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EPISTLE to Mr. SPENCE,
When Tutor to Lord MIDDLESEX.
In Imitation of HORACE, Book I. Epift. XVIII,
PENCE, with a friend you pass the hours away
In pointed jokes, yet innocently gay
You ever differ'd from a flatterer more,
Than a chafte lady from a flaunting whore.
'Tis true you rallied every fault
But gently tickled, while you cur'd the wound
Unlike the paultry poets of the town,
Rogues who expose themselves for half a crown:
And ftill impofe on every foul they meet
Rudeness for fenfe, and ribaldry for wit:
Who, though half-starv'd, in spite of time and place,
Repeat their rhymes, though dinner stays for grace:
And as their poverty their dreffes fit,
They think of course a floven is a wit:
But fenfe (a truth thefe coxcombs ne'er fufpect)
Lies juft 'twixt affectation and neglect.
One step still lower, if you can, defcend,
To the mean wretch, the great man's humble friend
That moving fhade, that pendant at his ear,
That two-legg'd dog, ftill pawing on the peer.
Studying his looks, and watching at the board,
He gapes to catch the droppings of my lord;
And, tickled to the foul at every joke,
Like a prefs'd watch, repeats what t'other spoke:
Echo to nonfenfe! fuch a fcene to hear!
'Tis juft like Punch and his interpreter.
On trifles fome are earnestly abfurd,
You'll think the world depends on ev'ry word.
What, is not every mortal free to speak ?
I'll give my reafons, tho' I break my neck.
And what's the question ?—if it shines or rains,
Whether 'tis twelve or fifteen miles to Staines.
The wretch reduc'd to rags by every vice,
Pride, projects, races, miftreffes, and dice,
The rich rogue shuns, though full as bad as he,
And knows a quarrel is good husbandry.
'Tis ftrange, cries Peter, you are out of pelf,
I'm fure I thought you wiser than myself;
Yet gives him nothing-but advice too late,
Retrench, or rather mortgage your estate,
I can advance the fum,-'tis best for both;
But henceforth cut your coat to match your cloth.
A minifter, in mere revenge and fport,
Shall give his foe a paltry place at court.
The dupe for every royal birth-day buys
New horfes, coaches, cloaths, and liveries;
Plies at the levee, and distinguish'd there
Lives on the royal whisper for a year;
His wenches thine in Bruffels and Brocade!
And now the wretch, ridiculously mad,
Draws on his banker, mortgages and fails,
Then to the country runs away from jails:
There ruin'd by the court he fells a vote
To the next burgess, as of old he bought ;
Rubs down the fteeds which once his chariot bore,
Or fweeps the town, which once he ferv'd before.
But, by this roving meteor led, I tend
Beyond my theme, forgetful of my friend.
Then take advice; I preach not out of time,
When good lord Middlesex is bent on rhyme.
Their humour check'd, or inclination cross'd,
Sometimes the friendship of the great is loft.
Unless call'd out to wench, be sure comply,
Hunt when he hunts, and lay the Fathers by:
For your reward you gain his love, and dine
On the best venison and the best French wine,
Nor to lord ****** make the observation,
How the twelve peers have anfwer'd their creation,
Nor in your wine or wrath betray your trust,
Be filent ftill, and obftinately just:
Explore no fecrets, draw no characters,
For echo will repeat, and walls have ears:
Nor let a busy fool a fecret know,
A fecret gripes him till he lets it go :
Words are like bullets, and we wish in vain,
When once discharg'd, to call them back again.
Defend, dear Spence, the honeft and the civil,
But to cry up a rafcal-that's the devil.
Who guards a good man's character, 'tis known,
At the fame time protects and guards his own.
For as with houfes 'tis with people's names,
A fhed may fet a palace all on flames;
The fire neglected on the cottage preys,
But mounts at last into a general blaze.
'Tis a fine thing, fome think, a lord to know; I wish his tradefmen could but think fo too.
He gives his word--then all your hopes are gone:
He gives his honour--then you're quite undone.
His and fome women's love the fame are found;
You rafhly board a firefhip, and are drown'd.
Moft folks fo partial to themselves are grown,
They hate a temper differing from their own.
The grave abhor the gay, the gay the fad,
And formalifts pronounce the witty mad:
The fot, who drinks fix bottles in a place,
Swears at the flinchers who refuse their glass.
Would you not pafs for an ill-natur'd man,
Comply with every humour that you can.
Pope will inftruct you how to pass away
Your time like him, and never lofe a day;
From hopes or fears your quiet to defend,
To all mankind as to yourself a friend,
And, facred from the world, retir'd, unknown,
To lead a life with mortals like his own.
When to delicious Pimperne I retire,
What greater blifs, my Spence, can I defire?
Contented there my eafy hours I spend
With maps, globes, books, my bottle, and a friend.
There can I live upon my income still,
E'en though the houfe fhould pafs the Quakers bill:
Yet to my fhare fhould fome good prebend fall,
I think myself of fize to fill a stall.
For life or wealth let Heaven my lot affign,
A firm and even foul fhall ftill be mine.
SPECIMEN of a Tranflation of the ODYSSEY.
HE nurfe all wild with tranfport feem'd to swim,
Joy wing'd her feet and lighten'd ev'ry limb;
Then to the room with speed impatient borne
Flew with the tidings of her lord's return.
'There bending o'er the fleeping queen, fhe cries,
Rife, my Penelope, my daughter, ife
To fee Ulyffes thy long abfent fpoule,
Thy foul's defire and lord of all thy vows:
Though late, he comes, and in his rage has flain,
For all their wrongs, the haughty fuitor train.
Ah, Euryclea, fhe replies, you rave;
The gods refume that reafon which they gave;
For Heaven deep wifdom to the fool fupplies,
But oft infatuates and confounds the wife.
And wifdom once was thine! but now I find
The gods have ruin'd thy diftemper'd mind.
How could you hope your fiction to impofe?
Was it to flatter or deride my woes ?
How could you break a fleep with talk so vain,
That held my forrows in fo foft a chain?
A fleep fo fweet I never could enjoy
Since my dear lord left Ithaca for Troy:
Curft Troy-oh! why did I thy name difclofe?
Thy fatal name awakens all my woes :
But fly-fome other had provok'd my rage,
And you but owe your pardon to your age.