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Then, like the sun, let bounty spread her ray,
BOOK I.-EPISTLE I.
TO LORD BOLINGBROKE.
Why will you break the sabbath of my days ? As M**o's was, but not at five
Now sick alike of envy and of praise. Who thinks that fortune cannot change her mind, Public too long, ah, let me hide my age! Prepares a dreadful jest for all mankind.
See modest Cibber now has left the stage: And who stands safest ? tell me, is it he
Our generals now,
retired to their estates, That spreads and swells in putt'd prosperity, Hang their old trophies o'er the garden gates, Or bless'd with little, whose preventing care
In life's cool evening satiate of applause, In peace provides fit arms against a war?
Nor fond of bleeding, e'en in Brunswick's cause. Thus Bethel spoke, who always speaks his thought,
A voice there is, that whispers in my ear And always thinks the very thing he ought : ('Tis reason's voice, which sometimes one can hear,) His equal mind I copy what I can,
* Friend Pope! be prudent, let your Muse take breath, And as I love, would imitate the man.
And never gallop Pegasus to death : In South-sea days not happier, when surmised Lest stiff' and stately, void of tire or force, The lord of thousands, thun if now excised; You limp, like Blackmore, on a lord mayor's horse.' In forest planted by a father's hand,
Farewell then verse, and love, and every toy, Than in five acres now of rented land.
The rhymes and rattles of the man or boy ; Content with little I can piddle here,
What right, what true, what fit, we justly call,
Let this be all my care-for this is all :
What every day will want, and most the last. 'Tis true, no turbots dignify my boards,
But ask not to what doctors I apply? But gudgeons, flounders, what my Thames affords! Sworn to po master, of no sect am I: To Hounslow-heath I point, and Bansted-down, As drives the storm, at any door I knock, Thence comes your mutton, and these chicks my own: And house with Montagne now, or now with Locke : From yon old walnut tree a shower shall fall; Sometimes a patriot, active in debate, And
grapes long lingering on my only wall; Mix with the world, and battle for the state; And figs from standards and espalier join;
Free as young Lyttleton, her cause pursue, The devil is in you if you cannot dine:
Still true to virtue, and as warm as true : Then cheerful healths (your mistress shall have Sometimes with Aristippus, or St. Paul, place,)
Indulge my candour, and grow all to all,
Fortune not much of humbling me can boast ; And win my way by yielding to the tide.
Long as to him who works for debt the day,
Long as the year's dull circle seems to run, My lands are sold, my father's house is gone :
When the brisk minor pants for twenty-one; I'll hire another's: is not that my own,
So slow the unprofitable moments roll, And yours, my friends ? through whose free opening That lock up all the functions of my soul; gate
That keep me from myself; and still delay
* Pray Ileaven it last!' cries Swift, as you go on: Which done, the poorest can no wants endure; I wish to God this house had been your own : And which not done, the richest must be poor, Pity! to build, without a son or wife;
Late as it is, I put myself to school,
And feel some comfort, not to be a fool.
What's property ? dear Swift! you see it alter, I'll do what Mead and Cheselden advise,
Not to go back, is somewhat to advance, Or, in a jointure, vanish from the heir;
And men must walk at least before they dance. Or in pure equity (the case not clear)
Say, does thy blood rebel, thy bosom move The Chancery takes your rents for twenty year; With wretched avarice, or as wretched love? At best, it falls to some ungracious son,
Know there are words and spells which can control, Who cries, ‘My father's damn'd, and all's my own. Between the fits, the fever of the soul; Shades, that to Bacon could retreat afford, Know there are rhymes, which fresh and fresh applied, Become the portion of a booby lord ;
Will cure the arrant'st puppy of his pride.
Slave to a wife, or vassal to a punk,
All that we ask is but a patient ear.
"Tis the first virtue, vices to abhor;
While with the silent growth of ten per cent, And the first wisdom, to be fool no more.
In dirt and darkness, hundreds stink content. But to the world no bugbear is so great,
Of all these ways, if each pursues his own, As want of figure, and a small estate.
Satire, be kind, and let the wretch alone: To either India see the merchant fiy,
But show me one who has it in his power, Scared at the spectre of pale poverty ;
To act consistent with himself an hour. See him, with pains of body, pangs of soul, Sir Job sail'd forth, the evening bright and still : Burn through the tropic, freeze beneath the pole! |* No place on earth,' he cried, 'like Greenwich-hill! Wilt thou do nothing for a noble end,
Up starts a palace; lo, the obedient base
Slopes at its foot, the woods its sides embrace,
Now let some whimsy, or that devil within,
But give the knight (or give his lady) spleen; There, London's voice, “Get money, money still! *Away, away! take all your scaffolds down, And then let Virtue follow, if she will.'
For Snug 's the word: my dear, we'll live in town.' This, this the saving doctrine, preach'd to all, At amorous Flavio is the stocking thrown? From low St. James's up to high St. Paul ! That very night he longs to lie alone. From him whose quills stand quiver'd at his ear, The fool whose wife elopes some thrice a quarter, To him who notches sticks at Westminster. For matrimonial solace dies a martyr.
Barnard in spirit, sense, and truth abounds; Did ever Proteus, Merlin, any witch, "Pray then what wants he? Fourscore thousand Transform themselves so strangely as the rich? pounds;
Well, but the poor-the poor have the same itch; A pension, or such hamess for a slave
They change their weekly barber, weekly news, As Bug now has, and Dorimant would have. Prefer a new japanner to their shoes; Barnard, thou art a cit with all thy worth;
Discharge their garrets, move their beds, and run But Bug and D*l, their honours, and so forth. (They know not whither) in a chaise and one; Yet every child another song will sing,
They hire their sculler, and when once aboard, "Vinue, brave boys! 'tis virtue makes a king.' Grow sick, and damn the climate-like a lord. True, conscious honour, is to feel no sin,
You laugh, half-beuu half-sloven if I stand, He's arm'd without that's innocent within; My wig all powder, and all snuff my band: Be this thy screen, and this thy wall of brass ; You laugh, if coat and breeches strangely vary, Compared to this, a minister 's an ass.
White gloves, and linen worthy lady Mary! And say, to which shall our applause belong, But when no prelate's lawn, with hair-shirt lined, This new court-jargon, or the good old song? Is half so incoherent as my mind, The modern language of corrupted peers,
When (each opinion with the next at strife; Or what was spoke at Cressy or Poitiers ? One ebb and flow of follies all my life,) Who counsels best? who whispers, ‘Be but great, I plant, root up; I build and then confound; With praise or infamy, leave that to fate;
Turn round to square, and square again to round;
Yet hang your lip to see a seam awry!
This he, who loves me, and who ought to mend? Should chance to make the well-dress'd rabble stare; Who ought to make me (what he can, or none) lo honest S*z take scandal at a spark,
That man divine whom Wisdom calls her own; That less admires the palace than the park : Great without title, without fortune bless'd; 'Faith I shall give the answer Reynard gave:
Rich e'en when plunder'd, honour'd while oppressid, I cannot like, dread sire, your royal cave;
Loved without youth, and follow'd without power : Because I see, by all the tracks about,
At home, though exiled; free, though in the Tower; Full many a beast goes in, but none come out.' In short, that reasoning, high immortal thing, Adieu to Virtue, if you 're once a slave:
Just less than Jove, and much above a king; Send her to court, you send her to her grave. Nay, half in heaven-except (what's mighty odd) Well, if a king 's a lion, at the least,
A fit of vapours clouds this demi-god!
BOOK 1.-EPISTLE VI.
TO MR. MURRAY.
This piece is the most finished of all his imitations, The rest, some farm the poor-box, some the pews; and executed in the high manner the Italian painters Some keep assemblies, and would keep the stews; call con amore ; by which they mean, the exertion of Some with fat bucks on childless dotards fawn; that principle which puts the faculties on the stretch, Some win rich widows by their chine and brawn; and produces the supreme degree of excellence. For
the poet had all the warmth of affection for the great Would ye be bless'd! despise low joys, low gains;
Who virtue and a church alike disowns,
Fly then on all the wings of wild desire, *Not to admire, is all the art I know,
Admire whate'er the maddest can admire. To make men happy, and to keep them so.' Is wealth thy passion ? Hence! from pole to pole, (Plain truth, dear Murray, needs no flowers of Where winds can carry, or where waves can roll; speech,
For Indian spices, for Peruvian gold, So take it in the very words of Creech.)
Prevent the greedy, or outbid the bold :
Advance thy golden mountain to the skies;
Will gain a wife with half as many more;
And then such friends—as cannot fail to last. All the mad trade of fools and slaves for gold? A man of wealth is dubb'd a man of worth, Or popularity? or stars and strings ?
Venus shall give him form, and Anstis birth. The mob's applauses, or the gifts of kings? (Believe me, inany a German prince is worse, Say with what eyes we ought at courts to gaze,
Who proud of pedigree is poor of purse.) And pay the great our homage of amaze ? His wealth brave Timon gloriously confounds;
If weak the pleasure that from these can spring, Ask'd for a groat, he gives a hundred pounds; The fear to want them is as weak a thing :
Or if three ladies like a luckless play, Whether we dread, or whether we desire, Take the whole house upon the poet's day. In either case, believe me, we admire ;
Now, in such exigences not to need, Whether we joy or grieve, the same the curse, Upon my word, you must be rich indeed; Surprised at better, or surprised at worse.
A noble superfluity it craves, Thus good or bad, to one extreme betray
Not for yourself, but for your fools and knaves; The unbalanced mind, and snatch the man away : Something, which for your honour they may cheat, For virtue's self may too much zeal be had; And which it much becomes you to forget. The worst of madmen is a saint run mad.
If wealth alone then make and keep us bless'd, Go then, and if you can, admire the state Still, still be getting, never, never rest. Of beaming diamonds, and reflected plate;
But if to power and place your passion lie,
If in the pomp of life consist the joy;
Tell at your levee, as the crowds approach,
To whom to nod, whom take into your coach,
Instructed thus, you bow, embrace, protest,
Then turn about, and laugh at your own jest.
With hounds and horns go hunt an appetite
Or shall we every decency confound;
Rack'd with sciatics, martyr'd with the stone, From Latian sirens, French Circæan feasts, Will any mortal let himself alone ?
Return well travell'd, and transform'd to beasts ; See Ward by batter'd beaux invited over, Or for a titled punk, or foreign flame, And desperate misery lays hold on Dover. Renounce our country, and degrade our name? The case is easier in the mind's disease;
If, after all, we must with Wilmot own, re all men may be cured whene'er they please. The cordial drop of life is love alone,
And Swift cry wisely, Vive la bagatelle !
Edward and Henry, now the boast of fame, The man that loves and laughs, must sure do well. And virtuous Alfred, a more sacred name, Adieu—if this advice appear the worst,
After a life of generous toils endured, E'en take the counsel which I gave you first : The Gaul subdued, or property secured, Or better precepts if you can impart,
Ambition humbled, mighty cities storm'd,
Closed their long glories with a sigh, to find
All human virtue to its latest breath
The great Alcides, every labour past,
Had still this monster to subdue at last :
Sure fate of all, beneath whose rising ray
Each star of meaner merit fades away!
Oppress'd we feel the beam directly beat; his Epistle to Augustus, seemed so seasonable to the
To thee the world its present homage pays, present times, that I could not help applying them to the use of my own country. The author thought them The harvest early, but mature the praise : considerable enough to address them to his prince, Great friend of liberty ! in kings a name whom he paints with all the great and good qualities Above all Greek, above all Roman fame; of a monarch, upon whoin the Romans depended for Whose word is truth, as sacred and revered, the increase of an absolute empire. But to make the As Ileaven's own oracles from altars heard : porm entirely English, I was willing to add one or Wonder of kings ! like whom, to mortal eyes two of those which contribute to the happiness of a free None e'er has risen, and none e'er shall rise. people, and are more consistent with the welfare of our neighbours.
Just in one instance, be it yet confess'd,
Your people, sir, are partial in the rest : This Epistle will show the learned world to have And advocates for folly dead and gone.
Foes to all living worth except your own, fallen into two mistakes: one, that Augustus was the Authors, like coins, grow dear as they grow old ; patron of poets in general; whereas he not only pro- It is the rust we value, not the gold. hibited all but the best writers to name him, but re- Chaucer's worst ribaldry is learn'd by rote, commended that care even to the civil magistrate : And beastly Skelton heads of houses quote: Admonebat prætores, ne puterentur nomen suum One likes no language but the Fairy Queen: obsolefieri, &c. The other, that this piece was only a A Scot will fight for Christ's Kirk o' the Green; general discourse of poetry; whereas it was an apo- And each true Briton is to Ben so civil, logy for the poets, in order to render Augustus more le swears the Muses met him at the Devil. their patron. Horace here pleads the cause of his
Though justly Greece her eldest sons admires, Contemporaries, first against the taste of the town, Why should not we be wiser than our sires ? whose humour it was to magnify the authors of the In every public virtue we excel; preceding age; secondly, against the court and no- We build, we paint, we sing, we dance as well ; bility, who encourage only the writers for the theatre; And learned Athens to our art must stoop, and lastly, against the emperor himself, who had con- Could she behold us tumbling through a hoop. ceived them of little use to the government. He
If time improve our wits as well as wine, shows (by a view of the progress of learning, and the
Say at what age a poet grows divine ? change of taste among the Romans) that the intro-Shall we, or shall we not, account him so, duction of the polite arts of Greece had given the who died perhaps, a hundred years ago ? writers of his time great advantages over their prede. End all dispute ; and fix the year precise Cessors ; that their morals were much improved, and when British bards begin to immortalize ? the licence of those ancient poets restrained; that
Who lasts a century can have no flaw; satire and comedy were become more just and useful; I hold that wit a classic, good in law.' that whatever extravagances were left on the stage,
Suppose he wants a year, will you compound ? were owing to the ill taste of the nobility; that poets, and shall we deem him ancient, right, and sound, under due regulations, were in many respects useful Or damn to all eternity at once, to the state ; and concludes, that it was upon them the
At ninety-nine a modern and a dunce? Emperor himself must depend for his fame with pos
•We shall not quarrel for a year or two; terity. We may further learn from this Epistle, that Horace By courtesy of England he may do.'
Then by the rule that made the horse-tail bare, made his court to this great prince, by writing with 1 pluck out year by year, as hair by hair, a decent freedom towards him, with a just contempt And melt down ancients like a heap of snow : of his low flatterers, and with a manly regard to his while you, to measure merits, look in Stowe, own character.
And estimating authors by the year,
Bestow a garland only on a bier. WHILE you, great patron of mankind ! sustain Shakspeare (whom you and every playhouse-bill The balanced world, and open all the main; Style the divine, the matchless, what you will) Your country, chief in arms, abroad defend; For gain, not glory, wing'd his roving flight, At home, with morals, arts, and laws amend; And grew immortal in his own despite. How shall the Muse, from such a monarch steal Ben, old and poor, as little seem'd to heed An hour, and not defraud the public weal ? The life to come in every poet's creed.
Who now reads Cowley ? if he pleases yet, In every taste of foreign courts improved,
* All, by the king's example lived and loved.' Forgot his epic, nay Pindaric art,
peers grew proud in horsemanship to excel, But still I love the language of his heart.
Newmarket's glory rose, as Britain's fell;
Then marble, soften'd into life, grew warm,
No wonder then, when all was love and sport, How Shadwell hasty, Wycherley was slow; The willing Muses were debauch'd at court : But, for the passions, Southern, sure, and Rowe. On each enervate string they taught the note These, only these, support the crowded stage, To pant, or tremble through an eunuch's throat. From eldest Heywood down to Cibber's age.' But Britain, changeful as a child at play,
All this may be ; the people's voice is odd, Now calls in princes, and now turns away. It is, and it is not, the voice of God.
Now Whig, now Tory, what we love we hate; To Gammer Gurton if it give the bays,
Now all for pleasure, now for church or state; And yet deny the Careless Husband praise, Now for prerogative, and now for laws; Or say our fathers never broke a rule ;
Effects unhappy! from a noble cause. Why then, I say, the public is a fool.
Time was, a sober Englishman would knock But let them own, that greater faults than we His servants up, and rise by five o'clock; They had, and greater virtues, I'll agree.
Instruct his family in every rule, Spencer himself affects the obsolete,
And send his wife to church, his son to school.
To prove that luxury could never hold;
And place on good security, his gold. And God the Father turns a school divine.
Now times are changed, and one poetic itch Not that I'd lop the beauties from his book, Ilas seized the court and city, poor and rich ; Like slashing Bentley with his desperate hook ; Sons, sires, and grandsires, all will bear the bays : Or damn all Shakspeare, like the affected fool Our wives read Milion, and our daughters plays; At court, who hates whate'er he read at school. To theatres and to rehearsals throng, But for the wits of either Charles's days,
And all our grace at table is a song. The mob of gentlemen who wrote with ease; I, who so oft renounce the Muses, lie, Sprat, Carew, Sedly, and a hundred more
Not ***'s self e'er tells more fibs than I; (Like twinkling stars, the miscellanies o'er,) When sick of Muse, our follies we deplore, One simile, that solitary shines
And promise our best friends to rhyme no more ; In the dry desert of a thousand lines,
We wake next morning in a raging fit, Or lengthen'd thought that gleams through many a And call for pen and ink to show our wit. page,
He served a 'prenticeship, who sets up shop; Has sanctified whole poems for an age.
Ward tried on puppies, and the poor, his drop; I lose my patience, and I own it too,
E'en Radcliffe's doctors travel first to France, When works are censured, not as bad, but new; Nor dare to practise lill they've learu'd to dance. While, if our elders break all reason's laws, Who builds a bridge that never drove a pile ? These fools demand not pardon but applause. (Should Ripley venture, all the world would smile)
On Avon's bank, where flowers eternal blow, But those that cannot write, and those who can, If I but ask if any weed can grow;
All rhyme, and scrawl, and scribble to a man. One tragic sentence if I dare deride,
Yet, sir, retlect, the mischief is not great; Which Betterton's grave action dignified,
These madmen never hurt the church or state. Or well-mouth'd Booth with emphasis proclaims Sometimes the folly benefits mankind; (Though but, perhaps, a muster-roll of names,) And rarely avarice taints the tuneful mind. How will our fathers rise up in a rage,
Allow him but his plaything of a pen, And swear all shame is lost in George's age! He ne'er rebels, or plots, like other men: You'd think no fools disgraced the former reign, | Flights of cashiers, or mobs he'll never mind, Did not some grave examples yet remain,
And knows no losses while the Muse is kind. Who scorn a lad should teach his father skill, To cheat a friend, or ward, he leaves to Peter; And having once been wrong, will be so still. The good man heaps up nothing but mere metre; He, who to seem more deep than you or I, Enjoys his garden and his book in quiet; Extols old bards, or Merlin's prophecy,
And then-a perfect hermit in his diet. Mistake him not; he envies, not admires,
Of little use the man you may suppose, And to debase the sons exalts the sires.
Who says in verse, what others say in prose : Had ancient times conspired to disallow
Yet let me show a poet's of some weight, What then was new, what had been ancient now? And (though no soldier) useful to the state. Or what remain'd, so worthy to be read
What will a child learn sooner than a song ? By learned critics, of the mighty dead ?
What better teach a foreigner the tongue ? In days of ease, when now the weary sword What's long or short, each accent where to place, Was sheath’d, and luxury with Charles restored : And speak in public with some sort of grace?