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Sell their presented partridges, and fruits,
And humbly live on rabbits and on roots:
One half-pint bottle serves them both to dine,
And is at once their vinegar and wine.
But on some lucky day (as when they found
A lost bank-bill, or heard their son was drowned)
At such a feast, old vinegar to spare,
Is what two souls so generous cannot bear:
Oil, though it stink, they drop by drop impart,
But souse the cabbage with a bounteous heart.
"He knows to live, who keeps the middle state,
And neither leans on this side, nor on that;
Nor stops, for one bad cork, his butler's pay,
Swears, like Albutious, a good cook away;
Nor lets, like Naevius, every error pass,
The musty wine, foul cloth, or greasy glass.
“Now hear what blessings temperance can bring:" (Thus said our friend, and what he said I sing,) "First health: The stomach (crammed from every
A tomb of boiled and roast, and flesh and fish,
Where bile, and wind, and phlegm, and acid jar,
And all the man is one intestine war)
Remembers oft the school-boy's simple fare,
The temp'rate sleeps, and spirits light as air.
"How pale, each worshipful and reverend guest
Rise from a clergy, or a city feast!
What life in all that ample body, say?
What heavenly particle inspires the clay?
The soul subsides, and wickedly inclines
To seem but mortal, even in sound divines.
"On morning wings how active springs the mind That leaves the load of yesterday behind!
How easy ev'ry labour it pursues!
How coming to the poet every muse!
Not but we may exceed, some holy time,
Or tired in search of truth, or search of rhyme
Ill health some just indulgence may engage,
And more the sickness of long life-old age;
For fainting age what cordial drop remains,
If our intemp'rate youth the vessel drains?
"Our fathers praised rank ven'son. You suppose Perhaps, young men! our fathers had no nose: Not so: a buck was then a week's repast,
And 'twas their point, I ween, to make it last;
More pleased to keep it till their friends could come
Than eat the sweetest by themselves at home.
Why had not I in those good times my birth,
Ere coxcomb pies or coxcombs were on earth!
'Unworthy he, the voice of fame to hear,
That sweetest music to an honest ear,
(For faith, Lord Fanny!1 you are in the wrong,
The world's good word is better than a song)
Who has not learned, fresh sturgeon and ham-pie
Are no rewards for want, and infamy!
When luxury has licked up all thy pelf,
Cursed by thy neighbours, thy trustees, thyself,
To friends, to fortune, to mankind a shame,
Think how posterity will treat thy name;
And buy a rope, that future times may tell
Thou hast at least bestowed one penny well."
Right," cries his lordship, "for a rogue in need To have a taste is insolence indeed:
In me 'tis noble, suits my birth and state,
My wealth unwieldy, and my heap too great."
Then, like the sun, let bounty spread her ray,
And shine that superfluity away.
Oh, impudence of wealth! with all thy store,
How darest thou let one worthy man be poor?
Shall half the new-built churches round thee fall?
Make quays, build bridges, or repair Whitehall:
Or to thy country let that heap be lent,
As Marlborough's was, but not at five per cent.
"Who thinks that fortune cannot change her mind,
Prepares a dreadful jest for all mankind.
And who stands safest? tell me, is it he
That spreads and swells in puffed prosperity,
Or blest with little, whose preventing care
In peace provide fit arms against a war?"
Thus Bethel spoke, who always speaks his thought,
And always thinks the very thing he ought:
His equal mind I copy, what I can,
And, as I love, would imitate the man.
2 A certain parasite, who thought to please Lord Bolingbroke by ridiculing the avarice of the Duke of Marlborough, was stopped short by Bolingbroke's saying, "He was so very great a man, that I forgot he had the vice."-Warton,
In South-Sea days not happier, when surmised
The lord of thousands, than if now excised;1
In forest planted by a father's hand,
Than in five acres now of rented land.
Content with little, I can piddle here
On brocoli and mutton, round the year;
But ancient friends (though poor, or out of play)
That touch my bell, I cannot turn away.
Tis true, no turbots dignify my boards,
But gudgeons, flounders, what my Thames affords:
To Hounslow Heath I point and Bansted Down,
Thence comes your mutton, and these chicks my own:
From yon old walnut-tree a show'r shall fall;
And grapes, long lingering on my only wall,
And figs from standard and espalier join;
The devil is in you if you cannot dine:
Then cheerful healths, (your mistress shall have place),
And, what's more rare, a poet shall say grace.
Fortune not much of humbling me can boast;
Though double taxed, how little have I lost?
My life's amusements have been just the same,
Before, and after, standing armies came.
My lands are sold, my father's house is gone;
I'll hire another's; is not that my own,
And yours, my friends? through whose free-op'ning
None comes too early, none departs too late;
(For I, who hold sage Homer's rule the best,
Welcome the coming, speed the going guest.)"
"Pray heaven it last!" (cries Swift!)" as you go on:
I wish to God this house had been your own:
Pity! to build, without a son or wife
Why, you'll enjoy it only all your life."
Well, if the use be mine, can it concern one,
Whether the name belong to Pope or Vernon?*
What's property? dear Swift! you see it alter
From you to me, from me to Peter Walter;
1 Pope had 20,000 or 30,000 pounds of South-Sea stock which he had not sold out when the bubble burst.
2 A double tax was in those days laid on the estates of Papists and Nonjurors.-Bowles.
8 From Homer, "Od." b. xv. v. 74.
4 He had a lease of his house and gardens at Twickenham for his life. The lease was purchased of a Mrs. Vernon.-Bowles,
Or, in a mortgage, prove a lawyer's share;
Or, in a jointure, vanish from the heir;
Or in pure equity (the case not clear)
The chancery takes your rents for twenty year:
At best, it falls to some ungracious son,
Who cries, "My father's d-
Shades, that to Bacon could retreat afford,"
Become the portion of a booby lord;
And Hemsley, once proud Buckingham's delight,
Slides to a scriv'ner or a city knight.
Let lands and houses have what lords they will,
Let us be fixed, (and our own masters still,
ST. JOHN, whose love indulged my labours past,
Matures my present, and shall bound my last!
Why will you break the Sabbath of my days?3
Now sick alike of envy, and of praise.
Public too long, ah, let me hide my age!
See, modest Cibber now has left the stage:
Our generals, now, retired, to their estates,
Hang their old trophies o'er the garden gates,
In life's cool ev'ning satiate of applause,
Nor fond of bleeding, even in Brunswick's cause.
A voice there is, that whispers in my ear,
('Tis reason's voice, which sometimes one can hear)
"Friend Pope! be prudent, let your muse take
1 Gorhambury, near St. Alban's, at the time Pope wrote, the residence of the first Lord Grimstone.
2 In Yorkshire; it belonged to Villiers, duke of Buckingham.
• Seven times seven years, i.e., the 49th year, the age of the author.
And never gallop Pegasus to death;
Lest stiff, and stately, void of fire or force,
You limp, like Blackmore on a lord mayor's horse.””
Farewell then verse, and love, and ev'ry toy,
The rhymes and rattles of the man or boy;
What right, what true, what fit we justly call,
Let this be all my care-for this is all:
To lay this harvest up, and hoard with haste
What ev'ry day will want, and most, the last.
But ask not, to what doctors I apply!
Sworn to no master, of no sect am I:
As drives the storm, at any door I knock:
And house with Montaigne now, or now with
Sometimes a patriot, active in debate,
Mix with the world, and battle for the state,
Free as young Lyttelton her cause pursue,
Still true to virtue, and as warm as true:
Sometimes with Aristippus, or St. Paul,
Indulge my candour, and grow all to all;
Back to my native moderation slide,
And win my way by yielding to the tide.
Long, as to him who works for debt, the day,
Long as the night to her whose love's away,
Long as the year's dull circle seems to run,
When the brisk minor pants for twenty-one:
So slow th' unprofitable moments roll,
That lock up all the functions of my soul;
That keep me from myself; and still delay
Life's instant business to a future day:
That task, which as we follow, or despise,
The eldest is a fool, the youngest wise.
Which done, the poorest can no wants endure;
1 The fame of this heavy poet, however problematical elsewhere, was universally received in the city of London. His versification is here exactly described; stiff, and not strong; stately and yet dull, like the sober and slow-paced animal generally employed to mount the lord mayor: and therefore here humorously opposed to Pegasus.-Pope.
2 Very opposite philosophers. Montaigne excelled in his observations on social and civil life; Locke in explaining the operations of the human mind.
3 George Lord Lyttelton, born 1709, died 1773, author of the "Dialogues of the Dead," &c.; the eulogium was well merited.
4 The disciple of Socrates and founder of the Cyrenaic sect. maxims differed widely from those of Socrates, as he held that pleasure was the chief good.