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That flattery, e'en to kings, he held a shame,
And thought a lie in verse or prose the same;
That not in Fancy's maze he wander'd long,
But stoop'd to truth, and moralized his song ;
That not for fame, but virtue's better end,
He stood the furious foe, the timid friend,
The damning critic, half-approving wit,
The coxcomb hit, or fearing to be hit;
Laugh’d at the loss of friends he never had,
The dull, the proud, the wicked, and the mad;
The distant threats of vengeance on his head,
The blow unfelt, the tear he never shed;
The tale revived, the lie so oft o’erthrown,
The’ imputed trash, and dulness not his own;
The morals blacken'd when the writings scape,
The libel'd person, and the pictured shape;
Abuse on all he loved, or loved him, spread,
A friend in exile, or a father dead;
The whisper that, to greatness still too near,
Perhaps yet vibrates on his sovereign's ear-
Welcome for thce, fair Virtue! all the past :
For thee, fair Virtue! welcome e'en the last !
A. But why insult the poor, affront the great ?
P. A knave's a knave to me in every state;
Alike my scorn, if he succeed or fail,
Sporus at court, or Japhet in a gaol;
A hireling scribbler, or a hireling peer,
Knight of the post corrupt, or of the shire;
If on a pillory, or near a throne,
He gain his prince's ear, or lose his own.
Yet soft by nature, more a dupe than wit,
Sappho can tell you how this man was bit:
This dreaded satirist Dennis wili confess
Foe to his pride, but friend to his distress :
So humble, he has knock'd at Tibbald's door,
Has drunk with Cibber, nay, has rhymed for Moore.
Full ten years slander'd, did he once reply? -
Three thousand suns went down on Welsted's lie.
To please a mistress, one aspersed his life;
He lash'd him not, but let her be his wife :
Let Budgell charge low Grub-street on his quill,
And write whate'er he pleased, except his will;
Let the two Curlls of town and court abuse
His father, mother, body, soul, and Muse :
Yet why? that father held it for a rule,
It was a sin to call our neighbour fool;
That harmless mother thought no wife a whore:
Hear this, and spare his family, James Moore !
Unspotted names, and memorable long !
If there be force in virtue or in song.
Of gentle blood (part shed in Honour's cause, While yet in Britain Honour had applause) Each parent sprung—A. What fortune, pray?
P. Their own; And better got than Bestia's from the throne. Born to no pride, inheriting no strife, Nor marrying discord in a noble wife, Stranger to civil and religious rage, The good man walk'd innoxious through his age: No courts he saw, no suits would ever try, Nor dared an oath, nor hazarded a lie, Unlearn'd, he knew no schoolman's subtle art, No language but the language of the heart. By nature honest, by experience wise, Healthy by temperance and by exercise ; His life, though long, to sickness pass'd unknown, His death was instant and without a groan. O, grant me thus to live, and thus to die ! Vho sprung from kings shall know less joy than I.
O friend! may each domestic bliss be thine!
Be no unpleasing melancholy mine :
Me, let the tender office long engage
To rock the cradle of reposing age,
With lenient arts extend a mother's breath,
Make languor smile, and smooth the bed of death ;
Explore the thought, explain the asking eye,
And keep a while one parent from the sky!
On cares like these, if length of days attend,
May Heaven, to bless those days, preserve my
Preserve him social, cheerful, and serene,
And just as rich as when he served a queen.
A. Whether that blessing be denied or given,
Thus far was right, the rest belongs to Heaven.
OCCASIONED BY AN EPISTLE OF MR. POPE'S ON THE
WHOE'ER he be that to a taste aspires,
Let him read this, and be what he desires.
In men and manners versed, from life I write,
Not what was once, but what is now polite.
Those who of courtly France have made the tour,
Can scarce our English awkwardness endure :
But honest men, who never were abroad,
Like England only, and its taste applaud.
Strife still subsists, which yields the better goût;
Books or the world, the many or the few.
True taste to me is by this touchstone known,
That's always best that's nearest to my own.
To show that my pretensions are not vain,
My father was a player in Drury-lane :
Pears and pistachio-nuts my mother sold,
He a dramatic poet, she a scold:
His tragic Muse could countesses affright,
His wit in boxes was my lord's delight.
No mercenary priest e’er join’d their hands,
Uncramp'd by wedlock's unpoetic bands.
Laws my Pindaric parents matter'd not,
So I was tragi-comically got.
My infant tears a sort of measure kept,
I squall'd in distichs, and in triplets wept.
No youth did I in education waste,
Happy in an hereditary Taste.
Writing ne'er cramp'd the sinews of my thumb,
Nor barbarous birch e'er brush'd my tender bum.
My guts ne'er suffer'd from a college cook,
My name ne'er enter'd in a buttery-book.
Grammar in vain the sons of Priscian teach,
Good parts are better than eight parts of speech:
Since these declined, those undeclined they call,
I thank my stars that I declined them all.
To Greek or Latin tongues without pretence,
I trust to mother wit and father sense.
Nature's my guide, all sciences I scorn,
Pains I abhor, I was a poet born.
Yet is my goût for criticism such,
I've got some French, and know a little Dutch.
Huge commentators grace my learned shelves,
Notes upon books outdo the books themselves.
Critics indeed are valuable men,
But hypercritics are as good agen. [tures fill,
Though Blackmore's works my soul with rap-
With notes by Bentley they'd be better still,
The Bog-house Miscellany's well design’d,
To ease the body, and improve the mind.
Swift's whims and jokes for my resentment call,
For he displeases me that pleases all.
Verse without rhyme I never could endure, · Uncouth in numbers, and in sense obscure.
To him as nature, when he ceased to see,
Milton's a universal blank to me.
Confirm'd and settled by the nation's voice,
Rhyme is the poet's pride and people's choice.
Always upheld by national support,
Of market, university, and court:
Thomson, write blank; but know that for that
These lines shall live when thine are out of season.
Rhyme binds and beautifies the poet's lays,
As London ladies owe their shape to stays.
Had Cibber's self the Careless Husband wrote, He for the laurel ne'er had had my vote: But for his epilogues and other plays He thoroughly deserves the modern bays. It pleases me that Pope unlaurel'd goes, While Cibber wears the bays for playhouse prose: So Britain's monarch once uncover'd sat, While Bradshaw bullied in a broad-brimm'd hat.
Long live old Curll! he ne'er to publish fears The speeches, verses, and last will of peers. How oft has he a public spirit shown, And pleased our ears, regardless of his own! But to give merit due, though Curlls the fame, Are not his brother booksellers the same? Can statutes keep the British press in awe, While that sells best that's most against the law ?
Lives of dead players my leisure hours beguile, And sessions-papers tragedise my style.