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E'en such small critics some regard may claim,
Were others angry: I excused them too;
year; He who still wanting, though he lives on theft, Steals much, spends little, yet has nothing left; And he who now to sense, now nonsense leaning, Means not, but blunders round about a meaning; And he whose fustian's so sublimely bad, It is not poetry, but prose run mad; All these my modest satire bade translate, And own'd that nine such poets made a Tate. How did they fume and stamp and roar and chafe! And swear not Addison himself was safe.
Peace to all such! But were there one whose fires True genius kindles, and fair fame inspires, Bless'd with each talent and each art to please, And born to write, converse, and live, with ease; Should such a man, too fond to rule alone, Bear, like the Turk, no brother near the throne; View him with scornful, yet with jealous eyes, And bate for arts that caused himself to rise ;
Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer,
What though my name stood rubric on the walls
Proud as Apollo on his forked hill, Sat full-blown Bufo, puff'd
every quill: Fed with soft dedication all day long, Horace and he went hand in hand in song;
His library (where busts of poets dead
May some choice patron bless each gray gooseMay every Bavius have his Bufo still!
[quill! So when a statesman wants a day's defence, Or Envy holds a whole week's war with Sense, Or simple Pride for flattery makes demands, May dunce by dunce be whistled off my hands! Bless'd be the great! for those they take away, And those they left me--for they left me Gay; Left me to see neglected genius bloom, Neglected die, and tell it on his tomb: Of all thy blameless life the sole return, My verse and Queensberry weeping o'er thy urn!
Oh! let me live my own, and die so too! (To live and die is all I have to do) Maintain a poet's dignity and ease, [please; And see what friends and read what books I Above a patron, though I condescend Sometimes to call a minister my friend. I was not born for courts or great affairs; I pay my debts, believe, and say my prayers;
Can sleep without a poem in my head,
Why am I ask'd what next shall see the light?
doubt (Cries prating Balbus) something will come out.' 'Tis all in vain, deny it as I will;
No, such a genius never can lie still:'
Cursed be the verse, how well soe'er it flow,
A lash like mine no honest man shall dread, But all such babbling blockheads in his stead.
Let Sporus tremble--A. What? that thing ofsilk, Sporus, that mere white curd of asses' milk? Satire or sense, alas! can Sporus feel? Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?
P. Yet let me flap this bug with gilded wings, This painted child of dirt that stinks and stings; Whose buzz the witty and the fair annoys, Yet wit ne'er tastes, and beauty ne'er enjoys: So well bred spaniels civilly delight In mumbling of the game they dare not bite. Eternal smiles bis emptiness betray, As shallow streams run dimpling all the way. Whether in florid impotence he speaks, And, as the prompter breathes, the puppet squeaks, Or at the ear of Eve, familiar toad, Half froth, half venom, spits himself abroad, In puns or politics or tales or lies Or spite or smut or rhymes or blasphemies; His wit all seesaw between that and this, Now high, now low, now master up, now miss, And he himself one vile antithesis. Amphibious thing! that acting either part, The trifling head, or the corrupted heart; Fop at the toilet, flatterer at the board, Now trips a lady, and now struts a lord. Eve's tempter thus the rabbins have express’d, A cherub's face, a reptile all the rest; Beauty that shocks you, parts that none will trust, Wit that can creep, and pride that licks the dust.
Not Fortune's worshipper, nor Fashion's fool, Not Lucre's madman, nor Ambition's tool, Not proud, nor servile; be one poet's praise, That, if he pleased, he pleased by manly ways;