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Thou stood'ft (an Indian king in fize and hue)
Thy unexhausted shop was our Peru.
Why did 'Change-Alley wafte thy precious hours
Among the fools who gap'd for golden showers?
No wonder if we found fome poets there,
Who live on fancy, and can feed on air;
No wonder they were caught by South-Sea schemes,
Who ne'er enjoy'd a guinea, but in dreams;
No wonder they their third subscriptions fold,
For millions of imaginary gold;
No wonder, that their fancies wild can frame
Strange reafons, that a thing is still the fame,
Though chang'd throughout in substance and in name.
But you (whofe judgement fcorns poetic flights)
With contracts furnish boys for paper-kites.
Let Vulture Hopkins ftretch his rufty throat,
Who'd ruin thousands for a single groat.
I know thou fpurn'ft his mean, his fordid mind;
Nor with ideal debts would'st plague mankind.
Why strive his greedy hands to grasp at more?
The wretch was born to want, whose foul is poor,
Madmen alone their empty dreams pursue,
And still believe the fleeting vifion true;
They fell the treasure which their flumbers get,
Then wake, and fancy all the world in debt.
If to inftruct thee all my reafons fail,
Yet be diverted by this moral tale.
Through fam'd Moorfields extends a fpacious feat, Where mortals of exalted wit retreat;
Where, wrapp'd in contemplation and in straw,
The wifer few from the mad world withdraw.
There, in full opulence, a banker dwelt,
Who all the joys and pangs of riches felt:
His fide-board glitter'd with imagin'd plate ;
And his proud fancy held a vaft eftate.
As on a time he pafs'd the vacant hours,
In railing piles of Itraw and twified bowers;
A poet enter'd, of the neighbouring cell,
And with fix'd eyes obferv'd the ftructure well;
A fharpen'd fkewer crofs his bare fhoulders bound
A tatter'd rug, which dragg'd upon
The banker cry'd, "Behold my caftle-walls,
"My ftatues, gardens, fountains, and canals;
"With land of twenty thousand acres round!
"All thefe I fell thee for ten thousand pound."
The bard with wonder the cheap purchase faw,
So fign'd the contract (as ordains the law).
The banker's brain was cool'd, the mift grew clear; The vifonary fcene was loft in air.
He now the vanifh'd profpect understood,
And fear'd the fancied bargain was not good: Yet, loath the fum entire fhould be destroy'd, "Give me a penny, and thy contract 's void."
The flartled bard with eye indignant frown'd. "Shall I, ye Gods (he cries) my debts compound!" So faying, from his rug the fkewer he takes, And on the flick ten equal notches makes; With juft refentment flings it on the ground; "There, take my tally of ten thousand pound!" EPISTLE,
The Captain, fome time after his return, being retired to Mr. Sympfon's in the Country; Mrs. Gulliver, apprehending from his late Behaviour fome Eftrangement of his Affections, writes him the following expoftulating, foothing, and tenderly - complaining Epiftle.
ELCOME, thrice welcome, to thy native place!
What, touch me not? What, fhun a wife's
Have I for this thy tedious abfence borne,
And wak'd and wifh'd whole nights for thy return?
In five long years I took no fecond spouse;
What Redriff wife fo long hath kept her vows?
Your eyes, your nofe, inconftancy betray;
Your nofe you ftop, your eyes you turn away.
"Tis faid that thou fhould'ft cleave unto thy wife;
Once thou didft cleave, and I could cleave for life.
Hear, and relent! hark, how thy children moan:
Be kind at least to thefe - they are thy own!
Be bold, and count them all; fecure to find
The honeft number that you left behind.
See how they pat thee with their pretty paws:
Why ftart you? are they fnakes? or have they claws
Thy Chriftian feed, our mutual flesh and bone:
Be kind at least to these
they are thy own!
* Biddel, like thee, might fartheft India rove;
He chang'd his country, but retains his love :
There's captain *Pannel, abfent half his life,
Comes back, and is the kinder to his wife:
Yet Pannel's wife is brown, compar'd to me,
And Mistress Biddel fure is fifty-three!
Not touch me! Never neighbour call'd me slut
Was Flimnap's dame more fweet in Lilliput ?
I've no red hair, to breathe an odious fume;
At least thy confort's cleaner than thy groom.
Why then that dirty ftable-boy thy care?
What mean thofe vifits to the forrel mare?
Say, by what witchcraft, or what dæmon led,
Preferr'ft thou litter to the marriage-bed!
Some fay the devil himfelf is in that mare :
If fo, our Dean fhall drive him forth by prayer.
Some think you mad; fome think you are poffeft;
That Bedlam and clean ftraw will fuit you beft.
*Names of the fea-captains mentioned in the Travels..
Vain means, alas, this phrenzy to appease!
That straw, that straw would heighten the disease.
My bed (the fcene of all our former joys,
Witnefs two lovely girls, two lovely boys)
Alone I prefs; in dreams I call my dear,
I ftretch my hand; no Gulliver is there!
I wake, I rife, and, fhivering with the froft,
Search all the house: my Gulliver is loft !
Forth in the streets I rush with frantic cries;
The windows open; all the neighbours rife :
Where fleeps my Gulliver? O tell me where !
The neighbours anfwer, "With the forrel mare !”
At early morn' I to the market hafte
(Studious in every thing to please thy taste);
A curious fowl and 'sparagus I chose
(For I remember'd you were fond of those);
Three fhillings coft the firft, the last seven groats;
Sullen you turn from both, and call for oats.
Others bring goods and treasure to their houses,
Something to deck their pretty babes and spouses;
My only token was a cup like horn,
That's made of nothing but a lady's corn.
'Tis not for that I grieve; no, 'tis to fee
The groom and forrel mare preferr'd to me!
These for fome moments when you deign to quit,
And (at due distance) fweet difcourfe admit,
'Tis all my pleasure thy paft toil to know,
For pleas'd remembrance builds delight on woe.
At every danger pants thy confort's breast,
And gaping infants fquall to hear the reft.