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Maintain a poet's dignity and ease,

And see what friends, and read what books I
please;

Above a patron, though I condescend
Sometimes to call a minister my friend.
I was not born for courts or great affairs;
I pay my debts, believe, and say my prayers;
Can sleep without a poem in my head,

Nor know if Dennis be alive or dead.

Why am I ask'd what next shall see the light? Heavens! was I born for nothing but to write? Has life no joys for me? or (to be grave) Have I no friend to serve, no soul to save? "I found him close with Swift"-"Indeed? no doubt

(Cries prating Balbus) something will come out." 'Tis all in vain, deny it as I will;

66

No, such a genius never can lie still:"

And then for mine obligingly mistakes

The first lampoon Sir Will or Bubo makes. Poor guiltless I! and can I choose but smile, When every coxcomb knows me by my style?

Curst be the verse, how well soe'er it flow, That tends to make one worthy man my foe, Give virtue scandal, innocence a fear, Or from the soft-ey'd virgin steal a tear! But he who hurts a harmless neighbour's peace, Insults fall'n worth, or beauty in distress,

4 Sir William Young.

5 Bubb Dodington, afterwards Lord Melcombe.

Who loves a lie, lame slander helps about,
Who writes a libel, or who copies out;
That fop whose pride affects a patron's name,
Yet absent, wounds an author's honest fame;
Who can your merit selfishly approve,

And show the sense of it without the love;
Who has the vanity to call you friend,
Yet wants the honour, injur'd, to defend;
Who tells whate'er you think, whate'er you say,
And, if he lie not, must at least betray;
Who to the dean and silver bell can swear,
And sees at Canons what was never there;
Who reads but with a lust to misapply,
Makes satire a lampoon, and fiction lie:
A lash like mine no honest man shall dread,
But all such babbling blockheads in his stead.
Let Sporus tremble-A. What? that thing of

silk,
Sporus, that mere white curd of asses' milk?
Satire or sense, alas! can Sporus feel?
Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?

8

P. Yet let me flap this bug with gilded wings, This painted child of dirt, that stinks and stings;

6 An allusion to those who endeavoured to persuade the Duke of Chandos that Pope meant to ridicule him under the character of Timnon, in the Epistle on Taste: see Memoir pre fixed to these volumes, p. lxxxvi.

7 Lord Hervey: see Memoir prefixed to these volumes, p. xcii.

8 To keep off epilepsy, Lord Hervey lived on ass's milk and biscuits.

9 To improve his ghastly complexion, Lord Hervey used a little rouge.

Whose buzz the witty and the fair annoys,
Yet wit ne'er tastes, and beauty ne'er enjoys:
So well-bred spaniels civilly delight

In mumbling of the game they dare not bite.
Eternal smiles his emptiness betray,

As shallow streams run dimpling all the way.
Whether in florid impotence he speaks,

And, as the prompter breathes, the puppet squeaks,
Or at the ear of Eve, familiar toad,

Half froth, half venom, spits himself abroad,
In puns, or politics, or tales, or lies,

Or spite, or smut, or rhymes, or blasphemies;
His wit all see-saw between that and this,
Now high, now low, now master up, now miss,
And he himself one vile antithesis.
Amphibious thing! that acting either part,
The trifling head, or the corrupted heart;
Fop at the toilet, flatterer at the board,
Now trips a lady, and now struts a lord.
Eve's tempter thus the rabbins have exprest,
A cherub's face, a reptile all the rest;

Beauty that shocks you, parts that none will trust,
Wit that can creep, and pride that licks the dust.
Not fortune's worshipper, nor fashion's fool,
Not lucre's madman, nor ambition's tool,
Not proud nor servile; be one poet's praise,
That if he pleas'd, he pleas'd by manly ways;
That flattery, even to kings, he held a shame,
And thought a lie in verse or prose the same;
That not in fancy's maze he wander'd long,
But stoop'd to truth, and moraliz'd his song;

That not for fame, but virtue's better end,
He stood the furious foe, the timid friend,
The damning critic, half approving wit,
The coxcomb hit, or fearing to be hit;
Laugh'd at the loss of friends he never had,
The dull, the proud, the wicked, and the mad;
The distant threats of vengeance on his head,
The blow unfelt, the tear he never shed;
The tale reviv'd, the lie so oft o'erthrown,
Th' imputed trash and dulness not his own;
The morals blacken'd when the writings 'scape,
The libell'd person, and the pictur'd shape;
Abuse on all he lov'd, or lov'd him, spread,
A friend in exile, or a father dead;1
The whisper, that, to greatness still too near,
Perhaps yet vibrates on his sovereign's ear—
Welcome for thee, fair virtue! all the past:
For thee, fair virtue! welcome even the last!

A. But why insult the poor? affront the great? P. A knave's a knave to me in every state; Alike my scorn, if he succeed or fail,

Sporus at court, or Japhet in a jail;
A hireling scribbler, or a hireling peer,
Knight of the post corrupt, or of the shire;
If on a pillory, or near a throne,

He gain his prince's ear, or lose his own.

1 Buckingham, Burlington, Bathurst, Bolingbroke, Atterbury, Swift, Arbuthnot, Gay, Pope's parents, and even his nurse, were abused in the publications of Moore, Ducket, Welsted, &c.

Yet soft by nature, more a dupe than wit,
Sappho can tell you how this man was bit:
This dreaded satirist Dennis will confess
Foe to his pride, but friend to his distress:
So humble, he has knock'd at Tibbald's door,
Has drunk with Cibber, nay, has rhym'd for Moore.
Full ten years slander'd, did he once reply?
Three thousand suns went down on Welsted's lie.*
To please a mistress one aspers'd his life;
He lash'd him not, but let her be his wife:
Let Budgell charge low Grub-street on his quill,
And write whate'er he pleas'd, except his will;3
Let the two Curlls of town and court abuse
His father, mother, body, soul, and muse:
Yet why? that father held it for a rule,

It was a sin to call our neighbour fool;
That harmless mother thought no wife a whore:
Hear this, and spare his family, James Moore!
Unspotted names, and memorable long,

If there be force in virtue, or in song.

Of gentle blood (part shed in honour's cause,

2 Welsted asserted in print that Pope had caused a lady's death, and that he had libelled the Duke of Chandos (in the character of Timon), from whom, it was added, he had received five hundred pounds.

8 Budgell was suspected of having forged the will of Dr. Tindal, by which he acquired almost the whole fortune of a man not at all related to him.

4 The "Curll of court" means Lord Hervey.

"Mr. Pope's father," says our author in a note on this passage, was of a gentleman's family in Oxfordshire, the head of which was the Earl of Downe, whose sole heiress

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