Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

EPISTLE I 1.

Dear Colnel, Cobham's and your country's

You love a verse , take such as I can send. ( friend! A Frenchman comes, presents you with his boy, Bows and begins » This lad, Sir, is of Blois : » Observe his shape how clean! his locks how curld! » My only son, I'd have him see the world : » His French is pure; his voice too.

-you shall hear. » Sir, he's your slave, for twenty pound a year. » Mere wax as yet, you fashion him with ease, » Your barber , cook', upholst'rer, what you please : • A perfect genius at an op'ra-song» To say too much, might do my honour wrong. » Take him with all his virtues, on my word; » His whole ambition was to serve a lord : » But, Sir, to you, with what I would not part? » Tho' faith, I fear, 'twill break his mother's heart, » Once (and but once ) I caught him in a lye , » And then, unwhipp'd, he had the grace to cry: » The fault he has I fairly shall reveal, » (Could you o'erlook buit that ) it is to steal <s.

If, after this, you took the graceless lad, Could you complain , my friend, he prov'd so bad? Faith, in such case, if you should prosecute, I think Sir Godfrey should decide the suit; Who sent the thief that stole the cash, away, And punish'd him that put it in his way.

Consider then, and judge me in this light;
I told you when I went, I could not write ;
You said the same; and are you

discontent
With laws, to which you gave your own asent?
Nay worse, to ask for verse at such a time!
D'ye think me good for nothing but to rhyme

In Anna's wars, a foldier poor and old Had dearly earn'd a little purse of gold: Tir'd with a tedious march, one luckless night, He flept, poor dog! and lost it, to a doit. This put the man in such a desp'rate mind, Between revenge, and grief, and hunger join'd Against the foe, himself, and all mankind, He leap'd the trenches , scald a castle-wall, Tore down a standard, took the fort and all. » Prodigious well; « his great commander cry'd, Gave him much praise, and some reward beside. Next pleas'd his excellence a town to batter; (Its name I know not, and it's no great matter) » Go on, my friend ( he cry'd) see yonder walls! » Advance and conquer ! go where glory calls! » More honours, more rewards , attend the bravec, Don't you remember what reply he gave ? » D'ye think me, noble Gen’ral , such a sot? » Let him cake castles who has ne'er a groatc.

Bred up at home , full early I begun
To read in Greek the wrath of Peleus' son.
Besides, my father taught me from a lad,
The better art to know the good from bad :
( And little sure imported to remove,
To hunt for truth in Maudlin's learned grove )

But knottier points we knew not half so well,
Depriv'd us soon of our paternal cell ;
And certain laws, by suff'rers thought unjust,
Deny'd all posts of profit or of trust :
Hopes after hopes of pious papist's fail'd,
While mighty William's thundring arm prevail'd.
For right hereditary tax'd and fin'd,
He stuck to poverty with peace of mind;
And me, the Muses help'd to undergo it;
Convitt a papist be, and I a poet.
But (thanks to Homer ) since I live and thrive,
Indebted to no prince or peer alive,
Sure I should want the care of ten Monroes,
If I would scribble, rather than repose.

Years foll'wing years, steal something ev'ry day,
At last they steal us from ourselves away ;
In one our frolics , one amusements end,
In one a mistress drops , in one a friend :
This subtle thief of life, this paltry Time,
What will it leave me, if it snatch my rhyme ?
If ev'ry wheel of that unweary'd mill,
That turn'd ten thousand verses, now stands ftill?

But after all, what would you have me do? When out of twenty I can please not two ; When this heroics only deigns to praise , Sharp satire that, and that pindaric lays ? One likes the pheasant's wing, and one the leg ; The vulgar boil, the learned roast an egg ; Hard task! to hit the palate of such guests, When Oldfield loves , what Dartineuf derests.

But grant I may relapse, for want of graces

Da

Again to rhyme ; can London be the place ?
Who there his Muse, or felf, or soul attends,
In crouds, and courts, law, business, feasts, and
My counsel sends to execute a deed: (friends?
A poet begs me, I will hear him read :
In palace-yard at nine you'll find me there
At ten for certain, Sir, in Bloomsb’ry square
Before the lords at twelve my cause comes on
There's a rehearsal, Sir , exact at one. -
» Oh but a wit can study in the streets ,
» And raise his mind above the mob he meets c.
Not quite so well however as one ought ;
A hackney-coach may chance to spoil a thoughc;
And then a nodding beam , or pig of lead ,
God knows , may hurt the very ablest head.
Have you not seen , at Guildhall's narrow pass,
Two aldermen dispute it with an ass ?
And peers give way , exalted as they are
Ev'n to their own S-r-v-nce in a car:

Go, lofty poet! and in such a croud,
Sing thy sonorous versebut not aloud.
Alas ! to grotto's and to groves we run,
To case and silence , ev'ry Muse's fon :
Blackmore himself, for any grand effort,
Would drink and doze ar Tooting or Earl's-Court.
How shall I rhyme in this eternal roar?
How match the bards whom none e'er match'd before?

The man, who stretch'd in Isis' calm retreat, To books and study gives sev'n years compleat. See! ftrow'd with learned dust, his night-eap on He walks , an object new beneath the sun!

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »