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Were others angry: I excus'd them too; Well might they rage, I gave them but their due. A man's true merit 'tis not hard to find; But each man's secret standard in his mind, That casting-weight pride adds to emptiness, This who can gratify? for who can guess ? The bard whom pilfer'd pastorals renown, Who turns a Persian tale for half-a-crown, Just writes to make his barrenness appear, [year; And strains from hard-bound brains eight lines a He who still wanting, thongh he lives on theft, Steals much, spends little, yet has nothing left; And he who now to sense, now nonsense, leaning, Means not, but blunders round about a meaning ; And be whose fustian's so sublimely bad, It is not poetry, but prose run mad : All these my modest satire bade translate, And own'd that nine such poets made a Tate. How did they fame, and stamp, and roar, and chafe! And swear not Addison himself was safe.
Peace to all such! But were there one whose fires True genius kindles, and fair fame inspires, Bless'd with each talent and each art to please, And born to write, converse, and live with ease; Should such a man, too fond to rule alone, Bear, like the Turk, no brother near the throne; View him with scornfal yet with jealous eyes, And hate for arts that caus'd himself to rise ; Damu with faint praise, assent with civil leer, And without sneering teach the rest to sneer; Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike, Just hint a fault, and hesitate dislike; Alike resery'd to blame or to commend, A timorous foe, and a suspicious friend;
Dreading ev'n fools ; by flatterers besieg'd,
And so obliging that he ne'er oblig'd;
Like Cato, give his little senate laws,
And sit attentive to his own applause;
While wits and templars every sentence raise,
And wonder with a foolish face of praise
Who but must langh if such a man there be?
Who would not weep, if Atticus were he?
What though my name stood rubric on the walls,
Or plaster'd posts, with claps, in capitals?
Or smoking forth, a hundred hawkers' load,
On wings of winds came flying all abroad?
I sought no homage from the race that write;
I kept, like Asian monarchs, from their sight:
Poems I heeded (now be-rhym'd so long)
No more than thon, great George! a birth-day song.
I ne'er with wits or witlings pass'd my days
To spread about the itch of verse and praise;
Nor like a puppy daggled through the town
To fetch and carry sing-song up and down;
Nor at rehearsals sweat, and mouth'd, and cried,
With handkerchief and orange at my side ; .
But sick of fops, and poetry, and prate,
To Bufo left the whole Castalian state.
Proud as Apollo on his forked hill Sat foll-blown Bufo, puff d by every quill : Fed with soft dedication all day long, Horace and he went hand in hand in song. His library (where busts of poets dead, And a true Pindar stood without a head) Receiv'd of wits an undistinguish'd race, Who first his judgment ask'd, and then a place : Much they extollid his pictures, much his seat, And Hatter'd every day, and some days eat:
Till grown more frugal in his riper days,
He paid some bards with port, and some with praise;
To some a dry rehearsal was assign'd,
And others (harder still) he paid in kind.
Dryden alone (what wonder?) came not nigh;
Dryden alone escap'd this judging eye:
But still the great have kindness in reserve;
He help'd to bury whom he help'd to starve.
May some choice patron bless each grey-goose
May every Bavius have his Bufo still! [quill:
So when a statesman wants a day's defence,
Or envy holds a whole week's war with sense,
Or simple pride for flattery makes demands,
May dunce by dunce be whistled off my hands!
Bless'd be the great! for tliose they take away,
And those they left me--for they left me Gay;
Left me to see neglected genius bloom,
Neglected die, and tell it on his tomb:
Of all thy blameless life the sole return
My verse, and Queensberry weeping o'er thy urn!
Oh! let me live my own, and die so too! (To live and die is all I have to do) Maintain a poet's dignity and ease, And see what friends, and read what books, I please; Above a patron, though I condescend Sometimes to call a minister my friend. I was not born for courts or great affairs; I pay my debts, believe, and say my pray'rs; Can sleep without a poem in my head, Nor know if Dennis be alive or dead.
Why am I ask'd what next shall see the light? Heav'ns ! was I born for nothing but to write? Has life no joys for me? or (to be grave) Have I no friend to serve, no soul to save ?
* I found him elose with Swift - Indeed? no doubt
(Cries prating Balbus) something will come out.'
*Tis all in vain, deny it as I will;
No, such a genius never can lie still :'
And then for mine obligingly mistakes
The first lampoou Sir Will, or Bobo makes.
Poor gniltless I! and can I choose but smile,
When every coxcomb knows me by my style?'
Curs'd be the verse, how well soe'er it flow,
That tends to make one worthy man my foe,
Give virtue scandal, innocence a fear,
Or from the soft-ey'd virgin steal a tear!
But he who hurts a harmless neighbour's peace,
Insults fall’n worth, or beauty in distress,
Who loves a lie, lame-slander helps about,
Who writes a libel, or who copies out;
That fop whose pride affects a patron's name,
Yet absent wounds an author's bonest fame;
Who can your merit selfishly approve,
And show the sense of it without the love;
Who has the vanity to call you friend,
Yet wants the honour, injur'd, to defend ;
Who tells whate'er you think, whate'er you say,
And, if he lie not, must at least betray;
Who to the dean and silver bell cap swear,
And sees at Canons what was never there;
Who reads but with a lust to misapply,
Makes satire a lampoon, aud fiction lie:
A lash like mine no honest map shall dread,
But all such babbling blockheads in his stead.
Let Sporas tremble-A. What? that thing of silk, Sporus, that mere white curd of asses' milk? Satire or sense, alas! can Sporus feel? Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?
P. Yet let me flap this bug with gilded wings,'
This painted child of dirt, that stinks and stings;
Whose buzz the witty and the fair annoys,
Yet wit ne'er tastes, and beauty ne'er enjoys :
So well-bred spaniels civilly delight
In mumbling of the game they dare not bite.
Eternal smiles his emptiness betray, ..
As shallow streams run dimpling all the way.
Whether in florid impotence he speaks,
And, as the prompter breathes, the puppet squeaks,
Or at the ear of Eve, familiar toad,
Half froth, half venom, spits himself abroad,
In puns, or politics, or tales, or lies,
Or spite, or smut, or rhymes, or blasphemies;
His wit all see-saw between that and this,
Now high, now low, now master op, now miss,
And he himself one vile antithesis.
Amphibious thing! that acting either part,
The trifling head, or the corrupted heart;
Fop at the toilet, flatterer at the board,
Now trips a lady, and now struts a lord.
Eve's tempter thus the rabbins have express'd,
A cherub's face, a reptile all the rest;
Beauty that shocks you, parts that none will trust,
Wit that can creep, and pride that licks the dust.
Not fortune's worshipper, nor fashion's fool,
Not lucre's madman, nor ambition's tool,
Not proud, nor servile; be one poet's praise,
That if he pleas'd he pleas'd by manly ways;
That flattery, ev'n to kings, lie held a shame,
And thought a lie in verse or prose the same;
That not in fancy's maze he wander'd long,
But stoop'd to truth, and moraliz'd his song ;
That not for fame, but virtue's hetter end,
He stood the furious foe, the timid friend,