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WELL, if it be my time to quit the stage,
Adieu to all the follies of the age!

I die in charity with fool and knave,
Secure of peace at least beyond the grave.
I've had my purgatory here betimes,
And paid for all my satires, all my rhymes.
The poet's hell, its tortures, fiends, and flames,
To this were trifles, toys, and empty names.

With foolish pride my heart was never fir'd,
Nor the vain itch t' admire or be admir'd:
I hop'd for no commission from his grace;
I bought no benefice, I begg'd no place;
Had no new verses nor new suit to show,
Yet went to court!-the devil would have it so.
But as the fool that in reforming days
Would go to mass in jest (as story says)
Could not but think to pay his fine was odd,
Since 'twas no form'd design of serving God;
So was I punish'd, as if full as proud
As prone to ill, as negligent of good,
As deep in debt, without a thought to pay,
As vain, as idle, and as false as they
Who live at court, for going once that way!
Scarce was I enter'd, when, behold! there came
A thing which Adam had been pos'd to name;

Noah had refus'd it lodging in his ark,
Where all the race of reptiles might embark;
A verier monster than on Afric's shore

The sun e'er got, or slimy Nilus bore,


Or Sloane or Woodward's wondrous shelves con-
Nay, all that lying travellers can feign.

The watch would hardly let him pass at noon,
At night would swear him dropp'd out of the moon:
One whom the mob, when next we find or make
A popish plot, shall for a Jesuit take,

And the wise justice, starting from his chair,
Cry, by your priesthood, tell me what you are!'

Such was the wight: th' apparel on his back, Though coarse, was reverend, and though bare, was black.

The suit, if by the fashion one might guess,
Was velvet in the youth of good queen Bess,
But mere tuff-taffety what now remain'd:
So time, that changes all things, had ordain'd!
Our sons shall see it leisurely decay,
First turn plain rash, then vanish quite away.

This thing has travell'd, speaks each language
And knows what's fit for every state to do; [too,
Of whose best phrase and courtly accent join'd
He forms one tongue, exotic and refin'd.
Talkers I've learn'd to bear; Motteux1 I knew,
Henley himself I've heard, and Budgell3 too,

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The doctor's wormwood style, the hash of tongues
A pedant makes, the storm of Gonson's lungs,*
The whole artillery of the terms of war,

And (all those plagues in one) the bawling bar:
These I could bear; but not a rogue so civil
Whose tongue will compliment you to the devil:
A tongue that can cheat widows, cancel scores,
Make Scots speak treason, cozen subtlest whores,
With royal favourites in flattery vie,

And Oldmixon and Burnet both outlie.

He spies me out; I whisper, gracious God!
What sin of mine could merit such a rod,
That all the shot of dulness now must be
From this thy blunderbuss discharg❜d on me!
Permit, he cries, no stranger to your fame,
To crave your sentiment, if * * * 's your name.
What speech esteem you most? 'The king's,' said I.
But the best words?-O, sir, the dictionary.'
You miss my aim; I mean the most acute,
And perfect speaker?—'Onslow, past dispute.'
But, sir, of writers?— Swift, for closer style,
But Hoadly for a period of a mile.'

Why, yes, 'tis granted, these indeed may pass;
Good common linguists, and so Panurge was;
Nay, troth, th' Apostles (though perhaps too rough)
Had once a pretty gift of tongues enough:
Yet these were all poor gentlemen! I dare
Affirm 'twas travel made them what they were.
Thus others' talents having nicely shown,
He came by sure transition to his own;

4 Sir John Gonson, a police magistrate.

Till I cried out, 'You prove yourself so able,
Pity you was not druggerman at Babel;
For had they found a linguist half so good,
I make no question but the tower had stood.'
'Obliging sir! for courts you sure were made,
Why then for ever buried in the shade?

Spirits like you should see and should be seen;
The king would smile on you-at least the queen.'
'Ah, gentle sir! you courtiers so cajole us—
But Tully has it Nunquam minus solus:
And as for courts, forgive me if I say
No lessons now are taught the Spartan way.
Though in his pictures lust be full display'd,
Few are the converts Aretine has made;
And though the court show vice exceeding clear,
None should, by my advice, learn virtue there.'

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At this entranc'd, he lifts his hands and eyes, Squeaks like a high-stretch'd lutestring, and replies; 'Oh! 'tis the sweetest of all earthly things To gaze on princes, and to talk of kings!' 'Then, happy man who shows the tombs! (said I) He dwells amidst the royal family;

He every day from king to king can walk,
Of all our Harries, all our Edwards talk,
And get, by speaking truth of monarchs dead,
What few can of the living, ease and bread.'-
'Lord, sir, a mere mechanic! strangely low,
And coarse of phrase-your English all are so.
How elegant your Frenchmen!'-'Mine, d'ye

I have but one; I hope the fellow's clean.

'O sir, politely so! nay, let me die,
Your only wearing is your paduasoy.'
'Not, sir, my only; I have better still,
And this you see is but my dishabille.'-
Wild to get loose, his patience I provoke,
Mistake, confound, object at all he spoke :
But as coarse iron, sharpen'd, mangles more,
And itch most hurts when anger'd to a sore,
So when you plague a fool, 'tis still the curse,
You only make the matter worse and worse.

He past it o'er; affects an easy smile
At all my peevishness, and turns his style.
He asks, 'What news?' I tell him of new plays,
New eunuchs, harlequins, and operas.

He hears, and as a still, with simples in it, Between each drop it gives stays half a minute, Loath to enrich me with too quick replies,

By little and by little drops his lies.

Mere household trash! of birthnights, balls, and


More than ten Holinsheds, or Halls, or Stows. When the queen frown'd or smil'd he knows, and what

A subtle minister may make of that:

Who sins, with whom: who got his pension rug, Or quicken'd a reversion by a drug:

Whose place is quarter'd out three parts in four, And whether to a bishop or a whore:

Who having lost his credit, pawn'd his rent,

Is therefore fit to have a government:

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