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L L human things are subject to decay,
And when fate summons, monarchs must

This Flecknoe found, who, like Augustus, young
Was call’d to empire, and had govern'd long;
In prose and verse, was own'd, without dispute,
Thro all the realms of Nonsense, absolute.
This aged prince, now flourishing in peace,
And blest with issue of a large increase
Worn out with business, did at length debate
To settle the fucceffion of the state :


And, pond'ring, which of all his fons was fit
To reign, and

immortal war with wit,
Cry'd, 'tis resolv'd; for nature pleads, that he
Should only rule, who most resembles me.
Shadwell alone my perfect image bears,
Mature in dullness from his tender years :
Shadwell alone, of all my sons, is he,
Who stands confirm'd in full stupidity.
The rest to some faint meaning make pretence,
But Shadwell never deviates into sense.
Some beams of wit on other souls
Strike thro, and make a lucid interval;
But Shadwell's genuine night admits no ray,
His rising fogs prevail upon the day.
Besides, his goodly fabric fills the eye,
And seems design’d for thoughtless majesty :
Thoughtless as monarch oaks, that shade the plain,
And spread in solemn state supinely reign.
Heywood and Shirley were but types
Thou last great prophet of tautology.
Even I, a dunce of more renown than they,
Was sent before but to prepare thy way ;
And, coarsely clad in Norwich drugget, came
To teach the nations in thy greater name.
My warbling lute, the lute I whilom strung,
When to king John of Portugal I fung,

may fall,


of thee,

Was but the prelude to that glorious day,
When thou on silver Thames didst cut thy way,
With well-tim'd oars before the royal barge,
Swell’d with the pride of thy celestial charge;
And big with hymn, commander of an host,
The like was ne'er in Epsom blankets tost.
Methinks I see the new Arion fail,
The lute still trembling underneath thy nail.
At thy well-Tharpen'd thumb from shore to shore
The trebles squeak for fear, the bases roar :
Echoes from Piffing-Alley Shadwell call,
And Shadwell they resound from Afton-Hall.
About thy boat the little fishes throng,
As at the morning toast that floats along.
Sometimes, as prince of thy harmonious band,
Thou weild'st thy papers in thy threshing hand.
St. Andre's feet ne'er kept more equal time,
Not ev’n the feet of thy own Psyche’s rhime:
Tho they in number as in sense excel ;
So just, so like tautology, they fell,
That; pale with envy, Singleton forswore
The lute and sword, which he in triumph bore,
And vow'd he ne'er would act Villerius more.

Here stopt the good old fire, and wept for joy, In filent raptures of the hopeful boy.

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All arguments, but most his plays, persuade,
That for anointed dulness he was made.

Close to the walls which fair Augusta bind,
(The fair Augusta much to fears inclin'd)
An ancient fabric rais’d t'inform the fight,
There stood of yore,

and Barbican it hight:
A watch-tower once; but now fo fate ordains,
Of all the pile an empty name remains :
From its old ruins brothel-houses rise,
Scenes of lewd loves, and of polluted joys,
Wherethere vast courts the mother-strumpets keep,
And, undisturb'd by watch, in silence sleep.
Near these a nursery erects its head,
Where queens are form’d, and future heroes bred;
Where unfledg’d actors learn to laugh and cry,
Where infant punks their tender voices try,
And little Maximins the gods defy.
Great Fletcher never treads in buskins here,
Nor greater Jonson dares in socks appear ;
But gentle Simkin just reception finds
Amidst this monument of vanish'd minds :
Pure clinches the suburbian mule affords,
And Panton waging harmless war with words.
Here Flecknoe, as a place to fame well known,
Ambitiously design’d his Shadwell's throne.

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