« AnteriorContinuar »
DEAR Col’nel, Cobham's and your country's
friend! You love a verse; take such as I can send.
A Frenchman comes, presents you with his boy, Bows and begins" This lad, Sir, is of Blois : “ Observe his shape how clean ! his locks how curl'd! “ My only son, I'd have him see the world : 6 “ His French is pure; his voice too-you shall hear.
Sir, he's your slave for twenty pound a year. “ Mere wax as yet, you fashion him with ease, « Your barber, cook, upholsterer; what you please : “ A perfect genius at an op'ra song
11 “ To say too much might do my honour wrong. « Take him with all his virtues, on my word ; « His whole ambition was to serve a lord. « But, Sir, to you with what would I not part? 15 “ Tho', faith, I fear't will break his mother's heart. “ Once (and but once) I caught him in a lie, “ And then, unwhipp'd, he had the grace to cry: « The fault he has I fairly shall reveal,
(Could you o'erlook but that) it is to steal.” 20
If, after this, you took the graceless lad,
Consider then, and judge me in this light; I told you when I went I could not write; You said the same; and are you discontent With laws to which you gave your own assent? So Nay, worse, to ask for verse at such a time! D'ye think me good for nothing but to rhyme ? In Anna's wars a soldier poor
and old, Had dearly earn’d a little purse of gold : Tir'd with a tedious march, one luckless night 35 He slept, (poor dog !] and lost it to a doit. This put the man in such a desp'rate mind, Between revenge, and grief, and hunger join'd, Against the foe, himself, and all mankind, He leap'd the trenches, scald a castle-wall, 40 Tore down a standard, took the fort and all. Prodigious well !” his great commander cry'd; Gave him much praise, and some reward beside. Next pleas'd his Excellence a town to batter; [Its name I know not, and 'tis no great matter.) 45
“ Go on, my friend,” he cry'd, see yonder walls ! “ Advance and conquer! go where Glory calls ! « More honours, more rewards attend the brave.” Don't you remember what reply he “D'ye think me, noble Gen’ral! such a sot? 50 * Let him take castles who has ne'er a groat.”
Bred up at home, full early I begun To read in Greek the wrath of Peleus' son : Besides, my father taught me from a lad The better art to know the good from bad; 55 [And little sure imported to remove, To hunt for truth in Maudlin's learn'd grove.] But knottier points, we knew not half so well, Depriv'd us soon of our paternal cell ; And certain laws, by suff'rers thought unjust, 60 Deny'd all posts of profit or of trust : Hopes after hopes of pious Papists fail'd, While mighty William's thund'ring arm prevail'd. For right hereditary tax'd and fin’d, He stuck to poverty with peace of mind ;
65 And me the Muses help to undergo it, Convict a Papist he, and I a poet. But [thanks to Homer] since I live and thrive, Indehted to no prince or peer alive, Sure I should want the care of ten Monroes, 70 Jf I would scribble rather than repose.
Years foll'wing years steal something ev'ry day,
But grant I may relapse, for want of grace,
« Oh! but a wit can study in the streets,
Go, lofty poet! and in such a crowd
114 How match the bards whom none e'er match'd before?
The man who, stretch'd in Isis' calm retreat,