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74

His very minister, who spy'd them first,
(Some say his queen,) was forc'd to speak or burst.
And is not mine, my friend, a sorer case,
When ev'ry coxcomb perks them in my

face? A. Good friend! forbear; you deal in dang’rous I'd never name queens, ministers, or kings; [things; Keep close to ears, and those let asses prick, 'Tis nothing.-P. Nothing ! if they bite and kick? Out with it, Dunciad! let the secret pass, That secret to each fool, that he's an ass;

80 The truth once told, (and wherefore should we lie?) The Queen of Midas slept, and so may I.

You think this cruel? take it for a rule, No creature smarts so little as a fool. Let peals of laughter, Codrus, round thee break, 85 Thou unconcern'd canst hear the mighty crack: Pit, box, and gall’ry in convulsions hurld, Thou stand'st unshook amidst a bursting world. Who shames a scribbler? break one cobweb thro', He spins the slight self-pleasing thread anew: 90 Destroy his fib, or sophistry, in vain ; The creature's at his dirty work again, Thron’d on the centre of his thin designs, Proud of a vast extent of flimsy lines ! Whom have I hurt? has poet yet or peer

95 Lost the arch'd eyebrow or Parnassian sneer?

And has not Colly still his lord and whore ?
His butchers Henley, his free-masons Moore?
Does not one table Bavius still admit?
Still to one bishop Philips seem a wit?

100
Still Sappho.-A. Hold ! for God's sake you'll offend;
No names--be calm-learn prudence of a friend :
I too could write, and I am twice as tall;
But foes like these-P. One flatt'rer's worse than all.
Of all mad creatures, if the learn’d are right, 105
It is the slaver kills and not the bite.
A fool quite angry is quite innocent:
Alas! 'tis ten times worse when they repent.

One dedicates in high heroic prose, And ridicules beyond a hundred foes ;

110 One from all Grub-street will my fame defend, And, more abusive, calls himself my

friend. This prints my letters, that expects a bribe, And others roar aloud,“ Subscribe, subscribe!”

There are who to my person pay their court: 115 I cough like Horace, and, tho' lean, am short; Ammon's great son one shoulder had too high, Such Ovid's nose, and, “ Sir you have an eye-" Go on, obliging creatures ! make me see All that disgrac'd my betters met in me.

120 Say, for my comfort, languishing in bed, “ Just so immortal Maro held his head :"

And when I die, be sure you let me know
Great Homer dy'd three thousand years ago.

Why did I write? what sin to me nnknown 125 Dipp'd me in ink, my parents', or my own

I ?
As yet a child, nor yet a fool to fame,
I lisp'd in numbers, for the numbers came:
I left no calling for this idle trade,
No duty broke, no father disobeyed :

130
The Muse but serv'd to ease some friend, not wife,
To help me thro' this long disease, my life,
To second, Arbuthnot! thy art and care,
And teach the being you preserv'd to bear.

But why then publish ? Granville, the polite, 135 And knowing Walsh, would tell me I could write ; Well-natur'd Garth inflam'd with early praise, And Congreve, lov'd, and Swift endur'd, my lays; The courtly Talbot, Somers, Sheffield, read, Ev'n mitred Rochester would nod the head, 140 And St. John's self (great Dryden's friends before) With open arms receiv'd one poet more. Happy my studies, when by these approv'd ! Happier their Author, when by these belov'd ! From these the world will judge of men and books, Not from the Burnets, Oldmixons, and Cooks. 146

Soft were my numbers; who could take offence, While pure description held the place of sense ?

Like gentle Fanny's was my flow'ry theme,
A painted mistress, or a purling stream.

150
Yet then did Gildon draw his venal quill ;
I wish'd the man a dinner, and sat still;
Yet then did Dennis rave in furious fret;
I never answer'd; I was not in debt.
If want provok'd, or madness made them print, 155
I wag'd no war with Bedlam or the Mint.

Did some more sober critic come abroad;
If wrong I smild, if right I kiss'd the rod.
Pains, reading, study, are their just pretence,
And all they want is spirit, taste, and sense. 160
Commas and points they set exactly right,
And 'twere a sin to rob them of their mite;
Yet ne'er one sprig of laurel grac’d these ribbalds,
From slashing Bentley down to piddling Tibbalds :
Each wight who reads not, and but scans and spells,
Each word catcher, that lives on syllables,
Ev’n such small critics some regard may claim,
Preserv'd in Milton's or in Shakespeare's name.
Pretty in amber to observe the forms
Of hairs, or straws, or dirt, or grubs, or worms! 170
The things, we know are neither rich nor rare,
But wonder how the devil they got there.

Were others angry; I excus'd them too;
Well might they rage, I gave them but their due.

166

A man's true merit 'tis not hard to find,

175 But each man's secret standard in his mind. That casting weight pride adds to emptiness, This who can gratify? for who can guess ? The bard whom pilfer'd pastorals renown, Who turns a Persian tale for half-a-crown, 180 Just writes to make his barrenness appear, And strains from hard-bound brains eight lines a-year; He who still wanting, tho' he lives on theft, Steals much, spends little, yet has nothing left; And he who now to sense, now nonsense, leaning, 185 Means not, but blunders round about a meaning; And he whose fustian's so sublimely bad, It is not poetry, but prose run mad : All these my modest Satire bade translate, And own'd that nine such poets made a Tate, 190 How did they fume, and stamp, and roar, and chafe! And swear not Addison himself was safe.

Peace to all such! But were there one whose fires True genius kindles, and fair fame inspires, Bless’d with each talent and each art to please, 195 And born to write, converse, and live with ease; Should such a man, too fond to rule alone, Bear, like the Turk, no brother near the throne; View him with scornful yet with jealous eyes, And hate for arts that caus’d himself to rise ; 200

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