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F. What, always Peter? Peter thinks you mad: You make men desperate, if they once are bad, Else might he take to virtue some years hence 60
P. As S**k, if he lives, will love the prince.
F. Strange spleen to $**k!-P. Do I wrony the mạn?
Ev’n in a bishop I can spy desert;
But does the court a worthy man reniove?
89 Names which I long have lov'd, nor lov'd in vain, Runk'd with their friends, not number'd with their And if yet higher the proud list should end, strain; Still let me say,-no follower but a friend.
Yet think not friendship only prompts iny lays;
'S POEMS. I never (to my sorrow I declare) Din'd with the man of Ross or my lord may'r. Some in their choice of friends (nay, look not grare) Have still a secret bias to a knave:
101 To find an honest man I beat about, And love him, court him, praise him, in or out.
F. Then why so few commended?--P. Not so fierce; Find you the virtue, and I'll find the verse. 105 But random praise the task can ne'er be done; Each mother asks it for her booby sop; Each widow asks it for the best of men, For him she weeps, for him she weds again. Praise cannot stoop, like satire, to the ground; 110 The number may be hang’d, but not be crown'd. Enough for half the greatest of these days To 'scape my censure, not expect my praise. Are they not rich? what more can they pretend? Dare they to hope a poet for their friend?. 115 What Richelieu wanted Louis scarce could gain, And what young Ammon wish'd, but wish'd in vain. No pow'r the Muse's friendship can command; No pow'r, when virtue claims it, can withstand. To Cato, Virgil paid one honest line: O let my country's friends illumine mine! -What are you thinking? F. Faith, the thought's no I think your friends are out, and would be in. (sin;
P. Ifmerely to come in, sir, they go out, The way they take is strangely round about 125
F. They too may be corrupted, you'll allow?
P. I only call those knaves who are so now.
13: But pray, when others praise him, do I blame? Call Verres, Wolsey, any orious name?
Why rail they then if but a wreath of mine,
What! shall each spur-gall'd hackney of the day,
150 To see a footman kick'd that took his pay; But when he heard th’affront the fellow gave, Knew one a man of honour, one a knave, The prudent general turn'd it to a jest, And beyg'd he'd take the pains to kick the rest; 155 Which not at present having time to do F. Hold, sir, for God's sake; where's th' affront to
you? Against your worship when had S**k writ? Or P*ge pour'd forth the torrent of his wit? Or grant the bard whose distich all commend 160 (In power a servant, out of power a friend) To W**le guilty of some venial sin, What's that to you, who ne'er was vut nor in?
The priest wliose flattery be-dropp'd the crown
P. Faith it iinports not much from whom it came;
171 As hog to bog in huts of Westphaly: If one, through Nature's bountv or his lord's, Has what the frugal dirty soil affords, From him the next receives it, thick or thin, 175 As pure a mess almost as it came in;
The blessed benefit, not there confin'd,
F. This filthy simile, this beastly linc,
Ask you what provocation I have bad ? " The strong antipathy of good to bad. When truth or virtue an affront endures, Th' affront is mine, my friend, and should be your's. Mine, as a foe profess'd to false pretence,
201 Who think a concomb's honour like his sense;. Mine, as a friend to every worthy mind; And mine as man, who feel for all mankind.
F. You're strangely proud.
P. So proud, I am no slave; So impudent, I own myself no knave; So odd, my country's ruin makes me grave. Yes, I am proud; I must be proud to see Men, not afraid of God, afraid of me; Safe froin the bar, the pulpit, and the throne, 210 Yet touch'd and sham’d by ridicule alone.
O sacred weapon! left for truth's defence, Sole dread of folly, vice, and insolence! To all but Heav'n-directed hands denied, The Muse may give thee, but the gods must guide:
Reverent I touch thee! but with honest zeal, 216
When black ambition stains a public cause,
Not so when diadem'd with rays divine, Touched with the flame that breaks froin virtue's Her priestess Muse forbids the good to die, [shrine, And opes the temple of eternity.
235 There other trophies deck the truly brave Than such as Anstis casts into the grave; Par other stars than * and ** wear, And may descend to Mordington from Stair! (Such as on Hough's unsullied initre shine, 24 Or beam, good Digby! from a heart like thine.) Let envy bowl, while Heaven's whole chorus sings, And bark at honour not conferr'd by kings; Let flattery sickening see the incense rise, Sweet to the world, and grateful to the skies: 245 Truth guards the poet, sanctifies the line, And makes immortal verse as mean as mine.
Yes, the last pen for freedom let me draw, When truth stands trembling on the edge of law. Here, last of Britons! let your names be read: 250 Are none, none living? let me praise the dead; And for that cause which made your fathers shine, Fall by the votes of their degenerate linc.
F. Alas! alas! pray end what you began, And write next winter more Essays on Man. 255