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If Blount dispatch'd himself, he play'd the man,
Let modest Foster, if he will, excel Ten metropolitans in preaching well ; A simple Quaker, or a Quaker's wife, Outdo Landaffe in doctrine....yea in life: Let humble Allen, with an awkward shame, 135 Do good by stealth, and blush to find it fame. Virtue may chuse the high or low degree, 'Tis just alike to Virtue and to me; Dwell in a monk, or light upon a king, She's still the same belov'd contented thing. 140 Vice is undone if she forgets her birth, And stoops from angels to the dregs of earth ; But 'tis the fall degrades her to a whore ; Let greatness own her, and she's mean no more: Her birth, her beauty, crowds and courts confess, Chaste matrons praise her, and grave bishops bless; In golden chains the willing world she draws, And her's the gospel is, and her's the laws;
Mounts the tribunal, lifts her scarlet head,
160 In soldier, churchman, patriot, man in pow'r, 'Tis av'rice all, ambition is no more ! See all our nobles begging to be slaves ! See all our fools aspiring to be knaves ! The wit of cheats, the courage of a whore, 165 Are what ten thousand envy and adore : All, all look up, with reverential awe, At crimes that 'scape or triumph o'er the law : While truth, worth, wisdom, daily they decry.... “ Nothing is sacred now but villainy."
170 Yet may this verse (if such a verse remain) Show there was one who held it in disdain.
P. Not yet, my friend! to-morrow, faith, it may;
F. Yet none but you by name the guilty lash; 10 Ev'n Guthry saves half Newgate by a dash. Spare then the person, and expose the vice.
P. How, Sir! not damn the sharper, but the dice? Come on then, Satire! general unconfiu'd, Spread thy broad wing, and souse on all the kind. 15 Ye statesmen, priests, of our religion all ! Ye tradesmen, vile in army, court, or hall! Ye rev'rend Atheists.
F. Scandal! name them, who?
P. Why that's the thing you bid me not to do.
F. You do.
The bribing statesman....F. Hold, too high you go.
P. The brib'd elector....
P. I fain would please you if I knew with what :
F. A dean, Sir ? no: his fortune is not made; You hurt a man that's rising in the trade.
P. If not the tradesman who sets up to-day, Much less the 'prentice, who to-morrow may. Down, down, proud Satire! tho' a realm be spoil'd, Arraign no mightier thief than wretched Wild; Or, if a court or country's made a job,
40 Go drench a pickpocket, and join the mob.
But, Sir, I beg you (for the love of vice !) The matter's weighty, pray consider twice: Have you less pity for the needy cheat,
and friendless villain, than the great ? 45 Alas! the small discredit of a bribe Scarce hurts the lawyer, but undoes the scribe. Then better sure it charity becomes To tax directors, who (thank God !) have plumas;
Still better ministers, or if the thing
50 May pinch ev'n there....why lay it on a king.
F. Stop! Stop!
P. Must Satire then nor rise nor fall?
F. Yes, strike that Wild, I'll justify the blow.
P. Strike? why the man was hang'd ten years ago : Who now that obsolete example fears?
56 Ev'n Peter trembles only for his ears. F. What, always Peter? Peter thinks you
mad: You make them desp'rate if they once are bad, Else might he take to virtue some years hence.... 60
P. As S*****k, if he lives, will love the prince.
P. Do I wrong the man?
70 Ev'n in a bishop I can spy desert; Secker is decent, Rundel has a heart; Manners with candour are to Benson giv'n, To Berkley ev'ry virtue under heav'n.