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Than ridicule all taste, blaspheme quadrille,
Abuse the city's best good men in metre,
And laugh at peers that put their trust in Peter.
Even those you touch not, hate you.
P. What should ail them? F. A hundred smart in Timon and in Balaam: The fewer still you name, you wound the more; Bond is but one, but Harpax is a score.
P. Each mortal has his pleasure: none deny
Scarsdale his bottle, Darty his ham-pie;1
Ridotta sips and dances, till she see
The doubling lustres dance as fast as she;
Fox loves the senate,' Hockley-hole his brother,
Like in all else, as one egg to another.
I love to pour out all myself, as plain
As downright Shippen, or as old Montaigne."
In them, as certain to be loved as seen,
The soul stood forth, nor kept a thought within;
In me what spots (for spots I have) appear,
Will prove at least the medium must be clear.
In this impartial glass, my muse intends
Fair to expose myself, my foes, my friends;
Publish the present age; but where my text
Is vice too high, reserve it for the next:
My foes shall wish my life a longer date,
And every friend the less lament my fate.
My head and heart thus flowing through my quill,
Verse-man or prose-man, term me which you will,
Papist or Protestant, or both between,
Like good Erasmus in an honest mean,
In moderation placing all my glory,
While Tories call me Whig, and Whigs a Tory.
1 Darteneuf, a noted epicure. This lover of ham-pie owned the fidelity of the poet's pencil; and said, he had done justice to his taste; but that if, instead of ham-pie, he had given him sweet-pie, he never could have pardoned him.- Warburton.
2 Supposed to be Henry Fox, the first Lord Holland; his brother was Stephen Fox, afterwards Lord Ilchester.- Carruthers.
3 There was a famous bear-garden here.
4 Shippen was born 1672, and elected member for Bramber, in Sussex, in 1707. He was famed for honesty, and though a Jacobite, it was of him Sir Robert Walpole declared "that he could not say who was corrupted, but he could say who was not corruptible; that man was Shippen." This was great praise from the minister who had had good cause to think that every politician had his price. Old Montaigne, the famous French essayist; born 1533, died 1592. Both were famous for the plain truthfulness of their character.
6 Erasmus was noted for his moderation and gentleness,
Satire's my weapon, but I'm too discreet
To run a muck,' and tilt at all I meet;
I only wear it in a land of Hectors,
Thieves, supercargoes, sharpers, and directors.
Save but our army! and let Jove encrust
Swords, pikes, and guns, with everlasting rust!
Peace is my dear delight-not Fleury's more:
But touch me, and no minister so sore.
Whoe'er offends, at some unlucky time
Slides into verse, and hitches in a rhyme,
Sacred to ridicule his whole life long,
And the sad burthen of some merry song.
Slander or poison dread from Delia's rage,
Hard words or hanging, if your judge be Page.
From furious Sappho scarce a milder fate,
P-d by her love, or libelled by her hate.
Its proper pow'r to hurt, each creature feels;
Bulls aim their horns, and asses lift their heels;
'Tis a bear's talent not to kick, but hug;
And no man wonders he's not stung by pug.
So drink with Walters, or with Chartres eat,
They'll never poison you, they'll only cheat.
Then, learned sir! (to cut the matter short)
Whate'er my fate,- -or well or ill at court,
Whether old age, with faint but cheerful ray,
Attends to gild the ev'ning of my day,
Or death's black wing already be displayed,
To wrap me in the universal shade;
Whether the darkened room to muse invite,
Or whitened wall provoke the skew'r to write:
In durance, exile, Bedlam, or the Mint,
Like Lee or Budgel, I will rhyme and print.
F. Alas young man! your days can ne'er be long,
1 An allusion to a practice amongst the Malays, who, when they have lost all their property at the gambling table, intoxicate themselves, and rushing through the streets, kill all they meet.
2 The Cardinal Prime Minister of France.
3 The Countess of Deloraine, who, it was whispered at the time, had poisoned a Miss Mackenzie from jealousy.-Bowles. It is said to have been only scandal.
4 Originally written with a P―. Judge Page sent to remonstrate with Pope about it.
6 Nathaniel Lee, the tragedian, a man of some genius; but his plays were full of rant and bombast; he was mad and in Bedlam for two years. Of all his plays, "Alexander the Great" is alone remembered. Died 1690.
In flow'r of age you perish for a song!
Plums and directors, Shylock and his wife,
Will club their testers, now, to take your life!
P. What? armed for virtue when I point the pen,
Brand the bold front of shameless guilty men;
Dash the proud gamester in his gilded car:
Bare the mean heart that lurks beneath a star;
Can there be wanting, to defend her cause,
Lights of the Church, or guardians of the laws?
Could pensioned Boileau lash in honest strain'
Flatterers and bigots even in Louis' reign?"
Could Laureate Dryden pimp and friar engage,
Yet neither Charles nor James be in a rage?
And I not strip the gilding of a knave,
Unplaced, unpensioned, no man's heir, or slave?
I will, or perish in the generous cause:
Hear this, and tremble! you who 'scape the laws.
Yes, while I live, no rich or noble knave
Shall walk the world, in credit, to his grave.
To virtue only and her friends a friend,
The world beside may murmur, or commend.
Know, all the distant din that world can keep,
Rolls o'er my grotto, and but soothes my sleep.
There, my retreat the best companions grace,
Chiefs out of war, and statesmen out of place.
There St. John' mingles with my friendly bowl
The feast of reason and the flow of soul:
And he, whose lightning pierced the Iberian lines,*
Now forms my quincunx, and now ranks my vines,
Or tames the genius of the stubborn plain,
Almost as quickly as he conquered Spain.
Envy must own, I live among the great,
No pimp of pleasure, and no spy of state.
With eyes that pry not, tongue that ne'er repeats,
Fond to spread friendships, but to cover heats;
To help who want, to forward who excel;
This, all who know me, know; who love me, tell;
And who unknown defame me, let them be
1 The canons of the Holy Chapel, Paris, far from being offended at Boileau's "Lutrin," joined in the laugh it caused.
2 Lous XIV., a perfect bigot.
4 Charles Mordaunt, Earl of Peterborough, who in the year 1705 took Barcelona, and in the winter following with only 280 horse and 900 foot, enterprised and accomplished the conquest of Valentia,→ Pope.
Scribblers or peers, alike are mob to me.
This is my plea, on this I rest my cause—
What saith my counsel, learned in the laws?
F. Your plea is good; but still I say, beware!
Laws are explained by men-so have a care.
It stands on record, that in Richard's times
A man was hanged for very honest rhymes.
Consult the statute: quart. I think, it is,
Edwardi sext. or prim. et quint. Eliz.
See Libels, Satires-here you have it—read.
P. Libels, and Satires! lawless things indeed!
But grave Epistles, bringing vice to light,
Such as a king might read, a bishop write:
Such as Sir Robert would approve-
The case is altered-you may then proceed!
In such a cause the plaintiff will be hissed;
My lords the judges laugh, and you're dismissed.
WHAT, and how great, the virtue and the art
To live on little with a cheerful heart,
(A doctrine sage, but truly none of mine,)
Let's talk, my friends, but talk before we dine.
Not when a gilt buffet's reflected pride
Turns you from sound philosophy aside;
Not when from plate to plate your eyeballs roll,
And the brain dances to the mantling bowl.
Hear Bethel's sermon, one not versed in schools, But strong in sense, and wise without the rules. "Go work, hunt, exercise!" (he thus began)
1 Hugh Bethel, a great friend of Pope's. See "Moral Essays," Ep. v., where he is called "blameless Bethel,"
*Then scorn a homely dinner, if you can.
Your wine locked up, your butler strolled abroad,
Or fish denied (the river yet unthawed)
If then plain. bread and milk will do the feat,
The pleasure lies in you, and not the meat.
"Preach as I please, I doubt our curious men
Will choose a pheasant still before a hen;
Yet hens of Guinea full as good I hold,
Except you eat the feathers green and gold.
Of corps and mullets why prefer the great,
(Though cut in pieces ere my lord can eat)]
Yet for small turbots such esteem profess?
Because God made these large, the others less.
"Oldfield' with more than harpy throat endued,
Cries "Send me, gods! a whole hog barbecued!*
O, blast it, south winds! till a stench exhale
Rank as the ripeness of a rabbit's tail.
By what criterion do ye eat, d'ye think,
If this is prized for sweetness, that for stink?
When the tired glutton labours through a treat,
He finds no relish in the sweetest meat,
He calls for something bitter, something sour,
And the rich feast concludes extremely poor:
Cheap eggs, and herbs, and olives still we see;
Thus much is left of old simplicity!
The robin red-breast till of late had rest,
And children sacred held a martin's nest,
Till beccaficos sold so devilish dear
To one that was, or would have been a peer.
Let me extol a cat, on oysters fed,
I'll have a party at the Bedford-head;"
Or e'en to crack live crawfish reccommend;
I'd never doubt at court to make a friend.
""Tis yet in vain, I own, to keep a pother
About one vice, and fall into the other:
Between excess and famine lies a mean;
Plain, but not sordid; though not splendid, clean
"Avidien, or his wife (no matter which,
For him you'll call a dog, and her a bitch)
1 This eminent glutton ran through a fortune of fifteen hundred pounds a year in the simple luxury of good eating.- Warburton.
2 A West Indian term of gluttony, a hog roasted whole, stuffed with spice, and basted with Madeira wine.-Pope.
3 A famous eating-house,-Pope. It stood in Maiden Lane,