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And this for epics claims the bays,
And that for elegiac lays :
Some famed for numbers soft and smooth,
By lovers spoke in Punch's booth;
And some as justly fame extols
For lofty lines in Smithfield drolls.
Bavius in Wapping gains renown,
And Mævius reigns o'er Kentish Town;
Tigellius, placed in Phoebus' car,
From Ludgate shines to Temple-bar;
Harmonious Cibber entertains
The court with annual birthday strains ;
Whence Gay was banish'd in disgrace,
Where Pope will never show his face,
Where Young must torture his invention
To flatter knaves, or lose his pension.
But these are not a thousandth part
Of jobbers in the poet's art,
Attending each his proper station,
And all in due subordination,
Through every alley to be found,
In garrets high, or underground,
And when they join their pericranies,
Out skips a book of Miscellanies.
Hobbes clearly proves that every creature
Lives in a state of war by nature;
The greater for the smaller watch,
But meddle seldom with their match,
A whale of moderate size will draw
A shoal of herrings down his maw;
A fox with geese his belly crams;
A wolf destroys a thousand lambs;
But search among the rhyming race,
The brave are worried by the base.
If on Parnassus' top you sit,
You rarely bite, are always bit:
Each poet of inferior size
On you shall rail and criticise,
And strive to tear you limb from limb,
While others do as much for him,
The vermin only tease and pinch
Their foes superior by an inch.
So naturalists observe a flea
Hath smaller fleas, that on him prey ;
And these have smaller still to bite 'em,
And so proceed ad infinitum.
Thus every poet in his kind
Is bit by him that comes behind,
Who, though too little to be seen,
Can tease and gall and give the spleen;
Call dunces, fools, and sons of whores,
Lay Grub-street at each other's doors;
Extol the Greek and Roman masters,
And curse our modern poetasters;
Complain, as many an ancient bard did,
How genius is no more rewarded;
How wrong a taste prevails among us;
How much our ancestors outsung us ;
Can personate an awkward scorn
For those who are not poets born,
And all their brother-dunces lash,
Who crowd the press with hourly trash.
O Grub-street! how do I bemoan thee,
Whose graceless children scorn to own thee;
Their filial piety forgot,
Deny their country like a Scot,
Though by their idiom and grimace
They soon betray their native place;
Yet thou hast greater cause to be
Ashamed of them than they of thee;
Degenerate from their ancient brood,
Since first the court allow'd them food.
Remains a difficulty still,
To purchase fame by writing ill.
From Flecknoe down to Howard's time
How few have reach'd the low sublime!
For when our high-born Howard died,
Blackmore alone his place supplied;
And lest a chasm should intervene,
When death had finish'd Blackmore's reign,
The leaden crown devolved to thee,
Great poet of the Hollow Tree* !
But, ah! how unsecure thy throne !
A thousand bards thy right disown:
They plot to turn, in factious zeal,
Duncinea to a commonweal,
And with rebellious arms pretend
An equal privilege to descend.
In bulk there are not more degrees
From elephants to mites in cheese
Than what a curious eye may trace
In creatures of the rhyming race.
From bad to worse and worse they fall;
But who can reach to worst of all ?
For though in nature depth and height
Are equally held infinite,
In poetry the height we know;
'Tis only infinite below.
For instance; when you rashly think
No rhymer can like Welsted sink;
* Lord Grimston, author of a play called Love in a Hollow Tree.
His merits balanced, you shall find
The Laureate * leaves him far behind.
Concanen, more aspiring bard,
Soars downwards deeper by a yard.
Smart Jemmy Moore with vigour' drops,
The rest pursue as thick as hops;
With heads to points the gulf they enter,
Link'd perpendicular to the centre,
And as their heels elated rise,
Their heads attempt the nether skies.
0, what indignity and shame,
To prostitute the Muse's name!
By flattering kings, whom Heaven design'd
The plagues and scourges of mankind,
Bred up in ignorance and sloth,
And every vice that nurses both.
Perhaps you say Augustus shines,
Immortal made in Virgil's lines,
And Horace brought the tuneful quire
To sing his virtues on the lyre,
Without reproach for flattery; true,
Because their praises were his due:
For in those ages kings we find
Were animals of humankind,
But now go search all Europe round
Among the savage monsters crown'd,
With vice polluting every throne
(I mean all s except our own)
În vain you make the strictest view
To find a in all the crew
With whom a footman out of place
Would not conceive a high disgrace,
* In some editions, instead of the Laureate, was maliciously inserted Mr. Fielding, for whose ingenious writings the author hath manifested a great esteem.
A burning shame, a crying sin,
To take his morning's cup of gin.
Thus all are destined to obey
Some beast of burden or of prey.
'Tis sung Prometheus, forming man,
Through all the brutal species ran,
Each proper quality to find
Adapted to a human mind,
A mingled mass of good and bad,
The best and worst that could be had ;
Then from a clay of mixture base
He shaped a
to rule the race,
Endued with gifts from every brute
That best the ** nature suit.
Thus think on — -s, the name denotes,
Hogs, asses, wolves, baboons, and goats ;
To represent, in figure just,
Sloth, folly, rapine, mischief, lust.
Oh! were they all but Neb-cadnezers,
What herds of -swould turn to grazers !
Fair Britain ! in thy monarch bless'd,
Whose virtues bear the strictest test,
Whom never faction could bespatter,
Nor minister nor poet flatter.
What justice in 'rewarding merit!
What magnanimity of spirit!
What lineaments divine we trace
Through all his figure, mien, and face!
Though peace with olive binds his hands,
Confess'd the conquering hero stands,
Hydaspes, Indus, and the Ganges *,
Dread from his hand impending changes:
Super et Garamantus et Indos
Proferet imperium, &c.
Jam nunc et Caspia regna
Responsis horrent divum, &c.