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Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer,
210 While wits and Templars ev'ry sentence raise, And wonder with a foolish face of praise Who but must laugh if such a man there be ! Who would not weep if Atticus were he !
What tho' my name stood rubric on the walls 215 Or plaster'd posts, with claps in capitals ? Or smoaking forth, a hundred hawkers' load, On wings of winds came flying all abroad? I sought no homage from the race that write ; I kept, like Asian monarchs, from their sight : 220 Poems I heeded (now berhym'd so long) No more than thou, great George ! a birthday song ; I ne'er with wits or witlings pass'd my days, To spread about the itch of verse and praise ; Nor like a puppy daggled thro' the Town 225 To fetch and carry sing-song up and down ;
Nor at rehearsals sweat, and mouth'd and cry'd,
side e ; But sick of fops, and poetry, and prate, To Bufo left the whole Castalian state.
230 Proud as Apollo on his forked hill Sat full-blown Bufo, puff’d by ev'ry quill; Fed with soft dedication all day long, Horace and he went hand in hand in song, His library (where busts of poets dead
235 And a true Pindar stood without a head) Receiv'd of wits an undistinguish'd race, Who first his judgment ask’d, and then a place : Much they extoll’d his pictures, much his seat, And flatter'd ev'ry day, and some days ate ; 240 Till grown more frugal in his riper days, He paid soine bards with port, and some with praise; To some a dry rehearsal was assign'd, And others (harder still) he paid in kind. Dryden alone (what wonder?) came not nigh; 245 Dryden alone escap'd this judging eye: But still the great have kindness in reserve, He help'd to bury whom he help'd to starve.
May some choice patron bless each gray-goose quill! May ev'ry Bavius have his Buto still !
250 So a stat man wants a day's defence, Or Envy holds a whole week’s war with Sense,
Or simple Pride for flatt'ry makes demands,
0! let me live my own, and die so too ! (To live and die is all I have to do ;) Maintain a poet's dignity and ease, And see what friends, and read what books, I please; Above a patron, tho’I condescend
265 Sometimes to call a minister
270 Why am I ask'd what next shall see the light? Heav'ns! was I born for nothing but to write ? Has life no joys for me? or (to be grave) Have I no friend to serve, no soul to save ? 274 « I found him close with Swift” __“ Indeed? no doubt (Cries prating Balbus) “ something will come out.” 'Tis all in vain, deny it as I will ; “ No, such a genius never can lie still ;"
And then for mine obligingly mistakes
Curst be the verse, how well soe'er it flow,
285 Or from the soft-ey'd virgin steal a tear! But he who hurts a harmlesss neighbour's peace, Insults fall’n worth, or beauty in distress, Who loves a lie, lame slander helps about, Who writes a libel, or who copies out ;
290 That fop whose pride affects a patron's name, Yet absent wounds an author's honest fame; Who can your merit silently approve, And show the sense of it without the love ; Who has the vanity to call you Friend,
295 Yet wants the honour, injur’d, to defend ; Who tells whate'er you think, whate'er you say, And if he lie not must at least betray; Who to the Dean and silver bell can swear, And sees at Canons what was never there; 300 Who reads, but with a lust to misapply, Makes satire a lampoon, and fiction lie; A lash like mine no honest man shall dread, But all such babbling blockheads in his stead.
Let Sporus tremble-A. What? that thing of silk, Sporus! that mere white curd of asses' milk? 306 Satire or sense, alas! can Sporus feel ! Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel? P. Yet let me flap this bug with gilded wings, This painted child of dirt, that stinks and stings; 310 Whose buzz the witty and the fair'annoys, Yet wit ne'er tastes, and beauty ne'er enjoys : So well-bred spaniels civilly delight In muinbling of the game they dare not bite. Eternal smiles his emptiness betray,
330 A cherub's face, a reptile all the rest ;