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From tail to mouth, they feed and they carouse; The last full fairly gives it to the House.
F. This filthy simile, this beastly line, Quite turns my stomach-P. So does flatt'ry mine; And all your courtly civet-cats can vent, Perfume to you, to me is exèrement.
But hear me further-Japhet, 'tis agreed,
The strong antipathy of good to bad.
Th' affront is mine, my friend, and should be your's, Mine as a foe profess'd to false pretence,
Who think a coxcomb's honor like his sense; 205
Mine as a friend to ev'ry worthy mind;
And mine as man, who feel for all mankind.
P. So proud, I am no slave;
So impudent, I own myself no knave;
Yes, I am proud: I must be proud to see
O sacred weapon! left for truth's defence, Sole dread of folly, vice, and insolence! To all but heav'n-directed hands deny'd, The Muse may give thee, but the gods must guide: Rev'rent I touch thee! but with honest zeal, 220 To rouse the watchman of the public weal, To Virtue's work provoke the tardy hall, And goad the prelate slumb'ring in his stall. Ye tinsel insects! whom a court maintains, That counts your beauties only by your stains, 225 Spin all your cobwebs o'er the eye of day, The Muse's wing shall brush all you away: All his Grace preaches, all his Lordship sings, All that makes saints of queens, and gods of kings; All, all but truth, drops dead-born from the press, Like the last Gazette, or the last Address.
When black Ambition stains a public cause, A monarch's sword when mad Vain-glory draws, Not Waller's wreath can hide the nation's scar, Not Boileau turn the feather to a star.
Not so when diadem'd with rays divine, Touch'd with the flame that breaks from Virtue's
Her priestess Muse forbids the good to die,
There other trophies deck the truly brave
And may descend to Mordington from Stair ;
Yes, the last pen for freedom let me draw, When truth stands trembling on the edge of law. Here, last of Britons! let your names be read : Are none, none living? let me praise the dead, 255 And for that cause which made your fathers shine, Fall by the votes of their degen'rate line.
F. Alas! alas! pray end what you began, And write next winter more Essays on Man. 259
TO ROBERT, EARL OF OXFORD, AND LORD MORTIMER.*
UCH were the notes thy once lov'd poet sung Till death, untimely, stopp'd his tuneful tongue. Oh, just beheld and lost! admir'd and mourn'd! With softest manners, gentlest arts, adorn'd! Bless'd in each science! bless'd in ev'ry strain! Dear to the Muse! to Harley dear-in vain!
For him thou oft hast bid the world attend, Fond to forget the statesman in the friend; For Swift and him despis'd the farce of state, The sober follies of the wise and great; Dext'rous the craving, fawning, crowd to quit, And pleas'd to scape from flattery to wit.
Absent or dead, still let a friend be dear, (A sigh the absent claims, the dead a tear,) Recal those nights that clos'd thy toilesome days, Still hear thy Parnell in his living lays, Who, careless now of int'rest, fame, or fate, Perhaps forgets that Oxford e'er was great;
*Sent to the Earl of Oxford, with Dr. Parnell's Poems, pub lished by our author after the said Earl's imprisonment in the Tower, and retreat into the country, in the year 1721.
Or deeming meanest, what we greatest call,
And sure if aught below the seats divine,
In vain to deserts thy retreat is made, The Muse attends thee to thy silent shade : 'Tis her's the brave man's latest steps to trace, Rejudge his acts, and dignify disgrace.
When Int'rest calls off all her sneaking train,