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THE FIRST PART IMITATED IN TIIE YEAR 1714 BY
DR. SWIFT; THE LATTER PART ADDED AFTERWARDS..
I've often wish'd that I had clear
For life six hundred pounds a-year,
A handsome house to lodge a friend,
A river at my garden's end,
A terrace-walk, and half a rood
Of land set out to plant a wood.
Well, now I have all this, and more,
I ask not to increase my store;
But here a grievance seems to lie,
All this is mine but till I die;
I can't but think 'twould sound more clever,
To me and to my heirs for ever.
If I ne'er got or lost a groat,
By any trick or any fault;
And if I pray by reason's rules,
And not like forty other fools,
As thus : • Vouchsafe, O gracious Maker!
To grant me this and t'other acre;
Or, if it be thy will and pleasure,
Direct my plough to find a treasure;
But only what my station fits,
And to be kept in my right wits,
Preserve, almighty Providence!
Just what you gave me, competence;
And let me in these shades compose
Something in verse as true as prose,
Remov'd from all th' ambitious scene,
Nor puff'd by pride, nor sunk by spleen.'
In short, I'm perfectly content,
Let me but live on this side Trent,
Nor cross the Channel twice a-year,
To spend six months with statesmen here,
· I must by all means come to town,
'Tis for the service of the crown;
· Lewis the Dean will be of use;
Send for him up; take no excuse.'
The toil, the danger, of the seas,
Great ministers ne'er think of these;
Or, let it cost five hundred pound,
No matter where the money's found,
It is but so much more in debt,
And that they ne'er consider'd yet.
Good Mr. Dean, go change your gown,
Let my lord know you're come to town.
I hurry me in haste away,
Not thinking it is levee-day,
And find his honour in a pound,
Hemmi'd by a triple circle round,
Chequerid with ribbons blue and green,
How should I thrust myself between?
Some wag observes me thus perplex'd,
And, smiling, whispers to the next,
I thought the Dean had been too proud To jostle here among a crowd.' Another, in a surly fit, Tells me I have more zeal than wit; So eager to express your love, You ne'er consider whom you shove, But rudely press before a duke.' I own I'm pleas'd with this rebuke, And take it kindly meant, to show What I desire the world should know.
I get a whisper, and withdraw;
When twenty fools I never saw
Come with petitions fairly penn'd,
Desiring I would stand their friend.
This humbly offers me his case-
That begs my interest for a place-
A hundred other mens affairs,
Like bees are humming in my ears,
• To-morrow my appeal comes on,
Without your help the cause is gone.'-
< The duke expects my lord and you
About some great affair at two.'
• Put my lord Bolingbroke in mind
To get my warrant quickly sign’d:
Consider, 'tis my first request.' --
• Be satisfied I'll do my best :'-
Then presently he falls to teaze,
• You may for certain if you please;
I doubt not if his lordship knew-
And, Mr. Dean, one word word from you.'-
'Tis (let me see) three years and more
(October next it will be four)
Since Harley bid me first attend,
And chose ine for an humble friend;
Would take me in his coach to chat,
And question me of this and that:
As, 'What's o'clock?' and, · How's the wind ?
Whose chariot's that we left behind?
Or gravely try to read the lines
Writ underneath the country signs;
Or, ' Have you nothing new to-day
From Pope, from Parnell, or from Gay?'
Such tattle often entertains
My lord and me as far as Staines,
As once a-week we travel down
To Windsor and again to town,
Where all that passes inter nos,
Might be proclaim'd at Charing-cross.
Yet some I know with envy swell,
Because they see me us'd me so well.
· How think you of our friend the Dean?
I wonder what some people mean;
My lord and he are grown so great,
Always together tête à tête.
What! they admire him for his jokes
See but the fortune of some folks!'
There flies about a strange report
Of some express arriv'd at court;
I'm stopp'd by all the fools I meet,
And catechis'd in every street,
6 You, Mr. Dean, frequent the great;
Inform us will the Emperor treat?
Or do the prints and papers lie?'-
• Faith, sir, you know as much as I.'
• Ab! doctor, how you love to jest;
'Tis now no secret.'-' 1 protest
'Tis one to me.'- Then tell us, pray,
When are the troops to have their pay?'
And though I solemnly declare
I know no more than my lord mayor,
They stand amaz'd, and think me grown
The closest mortal ever known.
Thus in a sea of folly tost,
My choicest hours of life are lost,
Yet always wishing to retreat:
0, could I see my country-seat!,
There leaning near a gentle brook,
Sleep or peruse some ancient book,
And there in sweet oblivion drown
Those cares that haunt the court and town.
O charming noon! and nights divine!
Or when I sup, or when I dine,
My friends above, my folks below,
Chatting aud laughing all-a-row,
The beans and bacon set before 'em,
The grace-cup serv'd with all decorum;
Each willing to be pleas’d, and please,
And ev'n the very dogs at ease!
Here no man prates of idle things,
How this or that Italian sings,
A neighbour's madress or his spouse's,
Or what's in either of the houses;
But something much more our concern,
And quite a scandal not to learn;
Which is the happier or the wiser,
A man of merit, or a miser?
Whether we ought to chuse our friends
For their own worth or our own ends?
What good, or better, we may call,
And what the very best of all?
Our friend Dan Prior told (you know)
A tale extremely à propos :
Naine a town life, and in a trice
He had a story of two mice.
Once on a time (so runs the fable)
A country mouse, right hospitable,
Receiv'd a town mouse at his board,
Just as a farmer might a lord.
A frugal mouse, upon the whole,
Yet lov'd his friend, and had a sonl;
Knew what was handsome, and would do't,
On just occasion, coûte qui coûte.
He brought him bacon, (nothing lean,)
Pudding that might have pleas'd a dean;
Cheese such as men in Suffolk make,
But wish'd it Stilton for his sake;
Yet, to his guest though no way sparing,
He ate himself the rind and paring.
Our courtier scarce could touch a bit,
But show'd his breeding and his wit;
He did his best to seem to eat,
And cried, • I vow you're mighty neat:
But, lord, my friend, this savage scene!
For god's sake come and live with men:
Consider, mice, like men, must die,
Both small and great, both you and I,
Then spend your life in joy and sport:
(This doctrine, friend, I learn'd at court.')
The veriest hermit in the nation
May yield, God knows, to strong temptation.
Away they came through thick and thin,
To a tall house near Lincoln's inn,
('Twas on the night of a debate,
When all their lordships had sat late.)
Behold the place where if a poet
Shin't in description he might show it;
Tell bow the moon-beam trembling falls,
And tips with silver all the walls;
Palladian walls, Venetian doors,
Grotesco roofs, and stucco floors: