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To find an honest man I beat about,
And love him, court him, praise him, in or out.
F. Then why so few commended ?

P. Not so fierce :
Find you the virtue, and I'll find the verse. 105
But random praise—the task can ne'er be done;
Each mother asks it for her booby son;
Each widow asks it for the best of men ;'
For him she weeps, for him she weds again.
Praise cannot stoop, like satire, to the ground ; 110
The number may be hang’d, but not be crown'd :
Enough for half the greatest of these days,
To ’scape my censure, not expect my praise.
Are they not rich? what more can they pretend ?
Dare they to hope a poet for their friend?
What Richelieu wanted, Louis scarce could gain,
And what young Ammon wish'd, but wish'd in

vain. No power the Muse's friendship can com

mmand; No power,

when virtue claims it, can withstand : To Cato, Virgil paid one honest line;

120 o, let my country's friends illumine mine! - What are you thinking ? F. Faith, the thought's

no sin : I think your friends are out, and would be in.

115 130

116. What Richelieu. The arrogant, but the able minister of France. As he had raised the monarchy to its height by violence, he labored to keep it there by corruption : his first object had been accomplished in the ruin of protestantism ; his next, in the purchase of the whole literary body of France. He is said also to have expended eighty thousand crowns a year in public pensions to writers of all countries ;-an immense sum in his day: but his private bribes were probably much more lavish, and much more effectual.

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II.

135

P. If merely to come in, sir, they go out, The way they take is strangely roundabout. 125

F. They too may be corrupted, you 'll allow?

P. I only call those knaves who are so now,
Is that too little ? Come then, I 'll comply:
Spirit of Arnall! aid me while I lie.
Cobham's a coward, Polwarth is a slave,
And Littleton a dark designing knave;
St. John has ever been a wealthy fool;
But let me add, sir Robert 's mighty dull;
Has never made a friend in private life;
And was, besides, a tyrant to his wife.

But, pray, when others praise him, do I blame?
Call Verres, Wolsey, any odious name?
Why rail they then, if but a wreath of mine,
0, all-accomplish'd St. John! deck thy shrine ?
What? shall each spur-gall'd hackney of the

day, When Paxton gives him double

pay, Or each new-pension'd sycophant, pretend To break my windows if I treat a friend ; Then wisely plead, ta me they meant no hurt, But 'twas my guest at whom they threw the dirt ? Sure, if I spare the minister, no rules Of honor bind me, not to maul his tools ; Sure, if they cannot cut, it may be said His saws are toothless, and his hatchet's lead.

140

pots and

146

129 Arnall, aid me while I lie. One of the writers for the Walpole ministry : a shrewd and sensible man; but latterly wasteful; and, after undergoing great distress, closing his career by the still more unhappy fate of suicide.-Bowles.

143 To break my windows. Pope had become obnoxious to the street politicians; and they broke his windows, one day, when lords Bolingbroke and Bathurst were at dinner with him.

It anger'd Turenne, once upon a day, 150 To see a footman kick'd that took his

pay; But when he heard the affront the fellow

gave, Knew one a man of honor, one a knave;The prudent general turn'd it to a jest, And begg’d he'd take the pains to kick the rest:

155 Which not at present having time to doF: Hold, sir! for God's sake, where's the

affront to you?
Against your worship when had sk writ?
Or P-ge pour'd forth the torrent of his wit?
Or grant the bard, whose distich all commend, 160

In power a servant, out of power a friend,
To W-le guilty of some venial sin ;-
What's that to you, who ne'er was out nor in?

The priest, whose flattery bedropp'd the crown, How hurt he you? he only stain’d the gown. 165 And how did, pray, the florid youth offend, Whose speech you took, and gave it to a friend?

P. Faith, it imports not much from whom it

came:

Whoever borrow'd, could not be to blame,
Since the whole house did afterwards the same.
Let courtly wits to wits afford supply,
As hog to hog in huts of Westphaly:

171

158 S

-k.-P-ge. Sherlock and Page. 161 In power. A line in an epistle to sir R. Walpole, by lord Melcombe.

165 He only stain'd. The priest alluded to in the preceding line, notwithstanding Pope's denying note, was Dr. Alured Clarke, who wrote a panegyric on queen Caroline.

166 Florid youth. Lord Hervey, alluding to his painting himself.

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180

185

If one, through nature's bounty or his lord's,
Has what the frugal, dirty soil affords,
From him the next receives it, thick or thin, 175
As pure a mess almost as it came in;
The blessed benefit, not there confined,
Drops to the third, who nuzzles close behind ;
From tail to mouth, they feed and they carouse :
The last full fairly gives it to the house.

F. This filthy simile, this beastly line,
Quite turns my stomach-

P. So does flattery mine; And all your courtly civet-cats can vent, Perfume to you, to me is excrement. But hear me farther: Japhet, 'tis agreed, Writ not, and Chartres scarce could write or

read ; In all the courts of Pindus guiltless quite; But pens can forge, my friend, that cannot write: And must no egg in Japhet's face be thrown, Because the deed he forged was not my own? Must never patriot then declaim at gin, 191 Unless, good man! he has been fairly in? No zealous pastor blame a failing spouse, Without a staring reason on his brows? And each blasphemer quite escape the rod, 195 Because the insult's not on man, but God?

Ask you what.provocation I have had ? The strong antipathy of good to bad. When truth or virtue an affront endures, The affront is mine, my friend, and should be yours;

200 Mine, as a foe profess'd to false pretence, Who think a coxcomb's honor like his sense;

Mine, as a friend to every worthy mind;
And mine, as man, who feel for all mankind.
F. You 're strangely proud.

P. So proud, I am no slave: So impudent, I own myself no knave:

206 So odd, my country's ruin makes me grave. Yes, I am proud, I must be proud, to see Men, not afraid of God, afraid of me: Safe from the bar, the pulpit, and the throne, 210 Yet touch'd and shamed by ridicule alone.

O sacred weapon, left for truth's defence !
Sole dread of folly, vice, and insolence !
To all but heaven-directed hands denied ;
The Muse may give thee, but the gods must guide.
Reverent I touch thee, but with honest zeal; 216
To rouse the watchmen of the public weal;
To virtue's work provoke the tardy Hall,
And goad the prelate slumbering in his stall.
Ye tinsel insects! whom a court maintains,
That counts your beauties only by your stains,
Spin all your cobwebs o'er the eye of day!
The Muse's wing shall brush you all away;
All his grace preaches, all his lordship sings ; 224
All that makes saints of queens, and gods of kings;
All, all but truth, drops dead-born from the press,
Like the last Gazette, or the last address.
After ver. 227 in the Ms.

Where's now the star that lighted Charles to rise ?
With that which follow'd Julius to the skies.
Angels, that watch'd the royal oak so well,
How chanced ye nod, when luckless Sorel fell?
Hence, lying miracles ! reduced so low
As to the regal touch and papal toe;
Hence, haughty Edgar's title to the main,
Britain's to France, and thine to India, Spain !

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