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Where ne'er was known the form of mock debate,
Or seen a new-made mayor's unwieldy ftate ;
Where change of fav’rites made no change of laws,
And senates heard before they judg'd a caufe ;
How wouldst thou shake at Britain's modish tribe,
Dart the quick taunt, and edge the piercing gibe?
Attentive truth and nature to decry,
And pierce each scene with philofophic eye.
To thee were solemn toys or empty shew,
The robes of pleasure and the veils of woe :
All aid the farce, and all thy mirth maintain,
Whose joys are causeless, and whose griefs are vain.
Such was the scorn that fill'd the fage's mind,
Renew'd at every glance on humankind;
How just that scorn ere yet thy voice declare,
Search every state, and canvass every prayer.
• Unnumber'd fuppliants crowd Preferment's gate,
Athirst for wealth, and burning to be great ;
Delusive Fortune hears th' incessant call,
They mount, they shine, evaporate, and fall.
On every stage the foes of peace attend,
Hate dogs their flight, and insult mocks their end.
Love ends with hope, the sinking statesman's door
Pours in the morning worshipper no more ;
• Ver. 56-187
For growing names the weekly scribbler lies,
To growing wealth the dedicator fies,
From every room descends the painted face,
That hung the bright Palladium of the place,
And smoak'd in kitchens, or in auctions sold,
To better features yields the frame of gold;
For now no more we trace in
Heroic worth, benevolence divine :
The form distorted justifies the fall,
And detestation rids th' indignant wall.
But will not Britain hear the last appeal,
Sign her foes doom, or guard her fav’rites zeal ;
Through Freedom's sons no more remonstrance rings,
Degrading nobles, and controuling kings;
Our supple tribes repress their patriot throats,
And ask no questions but the price of votes ;
With weekly libels and septennial ale,
Their wish is full to riot and to rail.
In full-blown dignity, fee Wolsey stand, Law in his voice, and fortune in his hand : To him the church, the realm, their pow'rs consign; Through him the rays of regal bounty shine, Still to new heights his restless wishes tow'r, Claim leads to claim, and pow'r advances pow'r;
*Till conquest unresisted ceas’d to please,
And rights submitted, left him none to seize.
At length his sov'reign frowns — the train of state
Mark the keen glance, and watch the sign to hate.
Where-e'er he turns he meets a stranger's eye,
His suppliants scorn him, and his followers fly;
At once is lost the pride of aweful state,
The golden canopy, the glitt'ring plate,
The regal palace, the luxurious board,
The liv’ried army, and the menial lord.
With age, with cares, with maladies oppress’d,
He seeks the refuge of monastic reft.
Grief aids disease, remember'd folly stings,
And his last sighs reproach the faith of kings.
Speak thou, whose thoughts at humble
Shall Wolsey's wealth, with Wolsey's end be thine ?
Or liv'st thou now, with safer pride content,
The wiseft justice on the banks of Trent?
For why did Wolsey near the steeps of fate,
On weak foundations raise th’ enormous weight?
Why but to sink beneath Misfortune's blow,
With louder ruin to the gulphs below?
What' gave great Villiers to th' assassin's knife, And fix'd disease on Harley's closing life? f Ver. 108 113
What murder'd Wentworth, and what exil'd Hyde,
By kings protected, and to kings ally’d?
What but their wish indulg'd in courts to shine,
And pow'r too great to keep, or to resign?
When first the college rolls receive his name,
young enthusiast quits his ease for fame; Through all his veins the fever of renown Spreads from the strong contagion of the gown; O’er Bodley's dome his future labours spread, And Bacon's mansion trembles o'er his head. Are these thy views ? proceed, illustrious youth, And Virtue guard thee to the throne of Truth! Yet should thy soul indulge the gen'rous heat, Till captive Science yields her last retreat, Should Reason guide thee with her brightest ray, And pour on misty Doubt refiftless day; Should no false Kindness lure to loose delight, Nor Praise relax, nor Difficulty fright; Should tempting Novelty thy cell refrain, And Sloth effufe her opiate fumes in vain; Should Beauty blunt on fops her fatal dart, Nor claim the triumph of a letter'd heart ;
Should no Disease thy torpid veins invade,
Nor Melancholy's phantoms haunt thy shade;
Yet hope not life from grief or danger free,
Nor think the doom of man revers'd for thee :
Deign on the passing world to turn thine eyes,
And pause awhile from letters, to be wise ;
There mark what ills the scholar's life affail,
Toil, envy, want, the patron, and the jail.
See nations Nowly wise, and meanly just,
To buried merit raise the tardy bust.
If dreams yet flatter, once again attend,
Hear Lydiat's life, and Galileo's end.
Nor deem, when Learning her last prize bestows,
The glitt'ring eminence exempt from woes ;
See when the vulgar 'scape, despis’d or aw'd,
Rebellion's vengeful talons seize on Laud.
From meaner minds, though smaller fines content
The plunder'd palace or sequester'd rent ;
Mark'd out by dangerous parts he meets the shock;
And fatal Learning leads him to the block :
Around his tomb let Art and Genius weep,
But hear his death, ye blockheads, hear and seep.
The ' festal blazes, the triumphal show, The ravish'd standard, and the captive foe, i Ver. 133 — 146.