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I would have some of them to know, it was owing to the
request of the learned and candid friend to whom it is inscribed, that I make not as free use of theirs as they have done of mine. However, I shall have this advantage and honour on my side, that whereas, by their proceeding, any abuse may be directed at any man, no injury can possibly be done by mine; since a nameless character can never be found out but by its truth and likeness.
P. 'Shut, shut the door, good John,' fatigued, I
said, ' Tie up the knocker, say I'm sick, I'm dead.' The dog-star rages ! nay, 'tis past a doubt, All Bedlam, or Parnassus, is let out : Fire in each eye, and papers in each hand, They rave, recite, and madden round the land.
What walls can guard me, or what shades can hide ? They pierce my thickets, through my grot they glide ; By land, by water, they renew the charge ; They stop the chariot, and they board the barge. No place is sacred, not the church is free, E'en Sunday shines no sabbath-day to me; Then from the Mint walks forth the man of rhyme, Happy to catch me!-just at dinner time.
Is there a parson, much bemused in beer, A maudlin poetess, a rhyming peer, A clerk foredoom'd his father's soul to cross, Who pens a stanza when he should engross; Is there who, lock'd from ink and paper, scrawls With desperate charcoal round his darken'd walls ; All fly to Twit'nam, and in humble strain Apply to me, to keep them mad or vain. Arthur, whose giddy son neglects the laws, Imputes to me and my damn'd works the cause : Poor Cornus sees his frantic wife elope, And curses wit, and poetry, and Pope.
Friend to my life! (which did not you prolong, The world had wanted many an idle song)
What drop or nostrum can this plague remove?
Nine years !' cries he, who, high in Drury-lane,
Three things another's modest wishes bound, My friendship, and a prologue, and ten pound.
Pitholeon sends to me; “You know his grace; I want a patron; ask him for a place.' Pitholeon libell'd me 'but here's a letter Informs you, sir, 'twas when he knew no better. Dare you refuse him Curll invites to dine ? He'll write a journal, or he'll turn divine.'
Bless me! a packet.--"'Tis a stranger sues : A virgin tragedy, an orphan muse.' If I dislike it, 'Furies, death, and rage!' If I approve,'Commend it to the stage.' There (thank my stars) my whole commission ends, The players and I are, luckily, no friends. Fired that the house reject him, ''Sdeath! I'll print it, And shame the fools-your interest, sir, with Lintot.' * Lintot, dull rogue! will think your price too much : • Not, sir, if you revise it, and retouch.' All my demurs but double his attacks : Al lagt he whispers,"
and we go snacks
Glad of a quarrel, straight I clap the door,
"Tis sung, when Midas' ears began to spring, (Midas, a sacred person and a king,) His very minister, who spied them first, (Some say his queen) was forced to speak, or
burst. And is not mine, my friend, a sorer case, When every coxcomb perks them in my face? A. Good friend, forbear! you deal in dangerous
things, I'd never name queens, ministers, or kings; 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 : 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, Thou unconcern'd canst hear the mighty crack: Pit, box, and gallery, in convulsions hurl’d, Thou stand'st unshook amidst a bursting world. Who shames a scribbler ? Break one cobweb through, He spins the slight, self-pleasing thread anew : Destroy his fib or sophistry, in vain, The creature's at his dirty work again, Throned on the centre of his thin designs, Proud of a vast extent of flimsy lines : Whom have I hurt ? has poet yet, or peer, Lost the arch d eyebrow, or Parnassian sneer? And has not Colly still his lord and whore? Ilis butchers Henly? his free-masons Moore? Does not one table Bavius still admit? Sull to one bishop Phillips seem a wit ? 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 ;
One dedicates in high heroic prose,
There are, who to my person pay their court.
Why did I write ? what sin to me unknown
But why then publish ? Granville the polite, And knowing Walsh, would tell me I could write ; Well-natured Garth inflamed with early praise, And Congreve loved, and Swift endured, my lays, The courtly Talbot, Somers, Sheffield read, E'en mitred Rochester would nod the head,
And St. John's self (great Dryden's friend before)
Soft were my numbers : who could take offence
Did some more sober critic come abroad?
Were others angry? I excused them too;.