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" who trip it as you go
On the light fantastic toe,"
And in the Ring are ever seen,
Or Rotten-Row of Magazine,
Will cramp your muse in four-foot verse,
And find at last
Clio already humbly begs
You'd give her leave to stretch her legs,
For tho' sometimes she takes a leap,
Yet quadrupeds can only creep.
While Namby-Pamby thus you scribble,
Your manly genius a mere fribble,
Pinn'd down, and fickly, cannot vapour,
Nor dares to spring, or cut a caper.
Rouse then, for shame, your ancient spirit !
Write a great work! a work of merit !
The conduct of your friend examine,
And give a PROPHECY OF FAMINE;
Or like yourself, in days of yore,
Write Actors, as you did before:
Write what may pow'rful friends create you,
And make your present friends all hate you.
Learn not a shuffling, shambling, pace,
But go erect with manly grace ;
For Ovid says, and pr’ythee heed it,
Os homini sublime dedit.
But if you still waste all your prime
In spinning Lilliputian rhyme,
Too long your genius will lie fallow,
And Robert Lloyd be Robert SHALLOW,
paper, Ash, and let me send My hearty service to my friend.
How pure the paper looks and white !
What pity 'tis that folks will write,
And on the face of candour scrawl
With desperate ink, and heart of gall!
Yet thus it often fares with those
Who, gay and easy in their prose,
Incur ill-nature's ugly crime,
And lay about 'em in their rhyme.
No man more generous, frank and kind,
Of more ingenuous social mind,
Than CHURCHILL, yet tho' CHURCHILL hear,
I will pronounce him too severe,
For, whether scribbled at or not,
He writes no name without a blot.
Yet let me urge one honest plea, Say, is the Muse in fault or He ?
The man, whose genius thirsts for praise,
Who boldly plucks, not waits the bays ;
Who drives his rapid car along,
And feels the energy of fong;
Writes, from the impulse of the Muse,
What fober reason might refuse.
My Lord, who lives and writes at ease,
(Sure to be pleas’d, as sure to please)
And draws from filver-stand his pen,
To fcribble sonnets now and then;
Who writes not what he truly feels,
But rather what he slily steals,
And patches up, in courtly phrase,
The manly sense of better days;
Whose dainty Muse is only kist;
But as his dainty Lordship lift,
Who treats her like a Mistress still,
To turn her off, and keep at will;
Knows not the labour, pains, and strife,
Of him who takes the Muse to Wife.
For then the poor good-natur'd man
Muft bear his burden as he can;
And if my lady prove a shrew,
What would you have the husband do?
Say, should he thwart her inclination
To work his own, and her vexation?
Or, giving madam all her rein,
Make marriage but a filken chain?
Thus we, who lead poetic lives,
The hen-peck'd culls of vixen wives,
Receive their orders, and obey,
Like husbands in the common way:
And when we write with too much phlegm,
The fault is not in us, but them :
True servants always at command,
We hold the pen, they guide the hand,
Why need I urge fo plain a fact
who catch me in the act ?
And see me, (ere I've said my grace,
That is, put Sir in proper place,
Or with epistolary bow,
Have prefac'd, as I scarce know how.)
You see me, as I said before,
and down a page or more,
Without one word of tribute due
To friendship's altar, and to you.
Accept, then, in or out of time,
My honest thanks, tho’ writ in rhyme.