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To prove that laxury could never hold,
He serv'd a 'prenticeship who sets np shop;
Yet, sir, reflect; the mischief is not great; These madmen never hurt the church or state: Sometimes the folly benefits mankind, And rarely avarice taints the tuneful mind, Allow him but his plaything of a pen, He ne'er rebels, or plots, like other men: Flight of cashiers, or mobs, he'll never mind, And knows no losses while the Muse is kind. To cheat a friend or ward, he leaves to Peter; The good man heaps up nothing but mere metre, Enjoys his garden and his book in quiet; And then-a perfect hermit in his diet.
Of little use the man you may suppose Who says in verse what others say in prose; Yet let me slow a poet's of some weight, And (though no soldier) useful to the state. What will a child learn sooner than a song? What better teach a foreigner the tongue? What's long or short, each accent where to place, And speak in public with some sort of grace? I scarce can think him such a worthless thing, Unless he praise some monster of a king; Or virtue or religion turn to sport, To please a lewd or unbelieving court. Unhappy Dryden !-In all Charles's days Roscommon only boasts unspotted bays; And in our own (excuse some courtly stains) No whiter page than Addison remains : He from the taste obscene reclaims our youth, And sets the passions on the side of truth, Forms the soft bosom with the gentlest art, And pours each human virtue in the heart ! Let Ireland tell how wit upheld her cause, Her trade supported, and supplied her laws, And leave on Swift this grateful verse engrav'd, • The rights a court attack'd, a poet sav'd.' Behold the hand that wrought a nation's cure, Stretch'd to relieve the idiot and the poor ; Proud vice to brand, or injur'd worth adorn, And stretch the ray to ages yet unborn. Not but there are, who merit other palms; Hopkins and Sternhold glad the heart with psalms; The boys and girls whom charity maintains Implore your help in these pathetic strains : How could devotion touch the country pews Unless the gods bestow'd a proper Muse?
Verse cheers their leisure, verse assists their work,
Our rural ancestors, with little bless'd,
Though still some traces of our rustic vein
Some doubt if equal pains or equal fire
O you! whom vanity's light bark conveys
9 Mrs, Behy.
'There still remains, to mortify a wit, The many-headed monster of the pit; A senseless, worthless, and unhonour'd crowd, Who, to disturb their betters mighty proud, Clattering their sticks before ten lines are spoke, Call for the farce, the bear, or the black-joke. What dear delight to Britons farce affords! Ever the taste of mobs, but now of lords : (Taste! that eterpal wanderer, which flies From heads to ears, and now from ears to eyes,) The play stands still; damn action and discourse; Back tiy the scenes, and enter foot and horse; Pageants on pageants, in long order drawn, Peers, heralds, bishops, ermine, gold, and lawn; The champion too! and, to complete the jest, Old Edward's armour beams on Cibber's breast. With laughter sure Democritus had died, Had he beheld an audience gape so wide. Let bear or elephant be e'er so white, The people, sure, the people are the sight! Ah, luckless poet! stretch thy lungs and roar, That bear or elephant shall heed thee more; While all its throats the gallery extends, And all the thunder of the pit ascends! Loud as the wolves on Orcas stormy steep Howl to the roarings of the northern deep ; Such is the shout, the long-applauding note, At Quin's bigh plume, or Oldfield's petticoat; Or when from court a birth-day suit bestow'd Sinks the lost actor in the tawdry load. Booth entershark! the universal peal! . But has he spoken ?--pot a syllable. "What shook the stage, and made the people stare?' Cato's long wig, flower'd gown, and lacker'd chair.