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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 paftorals renown, Who turns a Persian tale for half a crown, Just writes to make his barrenness appear , And strains from hard-bound brains, eight lines a year, He , who still wanting, tho' he lives on theft, Steals much , spends little, yet has nothing left: And he, who now to sense, now nonfense leaning, Means not, but blunders round about a meaning: And he, whose fustian's so sublimely bad, It is not poetry, but prose run mad : All thefe , my modest satire bad translate , And own'd that nine such poets made a Tate. How did they fume, 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 ; Bleft 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 scornful , yet with jealous eyes, And hate for arts that caus'd himself to rise ; Damn with faint praise , afsent with civil leer, And without sneering, teach the rest to sneer; Willing to wound, and yet afraid to frike,
Just hint a fault , and hesitate dislike ;
Alike reserv'd to blame, or to commend,
A tim'rous 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 fit attentive to his own applause ;
While wits and Templars ev'ry sente
And wonder with a foolish face of praise -
Who but must laugh, if such a man there be ?
Who would not weep, if Atticus were he!
What tho'my name stood rubric on the walls,
Or plaister'd posts, with claps , in capitals ?
Or smoaking 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 fight:
Poems I heeded ( now be rhym'd so long )
No more than thou, great George! a birth-day song.
I ne'er with wits or witlings pass’d my days,
To fpread about the itch of verse and praise;
Nor like a puppy, daggld thro' the town,
To fetch and carry fing-song up and down;
Nor at Rehearsals sweat, and mouth'd, and cry'd,
With handkerchief and orange at my
But fick of fops, and poetry , and prate,
To Bufo left the whole Caftalian state.
Proud as Apollo on his forked hill,
Sate full blown Bufo , puft'd by ev'ry quill;
Fed with soft dedication all day long,
Horace and he went hand and hand in songo
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 extoli’d his pictures, much his seat,
And flatter'd ev'ry 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 gray goosequill!
May ev'ry Bavius have his Bufo ftill!
So when a statesman wants a day's defence,
Or envy holds a whole week's war with sense ,
Or simple pride for flate'ry makes demands,
May dunce by dunce be whistled off
Bleft be the great! for those 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 Queensb’ry weeping o'er thy urn!
Oh let me live my own, and die so too!
(Tolive 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:
patron, tho' 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! 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 close with Swift - Indeed: no doubt
( Cries pratling Balbus ) fomething 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 lampoon Sir Will. or Bubo makes. Poor guiltless I! and can I chuse but smile, When ev'ry coxcomb knows me by my style?
Curft be the verse, how well soe'er it flow,
That tends to make one worthy man my fue,
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 lye, lame Nander helps about,
Who writes a libel , or who copies out :
That fop, whose pride affe&ts a patron's name,
Yet absent , wounds an author's honest 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 lye not, must at least betray:
Who to the Dean, and silver bell can fwear,
And sees at Cannons what was never there;
Who reads, but with a lust to misapply,
Make satire a lampoon, and fi&tion lye.
A lash like mine no honeft man shall dread,
But all such babbling blockheads in his stead.
Let Sporus tremble — A.What? that thing of filk,
Sporus, that mere white curd of ass's 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 Aorid 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 , ot rhymes, or blasphemies.
His wit all see-law, between that and this ,
Now high, now low, now master up, now miss ,
And he himselfone vile antithesis.
Amphibious thing! that ačting either part,
The triding head, or the corrupted heart ,