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But talk with Celsus, Celsus will advise
Hartshorn, or something that shall close your eyes. 20
Or if you needs must write, write Cæsar's praise ;
You'll gain at least a knighthood or the bays.
P. What? like Sir Richard, rumbling, rough and
With arms, and George, and Brunswick, crowd the
Rend with tremendous sound your ears asunder, 25
With gun, drum, trumpet, blunderbuss, and thunder?
Or nobly wild, with Budgell's fire and force,
Paint angels trembling round his falling horse ?
F. Then all your Muse's softer art display,
Let Carolina smooth the tuneful lay ;
Lull with Amelia's liquid name the Nine,
And sweetly flow thro' all the royal line.
P. Alas! few verses touch their nicer ear; They scarce can bear their Laureat twice a year; And justly Cæsar scorns the poet's lays;
35 It is to history he trusts for praise.
F. Better bę Cibber, I'll maintain it still,
Than ridicule all taste, blaspheme Quadrille,
Abuse the City's best good men in metre,
And laugh at peers that put their trust in Peter. 40
Ev’n those you touch not hate you.
P. What should ail 'em?
F. A hundred smart in Tiruon and in Balaam :
The fewer still you name you wound the more;
Bond is but one, but Harpax is a score.
P. Each mortal has his pleasure : none deny
Scarsdale his bottle, Darty his ham-pie:
Ridotto sips and dances till she see
The doubling lustres dance as fast as she:
F- loves the senate, Hockley-hole his brother,
Like in all esle as one egg to another.
I love to pour out all myself as plain
As downright Shippen or as old Montaigne :
In them, as certain to be lov'd as seen,
The soul stood forth, nor kept a thought within ;
In me what spots (for spots I have) appear,
55 Will prove at least the medium must be clear. In this impartial glass my Muse intends Fair to expose myself, my foes, my friends ; Publish the present age; but where my text Is vice too high, reserve it for the next;
60 My foes shall wish my life a longer date, And ev'ry friend the less lament my fate. My head and heart thus flowing thro' my quill, Verseman or Proseman, term me which you will, Papist or Protestant, or both between,
65 Like good Erasmus, in an honest mean, In moderation placing all my glory, While Tories call me Whig, and Whigs a Tory.
Satire's my weapon, but I'm too discreet
To run a-muck, and tilt at all I meet;
I only wear it in a land of Hectors,
Thieves, supercargoes, sharpers, and directors.
Save but our army! and let Jove incrust
Swords, pikes, and guns, with everlasting rust!
Peace is my dear delight-not Fleury's more;
But touch me, and no minister's so sore,
Whoe'er offends, at some unlucky time
Slides into verse, and hitches in a rhyme,
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;
'Tis a bear's talent not to kick, but hug;
And no man wonders he's not stung by pug.
So 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. 100
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 testors now to take your life.
P. What? arm’d for virtue when I point the
pen, Brand the bold front of shameless guilty men, 106 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 ? 110 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,
115 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 : 120
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, 125
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 131
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 ;
that pry not, tongue that ne'er repeats,
Fond to spread friendships, but to cover heats; 136
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. 140
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, 145 A man was hang'd for very honest rhymes.