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No wonder then if nicely skill'd

In both capacities to build.

As herald, he can in a day
Repair a house gone to decay;
Or, by atchievement, arms, device,
Erect a new one in a trice;

And, as a poet, he has skill

To build in fpeculation ftill.

Great Jove! he cry'd, the art restore
To build by verfe as heretofore,
And make my Mufe the architect;
What palaces fhall we erect !
No longer fhall forsaken Thames
Lament his old Whitehall in flames
A pile fhall from its afhes rife,
Fit to invade or prop the fkies.

Jove fmil'd, and, like a gentle god,
Confenting with the ufual nod,
Told Van, he knew his talent beft,
And left the choice to his own breaft.
So Van refolv'd to write a farce;
But, well perceiving wit was fcarce,
With cunning that defect fupplies :
Takes a French play as lawful prize;
Steals thence his plot and every joke,
Not once fufpecting Jove would smoke
And (like a wag fet down to write)
Would whifper to himself, a bite.
Then, from this motley, mingled ftyle,
Proceeded to erect his pile.


So men of old, to gain renown, did
Build Babel with their tongues confounded.
Jove faw the cheat, but thought it best
To turn the matter to a jeft:

Down from Olympus' top he flides,
Laughing as if he 'd burft his fides:

Ay, thought the God, are thefe your tricks?
Why then old plays deferve old bricks;
And, fince you're fparing of your stuff,
Your building shall be small enough.
He fpake, and, grudging, lent his aid:
Th' experienc'd bricks, that knew their trade
(As being bricks at fecond-hand),
Now move, and now in order ftand.

The building, as the poet writ,

Rofe in proportion to his wit:
And first the prologue built a wall
So wide as to encompass all.

The scene, a wood, produc'd no more
Than a few scrubby trees before.
The plot as yet lay deep; and fo
A cellar next was dug below :
But this a work fo hard was found,
Two acts it coft him under ground.
Two other acts, we may prefume,
Were fpent in building each a room:
Thus far advanc'd, he made a shift
To raise a roof with act the fifth.
The epilogue behind did frame
A place not decent here to name.


Now poets from all quarters ran
To fee the houfe of brother Van;

Look'd high and low, walk'd often round;
But no fuch house was to be found.
One afks the watermen hard-by,
"Where may, the poet's palace lie ?”
Another of the Thames inquires,
If he has seen its gilded spires?
At length they in the rubbish spy
A thing refembling a goofe-pye.
Thither in haste the poets throng,
And gaze in filent wonder long,
Till one in raptures thus began
To praise the pile and builder Van.

Thrice happy poet! who may'st trail
Thy house about thee like a fnail :
Or, harness'd to a nag, at ease
Take journeys in it like a chaise;
Or in a boat, whene'er thou wilt,
Canft make it ferve thee for a tilt!
Capacious house! 'tis own'd by all

Thou 't well contriv'd, though thou art fmall:

For every wit in Britain's isle

May lodge within thy fpacious pile.

Like Bacchus thou, as poets feign,

Thy mother burnt, art born again,
Born like a phoenix from the flame;
But neither bulk nor bape the fame:
As animals of largest fize
Corrupt to maggots, worms, and flies;

A type


type of modern wit and style
The rubbish of an ancient pile.

So chemifts boast they have a power
From the dead afhes of a flower

Some faint refeinblance to produce,
But not the virtue, tafte, or juice.
So modern rhymers wifely blast
The poetry of ages paft;

Which after they have overthrown,

They from its ruins build their own.




WHEN mother Clud had rofe from play

And call'd to take the cards away,

Van faw, but feem'd not to regard,
How Mifs pick'd every painted card,
And, bufy both with hand and eye,
Soon rear'd a house two ftories high.
Van's genius, without thought or lecture,
Is hugely turn'd to architecture :
He view'd the edifice, and fmil'd,
Vow'd it was pretty for a child :
It was fo perfect in its kind,

He kept the model in his mind.

* Dr. Swift made Sir John Vanbrugh ample amends for the pointed raillery of this and the preceding poem, in the Preface to his Mifcellanies, 1727.


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But, when he found the boys at play,
And faw them dabbling in their clay,
He ftood behind a ftall to lurk,
And mark the progrefs of their work;
With true delight obferv'd them all
Raking up mud to build a wall.
The plan he much admir'd, and took
The model in his table-book ;
Thought himself now exactly skill'd,
And fo refolv'd a house to build;
A real houfe, with rooms, and fairs,
Five times at least as big as theirs;
Taller than Mifs's by two yards;
Not a fham thing of clay or cards:
And fo he did; for, in a while,
He built up fuch a monftrous pile,
That no two chairmen could be found
Able to lift it from the ground.
Still at Whitehall it ftands in view,
Juft in the place where first it grew:
There all the little school-boys run,
Envying to fee themselves out-done.

From fuch deep rudiments as these,
Van is become by due degrees
For building fam'd, and juftly reckon'd,
At court, Vitruvius the second:
No wonder, fince wife authors fhow,
That beft foundations must be low:
And now the Duke has wifely ta'en him
To be his architect at Blenheim.


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