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What further could I wish the fop to do,
But turn a wit, and scribble verses too?
Pierce the soft labyrinth of a lady's ear
With rhymes of this per cent. and that per year?
Or court a wife, spread out his wily parts,
Like nets, or lime-twigs, for rich widows' hearts;
Call himself barrister to every wench,
And woo in language of the Pleas and Bench?
Language which Boreas might to Auster hold,
More rough than forty Germans when they scold.
Cursed be the wretch, so venal and so vain,
Paltry and proud as drabs in Drury-lane.
'Tis such a bounty as was never known,
If Peter deigns to help you to your own ;
What thanks, what praise, if Peter but supplies!
And what a solemn face, if he denies!
Grave, as when prisoners shake the head, and
'Twas only suretyship that brought them there.
His office keeps your parchment fates entire,
He starves with cold to save them from the fire;
For you he walks the streets through rain or dust,
For not in chariots Peter puts his trust:
For you he sweats and labours at the laws,
Takes God to witness he affects your cause,
And lies to every lord in every thing,
Like a king's favourite—or like a king.
These are the talents that adorn them all,
From wicked Waters even to godly *.
Not more of simony beneath black gowns,
Nor more of bastardy in heirs to crowns.
In shillings and in pence at first they deal,
And steal so little, few perceive they steal;
Till, like the sea, they compass all the land,
From Scots to Wight, from Mount to Dover strand:
And when rank widows purchase luscious nights,
Or when a duke to Jansen punts at White's,
Or city-heir in mortgage melts away,
Satan himself feels far less joy than they.
Piecemeal they win this acre first, then that,
Glean on, and gather up the whole estate;
Then strongly fencing ill-got wealth by law,
Indentures, covenants, articles they draw,
Large as the fields themselves, and larger far
Than civil codes, with all their glosses, are;
So vast, our new divines, we must confess,
Are fathers of the church for writing less.
But let them write for you, each rogue impairs
The deeds, and dexterously omits ses heires:
No commentator can more slily pass
O'er a learn'd unintelligible place;
Or in quotation shrewd divines leave out
Those words that would against them clear the doubt.
So Luther thought the Paternoster long, When doom'd to say his beads and even-song; But having cast his cowl, and left those laws, Adds to Christ's prayer, the power and glory clause.
The lands are bought; but where are to be found Those ancient woods that shaded all the ground? We see no new-built palaces aspire,
No kitchens emulate the vestal fire.
Where are those troops of poor, that throng'd of The good old landlord's hospitable door? [yore Well I could wish that still, in lordly domes, Some beasts were kill'd, though not whole hecatombs';
That both extremes were banish'd from their walls,
Carthusian fasts and fulsome bacchanals;
And all mankind might that just mean observe,
In which none e'er could surfeit, none could starve:
These as good works, 'tis true, we all allow,
But, oh! these works are not in fashion now:
Like rich old wardrobes, things extremely rare,
Extremely fine, but what no man will wear.
Thus much I've said, I trust without offence;
Let no court sycophant pervert my sense,
Nor sly informer watch, these words to draw
Within the reach of treason or the law.
WELL; if it be my time to quit the stage,
Adieu to all the follies of the age!
I die in charity with fool and knave,
Secure of peace at least beyond the grave.
I've had my purgatory here betimes,
And paid for all my satires, all my rhymes.
The poet's hell, its tortures, fiends, and flames,
To this were trifles, toys, and empty names.
With foolish pride my heart was never fired,
Nor the vain itch to' admire or be admired;
I hoped for no commission from his grace:
I bought no benefice, I begg'd no place;
Had no new verses nor new suit to show,
Yet went to court!-the Devil would have it so.
But as the fool that in reforming days
Would go to mass in jest, (as story says)
Could not but think to pay his fine was odd,
Since 'twas no form'd design of serving God;
So was I punish'd, as if full as proud
As prone to ill, and negligent of good,
As deep in debt, without a thought to pay,
As vain, as idle, and as false as they
Who live at court, for going once that way!
Scarce was I enter'd, when, behold! there came
A thing which Adam had been 'posed to name;
Noah had refused it lodging in his ark,
Where all the race of reptiles might embark:
A verier monster than on Afric's shore
The sun e'er got, or slimy Nilus bore,
Or Sloane or Woodward's wondrous shelves con-
Nay, all that lying travellers can feign.
[tain, The watch would hardly let him pass at noon, At night would swear him dropp'd out of the moon: One whom the mob, when next we find or make A popish plot, shall for a Jesuit take,
And the wise justice, starting from his chair,
Cry, by your priesthood, tell me what you are?'
Such was the wight; the' apparel on his back
Though coarse, was reverend, and though bare,
The suit, if by the fashion one might guess,
Was velvet in the youth of good queen Bess,
But mere tuff-taffety what now remain'd;
So Time, that changes all things, had ordain'd!
Our sons shall see it leisurely decay,
First turn plain rash, then vanish quite away.
This thing has travell'd, speaks each language
And knows what's fit for every state to do; [too,
Of whose best phrase and courtly accent join'd
He forms one tongue, exotic and refined.
Talkers I've learn'd to bear: Motteux I knew,
Henley himself I've heard, and Budgell too;
The doctor's wormwood style, the hash of tongues A pedant makes, the storm of Gonson's lungs, The whole artillery of the terms of war,
And (all those plagues in one) the bawling bar: These I could bear; but not a rogue so civil Whose tongue will compliment you to the Devil: A tongue that can cheat widows, cancel scores, Make Scots speak treason, cozen subtlest whores, With royal favourites in flattery vie,
And Oldmixon and Burnet both outlie.
He spies me out; I whisper, gracious God! What sin of mine could merit such a rod"? That all the shot of dulness now must be From this thy blunderbuss discharged on me! 'Permit (he cries) no stranger to your fame, To crave your sentiment, if ** 's your name. What speech esteem you most?' 'The king's,' said I. But the best words ? 'You miss my aim; I And perfect speaker? Onslow, past dispute.' 'But, sir, of writers ?- Swift for closer style, But Hoadly for a period of a mile.'
O, sir, the dictionary.' mean the most acute,
Why, yes, 'tis granted, these indeed may pass ; Good common linguists, and so Panurge was; Nay, troth, the' Apostles (though perhaps too rough)
Had once a pretty gift of tongues enough:
Yet these were all poor gentlemen! I dare
Affirm, 'twas travel made them what they were.'
Thus others' talents having nicely shown,
He came by sure transition to his own;
Till I cried out, You prove yourself so able,
Pity you was not druggerman at Babel;
For had they found a linguist half so good,
I make no question but the tower had stood.'