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O you! whom Vanity's light bark conveys
On Fame's mad voyage by the wind of praise,
With what a fhifting gale your course you ply,
For ever funk too low, or borne too high!
Who pants for glory finds but short repose,
A breath revives him, or a breath o'erthrows.
Farewell the ftage! if just as thrives the play,
The filly bard grows fat, or falls away.
There ftill remains, to mortify a wit,
The many-headed monster of the pit:
A fenfelefs, worthlefs, and unhonour'd croud;
Who, to disturb their betters mighty proud,
Clatt'ring their sticks before ten lines are spoke,
Call for the farce, the bear, or the Black-joke.
What dear delight to Britons farce affords !
Ever the taste of mobs, but now of lords;
(Tafte, that eternal wanderer, which flies
From heads to ears, and now from ears to eyes)
The play ftands ftill; dainn action and difcourfe,
Back fly the scenes, and enter foot and horfe;
Pageants on pageants, in long order drawn,
Peers, heralds, bishops, ermin, gold and lawn;
The champion too! and, to complete the jeft,
Old Edward's armour beams on Cibber's breaft*,
With laughter fure Democritus had dy'd,
Had he beheld an audience gape fo wide.
Let bear or elephant be e'er fo white,
The people, fure, the people are the fight!
Ah lucklefs poet! ftretch thy lungs and roar,
That bear or elephant fhall heed thee more;
While all its throats the gallery extends,
And all the thunder of the pit afcends!
Loud as the wolves, on Orcas' ftormy fteept,
Howl to the roarings of the Northern deep.
* The coronation of Henry VIII. and queen Anne Boleyn, in which the playhoufes vied with each other to represent all the pomp of a coronation. In this noble contention, the armour of one of the kings of England was borrowed from the Tower, to dress the champion.
†The farthest Northern Promontory of Scotland, oppofite the Orcades.
Such is the fhout, the long-applauding note,
At Quin's high plume, or Oldfield's petticoat;
Or when from court a birth-day fuit bestow'd,
Sinks the loft actor in the tawdry load.
Booth enters-hark! the univerfal peal!
But has he spoken ?" Not a syllable.
What fhook the ftage, and made the people ftare ?
Cato's long wig, flower'd gown, and lacquer'd chair.
Yet left you think I rally more than teach,
Or praise malignly arts I cannot reach,
Let me for once prefume t' inftruct the times,
To know the poet from the man of rhymes:
'Tis he who gives my breast a thousand pains,
Can make me feel each paffion that he feigns;
Iarage, compofe, with more than magic art,
With pity, and with terror, tear my heart;
And fnatch me, o'er the earth, or thro' the air,
To Thebes, to Athens, when he will, and where.
But not this part of the poetic ftate
Alone, deferves the favour of the great;
Think of those authors, Sir, who would rely
More on a reader's sense, than gazer's eye.
Or who fhall wander where the Mufes fing?
Who climb their mountain, or who taste their spring?
How fhall we fill a library *with wit,
When Merlin's cave + is half unfurnish'd yet?
My liege! why writers little claim your thought,
I guess; and, with their leave, will tell the fault :
We poets are (upon a poet's word)
Of all mankind, the creatures most absurd :
The feason, when to come, and when to go,
To fing, or cease to fing, we never know;
And if we will recite nine hours in ten,
You lose your patience, juft like other men,
*The Palatine Library then building by Auguftus.
A building in the Royal Gardens of Richmond, where is a small, but choice collection of books.
Then too we hurt ourfelves when to defend
A fingle verfe, we quarrel with a friend;
Repeat unafk'd; lament, the wit's too fine
For vulgar eyes, and point out ev'ry line.
But moft, when ftraining with too weak a wing,
We needs will write epiftles to the king;
And from the moment we oblige the town,
Expect a place, or penfion from the crown;
Or dubb'd hiftorians by exprefs command,
T'enroll your triumphs o'er the feas and land,
Be call'd to court to plan fome work divine,
As once for Louis, Boileau and Racine,
Yet think, great Sir! (fo many virtues shown)
Ah think, what poet beft may make them known?
Or chufe at leaft fome minifter of grace,
Fit to bestow the laureat's weighty place.
Charles, to late times to be transmitted fair, Affign'd his figure to Bernini's care; And great Naffau to Kneller's hand decreed To fix him graceful on the bounding steed; So well in paint and stone they judg'd of merit : But kings in wit may want difcerning fpirit. The hero William, and the martyr Charles, One knighted Blackmore, and one penfion'd Quarles; Which made old Ben, and furly Dennis fwear, "No lord's anointed, but a Ruffian bear."
Not with fuch majefty, fuch bold relief, The forms auguft, of king, or conqu❜ring chief, E'er fwell'd on marble; as in verfe have fhin'd (In polish'd verfe) the manners and the mind. Oh! could I mount on the Mæonian wing, Your arms, your actions, your repose to fing! What feas you travers'd, and what fields you fought! Your country's peace, how oft, how dearly bought! How barb'rous rage fubfided at your word,
And nations wonder'd while they dropp'd the fword!
How, when you nodded, o'er the land and deep,
Peace ftole her wing, and wrapt the world in fleep;
"Till earth's extremes your mediation own,
And Afia's tyrants tremble at your throne-
But verfe, alas! your majefty difdains;
And I'm not us'd to panegyric ftrains *
The zeal of fools offends at any time,
But most of all, the zeal of fools in rhyme.
Befides, a fate attends on all I write,
That when I aim at praife, they fay I bite.
A vile encomium doubly ridicules:
There's nothing blackens like the ink of fools.
If true, a woeful likeness; and if lyes,
"Praise undeferv'd is fcandal in disguise :"
Well may he blufh, who gives it, or receives;
And when I flatter, let my dirty leaves
(Like Journals, Odes, and fuch forgotten things
As Eufden, Philips, Settle, writ of kings)
Cloathe fpice, line trunks, or flutt'ring in a row,
Befringe the rails of Bedlam and Soho.
Archbishop Tillotfon hath faid, "That fatire and invective were the " easiest kind of wit, because almost any degree of it would ferve to abuse " and find fault. For wit (fays he) is a keen inftrument, and every one
can cut and gafh with it. But to carve a beautiful image and polish it, res quires great art and dexterity. To praise a thing well, is an argument of. "much more wit than to abuse: a little wit, and a great deal of ill nature, "will furnish a man for fatire, but the greatest instance of wit is to com"mend well." Thus far this candid prelate. And I, in my turn, might as well fay, that fatire was the most difficult, and panegyric the most easy thing in nature; for that any barber-furgeon can curl and shave, ́and give cosmetic washes for the fkin; but it requires the abilities of an anatomist to diffect and lay open the whole interior of the human frame. But the truth is, thefe fimilitudes prove nothing, but the good fancy, or the ill judgement of the ufer. The one is just as eafy to do ill, and as difficult to do well as the other. In our author's Effay on the Characters of Men, the encomium on Lord Cobham, and the fatire on Lord Wharton, are the equal efforts of the fame great genius. There is one advantage indeed in fatire over panegyric, which every body has taken notice of, that it is more readily received; but this does not fhew that it is more easily written.
EAR Col'nel, COBHAM's and your country's friend!
You love a verfe, take fuch as I can send.
A Frenchman comes, prefents you with his boy,
Bows and begins" This lad, Sir, is of Blois *:
Obferve his shape how clean! his locks how curl'd ! 5 "My only fon, I'd have him fee the world:
His French is pure; his voice too-you fhall hear. "Sir, he's your flave, for twenty pound a year. "Mere wax as yet, you fashion him with ease, "Your barber, cook, upholft'rer, what you please: 10 "A perfect genius at an op'ra fong
"To fay too much, might do my honour wrong. "Take him with all his virtues, on my word; "His whole ambition was to ferve a lord: "But, Sir, to you, with what would I not part? "Tho' faith, I fear, 'twill break his mother's heart. * A town in Beauce, where the French tongue is spoke in great purity. VOL. II. I