from his native coast
Long kept by wars, and long by tempests toss'd,
Arrived at last, poor, old, disguised, alone,
To all his friends and even his queen unknown;
Changed as he was, with age, and toils, and cares,
Furrow'd his reverend face, and white his hairs,
In his own palace forced to ask his bread,
Scorn'd by those slaves his former bounty fed,
Forgot of all his own domestic crew;
The faithful dog alone his rightful master knew!
Unfed, unhoused, neglected, on the clay,
Like an old servant, now cashier'd, he lay;
Touch'd with resentment of ungrateful man,
And longing to behold his ancient lord again.
Him when he saw-he rose, and crawl'd to meet,
('Twas all he could) and fawn'd, and kiss'd his feet,
Seized with dumb joy-then falling by his side,
Own'd his returning lord, look'd up, and died!
[The above was sent by Pope to H. Cromwell, in a letter dated Oct. 19, 1709, containing a very interesting panegyric upon dogs. 66 Histories," he says, are more full of examples of the fidelity of dogs than of friends, but I will not insist upon many of them, because it is possible some may be almost as fabulous as those of Pylades and Orestes, &c. I will only say for the honour of dogs, that the two most ancient and estimable books, sacred and profane, extant, (viz. the Scripture and Homer,) have shown a particular regard to these animals. That of Toby is the more remarkable, because there seemed no manner of reason to take notice of the dog, besides the great humanity of the author. Homer's account of Ulysses's dog, Argus, is the most pathetic imaginable, all the circumstances considered, and an excellent proof of the old bard's good nature. Ulysses had left him at Ithaca when he embarked for Troy, and found him at his return after twenty years (which, by the way, is not unnatural, as some critics have said, since I remember, the dam of my
dog was twenty-two years old when she died. May the omen of longevity prove fortunate to her successors!). Plutarch, relating how the Athenians were obliged to abandon Athens in the time of Themistocles, steps back again out of the way of his history, purely to describe the lamentable cries and howlings of the poor dogs they left behind. He makes mention of one that followed his master across the sea to Salamis, where he died, and was honoured with a tomb by the Athenians, who gave the name of the Dog's Grave to that part of the island where he was buried. This respect to a dog, in the most polite people of the world, is very observable. A modern instance of gratitude to a dog (though we have but few such) is, that the chief order of Denmark (now injuriously called the order of the elephant) was instituted in memory of the fidelity of a dog, named Wildbrat, to one of their kings who had been deserted by his subjects. He gave his order this motto, or to this effect (which still remains), "Wild-brat was faithful." Sir William Trumbull has told me a story, which he heard from one that was present. King Charles I. being with some of his Court, during his troubles, a discourse arose what sort of dogs deserved pre-eminence, and it being on all hands agreed to belong either to the spaniel or greyhound, the King gave his opinion on the part of the greyhound, because (said he) it has all the good-nature of the other without the fawning. A good piece of satire upon his courtiers, with which I will conclude my discourse on dogs."]
IMPROMPTU TO LADY WINCHELSEA.
OCCASIONED BY FOUR SATIRICAL VERSES ON WOMEN WITS, IN THE RAPE OF THE LOCK.
IN vain you boast poetic names of yore,
And cite those Sapphos we admire no more:
Fate doom'd the fall of every female wit;
But doom'd it then, when first Ardelia writ.
Of all examples by the world confess'd,
I knew Ardelia could not quote the best;
Who like her mistress on Britannia's throne
Fights and subdues in quarrels not her own.
To write their praise you but in vain essay;
E'en while you write you take that praise away:
Light to the stars the sun does thus restore,
But shines himself till they are seen no more.
EPILOGUE TO MR. ROWE'S JANE SHORE.
DESIGNED FOR MRS. OLDFIELD.
PRODIGIOUS this! the frail one of our play
From her own sex should mercy find to-day!
You might have held the pretty head aside,
Peep'd in your fans, been serious thus, and cried,
The play may pass-but that strange creature Shore,
I can't-indeed now-I so hate a whore-
Just as a blockhead rubs his thoughtless skull,
And thanks his stars he was not born a fool;
So from a sister-sinner you shall hear,
"How strangely you expose yourself, my dear!"
But let me die, all raillery apart,
Our sex are still forgiving at their heart;
And, did not wicked customs so contrive,
We'd be the best good-natured things alive.
There are, 'tis true, who tell another tale,
That virtuous ladies envy while they rail;
Such rage without betrays the fire within;
In some close corner of the soul they sin
Still hoarding up, most scandalously nice,
Amidst their virtues, a reserve of vice.
The godly dame, who fleshly failings damns,
Scolds with her maids, or with her chaplain crams.
Would you enjoy soft nights and solid dinners?
'Faith, gallants, board with saints, and bed with sinners.
Well, if our author in the wife offends,
He has a husband that will make amends:
He draws him gentle, tender, and forgiving;
And sure such kind good creatures may be living.
In days of old, they pardon'd breach of vows,
Stern Cato's self was no relentless spouse:
Plu-Plutarch, what's his name that writes his life?
Tells us, that Cato dearly loved his wife:
Yet, if a friend a night or so should need her,
He'd recommend her as a special breeder.
To lend a wife, few here would scruple make;
But, pray, which of you all would take her back?
Though with the Stoic chief our stage may ring,
The Stoic husband was the glorious thing.
The man had courage, was a sage, 'tis true,
And loved his country-but what's that to you?
Those strange examples ne'er were made to fit ye,
But the kind cuckold might instruct the city:
There, many an honest man may copy Cato,
Who ne'er saw naked sword, or look'd in Plato.
If, after all, you think it a disgrace,
That Edward's miss thus perks it in your face;
To see a piece of failing flesh and blood,
In all the rest so impudently good;
'Faith, let the modest matrons of the town
Come here in crowds, and stare the strumpet down.
PROLOGUE TO THE THREE HOURS AFTER
[Brought on the stage, and condemned, the first night, 1716.]
AUTHORS are judged by strange capricious rules;
The great ones are thought mad, the small ones fools:
Yet sure the best are most severely fated,
For fools are only laugh'd at, wits are hated.
Blockheads with reason men of sense abhor;
But fool 'gainst fool is barbarous civil war.
Why on all authors then should critics fall?
Since some have writ, and shown no wit at all.
Condemn a play of theirs, and they evade it,
Cry, "Damn not us, but damn the French who made it."
By running goods, these graceless owlers gain ;
These are the rules of France, the plots of Spain:
But wit, like wine, from happier climates brought,
Dash'd by these rogues, turns English common draught.
They pall Molière's and Lopez' sprightly strain,
And teach dull harlequins to grin in vain.
How shall our author hope a gentler fate,
Who dares most impudently not translate?
It had been civil in these ticklish times,
To fetch his fools and knaves from foreign climes,
Spaniards and French abuse to the world's end, But spare old England, lest you hurt a friend. any fool is by our satire bit,
Let him hiss loud, to show you all, he's hit.
Poets make characters, as salesmen clothes,
We take no measure of your fops and beaus,
But here all sizes and all shapes you meet,
And fit yourselves, like chaps in Monmouth-street.
Gallants! look here, this Fools-cap1 has an air,
Goodly and smart, with ears of Issachar.
Let no one fool engross it, or confine,
A common blessing! now 'tis yours, now mine.
But poets in all ages had the care
To keep this cap, for such as will, to wear,
Our author has it now, (for every wit
Of course resign'd it to the next that writ:)
And thus upon the stage 'tis fairly 2 thrown;
Let him that takes it, wear it as his own.
PROLOGUE DESIGNED FOR MR. D'URFEY'S LAST PLAY.3
GROWN old in rhyme, 'twere barbarous to discard
Your persevering, unexhausted bard:
Damnation follows death in other men,
But your damn'd poet lives, and writes again.
The adventurous lover is successful still,
Who strives to please the fair against her will :
Be kind, and make him in his wishes easy,
Who in your own despite has strove to please ye.
He scorn'd to borrow from the wits of yore;
But ever writ, as none e'er writ before.
You modern wits, should each man bring his claim,
Have desperate debentures on your fame;
And little would be left you, I'm afraid,
If all your debts to Greece and Rome were paid.
1 Shows a cap with ears.
2 Flings down the cap, and exit.
3 [Tom D'Urfey died in 1723.]