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Sacred to ridicule his whole life long,
And the sad burthen of some merry song.
Slander, or poison, dread from Delia's rage ;
Hard words, or hanging, if your judge be Page :
From furious Sappho scarce a milder fate,
P-x'd by her love, or libell'd by her hate.
Its proper pow'r to hurt each creature feels ;
Bulls aim their horns, and asses lift their heels;
'l is a bear's talent not to kick, but hug ;
And no man wonders he's not stung by pug.
8o drink with Walters, or with Chartres eat,
They'll never poison you, they'll only cheat.
Then, learned Sir ! (to cut the matter short) Whate'er my fate, or well, or ill, at court, Whether old age, with faint, but cheerful ray, Attends to gild the ev’ning of my day, Or Death's black wing already be display'd, To wrap me in the universal shade ; Whether the darken'd room to muse invite, Or whiten'd wall provoke the skew'r to write ; In durance, exile, Bedlam, or the Mint, Like Lee, or Budgell, I will rhyme and print. F. Alas! young man, your days can ne'er be
long : In flow'r of age you perish for a song! Plums and directors, Shylock and his wife, Will club their testers now to take your life. P. What ? arm’d for virtue when I point the
pen, Brand the bold front of shameless guilty men,
Dash the proud gamester in his gilded car,
Bare the mean heart that lurks beneath a star;
Can there be wanting, to defend her cause,
Lights of the church, or guardians of the laws ?
Could pension’d Boileau lash in honest strain
Flatt'rers and bigots, ev’n in Louis' reign?
Could Laureat Dryden pimp and fry'r engage,
Yet neither Charles, nor James, be in a rage ?
And I not strip the gilding off a knave,
Unplac’d, unpension’d, no man's heir or slave ?
I will, or perish in the gen'rous cause :
Hear this, and tremble ! you who 'scape the laws.
Yes, while I live, no rich or noble knave
Shall walk the world in credit to his grave :
To Virtue only, and her friends a friend,
The world beside may murmur or commend.
Know all the distant din that world can keep,
Rolls o'er my grotto, and but sooths my sleep:
There my retreat the best companions grace,
Chiefs out of war, and statesmen out of place ;
There St. John mingles with my friendly bowl
The feast of reason, and the flow of soul :
And he whose lightning pierc'd th' Iberian lines
Now forms my quincunx, and now ranks my vines,
Or tames the genius of the stubborn plain
Almost as quickly as he conquer'd Spain.
Envy must own I live among the great
No pimp of pleasure, and no spy of state,
With eyes that pry not, tongue that ne'er repeats,
Fond to spread friendships, but to cover heats ;
To help who want, to forward who excel;
This all who know me, know; who love me, tell;
And who unknown defame me, let them be
Scribblers, or peers, alike are mob to me.
This is my plea, on this I rest my cause
What saith my counsel, learned in the laws ?
F. Your plea is good, but still I say beware!
Laws are explain'd by men--so have a care.
It stands on record, that, in Richard's times,
A man was bang'd for very honest rhymes.
Consult the statute ; quart. I think it is,
Edwardi sext, or prim. et quint. Eliz.
See Libels, Satires-here you have it read.
P. Libels and Satires ! lawless things indeed!
But grave epistles, bringing vice to light,
Such as a king might read, a bishop write,
Such as Sir Robert would approve--F. indeed!
The case is alter'd you may then proceed :
In such a cause the plantiff will be hiss'd,
My lords the judges laugh, and you're dismiss'd.
HORACE, BOOK II. SAT. II.
What, and how great, the virtue and the art
To live on little with a cheerful heart,
(A doctrine sage, but truly none of mine)
Let's talk, my friends, but talk before we dine ;
Not when a gilt buffet's reflected pride,
Turns you from sound philosophy aside ;
Not when from plate to plate your eyeballs roll,
And the brain dances to the mantling bowl.
Hear Bethel's sermon, one not vers'd in schools,
But strong in sense, and wise without the rules.
Go work, hunt, exercise ! (he thus began)
Then scorn a homely dinner if you can.
Your wine lock'd up, your butler stroll'd abroad,
Or fish deny'd, (the river yet unthawid)
If then plain bread and milk will do the feat,
The pleasure lies in you, and not the meal.
Preach as I please, I doubt our curious men Will chuse a pheasant still before a hen; Yet hens of Guinea full as good I hold, Except you eat the feathers green and gold. Of carps and mullets why prefer the great, (Though cut in pieces ere my lord can eat) Yet for small turbots such esteem profess? Because God made these large, the other less. Oldfield, with more than Harpy throat endu'd, Cries, • Send me, Gods! a whole hog barbecu'd ! Oh blast it, South-winds ! till a stench exhale Rank as the ripeness of a rabbit's tail. By what criterion do you eat, d'ye think, If this is priz'd for sweetness, that for stink? When the tir'd glutton labors through a treat, He finds no relish in the sweetest meat; He calls for something bitter, something sour, And the rich feast concludes extremely poor.
Cheap eggs, and herbs, and olives, still we see:
Thus much is left of old simplicity!
The robin redbreast till of late had rest,
And children sacred held a martin's nest;
Till baccaficos sold so dev'lish dear,
To one that was, or would have been, a peer.
Let me extol a cat on oysters fed,
I'll have a party at the Bedford-head ;
Or ev'n to crack live crawfish recommend ;
I'd never doubt at court to make a friend.
'Tis yet in vain, I own, to keep a pother
About one vice, and fall into the other :
Between excess and famine lies a mean;
Plain, but not sordid, though not splendid, clean.
Avidien or his wife (no matter which,
For him you'll call a dog, and her a bitch)
Sell their presented partridges and fruits,
And humbly live on rabbits and on roots;
One half-pint bottle serves thein both to dine,
And is at once their vinegar and wine ;
But on some lucky day, (as when they found
A lost bank-bill, or heard their son was drown'd)
At such a feast, old vinegar to spare,
Is what two souls so gen'rous cannot bear :
Oil, though it stink, they drop by drop impart,
But souse the cabbage with a bounteous heart.
He knows to live who keeps the middle state, And neither leans on this side, nor on that; Nor stops for one bad cork his butler's pay, Swears, like Albutius, a good cook away;