Графични страници
PDF файл

Exalt each trifle, every vice adore,
Your taste in snuff, your judgment in a whore ;
Can Balbo’s eloquence applaud, and swear
He gropes his breeches with a monarch's air!
For arts like these preferr'd, admired, ca-

They first invade your table, then your breast;
Explore your secrets with insidious art,
Watch the weak hour, and ransack all the heart;
Then soon your ill placed confidence repay,
Commence your lords, and govern or betray.

By numbers here, from shame or censure free,
All crimes are safe but hated poverty :
This, only this the rigid law pursues,
This, only this provokes the snarling muse.
The sober trader at a tatter'd cloak
Wakes from his dream, and labours for a joke ;
With brisker air the silken courtiers gaze,
And turn the varied taunt a thousand ways.
Of all the griefs that harass the distress'd,
Sure the most bitter is a scornful jest ;
Fate never wounds more deep the generous heart
Than when a blockhead's insult points the dart.

Has Heaven reserved, in pity to the poor,
No pathless waste, or undiscover'd shore ?
No secret island in the boundless main ?
No peaceful desert yet unclaim'd by Spain * ?
Quick let us rise, the happy seats explore,
And bear Oppression's insolence no more.
This mournful truth is every where confess’d,
Slow rises worth by poverty depress'd :

* The Spaniards at that time were said to make claim to some of our American provinces.

But here more slow, where all are slaves to gold,
Where looks are merchandise, and smiles are sold;
Where, won by bribes, by flatteries implored,
The groom retails the favours of his lord.
* But hark! the’ affrighted crowd's tumultuous

cries Roll through the streets, and thunder to the skies : Raised from some pleasing dream of wealth and

power, Some pompous palace, or some blissful bower, Aghast you start, and scarce with aching sight Sustain the' approaching fire's tremendous light; Swift from pursuing horrors take your way, And leave your little all to flames a prey ; Then through the world a wretched vagrant roam, For where can starving Merit find a home? In vain your mournful narrative disclose, While all neglect, and most insult your woes. • Should Heaven's just bolts Orgilio's wealth

confound, And spread his flaming palace on the ground, Swift o'er the land the dismal rumour flies, And public mournings pacify the skies ; Tbe laureate tribe in servile verse relate, How Virtue wars with persecuting Fate ; With well feign'd gratitude the pension’d band Refund the plunder of the beggar'd land. See! while he builds, the gaudy vassals come, And crowd with sudden wealth the rising dome; - The price of boroughs and of souls restore, And raise his treasures higher than before : Now bless'd with all the baubles of the great, The polish'd marble and the shining plate,

Orgilio sees the golden pile aspire,
And hopes from angry Heaven another fire.

Couldst thou resign the park and play content,
For the fair banks of Severn or of Trent ;
There mightst thou find some elegant retreat,
Some hireling senator's deserted seat,
And stretch thy prospects o'er the smiling land,
For less than rent the dungeons of the Strand;
There prune thy walks, support thy drooping

flowers, Direct thy rivulets, and twine thy bowers; And, while thy beds a cheap repast afford, Despise the dainties of a venal lord: There every bush with nature's music rings, There every breeze bears health upon its wings; On all thy hours security shall smile, And bless thine evening walk and morning toil.

• Prepare for death, if here at night you roam; And sign your will before you sup from home. Some fiery fop, with new commission vain, Who sleeps on brambles till he kills his man; Some frolic drunkard, reeling from a feast, Provokes a broil, and stabs you for a jest.

" Yet een these heroes, mischievously gay, Lords of the street, and terrors of the way; Flush'd as they are with folly, youth, and wine, Their prudent insults to the poor confine ; Afar they mark the flambeau's bright approach, And shun the shining train and golden coach. "In vain, these dangers pass'd, your doors you

close, And hope the balmy blessings of repose : Cruel with guilt, and daring with despair, The midnight murderer bursts the faithless bar;



Invades the sacred hour of silent rest,
And plants, unseen, a dagger in your breast.
Scarce can our fields, such crowds at Tyburn

With hemp the gallows and the fleet supply.
Propose your schemes, ye senatorian band,
Whose ways and means * support the sinking land;
Lest ropes be wanting in the tempting spring
To rig another convoy for the king +.

• A single jail, in Alfred's golden reign, Could half the nation's criminals contain; Fair Justice then, without constraint adored, Held high the steady scale, but sheath'd the sword; No spies were paid, no special juries known; Bless'd age! but ah! how different from our own!

“Much could I add,-but see the boat at hand, The tide retiring, calls me from the land: Farewell!-When youth and health and fortune

spent, Thou fliest for refuge to the wilds of Kent; And, tired like me with follies and with crimes, In angry numbers warn'st succeeding times; Then shall thy friend, nor thou refuse his aid, Still foe to vice, forsake his Cambrian shade; In virtue's cause once more exert his rage, Thy satire point, and animate thy page.'


* A technical term in parliament for raising money.

+ The nation was then discontented at the repeated visits made by George the Second to Hanover.


An Essay.

WELL—though our passions riot, fret, and rave,
Wild and capricious as the wind and wave,
One common folly, say whate'er we can,
Has fix'd at last the mercury of man;
And rules, as sacred as his father's creed,
O’er every native of the Thames and Tweed.

Ask ye what power it is that dares to claim So vast an empire and so wide a fame? What god unshrined in all the ages pass'd ? I'll tell you, friend! in one short word—'tis Taste; Taste that, without or head or ear or heart, One gift of Nature, or one grace of art, Ennobles riches, sanctifies expense, And takes the place of spirit, worth, and sense. In elder time, ere yet our fathers knew Rome's idle arts, or panted for Virtù, Or sat whole nights Italian songs to hear, Without a genius, and without an ear; Exalted Sense, to warmer climes unknown, And manly Wit were Nature's and our own. But when our virtues, warp'd by wealth and peace, Began to slumber in the lap of EaseWhen Charles return'd to his paternal reign, With more than fifty tailors in his train, We felt for Taste- then obliging France Taught the rough Briton how to dress and dance ;

« ПредишнаНапред »