Page images

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; 5
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 damn'd, and all's my


Shades, that to Bacon could retreat afford,

Become the portion of a booby lord;


And Hemsley, once proud Buckingham's delight, Slides to a scrivener or a city knight.

Let lands and houses have what lords they will, Let us be fix'd, and our own masters still.

4 Mrs. Vernon, from whom Pope purchased the lease of his house and gardens at Twickenham.

5 See note 2, vol. ii. p. 121.

• Gorhambury, near St. Albans.




I'VE often wish'd that I had clear
For life six hundred pounds a year,
A handsome house to lodge a friend,
A river at my garden's end,
A terrace walk, and half a rood
Of land set out to plant a wood.
Well, now I have all this, and more,

I ask not to increase my store;
But here a grievance seems to lie,

All this is mine but till I die;

I can't but think 'twould sound more clever,

To me and to my heirs for ever.

If I ne'er got or lost a groat

By any trick or any fault;
And if I pray by reason's rules,
And not like forty other fools,

As thus: "Vouchsafe, O gracious Maker!
To grant me this and t'other acre;
Or, if it be thy will and pleasure,
Direct my plough to find a treasure;
But only what my station fits,
And to be kept in my right wits,


Preserve, almighty Providence!
Just what you gave me, competence;
And let me in these shades compose
Something in verse as true as prose,
Remov'd from all th' ambitious scene,
Nor puff'd by pride, nor sunk by spleen.'
In short, I'm perfectly content,

Let me but live on this side Trent,
Nor cross the channel twice a year,
To spend six months with statesmen here.
I must by all means come to town,
"Tis for the service of the crown;
'Lewis, the Dean will be of use;
Send for him up; take no excuse.'
The toil, the danger of the seas,
Great ministers ne'er think of these;
Or, let it cost five hundred pound,
No matter where the money's found;
It is but so much more in debt,
And that they ne'er consider'd yet.

'Good Mr. Dean, go change your gown, Let my lord know you're come to town.' I hurry me in haste away,

Not thinking it is levee day,

And find his honour in a pound,
Hemm'd by a triple circle round,
Chequer'd with ribbons blue and green:
How should I thrust myself between?
Some wag observes me thus perplex'd,
And smiling, whispers to the next,

'I thought the Dean had been too proud
To jostle here among a crowd.'
Another, in a surly fit,

Tells me I have more zeal than wit;
'So eager to express your love,
You ne'er consider whom you shove,
But rudely press before a duke.'
I own I'm pleas'd with this rebuke,
And take it kindly meant, to show
What I desire the world should know.
I get a whisper, and withdraw;
When twenty fools I never saw
Come with petitions fairly penn'd,
Desiring I would stand their friend.

This humbly offers me his case-
That begs my interest for a place-
A hundred other men's affairs,

Like bees, are humming in my ears; 'To-morrow my appeal comes on, Without your help the cause is gone.' 'The duke expects my lord and you About some great affair at two.'— 'Put my Lord Bolingbroke in mind To get my warrant quickly sign'd: Consider, 'tis my first request.''Be satisfied, I'll do my best :'Then presently he falls to tease, 'You may be certain, if you please; I doubt not, if his lordship knewAnd, Mr. Dean, one word from you.'—

and more

'Tis (let me sec) three years
(October next it will be four)
Since Harley bid me first attend,
And chose me for an humble friend:
Would take me in his coach to chat,

And question me of this and that;
As, 'What's o'clock?' and, 'How's the wind?'
'Whose chariot's that we left behind?'

Or gravely try to read the lines

Writ underneath the country signs;

Or, 'Have you nothing new to-day

From Pope, from Parnell, or from Gay?'

Such tattle often, entertains

My lord and me as far as Staines,
As once a week we travel down
To Windsor, and again to town,
Where all that passes inter nos
Might be proclaim'd at Charing-cross.
Yet some I know with envy swell
Because they see me us'd so well.
'How think you of our friend the Dean?
I wonder what some people mean;
My lord and he are grown so great,
Always together tête-à-tête.

What! they admire him for his jokes-
See but the fortune of some folks!'

There flies about a strange report
Of some express arriv'd at court;
I'm stopp'd by all the fools I meet,
And catechis'd in every street.

« PreviousContinue »