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Obscure by birth, renown'd by crimes,
At length she turns a bride:
And flutters in her pride.
So have I known those insects fair
Still vary shapes and dyes ;
Then painted butterflies.
VII. DR. SWIFT.
The happy Life of a Country Parson.
PARSON, these things in thy possessing
The Polyglot--three parts,—my text,
He that has these may pass his life,
EPISTLE TO DR. ARBUTHNOT :
ADVERTISEMENT To the first Publication of this Epistle. This paper is a sort of bill of complaint, begun many years since, and drawn up by snatches, as the several occasions offered. I had no thoughts of publishing it, till it pleased some persons of rank and fortune (the authors of Verses to the Imitator of Horace, and of an Epistle to a Doctor of Divinity from a Nobleman at HamptonCourt] to attack, in a very extraordinary manner, not only my writings, (of which, being public, the public is judge,) but my person, morals, and family, whereof, to those who know me not, a truer information may be requisite. Being divided between the necessity to say something of myself, and my own laziness to undertake so awkward a task, I thought it the shortest way to put the last hand to this Epistle. If it have any thing pleasing, it will be that by which I am most desirous to please, the truth, and the sentiment ; and if any thing offensive, it will be only to those I am least sorry to offend, the vicious or the angenerous.
Many will know their own pictures in it, there
being not a circumstance but what is true ; but I have, for the most part, spared their names, and
they may escape being laughed at, if they please. I would have some of them know, it was owing to
the request of the learned and candid friend, to whom it is inscribed, that I make not as free use of theirs as they have done of mine. How. ever, I shall have this advantage and honor on my side, that whereas, by their proceeding, any abuse may be directed at any man, no injury can possibly be done by mine, since a nameless character can never be found out but by its truth and likeness.
EPISTLE TO DR. ARBUTHNOT.
P.SHUT, shut the door, good John! fatigu’d, I
said; Tie up the knocker, say I'm sick, I'm dead. The dog-star rages! nay, 'tis past a doubt All Bedlam, or Parnassus, is let out: Fire in each eye, and papers in each hand, 5 They rave, recite, and madden round the land. What walls can guard me, or what shades can
hide ? They pierce my thickets, through my grot they glide, By land, by water, they renew the charge, . They stop the chariot, and they board the barge. 10 No place is sacred, not the church is free, Ev'n Sunday shines no sabbath-day to me: Then from the Mint walks forth the man of rhyme, Happy to catch me, just at dinner-time.
Is there a parson, much bemus'd in beer, 15 A maudlin poetess, a rhyming peer, A clerk, foredoom'd his father's soul to cross, Who pens a stanza, when he should engross ? Is there who, lock'd from ink and paper, scrawls With desp'rate charcoal round his darken'd walls ? All fly to Twit'nam, and in humble strain 21 Apply to me, to keep them mad or vain. Arthur, whose giddy son neglects the laws, Imputes to me and my damn'd Works the cause ; Poor Cornus sees his frantic wife elope, 23 And curses wit, and poetry, and Pope.