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Yet Hercules was not so strong,
Nor could have borne it half so long.
Great statesmen are in this condition;
And Atlas is a politician,
A premier minister of state ;
Alcides one of second rate.
Suppose then Atlas ne'er so wise;
Yet, when the weight of kingdoms lies
Too long upon his single shoulders,
Sink down he must, or find upholders.
А TOWN ECLOGUE. 1710.
Scene, The ROYAL EXCHANGE.
Now the keen rigour of the winter's o'er,
No hail descends, and frosts can pinch no more,
Whilft other girls confess the genial spring,
And laugh aloud, or amorous ditties fing,
Secure from cold their lovely necks display,
And throw each useless chafing-dish away;
Why fits my Phillis discontented here,
Nor feels the turn of the revolving year?
Why on that brow dwell sorrow and dismay,
Where Loves were wont to sport, and Smiles to play?
Phillis. Ah, Corydon ! survey the 'Change around, Through all the 'Change no wretch like me is found : Alas! the day, when I, poor heedless maid, Was to your rooms in Lincoln's Inn betray'd ; Then how you swore, how many vows you made!
Ye listening Zephyrs, that o'erhcard his love,
Waft the soft accents to the gods above.
Alas! the day; for (oh, eternal shame !)
I fold you handkerchiefs, and lost my fame.
Cor. When I forget the favour you beftow'd,
Red herrings Thall be spawn’d in Tyburn Road.
Fleet-street transform'd become a flowery green,
And mass be sung where operas are seen.
The wealthy cit and the St. James's beau
Shall change their quarters, and their joys forego;
Stock-jobbing this to Jonathan's shall come,
At the Groom Porter's that play off his plum.
Phil. But what to me does all that love avail,
If, whilft I doze at home o’er porter's ale,
Each night with wine and wenches you regale?
My live-long hours in anxious cares are past,
And raging hunger lays my beauty waste.
On templars spruce in vain I glances throw,
And with shrill voice invite them as they go.
Expos’d in vain my glossy ribbands shine,
And unregarded wave upon the twine.
The week Alies round; and, when my profit's known,
I hardly clear enough to change a crown.
Cor. Hard fate of virtue, thus to be distrest,
Thou fairest of thy trade, and far the best !
As fruitmens stalls the summer-market grace,
And ruddy peaches them; as first in place
Plum-cake is seen o'er fmaller pastry ware,
And ice on that; fo Phillis does appear
In play. house and in park, above the rest
Of belles mechanic, elegantly dreft.
Phil. And yet Crepundia, that conceited fair,
Amidst her toys, affects a saucy air,
And views me hourly with a scornful eye.
Cor. She might as well with bright Cleora vie.
Phil. With this large petticoat I strive in vain
To hide my folly past, and coming pain ;
'Tis now no secret ; lhe, and fifty more,
Observe the symptoms 1 had once before:
A second babe at Wapping must be plac’d,
When I scarce bear the charges of the last.
Cor. What I could raise I sent ; a pound of plums,
Five shillings, and a coral for his gums;
To-morrow I intend him something more.
Phil. I sent a frock and pair of shoes before.
Cor. However, you shall home with me to-night,
Forget your cares, and revel in delight.
I have in store a pint or two of wine,
Some cracknels, and the remnant of a chine.
And now on either side, and all around,
The weighty shop-boards fall, and bars resound;
Each ready semstress slips her pattins on,
And ties her hood, preparing to be gone.
[IDAS, we are in story told,
Turn'd every thing he touch'd to gold:
He chip'd his bread; the pieces round
Glitter'd like spangles on the ground:
A codling, ere it went his lip in,
Would strait become a golden pippin:
He call'd for drink; you saw him sup:
Potable gold in golden cup:
His empty paunch that he might fill,,
He fuck'd his victuals through a quill ;
Untouch'd it pass'd between his grinders,
Or 't had been happy for gold-finders :
He cock'd his hat, you would have said
Mambrino's helm adorn'd his head :
Whene'er he chanc'd his hands to lag
On magazines of corn or bay,
Gold ready coin'd appear'd, instead
Of paltry provender and bread;
Hence by wife farmers we are told,
Old hay is equal to old gold ;
And hence a critic deep maintains,
We learn'd to weigh our gold by grains:
This fool had got a lucky bit ;
And people fancy'd he had wit.
Two gods their skill in musick try'd,
And both chofe Midas to decide ;
He against Phæbus' harp decreed,
it for Pan's oaten reed :
The god of wit, to fhew his grudge,
Clapt ases' ears upon the judge ;
A goodly pair, erect and wide,
Which he could neither gild nor hide.
And now the virtue of his bands
Was lost among Pactolus' sands,
Against whose torrent while he swims,
The golden scurf peels off his limbs :
Fame spreads the news, and people travel
From far to gather golden gravel ;
Midas, expos'd to all their jeers,
Had lost his art, and kept his ears.
THIS tale inclines the gentle reader
To think upon a certain leader;
To whom from Midas down, descends
That virtue in the fingers' ends.
What else by perquisites are meant,
By pensions, bribes, and three per cent.
By places and commissions fold,
And turning dung itself to gold ?
By starving in the midst of store,
As t'other Midas did before ?
None e'er did modern Midas chule,
Subject or patron of his Muse,
But found him thus their merit scan,
That Phæbus must give place to Pan :
He values not the poet's praise,
Nor will exchange his plumbs for bays.
To Pan alone rich misers call;
And there's the jest, for Pan is ALL.
Here English wits will be to seek,
Howe'er, 'tis all one in the Greek.
Besides, it plainly now appears
Our Midas too hath asses' ears ;
Where every fool his mouth applies,
And whispers in a thousand lies ;