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What should a Poet do? 'Tis hard for one
To pleasure all the fools that would be hown:
And yet not two in ten will pass the town.
Most coxcombs are not of the laughing kind;
More goes to make a fop, than fops can find.

Quack Maurus, though he never took degrees
In either of our universities;
Yet to be shown by some kind wit he looks,
Because he play'd the fool and writ three books:
But, if he would be worth a Poet's pen,
He must be more a fool, and write again :
For all the former fuftian stuff he wrote,
Was dead-born doggrel, or is quite forgot :
His man of Uz, stript of his Hebrew robe,
Is just the proverb, and As poor as Job.
One would have thought he could no longer jog;
But Arthur was a level, Job's a bog.
There, though he crept, yet still he kept in fight;
But here, he founders in, and finks downright.
Had he prepar'd us, and been dull by rule,
Tobit had first been turn’d to ridicule:
But our bold Briton, without fear or awe,
O’er-leaps at once the whole Apocrypha ;
Invades the Psalms with rhymes, and leaves no room
For any Vandal Hopkins yet to come.

But when, if, after all, this godly geer
Is not fo fenseless as it would appear;
Our mountebank has laid a deeper train,
His cant, like Merry Andrew's noble vein,
Cat-calls the fects to draw them in again,

At

At leisure hours, in epic song he deals,
Writes to the rumbling of his coach's wheels,
Prescribes in haste, and seldom kills by rule,
But rides triumphant between stool and stool.

Well, let him go; 'tis yet too early day,
To get himself a place in farce or play.
We knew not by what name we should arraign him.
For no one category can contain him;
A pedant, canting preacher, and a quack,
Are load enough to break one afs's back:
At last grown wanton, he presum’d to write,
Traduc'd two kings, their kindness to requite;
One made the doctor, and one dubb'd the knight.

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XLIII.

EPILOGUE TO THE PILGRIM. PERH ERHAPS the Parson stretch'd a point too far,

When with our Theatres he wag'd a war.
He tells you, that this very moral

age
Receiv'd the first infection from the stage.
But sure, a banish'd court, with lewdness fraught,
The feeds of open vice, returning, brought.
Thus lodg'd (as vice by great example thrives)
It first debauch'd the daughters and the wives.
London, a fruitful soil, yet never bore
So plentiful a crop of horns before.
The Poets, who must live by courts, or ftarve,
Were proud, so good a government to serve;

And,

U 2

And, mixing with buffoons and pimps prophane,
Tainted the Stage, for some small snip of gain,
For they, like harlots, under bawds profest,
Took all th' ungodly pains, and got the leaft,
Thus did the thriving malady prevail,
'The court its head, the Poets but the tail.
The sin was of our native growth, 'tis true;
The scandal of the fin was wholly new.
Misses they were, but modestly conceal'd;
White-hall the naked Venus first reveal'd.
Who ftanding as at Cyprus, in her shrine,
The strumpet was ador'd with rites divine.
Ere this, if saints had

any

secret motion,
'Twas chamber-practice all, and close devotion.
I pass the peccadillos of their time;
Nothing but open lewdness was a crime.
A monarch's blood was venial to the nation,
Compar'd with one foul act of fornication.
Now, they would silence us, and shut the door,
That let in all the bare-fac'd vice before.
As for reforming us, which some pretend,
That work in England is without an end :
Well may we change, but we shall never mend.
Yet, if you can but bear the present Stage,
We hope much better of the coming age.
What would you say, if we should first begin
To stop the trade of love behind the scene:
Where actresses make bold with married men?
For while abroad fo prodigal the dolt is,
Poor spouse at home as ragged as a colt is.

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In short, we'll grow as moral as we can,
Save here and there a woman or a man:
But neither you, nor we, with all our pains,
Can make clean work; there will be some remains,
While you have still your Oats, and we our Hains,

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