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Shall I, in London, act this idle part?
Compofing fongs, for fools to get by heart?
The Temple late two brother ferjeants saw,
Who deem'd each other oracles of law:
With equal talents, thefe congenial fouls,
One lull'd th' Exchequer, and one ftunn'd the Rolls; 130 Each had a gravity would make you split, And shook his head at Murray, as a wit. 'Twas, "Sir, your law"-and "Sir, your eloquence," "Yours, Cowper's manner-and yours, Talbot's fenfe," Thus we dispose of all poetic merit,
Yours Milton's genius, and mine Homer's fpirit.
Call Tibbald Shakespeare, and he'll swear the nine,
Dear Cibber! never match'd one ode of thine.
Lord! how we ftrut thro' Merlin's cave, to fee
No poets there, but Stephen, you, and me.
Walk with respect behind, while we at ease
Weave laurel crowns, and take what names we please.
"My dear Tibullus !" if that will not do,
"Let me be Horace, and be Ovid you :
"Or, I'm content, allow me Dryden's strains,
"And you fhall rife up Otway for your pains.'
Much do I fuffer, much, to keep in peace
This jealous, waspish, wrong-head, rhyming race;
And much muft flatter, if the whim should bite
To court applaufe by printing what I write ;
But let the fit pafs o'er, I'm wife enough
To ftop my ears to their confounded stuff,
In vain bad rhymers all mankind reject,
They treat themselves with most profound respect;
'Tis to fmall purpose that you hold your tongue,
Each prais'd within, is happy all day long :
But how feverely with themselves proceed
The men, who write fuch verse as we can read?
Their own ftrict judges, not a word they spare,
That wants or force, or light, or weight, or care*, 160
* Force and light refpect figurative expreffion; and fignify, that, it be fuch as awakes the imagination, and be taken from obvious fubjects: for without the first quality it will want force; without the other, light.
Howe'er unwillingly it quits its place,
Nay tho' at court (perhaps) it may find grace:
Such they'll degrade; and fometimes, in its ftead,
In downright charity revive the dead;
Mark where a bold expreffive phrase appears,
Bright thro' the rubbish of fome hundred years;
Command old words, that long have flept, to wake,
Words, that wife Bacon, or brave Rawleigh spake;
Or bid the new be English, ages hence,
(For ufe will father what's begot by fenfe)
Pour the full tide of eloquence along,
Serenely pure, and yet divinely ftrong,
Rich with the treafures of each foreign tongue;
Prune the luxuriant, the uncouth refine,
But fhow no mercy to an empty line:
Then polifh all, with fo much life and eafe,
You think 'tis nature, and a knack to please:
"But eafe in writing flows from art, not chance;
"As those move eafieft who have learn'd to dance."
If such the plague and pains to write by rule,
Better (fay I) be pleas'd, and play the fool;
Call, if you will, bad rhyming a disease,
It gives men happinefs, or leaves them eafe.
There liv'd in primo Georgii (they record)
A worthy member, no fmall fool, a lord;
Who, tho' the Houfe was up, delighted fate,
Heard, noted, anfwer'd, as in full debate:
In all but this, a man of fober life,
Fond of his friend, and civil to his wife;
Not quite a madman, tho' a pasty fell,
And much too wife to walk into a well.
Him, the damn'd doctors and his friends immur'd,
They bled, they cupp'd, they purg'd; in fhort, they
Wherear the gentleman began to stare
My friends! he cry'd, p-x take you for your care! 195 That from a patriot of distinguish'd note,
Have bled and purg'd me to a fimple vote.
Well, on the whole, plain profe must be my fate:
Wifdom (curfe on it) will come foon or late.
There is a time when poets will grow
I'll e'en leave verfes to the boys at school:
To rules of poetry no more confin'd,
I'll learn to fmooth and harmonize my mind,
Teach ev'ry thought within its bounds to roll,
And keep the equal measure of the foul.
Soon as I enter at my country door,
My mind refumes the thread it dropt before;
Thoughts, which at Hyde-park-corner I forgot,
Meet and rejoin me, in the penfive grot.
There all alone, and compliments apart,
I afk these fober queftions of my heart.
If, when the more you drink, the more you crave,
You tell the doctor; when the more you have,
The more you want, why not with equal cafe
Confefs as well your folly, as difease?
The heart refolves this matter in a trice,
"Men only feel the fmart, but not the yice."
When golden angels cease to cure the evil,
You give all royal witchcraft to the devil:
When fervile chaplains cry, that birth and place
Endue a peer with honour, truth, and grace,
Look in that breaft, moft dirty D-! be fair,
Say, can you find out one fuch lodger there?
Yet ftill, not heeding what your heart can teach,
You go to church to hear thefe flatt'rers preach.
Indeed, could wealth beftow or wit or merit,
A grain of courage, or a spark of fpirit,
The wifeft man might blush, I must agree,
If D*** lov'd fixpence more than he.
If there be truth in law, and ufe can give
A property, that's yours on which you live.
Delightful Abs-court, if its fields afford
Their fruits to you, confeffes you its lord:
A farm over against Hampton-Court.
All Worldly's hens, nay, partridge, fold to town,
His ven'fon too, a guinea makes your own :
He bought at thoufands, what with better wit
You purchase as you want, and bit by bit
Now, or long fince, what diff'rence will be found?
You pay a penny, and he paid a pound.
Heathcote himself, and fuch large-acred men,
Lords of fat E'fham, or of Lincoln-fen,
Buy ev'ry ftick of wood that lends them heat
Buy ev'ry pullet they afford to eat,
Yet thefe are wights, who fondly call their own
Half that the dev'l o'erlooks from Lincoln town.
The laws of God, as well as of the land,
Abhor a perpetuity fhould ftand:
Estates have wings, and hang in fortune's pow'r
Loose on the point of ev'ry wav'ring hour,
Ready, by force, or of your own accord,
By fale, at leaft by death, to change their lord.
Man? and for ever? wretch! what would'ft thou have
Heir urges heir, like wave impelling wave.
All vaft poffeffions (juft the fame the cafe
Whether you call them villa, park, or chase)
Alas, my BATHURST! what will they avail?
Join Cotswood hills to Saperton's fair dale,
Let rifing granaries and temples here,
There mingled farms and pyramids appear,
Link towns to towns with avenues of oak,
Enclose whole downs in walls, 'tis all a joke!
Inexorable death fhall level all,
And trees, and ftones, and farms, and farmer fall.
Gold, filver, iv'ry, vases sculptur'd high,
Paint, marble, gems, and robes of Perfian dye,
There are who have not-and thank heav'n there are,
Who, if they have not, think not worth their care.
Talk what you will of tafte, my friend, you'll find
Two of a face, as foon as of a mind."
Why, of two brothers, rich and restless one
Plows, burns, manures, and toils from fun to fun;
The other flights, for women, fports, and wines,
All Townshend's turnips, and all Grofvenor's mines:
Why one like Bu-with pay and feorn content,
Bows and votes on, in Court and Parliament;
One, driv'n by ftrong benevolence of foul,
Shall fly, like Oglethorpe +, from pole to pole:
Is known alone to that directing pow'r,
Who forms the genius in the natal hour;
That god of nature, who, within us ftill,
Inclines our action, not constrains our will;
Various of temper, as of face or frame,
Each individual: his great end the fame.
Yes, Sir, how finall foever be my heap,
A part I will enjoy, as well as keep.
My heir may figh, and think it want of grace
A man fo poor would live without a place:
But fure no ftatute § in his favour fays,
How free, or frugal, I fhall pafs my days:
I, who at fometimes fpend, at others fpare,
Divided between careleffnefs and care.
'Tis one thing madly to difperfe my ftore;
Another, not to heed to treafure more;
Glad, like a boy, to fnatch the first good day,
And pleas'd, if fordid want be far away.
What is't to me (a paffenger God wot)
Whether my veffel be first-rate or not?
The ship itself may make a better figure,
But I that fail, am neither lefs nor bigger.
I neither ftrut with ev'ry fav'ring breath,
Nor ftrive with all the tempeft in my teeth.
In pow'r, wit, figure, virtue, fortune, plac'd
Behind the foremoft, and before the laft..
* Lord Townshend, Secretary of State to George the First and Second.— When this great statesman retired from business, he amused himself in hufbandry; and was particularly fond of that kind of rural imprøvement which arifes from turnips; it was the favourite subject of his converfation. + Employed in fettling the colony of Georgia.
Alluding to the ftatutes made in England and Ireland, to regulate the fucceffion of Papists, &c.