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But why then publish? Granville the polite,
And knowing Walsh, would tell me I could writé;
Well-natur'd Garth inflam'd with early praise,
And Congreve lov'd, and Swift endur'd my lays;
The courtly Talbot, Somers, Sheffield read,
Even mitred Rochefter would nod the head,
And St. John's felf (great Dryden's friends before)
With open arms receiv'd one Poet more.
Happy my studies, when by these approv'd!
Happier their Author, when by these belov'd!
From thefe the world will judge of men and books,
Not from the Burnets, Oldmixons, and Cooks.
Soft were my numbers; who could take offence
While pure defcription held the place of fenfe!
Like gentle Fanny's was my flowery theme,
A painted miftrefs, or a purling stream.
Yet then did Gildon draw his venal quill;
I wish'd the man a dinner, and fate ftill.
Yet then did Dennis rave in furious fict;
I never anfwer'd, I was not in debt.
If want provok'd, or madness made them print,
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 juft pretence,
And all they want is fpirit, taste, and fenfe.
Comma's and points they fet exactly right,
And 'twere a fin to rob them of their mite.
Yet ne'er one sprig of laurel grac'd thefe rit alds,
From flashing Bentley down to pidling Tibatas:
Each wight, who reads not, and but fcans and spells,
Each Word-catcher that lives on fyllables,
Ever fuch fmall Critics fome regard may claim,
Preferv'd in Milton's, or in Shakespear's name.
Pretty in amber to obferve the 1orms
Of hairs, or ftraws, or dirt, or grubs, or worms!
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 ftandard in his mind,
That Cafting-weight pride adds to emptinefs,
This who can gratify? for who can guess?
The Bard who pilfer'd Paftorals renown,
Who turns a Perfian tale for half a Crown,
Juft writes to make his barreness appear,
And strains from hard-bound brains, eight lines a year;
He, who still wanting, tho' he lives on theft,
Steals much, fpends little, yet has nothing left :
And He, who now to fenfe, now nonfenfe leaning,
Means not, but blunders round about a meaning:
And he, whofe fuftian's fo fublimely bad,
It is not poetry, but profe run mad,
All these, my modeft Satire bade tranflate,
And own'd that nine fuch poets made a Tate.
How did they fume, and stampt and roar, and chafe!
And fwear, not ADDISON himself was fafe.
Peace to all fuch! but were there one whofe fires True Genius kindles, and fair Fame inspires;
Bleft with each talent and each art to please,
And born to write, converse, and live with ease:
Should fuch a man, too fond to rule alone,
Bear, like he Turk, no brother near the throne,
View him with fcornful, yet with jealous eyes,
And hate for arts that caus'd himelf to rife;
Damn with faint praise, affent with civil leer,
And without fneering teach the rest to sneer;
Wliling to wound, and yet afraid to strike,
Just hint a fault, and hesitate dislike;
Alike referv'd to blame, or to commend,
A tim'rous foe, and a fufpicious friend;
Dreading even fools, by Flatterers befieg'd,
And fo obliging, that he ne'er oblig'd;
Like Cato, give his little fenate laws,
And fit attentive to his own applause;
While Wits and Templars every sentence raise,
And wonder with a foolish face of praise--
Who but muft laugh, if fuch a man there be?
Who would not weep, if ATTICUS were he!
What tho' my name stood rubric on the walls,
Or plaister'd pofts, with claps, in capitals?
Or fmoaking forth, a hundred hawkers load,
On wings of wind came flying all abroad?
I fought no homage from the race that write;
I kept, like Asian Monarchs, from their fight:
Poems I heeded (now berhym'd fo long)
No more than thou, great GEORGE! a birth-day fong.
I ne'er with wits or witlings pafs'd my days,
To fpread about the itch of verse and praise;
Nor like a puppy, daggled thro' the town.
To fetch aud carry fing-fong up and down;
Nor at Rehearsals fweat, and mouth'd, and cry'd,
With handkerchief and orange at my fide;
But fick of fops, and poetry and prate,
To Bufo left the whole Caftalian ftate.
Proud as Apollo on his forked hill,
Sat full-blown Bufo, puff'd by every quill;.
Fed with foft Dedication all day long,
Horace and he went hand and hand in fong.
His Library (where bufts of Poets dead
And a true Pindar flood without a head).
Receiv'd of wits an undistinguish'd race,
Who first his judgment ask'd, and then a pláce:
Much they extoll'd his pictures, much his feat,
And flatter'd every day, and fome days eat:
grown more frugal in his riper days,
He paid fome bards with ́port, and some with praisė,,
To fome a dry rehearsal was affign'd,
And others (harder ftill) he paid in kind.
Dryden alone (what wonder?) came not nigh,
Dryden alone efcap'd this judging eye:
But ftill the Great have kindness in referve,
He help'd to bury whom he help'd to starve.
May fome choice patron blefs each gray goofe quilt!
May every Bavius have his Bufo fiill!
So when a Statesmar wants a day's defence,
Or Envy holds a whole week's war with Sense,
Or fimple pride for flattery makes demand,,
May dunce by dunce be whiflled off my hands!
Bleft be the Great! for those they take away,
And those they left me; for they left me GAY;
Left me to fee neglected Genius bloom,
Neglected die, and tell it on his tomb :
Of all thy blameless life the fole return
My verfe, and QUEENSB'RY weeping o'er thy urn?
Oh let me live my own, and die fo too!
(To live and die is all I have to do:) Maintain a Poet's dignity and ease,
And fee what friends, and read what books I please: Above a Patron, tho' I condefcend
Sometimes to call a Minifter my friend.
I was not born for courts or great affairs;
I pay my debts, believe, and fay my prayers;
Can fleep without a Poem in my head,
Nor know, if Dennis be alive or dead.
Why am I afk'd what next shall see the light? Heavens! was I born for nothing but to write ? Has Life no joys for me? or (to be grave) Have I no friend to ferve, no foul to fave? "I found him clofe with Swift---Indeed? no doubt "C (Cries prating Balbus) fomething will come out. 'Tis all in vain, deny it as I will. "No fuch a genius never can lie ftill; And then for mine obligingly mistakes The firft Lampoon Sir Will. or Bubo makes. Poor guiltless I! and can I chufe but fmile, When every Coxcomb knows me by my Style?
Curft be the verfe, how well foe'er it flow, That tends to make one worthy man my foe,