« PreviousContinue »
Peace, fools! or Gonson will for papists seize you, If once he catch you at your Jesu! Jesu!
Nature made every fop to plague his brother, Just as one beauty mortifies another.
But here's the captain that will plague them both;
Whose air cries, arm! whose very look's an oath.
The captain's honest, sirs, and that's enough,
Though his soul's bullet, and his body buff.
He spits fore-right; his haughty chest before,
Like battering rams, beats open every door;
And with a face as red, and as awry,
As Herod's hang-dogs in old tapestry,
Scarecrow to boys, the breeding woman's curse,
Has yet a strange ambition to look worse:
Confounds the civil, keeps the rude in awe,
Jests like a licensed fool, commands like law.
Frighted, I quit the room, but leave it so
As men from gaols to execution go;
For hung with deadly sins I see the wall,
And lined with giants deadlier than them all:
Each man an Askapart, of strength to toss,
For quoits, both Temple Bar and Charing Cross.
Scared at the grisly forms, I sweat, I fly,
And shake all o'er, like a discover'd spy.
Courts are too much for wits so weak as mine:
Charge them with Heaven's artillery, bold divine!
From such alone the great rebukes endure,
Whose satire's sacred, and whose rage secure :
'Tis mine to wash a few light stains, but theirs
To deluge sin, and drown a court in tears.
Howe'er, what's now apocrypha, my wit,
In time to come, may pass for holy writ.
F. NOT twice a twelvemonth you appear in print,
And when it comes, the court see nothing in't:
You grow correct, that once with rapture writ,
And are, besides, too moral for a wit.
Decay of parts, alas! we all must feel-
Why now, this moment, don't I see you steal?
"Tis all from Horace; Horace long before ye
Said Tories call'd him Whig, and Whigs a Tory;'
And taught his Romans, in much better metre,
'To laugh at fools who put their trust in Peter.'
But Horace, sir, was delicate, was nice;
Bubo observes, he lash'd no sort of vice:
Horace would say, Sir Billy served the crown,
Blunt could do business, Higgins knew the town;
In Sappho touch the failings of the sex,
In reverend bishops note some small neglects,
And own the Spaniard did a waggish thing,
Who cropp'd our ears, and sent them to the king.
His sly, polite, insinuating style
Could please at court, and make Augustus smile:
An artful manager, that crept between
His friend and shame, and was a kind of screen.
But 'faith, your very friends will soon be sore;
Patriots there are who wish you'd jest no more-
And where's the glory? 'twill be only thought
The great man never offer'd you a groat.
Go see Sir Robert-
P. See Sir Robert!-hum-
And never laugh--for all my life to come!
Seen him I have; but in his happier hour
Of social pleasure, ill-exchanged for power;
Seen him, uncumber'd with a venal tribe,
Smile without art, and win without a bribe.
Would he oblige me? let me only find
He does not think me what he thinks mankind.
Come, come, at all I laugh he laughs, no doubt;
The only difference is—I dare laugh out.
F. Why, yes: with Scripture still you may
A horse-laugh, if you please, at honesty ;
A joke on Jekyll, or some odd old Whig,
Who never changed his principle or wig:
A patriot is a fool in every age,
Whom all lord-chamberlains allow the stage:
These nothing hurts; they keep their fashion still,
And wear their strange old virtue as they will.
If any ask you, 'Who's the man so near
His prince, that writes in verse, and has his ear?'
Why, answer, Lyttelton! and I'll engage
The worthy youth shall ne'er be in a rage;
But were his verses vile, his whisper base,
You'd quickly find him in Lord Fanny's case.
Sejanus, Wolsey, hurt not honest Fleury,
But well may put some statesmen in a fury.
Laugh then at any but at fools or foes;
These you but anger, and you mend not those.
Laugh at your friends, and, if your friends are sore,
So much the better, you may laugh the more.
To vice and folly to confine the jest,
Sets half the world, God knows, against the rest,
Did not the sneer of more impartial men
At sense and virtue balance all again.
Judicious wits spread wide the ridicule,
And charitably comfort knave and fool.
P. Dear sir, forgive the prejudice of youth:
Adieu distinction, satire, warmth, and truth!
Come, harmless characters that no one hit;
Come, Henley's oratory, Osborne's wit!
The honey dropping from Favonia's tongue,
The flowers of Bubo, and the flow of Young!
The gracious dew of pulpit eloquence,
And all the well-whipp'd cream of courtly sense;
The first was H **
vy's, F** 's next, and then
The S**te's, and then H** vy's once again.
O come! that easy Ciceronian style,
So Latin, yet so English all the while,
As, though the pride of Middleton and Bland,
All boys may read, and girls may understand!
Then might I sing without the least offence,
And all I sung should be the nation's sense;
Or teach the melancholy Muse to mourn,
Hang the sad verse on Carolina's urn,
And hail her passage to the realms of rest,
All parts perform'd, and all her children bless'd!
So-Satire is no more-I feel it die-
No gazetteer more innocent than I—
And let, a God's name! every fool and knave
Be graced through life, and flatter'd in his grave.
F. Why so? if satire knows its time and place,
You still may lash the greatest-in disgrace;
For merit will by turns forsake them all;
Would you know when? exactly when they fall.
But let all satire in all changes spare
Immortal S**k, and grave De***re.
Silent and soft, as saints remove to Heaven,
All ties dissolved, and every sin forgiven,
These may some gentle ministerial wing
Receive, and place for ever near a king!
There, where no passion, pride, or shame transport,
Lull'd with the sweet nepenthe of a court;
There, where no father's, brother's, friend's disgrace
Once break their rest, or stir them from their place;
But past the sense of human miseries,
All tears are wiped for ever from all eyes;
No cheek is known to blush, no heart to throb,
Save when they lose a question, or a job.
P. Good Heaven forbid that I should blast their
Who know how like Whig ministers to Tory, And when three sovereigns died could scarce be vex'd,
Considering what a gracious prince was next.
Have I, in silent wonder, seen such things
As pride in slaves, and avarice in kings;
And at a peer or peeress shall I fret
Who starves a sister, or forswears a debt?
Virtue, I grant you, is an empty boast;
But shall the dignity of vice be lost?
Ye gods! shall Cibber's son, without rebuke,
Swear like a lord; or Rich outwhore a duke?
A favourite's porter with his master vie,
Be bribed as often, and as often lie?
Shall Ward draw contracts with a statesman's skill? Or Japhet pocket, like his grace, a will?