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Give him always of the prime,
And but little at a time.
Carve for all but just enough,
Let them neither starve nor stuff;
And, that you may have your due,
Let your neighbours carve for you.
This comparison will hold,
Could it well in rhyme be told,
How conversing, listening, thinking,
Justly may resemble drinking;
For a friend a glass you fill,
What is this but to instil?
" To conclude this long essay:
Pardon if I disobey,
Nor, against my natural vein,
Treat you in heroic strain.
I, as all the parish knows,
Hardly can be grave in prose :
Still to lash, and lashing smile,
Ill befits a lofty style.
From the planet of my birth
I encounter vice with mirth.
Wicked ministers of state
I can easier scorn than hate;
And I find it answers right:
Scorn torments them more than spite. ,
All the vices of a court
Do but serve to make me sport.
Were I in some foreign realm,
Which all vices overwhelm,
When my Muse officious ventures
On the nation's representers,
Teaching by what golden rules
Into knaves they turn their fools;
How the helm is ruled by Walpole,
At whose oars, like slaves, they all pull;
Let the vessel split on shelves,
With the freight enrich themselves;
Safe within my little wherry,
All their madness makes me merry:
Like the watermen on Thames,
I row by, and call them names;
Like the ever laughing sage,
In a jest I spend my rage,
(Though it must be understood,
I would hang them, if I could.)
If I can but fill my nitch,
I attempt no higher pitch;
Leave to D'Anvers and his mate
Maxims wise to rule the state;
Pulteney deep, accomplished St. Johns,
Scourge the villains with a vengeance :
Let me, though the smell be noisome,
Strip their bums, let Caleb* hoise 'em,
Then apply Alecto’s whip,
Till they wriggle, howl, and skip.'
• Deuce is in you, Mr. Dean;
What can all this passion mean!
Mention courts, you'll ne'er be quiet,
On corruptions running riot.
* Caleb D'Anvers, the famous writer of the paper called The Craftsman. These papers were supposed to be written by Lurd Bolingbroke and Pulteney Earl of Bath.
End as it befits your station;
Come to use and application;
Nor with senates keep a fuss.'
I submit, and answer thus:
• If the machinations brewing,
To complete the public ruin,
Never once could have the power
To affect me half an hour;
Sooner would I write in buskins
Mournful elegies on Blueskins * ;
If I laugh at Whig and Tory,
I conclude, à fortiori,
All your eloquence will scarce
Drive me from my favourite farce.
This I must insist on; for, as
It is well observed by Horacet,
Ridicule has greater power
To reform the world, than sour.
Horses thus, let jockeys judge else,
Switches better guide than cudgels :
Bastings heavy, dry, obtuse
Only dulness can produce,
While a little gentle jerking
Sets the spirits all a working.
Thus, I find it by experiment,
Scolding moves you less than merriment.
I may storm and rage in vain,
It but stupifies your brain;
But with raillery to nettle,
Sets your thoughts upon their mettle ;
• A famous thief who was hanged some years since.
+ Ridiculum acri
Fortius et melius,' &c.
Gives imagination scope;
Never lets your mind elope;
Drives out brangling and contention,
Brings in reason and invention.
For your sake, as well as mine,
I the lofty style decline.
I, who love to have a fling
Both at senate-house and king,
That they might some better way tread
To avoid the public hatred,
Thought no method more commodious
Than to show their vices odious ;
Which I chose to make appear,
Not by anger, but a sneer;
As my method of reforming
Is by laughing, not by storming;
(For my friends have always thought
Tenderness my greatest fault.)
Would you have me change my style,
On your faults no longer smile,
But, to patch up all your quarrels,
Quote you texts from Plutarch's Morals,
Or from Solomon produce
Maxims teaching wisdom's use ?
'If I treat you like a crown'd head, You have cheap enough compounded. Can you put in higher claims Than the owners of St. James ? You are not so great a grievance As the hirelings of St. Stephen's; You are of a lower class Than my frie: Si obert Brass. None of these have mercy found: I have laugh’d, and lash'd them round.
Have you seen a rocket fly?
You would swear it pierced the sky;
It but reach'd the middle air,
Bursting into pieces there;
Thousand sparkles, falling down,
Light on many a coxcomb's crown:
See what mirth the sport creates;
Singes hair, but breaks not pates.
Thus, should I attempt to climb,
Treat you in a style sublime,
Such a rocket is my Muse;
Should I lofty numbers choose,
Ere I reach'd Parnassus' top,
I should burst, and bursting drop:
All my fire would fall in scraps,
Give your head some gentle raps,
Only make it smart a while;
Then could I forbear to smile,
When I found the tingling pain
Entering warm your frigid brain;
Make you able upon sight
To decide of wrong or right;
Talk with sense whate'er you please on,
Learn to relish truth and reason?
* Thus we both should gain our prize, I to laugh, and you grow wise.'