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He might have rose like other men;
But power was never in his thought,
And wealth he valued not a groat.
Ingratitude he often found,
And pitied those who meant the wound;
But kept the tenor of his mind,
To merit well of humankind,
Nor made a sacrifice of those
Who still were true, to please his foes.
He laboured many a fruitless hour
To reconcile his friends in power;
Saw mischief by a faction brewing,
While they pursued each other's ruin;
But finding vain was all his care,
He left the court in mere despair.
Harmonious Cibber entertains
The court with annual birthday strains;
Whence Gay was banished in disgrace;
Where Pope will never show his face;
Where Young must torture his invention
To flatter knaves, or lose his pension.
But these are not a thousandth part
Of jobbers in the poet's art,
Attending each his proper station,
And all in due subordination,
Through ev'ry alley to be found,
In garrets high or under ground;
And when they join their pericranies,
Out skips a book of miscellanies.
Hobbes clearly proves that ev'ry creature
Lives in state of war by nature;
The greater for the smaller watch,
But meddle seldom with their match:
A whale of mod'rate size will draw
A shoal of herrings down his maw;
A fox with geese his belly crams;
A wolf destroys a thousand lambs.
But search among the rhyming race,
The brave are worried by the base:
If on Parnassus' top you sit,
You rarely bite, are always bit;
Each poet of inferior size
On you shall rail and criticise,
And strive to tear you limb from limb;
While others do as much for him.
The vermin only tease and pinch
Their foes superior by an inch:
So, nat'ralists observe, a flea
Hath smaller fleas that on him prey;
And these have smaller still to bite 'em;
And so proceed ad infinitum.
Thus ev'ry poet, in his kind,
Is bit by him that comes behind;
Who, though too little to be seen,
Can tease, and gall, and give the spleen.
ODE ON SOLITU DE
Happy the man whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breathe his native air,
In his own ground:
Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
Whose flocks supply him with attire;
Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
In winter fire:
Blest who can unconcern'dly find
Hours, days, and years slide soft away, In health of body, peace of mind,
Quiet by day,
Sound sleep by night, study and ease
Together mixed, sweet recreation,
And innocence, which most does please,
Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;
Thus unlamented let me die,
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lie.
First in these fields I try the sylvan strains,
Nor blush to sport on Windsor's blissful plains:
Fair Thames, flow gently from thy sacred spring,
While on thy banks Sicilian Muses sing;
Let vernal airs through trembling osiers play,
And Albion's cliffs resound the rural lay.
You, that too wise for pride, too good for pow'r,
Enjoy the glory to be great no more,
And, carrying with you all the world can boast,
To all the world illustriously are lost,
O let my Muse her slender reed inspire,
Till in your native shades you tune the lyre:
So when the nightingale to rest removes,
The thrush may chant to the forsaken groves,
But, charmed to silence, listens while she sings,
And all th' aërial audience clap their wings.
Soon as the flocks shook off the nightly dews,
Two swains, whom love kept wakeful, and the Muse,
Poured o'er the whit'ning vale their fleecy care,
Fresh as the morn and as the season fair.
The dawn now blushing on the mountain's side,
Thus Daphnis spoke, and Strephon thus replied.
Daphnis. Hear how the birds, on ev'ry bloomy spray,
With joyous music wake the dawning day!
Why sit we mute when early linnets sing,
When warbling Philomel salutes the spring?
Why sit we sad when Phosphor shines so clear,
And lavish Nature paints the purple year?
Strephon. Sing, then, and Damon shall attend the strain,
While yon slow oxen turn the furrowed plain.
Here the bright crocus and blue vi'let glow,
Here western winds on breathing roses blow.
I'll stake yon lamb, that near the fountain plays,
And from the brink his dancing shade surveys.
Daphnis. And I this bowl, where wanton ivy twines,
And swelling clusters bend the curling vines;
Four figures rising from the work appear,
The various seasons of the rolling year;
And what is that, which binds the radiant sky,
Where twelve fair signs in beauteous order lie?
Damon. Then sing by turns, by turns the Muses sing.
Now hawthorns blossom, now the daisies spring;
Now leaves the trees, and flow'rs adorn the ground:
Begin; the vales shall ev'ry note rebound.
Strephon. Inspire me, Phœbus, in my Delia's praise,
With Waller's strains or Granville's moving lays!
A milk-white bull shall at your altars stand,
That threats a fight, and spurns the rising sand.
Daphnis. O Love! for Sylvia let me gain the prize,
And make my tongue victorious as her eyes!
No lambs or sheep for victims I'll impart,
Thy victim, Love, shall be the shepherd's heart.
Strephon. Me gentle Delia beckons from the plain,
Then, hid in shades, eludes her eager swain;
But feigns a laugh, to see me search around,
And by that laugh the willing fair is found.
Daphnis. The sprightly Sylvia trips along the green;
She runs, but hopes she does not run unseen!
While a kind glance at her pursuer flies,
How much at variance are her feet and eyes!
Strephon. O'er golden sands let rich Pactolus flow,
And trees weep amber on the banks of Po:
Blest Thames's shores the brightest beauties yield;
Feed here my lambs, I'll seek no distant field.
Daphnis. Celestial Venus haunts Idalia's groves;
Diana Cynthus, Ceres Hybla loves:
If Windsor shades delight the matchless maid,
Cynthus and Hybla yield to Windsor shade.
Strephon. All Nature mourns, the skies relent in show'rs, Hushed are the birds, and closed the drooping flow'rs; If Delia smile, the flow'rs begin to spring,
The skies to brighten, and the birds to sing.
Daphnis. All Nature laughs, the groves are fresh and fair, The sun's mild lustre warms the vital air;
If Sylvia smiles, new glories gild the shore,
And vanquished Nature seems to charm no more.
Strephon. In spring the fields, in autumn hills I love,
At morn the plains, at noon the shady grove,
But Delia always; absent from her sight,
Nor plains at morn nor groves at noon delight.
Daphnis. Sylvia's like autumn ripe, yet mild as May;
More bright than noon, yet fresh as early day:
Ev'n spring displeases, when she shines not here;
But, blest with her, 't is spring throughout the year.
Strephon. Say, Daphnis, say, in what glad soil appears 85
A wondrous tree, that sacred monarchs bears?
Tell me but this, and I'll disclaim the prize,
And give the conquest to thy Sylvia's eyes.
Daphnis. Nay, tell me, first, in what more happy fields
The Thistle springs, to which the Lily yields;
And then a nobler prize I will resign,
For Sylvia, charming Sylvia, shall be thine.
Damon. Cease to contend; for, Daphnis, I decree
The bowl to Strephon, and the lamb to thee.
Blest swains, whose nymphs in ev'ry grace excel;
Blest nymphs, whose swains those graces sing so well!
Now rise, and haste to yonder woodbine bow'rs,
A soft retreat from sudden vernal show'rs;
The turf with rural dainties shall be crowned,
While op'ning blooms diffuse their sweets around:
For see! the gath'ring flocks to shelter tend,
And from the Pleiads fruitful show'rs descend.
The groves of Eden, vanished now so long,
Live in description, and look green in song: