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I will convince the world by tawdry clothes
That belles are less effeminate than beaux,
And Doctor Lamb should pare my lordship’s toes.
To boon companions I my time would give,
With players, pimps, and parasites I'd live:
I would with jockeys from Newmarket dine,
And to rough riders give my choicest wine;
I would caress some stableman of note,
And imitate his language and his coat.
My evenings all I would with sharpers spend,
And make the thief-catcher my bosom friend :
In Fig, the prize-fighter, by day delight,
And sup with Colley Cibber every night.
Should I perchance be fashionably ill,
I'll send for Misaubin, and take his pill:
I should abhor, though in the utmost need,
Arbuthnot, Hollins, Wigan, Lee, or Mead;
But if I found that I grew worse and worse,
I'd turn off Misaubin and take a nurse.
How oft, when eminent physicians fail,
Do good old women's remedies prevail ?
When beauty's gone, and Chloe's struck with,
Eyes she can touch, and she can syringe ears:
Of graduates I dislike the learned rout,
And choose a female doctor for the gout.
Thus would I live with no dull pedants cursed,
Sure, of all blockheads, scholars are the worst.
Back to your universities, ye fools,
And dangle arguments on strings in schools:
Those schools which universities they call,
"Twere well for England were there none at all!
With ease that loss the nation might sustain,
Supplied by Goodman's Fields and Drury Lane,
Oxford and Cambridge are not worth one farthing,
Compared to Haymarket and Covent Garden.
Quit those, ye British youth, and follow these;
Turn players all, and take your squire's degrees :
Boast not your incomes now, as heretofore,
Ye book-learn'd seats! the theatres have more:
Ye stiff-rump'd heads of colleges, be dumb;
A single eunuch gets a larger sum.
Have some of you three hundred by the year;
Booth, Rich, and Cibber, twice three thousand
Should Oxford to her sister Cambridge join
A year's rack-rent and arbitrary fine;
Thence not one winter's charge would be defray'd
For playhouse, opera, ball, and masquerade.
Glad I congratulate the judging age,
The players are the world, the world the stage.
I am a politician too, and hate
Of any party ministers of state:
I'm for an Act, that he who seven whole years
Has served his king and country lose his ears.
Thus from my birth I'm qualified you find
To give the laws of taste to humankind.
Mine are the gallant schemes of politesse,
For books and buildings, politics and dress.
This is true taste, and whoso likes it not,
Is blockhead, coxcomb, puppy, fool, and sot.
RIGHT HON. SIR SPENCER COMPTON*. ROUND some fair tree the ambitious woodbine
grows, And breathes her sweets on the supporting boughs: So sweet the verse, the’ ambitious verse should be (O! pardon mine) that hopes support from thee; Thee, Compton! born o'er senates to preside, Their dignity to raise, their councils guide; Deep to discern, and widely to survey, And kingdoms' fates, without ambition, weigh; Of distant virtues nice extremes to blend, The crown's assertor, and the people's friend : Nor dost thou scorn, amid sublimer views, To listen to the labours of the Muse; Thy smiles protect her, while thy talents fire, And 'tis but half thy glory to inspire.
Vex'd at a public fame, so justly won, The jealous Chremes is with spleen undone; Chremes, for airy pensions of renown, Devotes his service to the state and crown: Allschemes he knows, and, knowing, all improves : Though Britain's thankless, still this patriot loves: But patriots differ; some may shed their blood, He drinks his coffee, for the public good; Consults the sacred steam, and there foresees What storms or sunshine Providence decrees; Knows for each day the weather of our fate : A quidnunc is an almanack of state.
* Speaker of the House of Commons; afterwards created Viscount Pevensey, and Earl of Wilmington.
You smile and think this statesman void of use; Why may not time his secret worth produce ? Since apes can roast the choice Castanian nut, Since steeds of genius are expert at put, Since half the senate Not Content can say, Geese nations save, and puppies plots betray.
What makes him model realms and counsel An incapacity for smaller things. [kings?Poor Chremes can't conduct his own estate, And thence has undertaken Europe's fate.
Gehenno leaves the realm to Chremes' skill, And boldly claims a province higher still: To raise a name, the ambitious boy has got At once a Bible and a shoulderknot: Deep in the secret, he looks through the whole, And pities the dull rogue that saves his soul: To talk with reverence you must take good heed, Nor shock his tender reason with the creed: Howe'er well bred, in public he complies, Obliging friends alone with blasphemies.
Peerage is poison ; good estates are bad For this disease; poor rogues run seldom mad. Have not attainders brought unhoped relief, And falling stocks quite cured an unbelief? While the sun shines, Blunt talks with wondrous
force; But thunder mars small beer and weak discourse : Such useful instruments the weather show, Just as their mercury is high or low: Health chiefly keeps an atheist in the dark, A fever argues better than a Clarke: Let but the logic in his pulse decay, The Grecian he'll renounce, and learn to pray;
While Collins * mourns, with an unfeigned zeal,
The' apostate youth who reason'd once so well.
Collins, who makes so merry with the creed,
He almost thinks he disbelieves indeed;
But only thinks so: to give both their due,
Satan and he believe and tremble too.
Of some for glory such the boundless rage
That they're the blackest scandal of their age.
Narcissus the Tartarian club disclaims;
Nay, a freemason with some terror names;
Omits no duty; nor can Envy say
He miss'd these many years, the church or play :
He makes no noise in parliament, 'tis true,
But pays his debts, and visit, when 'tis due;
His character and gloves are ever clean,
And then he can outbow the bowing dean :
A smile eternal on his lip he wears,
Which equally the wise and worthless shares.
In gay fatigues, this most undaunted chief,
Patient of idleness beyond belief,
Most charitably lends the town his face,
For ornament in every public place:
As sure as cards he to the’ assembly comes,
And is the furniture of drawingrooms:
When ombre calls, his hand and heart are free,
And, join'd to two, he fails not—to make three.
Narcissus is the glory of his race,
For who does nothing with a better grace ?
To deck my list by Nature were design'd
Such shining expletives of humankind, salong,
Who want, while through blank life they dream
Sense to be right, and passion to wrong.
• Anthony Collins, founder of the sect of Freethinkern.