« AnteriorContinuar »
Well, if it be my time to quit the stage,
Adieu to all the follies of the age !
I die in charity with fool and knave,
Secure of peace at least beyond the grave.
I've had my purgatory here betimes,
And paid for all my satires, all my rhymes.
The poet's hell, its tortures, fiends, and flames,
To this were trifles, toys, and empty names.
With foolish pride my heart was never fired,
Nor the vain itch to admire, or be admired; 10
I hoped for no commission from his grace;
I bought no benefice, I begg'd no place ;
Had no new verses, nor new suit to show ;
Yet went to court!-the devil would have it so.
But, as the fool that in reforming days 15
Would go to mass in jest, (as story says)
Could not but think, to pay his fine was odd,
Since 'twas no form’d design of serving God;
So was I punish’d, as if full as proud,
As prone to ill, as negligent of good,
As prone to all ill, and of good as forget-
full, as proud, lustful, and as much in debt,
As vain, as witless, and as false, as they
Which dwell in court, for once going that way.
Therefore I suffer'd this; towards me did run
A thing more strange than on Nile's slime the sun
E'er bred, or all which into Noah's ark came:
A thing, which would have posed Adam to name:
Stranger than seven antiquaries' studies,
Than Africk monsters, Guinea's rarities,
Stranger than strangers : one who, for a Dane,
In the Danes' massacre had sure been slain,
If he had lived then; and without help dies,
When next the 'prentices 'gainst strangers rise ;
One, whom the watch at noon lets scarce go by;
One, to whom the examining justice sure would
cry, • Sir, by your priesthood, tell me what you are.' His cloathes were strange though coarse, and
black though bare; Sleeveless his jerkin was, and it had been Velvet, but 'twas now (so much ground was seen) Become tufftaffaty; and our children shall See it plain rash awhile, then naught at all. The thing hath travail'd, and, faith, speaks all
tongues, And only knoweth what to all states belongs; Made of the accents, and best phrase of all these, He speaks one language. If strange meats dis
As deep in debt, without a thought to pay,
As vain, as idle, and as false, as they
Who live at court, for going once that way!
Scarce was I enter'd, when, behold, there came
A thing, which Adam had been posed to name ; 25
Noah had refused it lodging in his ark,
Where all the race of reptiles might embark:
A verier monster, than on Afric's shore
The sun e'er got, or slimy Nilus bore,
Or Sloane or Woodward's wondrous shelves con-
Nay, all that lying travellers can feign.
The watch would hardly let him pass at noon;
At night, would swear him dropp'd out of the moon:
One, whom the mob, when next we find or make
A popish plot, shall for a Jesuit take;
35 And the wise justice, starting from his chair, Cry, · By your priesthood, tell me what you are.' Such was the wight: the apparel on his back, Though coarse, was reverend; and though bare,
was black : The suit, if by the fashion one might guess, 40 Was velvet in the youth of good queen Bess, But mere tuff-taffety what now remain'd; So time, that changes all things, had ordain'd! Our sons shall see it leisurely decay; First turn plain rash, then vanish quite away. 45 This thing has travelld, speaks each language
too, And knows what 's fit for every state to do ; Of whose best phrase and courtly accent join'd, He forms one tongue, exotic and refined.
Art can deceive, or hunger force my taste ;
But pedants' motley tongue, souldiers' bumbast,
Mountebanks' drug-tongue, nor the terms of law
Are strong enough preparatives to draw
Me to hear this, yet I must be content
With his tongue, in his tongue call'd compliment:
In which he can win widows, and pay scores,
Make men speak treason, couzen subtlest whores,
Outflatter favorites, or outlie either
Jovius or Surius, or both together.
He names me, and comes to me; I whisper,
How have I sinn'd, that thy wrath's furious rod,
This fellow, chuseth me!' He saith, sir,
I love your judgment; whom do you prefer
For the best linguist ? and I seelily
Said that I thought Calepine's dictionary.
• Nay, but of men, most sweet sir?' Beza then,
Some Jesuits, and two reverend men
Of our two academies I named. Here
He stopt me, and said, “Nay, your apostles were
Good pretty linguists; so Panurgas was,
Talkers I 've learn'd to bear; Motteux I knew, 50
Henley himself I've heard, and Budgell too.
The doctor's wormwood style, the hash of tongues
A pedant makes, the storm of Gonson's lungs,
The whole artillery of the terms of war,
And, all those plagues in one, the bawling bar;—
These I could bear; but not a rogue so civil, 56
Whose tongue will compliment you to the devil ;
A tongue, that can cheat widows, cancel scores,
Make Scots speak treason, cozen subtlest whores,
With royal favorites in flattery vie,
And Oldmixon and Burnet both outlie.
He spies me out: I whisper,— Gracious God!
What sin of mine could merit such a rod ;-
That all the shot of dulness now must be
From this thy blunderbuss discharged on me? 65
• Permit,' he cries, 'no stranger to your fame
To crave your sentiment, if 's your name.
What speech esteem you most ? — The king's,'
said I. *But the best words?—“0, sir, the dictionary.' • You miss my aim: I mean the most acute 70 And perfect speaker?—Onslow, past dispute.'
But, sir, of writers ?Swift for closer style, But Hoadley for a period of a mile.' • Why, yes, 'tis granted, these indeed may pass : Good common linguists, and so Panurge was; 75