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TO L. BOLINGBROKE.
ST. JOHN, whose love indulg'd my labours past, Matures my present, and shall bound my last ! Why will you break the sabbath of my days? Now sick alike of envy and of praise. Public too long', ah ! let me hide my age ;
5 See modest Cibber now has left the stage, Our generals now, retir'd to their estates, Hang their old trophies o'er the garden gates; In life's cool ev’ning satiate of applause, Nor fond of bleeding'ev’n in Brunswick's cause.
10 A voice there is, that whispers in my ear, ('Tis Reason's voice, which sometimes one can hear, “ Friend Poe! be prudent; let your Muse take “ And never gallop Pegasus to death. [breath, “ Lest stiff and stately, void of fire or force, 15 “ You limp: like Blackmore, on a Lord Mayor's
horse,' Farewell th en verse, and love, and ev'ry toy, The rhymes a nd rattles of the man or boy ;
What right, what true, what fit we justly call,
20 To lay this harvest up, and hoard with haste What ev'ry day will want, and most the last.
But ask not to what doctors I apply?
30 Sometimes with Aristippus or St. Paul, Indulge my candour, and grow all to all; Back to my native moderation slide, And win my way by yielding to the tide.
Long as to him who works for debt the day, 35 Long as the night to her whose love's away, Long as the year's dull circle seems to run When the brisk minor pants for twenty-one ; So slow th' unprofitable moments roll, That lock up all the functions of my soul; That keep me from myself, and still delay Life's instant bus'ness to a future day; That task which, as we follow or despise, The eldest is a fool, the youngest wise ;
Which done, the poorest can no wants endure; 45
Late as it is, I put myself to school,
Say, does thy blood rebel, thy bosom move 55 With wretched av’rice, or as wretched love? Know there are woods and spells which can controul, Between the fits, this fever of the soul ; Know there are rhymes which, fresh and fresh apply'd, Will cure the arrant'st puppy of his pride. 60 Be furious, envious, slothful, mad, or drunk, Slave to a wife, or vassal to a punk, A Switz, a High-Dutch or a low-Dutch bear; All that we ask is but a patient ear. 'Tis the first virtue vices to abhor,
65 And the first wisdom to be fool no more: But to the world no bugbear is so great As want of figure and a small estate. To either India see the merchant fly, Scar'd at the Spectre of pale Poverty!
See him with pains of body, pangs of soul,
Barnard in spirit, sense, and truth, abounds; 85 Pray then what wants he?” Fourscore thousand A pension, or such harness for a slave [pounds; As Bug now has, and Dorimont would have. Barnard, thou art a Cit, with all thy worth; But Bug and D*1, Their Honours ! and so forth. 90
Yet ev'ry child another song will sing, « Virtue, brave boys ! 'tis virtue makes a king.” True conscious honour is to feel no sin ; He's arm'd without that's innocent within : Be this thy screen, and this thy wall of brass ; 95 Compar'd to this a minister's an ass.
And say, to which shall our applause belong, This new court-jargon, or the good old song ? The modern language of corrupted peers, Or what was spoke at Cressy or Poitiers ? 100 Who counsels best? who whispers, “ Be but great, “With praise or infamy leave that to Fate ; “ Get place and wealth, if possible with grace; “ If not, by any means get wealth and place.” For what? to have a box where eunuchs sing, 105 And foremost in the circle eye a king. Or he who bids thee face with steady view Proud Fortune, and look shallow Greatness thro', And while he bids thee sets th’ example too? If such a doctrine, in St. James's air,
110 Should chance to make the well-dress'd rabble stare ; If honest S**z take scandal at a spark That less admires the Palace than the Park; Faith I shall give the answer Reynard gave; “ I cannot like, dread Sir! your royal cave; 115 “ Because I see, by all the tracts about, “ Full many a beast goes in, but none comes out.” Adieu to Virtue if you're once a slave : Send her to court, you send her to her grave. Well, if a king's a lion, at the least
120 The people are a many-headed beast: Can they direct what measures to pursue Who know themselves so little what to do?