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On Poems by their dictates writ,
Critics, as sworn appraisers, sit,
And mere upholsterers in a trice
On gems and painting set a price.
These tailoring artists for our lays
Invent cramped rules, and with strait stays
Striving free Nature's shape to hit,
Emaciate sense, before they fit.


Forced by soft violence of prayer, The blithesome goddess soothes my care, I feel the deity inspire, And thus she models my desire. Two hundred pounds half-yearly paid, Annuity securely made, A farm some twenty miles from town, Small, tight, salubrious, and my own; Two maids, that never saw the town, A serving-man not quite a clown, A boy to help to tread the mow, And drive, while t other holds the plough ; A chief, of temper formed to please, Fit to converse, and keep the keys; And better to preserve the peace, Commission'd by the name of niece ; With understandings of a size To think their master very wise. May heav'n (it's all I wish for) send One genial room to treat a friend, Where decent cup-board, little plate, Display benevolence, not state. And may my humble dwelling stand Upon some chosen spot of land : A pond before full to the brim, Where cows may cool, and geese may swim ; Behind, a green like velvet neat, Soft to the eye, and to the feet;

Where odorous plants in evening fair
Breathe all around ambrosial air ;
From Eurus, foe to kitchen ground,
Fenced by a slope with bushes crowned,
Fit dwelling for the feathered throng,
Who pay their quit-rents with a song ;
With opening views of hill and dale,
Which sense and fancy too regale,
Where the half-cirque, which vision bounds,
Like amphitheatre surrounds :
And woods impervious to the breeze,
Thick phalanx of embodied trees,
From hills through plains in dusk array
Extended far, repel the day.

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Thus sheltered, free from care and strife, May I enjoy a calm through life ; See faction, safe in low degree, As men at land see storms at sea, And laugh at miserable elves, Not kind, so much as to themselves, Cursed with such souls of base alloy, As can possess, but not enjoy ; Debarred the pleasure to impart By avarice, sphincter of the heart ; Who wealth, hard earned by guilty cares, Bequeath untouched to thankless heirs. May I, with look ungloomed by guile, And wearing Virtue's livery-smile, Prone the distressed to relieve, And little trespasses forgive, With income not in Fortune's pow'r, And skill to make a busy hour, With trips to town life to amuse, To purchase books, and hear the news, To see old friends, brush off the clown, And quicken taste at coming down, Unhurt by sickness' blasting rage, And slowly mellowing in age,

When Fate extends its gathering gripe,
Fall off like fruit grown fully ripe,
Quit a worn being without pain,
Perhaps to blossom soon again.

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Thus, thus I steer my bark, and sail
On even keel with gentle gale ;
At helm I make my reason sit,
My crew of passions all submit.
If dark and blustering prove some nights,
Philosophy puts forth her lights;
Experience holds the cautious glass,
To shun the breakers, as I pass,
And frequent throws the wary lead,
To see what dangers may be hid :
And once in seven years I'm seen
At Bath or Tunbridge, to careen.
Though pleased to see the dolphins play,
I mind my compass and my way.
With store sufficient for relief,
And wisely still prepared to reef,
Nor wanting the dispersive bowl
Of cloudy weather in the soul,
I make (may heav'n propitious send
Such wind and weather to the end)
Neither becalmed, nor over-blown,
Life's voyage to the world unknown.


These sheets primæval doctrines yield,
Where revelation is reveald ;
Soul-phlegm from literal feeding bred,
Systems lethargic to the head
They purge, and yield a diet thin,
That turns to gospel-chyle within.

Truth sublimate may here be seen 'Extracted from the parts terrene. In these is shewn, how men obtain What of Prometheus poets feign : To scripture-plainness dress is brought, And speech, apparel to the thought. They hiss from instinct at red coats, And war, whose work is cutting throats, Forbid, and press the law of love : Breathing the spirit of the dove. Lucrative doctrines they detest, As manufactured by the priest ; And throw down turnpikes, where we pay For stuff, which never mends the way ; And tithes, a Jewish tax, reduce, And frank the gospel for our use. They sable standing armies break, But the militia useful make : Since all unhired may preach and pray, Taught by these rules as well as they ; Rules, which, when truths themselves reveal, Bid us to follow what we feel.

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Well-natured, happy shade, forgive ! Like you I think, but cannot live. Thy scheme requires the world's contempt, That, from dependence life exempt ; And constitution fram'd so strong, This world's worst climate cannot wrong. Not such my lot, not Fortune's brat, I live by pulling off the hat; Compelled by station every hour To bow to images of power ; And in life's busy scenes immersed, See better things, and do the worst.

Eloquent Want, whose reasons sway, And make ten thousand truths give way,

While I your scheme with pleasure trace,
Draws near, and stares me in the face.
Consider well your state, she cries,
Like others kneel, that you may rise ;
Hold doctrines, by no scruples vexed,
To which preferment is annexed,
Nor madly prove, where all depends,
Idolatry upon your friends.
See, how you like my rueful face,
Such you must wear, if out of place.
Cracked is your brain to turn recluse
Without one farthing out at use.
They, who have lands, and safe bank-stock,
With faith so founded on a rock,
May give a rich invention ease,
And construe scripture how they please.

The honoured prophet, that of old
Used heav'n's high counsels to unfold,
Did, more than courier angels, greet
The crows, that brought him bread and meat.

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