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There is a time when poets will grow dull:
I'll e'en leave verses to the boys at school :
To rules of poetry no more confined,
I'll learn to smooth and harmonize my mind,
Teach every thought within its bounds to roll,
And keep the equal measure of the soul.
Soon as I enter at my country door,
My mind resumes the thread it dropp'd before:
Thoughts which at Hyde-park corner I forgot,
Meet and rejoin me, in the pensive grot;
There all alone, and compliments apart,
I ask these sober questions of my heart:
If, when the more you drink, the more you crave,
You tell the doctor ; when the more you have,
The more you want, why not with equal ease
Confess as well your folly as disease?
The heart resolves this matter in a trice,
Men only feel the smart, but not the vice.'
When golden angels cease to cure the evil,
You give all royal witchcraft to the devil:
When servile chaplains cry, that birth and place
Endue a peer with honour, truth, and grace;
Look in that breast, most dirty dean ! be fair,
Say, can you find out one such lodger there?
Yet still, not heeding what your heart can teach,
You go to church to hear these flatterers preach.
Indeed, could wealth bestow or wit or merit,
A grain of courage, or a spark of spirit,
The wisest man might blush, I must agree,
If D*** loved sixpence more than he.
If there be truth in law, and use can give
property, that's yours on which you live. Delightful Abs-court, if its fields afford Their fruits to you, confesses you its lord : AU Worldly's hens, nay, partridge, sold to town, His venison too a guinea makes your own : He bought at thousands, what with better wit You purchase as you want, and bit by bit: Now, or long since, what difference will be found ? You paid a penny, and he paid a pound.
Heathcote himself, and such large-acred men, Lords of fat Eösham, or of Lincoln-fen,
Buy every stick of wood that lends them heat;
Buy every pullet they afford to eat.
Yet these are wights, who fondly call their own
Half that the devil o'erlooks from Lincoln-town.
The laws of God, as well as of the land,
Abhor a perpetuity should stand:
Estates have wings, and hang in fortune's power,
Loose on the point of every wavering hour,
Ready, by force, or of your own accord,
By sale, at least by death, to change their lord.
Man ? and for ever? wretch! what wouldst thou have?
Heir urges heir, like wave impelling wave.
All vast possessions (just the same the case
Whether you call them villa, park, or chase),
Alas, my Bathurst! what will they avail?
Join Cotswood's hills to Saperton's fair dale,
Let rising granaries and temples here,
There mingled farms and pyramids appear,
Link towns to towns with avenues of oak,
Enclose whole downs in walls, 'tis all a joke!
Inexorable death shall level all,
And trees, and stones, and farm, and farmer fall.
Gold, silver, ivory, vases sculptured high,
Paint, marble, gems, and rubes of Persian dye,
There are who have not--and, thank heaven! thereare,
Who, if they have not, think not worth their care.
Talk what you will of taste, my friend, you'll find
Two of a face, as soon as of a mind.
Why of two brothers, rich and restless one
Ploughs, burns, manures, and toils from sun to sun;
The other slights, for women, sports, and wines,
All Townshend's turnips, and all Grosvenor's mines:
Why one like Bu** with pay and scorn content,
Bows and votes on in court and parliament;
One, driven by strong benevolence of soul,
Shall fly, like Oglethorpe, from pole to pole;
Is known alone to that Directing Power,
Who forms the genius in the natal hour;
That God of nature, who within us still,
Inclines our action, not constrains our will;
Various of temper, as of face or frame,
Each individual: His great end the same.
Yes, sir, how small soever be my heap,
A part I will enjoy, as well as keep.
My heir may sigh, and think it want of grace
A man so poor would live without a place :
But sure no statute in his favour says,
How free or frugal I shall pass my days :
I who at some times spend, at others spare,
Divided between carelessness and care.
'Tis one thing madly to disperse my store;
Another, not to heed to treasure more:
Glad, like a boy, to snatch the first good day,
And pleased, if sordid want be far away.
What is 't to me (a passenger, God wot!)
Whether my vessel be first-rate or not?
The ship itself may make a better figure;
But I that sail am neither less nor bigger:
I neither strut with every favouring breath,
Nor strive with all the tempest in my teeth.
In power, wit, figure, virtue, fortune, placed
Behind the foremost, and before the last.
* But why all this of avarice? I have none.'
I wish you joy, sir, of a tyrant gone!
But does no other lord it at this hour,
As wild and mad? the avarice of power ?
Does neither rage inflame, nor fear appal?
Not the black fear of death, that saddens all ?
With terrors round, can reason hold her throne,
Despise the known, nor tremble at th’ unknown?
Survey both worlds, intrepid and entire,
In spite of witches, devils, dreams, and fire?
Pleased to look forward, pleased to look behind,
And count each birth-day with a grateful
Has life no sourness, drawn so near its end?
Canst thou endure a foe, forgive a friend ?
Has age but melted the rough parts away,
As winter-fruits grow mild ere they decay?
Or will you think, my friend, your business done,
When, of a hundred thorns, you pull out one?
Learn to live well, or fairly make your will;
You've play'd, and loved, and ate, and drank your fill:
Walk sober off, before a sprightlier age
Comes tittering on, and shoves you from the stage:
Leave such to trifle with more grace and ease,
Whom folly pleases, and whose follies please.
DR. JOHN DONNE, DEAN OF ST. PAUL'S,
Quid vetat, ut nosmet Lucili scripta legentes
Quærere, num illius, num rerum dura negârit
Versiculos natura magis factos, et euntes
thank my stars! as early as I knew
This town, I had the sense to hate it too :
Yet here, as e’en in hell, there must be still
One giant-vice, so excellently ill,
That all beside one pities, not abhors:
As who knows Sappho, smiles at other whores.
I grant that poetry 's a crying sin;
It brought (no doubt) th' excise and army
Catch'd like the plague, or love, the Lord knows how,
But that the cure is starving, all allow.
Yet like the papist's, is the poet's state,
Poor and disarm'd, and hardly worth your hate?
SATIRE II. Sir; though (I thank God for it) I do hate Perfectly all this town; yet there's one state In all ill things, so excellently best, That hate tow'rds them, breeds pity tow'rds the rest. Though poetry, indeed, be such a sin, As, I think, that brings dearth and Spaniards in : Though like the pestilence and old-fashion'd love, Ridlingly it catch men, and doth remove Never, till it be starved out; yet their state Is poor, disarm’d, like papists, not worth hate.
Here a lean bard, whose wit could never give
Himself a dinner, makes an actor live:
The thief condemn'd, in law already dead,
So prompts, and saves a rogue who cannot read.
Thus as the pipes of some carved organ move,
The gilded puppets dance and mount above.
Heav'd by the breath th' inspiring bellows blow:
Th' inspiring bellows lie and pant below.
One sings the fair: but songs no longer move ;
No rat is rhym'd to death, nor maid to love;
In love's, in nature's spite, the siege they hold,
And scorn the flesh, the devil, and all but gold.
These write to lords, some mean reward to
As needy beggars sing at doors for meat.
Those write because all write, and so have still
Excuse for writing, and for writing ill.
Wretched, indeed! but far more wretched yet
Is he who makes his meal on others' wit:
'Tis changed, no doubt, from what it was before;
His rank digestion makes it wit no more:
One (like a wretch, which at bar judged as dead, Yet prompts him which stands next, and cannot
read, And saves his life) gives idiot actors means (Starving himself) to live by's labour'd scenes. As in some organs puppets dance above, And bellows pant below, which them do move, One would move love by rhymes; but witchcraft's
charms Bring not now their old fears, nor their old harms; Rams and slings now are silly battery, Pistolets are the best artillery. And they who write to lords, rewards to get, Are they not like singers at doors for meat? And they who write, because all write, have still That 'scuse for writing, and for writing ill.
But he is worst, who beggarly doth chaw Others wits-fruits, and in his ravenous maw