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How shall I rhyme in this eternal roar ?
114 How match the bards whom nonee'er match'd before ?
The man who, stretch'd in Isis calm retreat, To books and study gives sev'n years complete, See! strow'd with learned dust, his nightcap on, He walks an object new beneath the sun ! 119 The boys flock round him, and the people stare : So stiff, so mute! some statue you would swear Stept from its pedestal to take the air! And here, while town, and court, and city, roars, With mobs, and duns, and soldiers, at their doors, Shall I, in London, act this idle part,
193 Composing songs for fools to get by heart?
The Temple late two brother serjants saw, Who deem'd each other oracles of law; With equal talents these congenial souls, One lulld th’ Exchequer, and one stunn'd the Rolls; Each had a gravity would make you split,
131 And shook his head at Murray as a wit. 'Twas, “Sir, your law”-and “Sir, your eloquence," “ Your's Cowper's manner”-and“ Your's Talbot's
sense." Thus we dispose of all poetic merit,
135 Your's Milton's genius, and mine Homer's spirit. Call Tibbald Shakspeare, and he'll swear the Nine, Dear Cibber! never match'd one ode of thine. Lord! how we strut through Merlin's cave, to see No poets there but Stephen, you, and me.
140 Walk with respect behind, while we at ease Weave laurel crowns, and take what names we please. “ My dear Tibullus ! (if that will not do,) Let me be Horace, and be Ovid you: Or, I'm content, allow me Dryden's strains, 145 And you shall rise up Otway for your pains." Much do I suffer, inuch, to keep in peace This jealous, waspish, wrong-head, rhymning race; And much must flatter, if the whim should bite, To court applause by printing what I write! 150 But let the fit pass o'er; I'm wise enough To stop my ears to their confounded stuff.
In vain bad rhymers all inankind reject, They treat themselves with most profound respect; 'Tis to small purpose that you hold your tongue, 155 Each prais’d within is happy all day long: But how severely with themselves proceed The men who write such verse as we can read ! Their own strict judges, not a word they spare That wants of force, or light, or weight, or care, 160 Howe'er unwillingly it quits its place, Nay, though at court (perhaps) it may find
grace: Such they'll degrade; and sometimes in its stead, In downright charity revive the dead; Mark where a bold expressive phrase appears, 165 Bright through the rubbish of some hundred years; Command old words, that long have slept, to wake, Words that wise Bacon or brave Raleigh spake; Or bid the new be English ages hence, (For use will father what's begot by sense;) 170 Pour the full tide of eloquence along, Serenely pure, and yet divinely strong, Rich with the treasure of each foreign tongue; Prune the luxuriant, the uncouth refine, But show no mercy to an empty line;
175 Then polish all with so much life and ease, You think 'tis Nature, and a knack to please: ‘But ease in writing flows from art, not chance, As those move easiest who have learnt to dance.'
If such the plague and pains to write by rule, 180 Better (say I) be pleas'd, and play the fool: Call, if you will, bad rhyming a disease, It gives men happiness, or leaves them ease. There liv'd in primo Georgii (they record) A worthy member, no small fool, a lord; 185 Who, though the house was up, delighted sate, Heard, noted, answer'd, as in full debate : In all but this a man of sober life, Fond of his friend, and civil to his wife; Not quite a madman, though a pasty fell, 190 And much too wise to walk into a well.
Him the damn'd doctors and his friends immur'd, They bled, they cupp'd, they purg'd; in short they
cur'd: Whereat the gentleman began to stare
My friends! (he cried) p-x take you for your care! That from a patriot of distinguish'd note
196 Have bled and purg'd me to a simple vote.”
Well, on the whole, plain prose must be my fate: Wisdom (curse on it!) will coine soon or late. There is a time when poets will grow dull; 200 I'll ey'n leave verses to the boys at school: To rules of poetry no more confin'd, 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.
206 Soon as I enter at my country door My mind resumes the thread it dropt before; Thoughts which at Hyde-park Corner I forgot, Meet and rejoin me in the pensive grot: There all alone, and compliments apart, • 210 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?
215 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 220 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, 226 A grain of courage, or a spark of spirit, The wisest man might blush, I must agree, If D*** lov'd sixpence more than be.
If there be truth in law, and use can give 230 A property, that's your's on which you live. Delightful Abs-court, if its fields afford Their fruits to you, confesses you its lord : All Worldly's hens, nay, partridge, sold to town, His ven’son too a guinea makes your own: 235 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 pay a penny, and he paid a pound.
Heathcote himself, and such large-acred men, 240 Lords of fat E’sham, 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'crlooks from Lincoln town. 245 The laws of God, as well as of the land, Abhor a perpetuity should stand: Estates have wings, and hang in fortune's pow'r, Loose on the point of every wavering hour, Ready by force, or of your own accord,
250 By sale, at least by death, to change their lord. Man? and for ever? wretch, what wouldst thou
Gold, silver, ivory, vases sculptur'd high,
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 270 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; 275 One, driv'n by strong benevolence of soul, Shalí Aly, like Oglethorpe, from pole to pole; Is known alone to that directing pow'r Who forms the genius in the natal hour; That God of Nature, who, within us still, 280 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.
285 My heir may sigh, and think it want of grace, A man so poor would live without a place; But sure nó statute in his favour says, How free or frugal I shall pass my days; I who at some times spend, at others spare, 290 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 pleas'd if sordid want be far away.
295 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, 300 Nor strive with all the tempest in my teeth; In pow'r, wit, figure, virtue, fortune, plac'd Behind the foremost, and before the last.
“ But why ail this of avarice? I have none." I wish you joy, sir, of a tyrant gone: