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P. Dear sir, forgive the prejudice of youth:
Adieu distinction, satire, warmth, and truth!
Come, harmless characters that no one hit ;
Come, Henley's oratory, Osborn's wit!
The honey dropping from Favonio's tongue,
The flowers of Bubo, and the flow of Young!
The gracious dew of pulpit eloquence,
And all the well-whipp'd cream of courtly sense,
That first was H-vy's, F_'s next, and then,
"The S-te's, and then H-vy's once again.
O come, that easy Ciceronian style,
So Latin, yet so English all the while,
As, though the pride of Middleton and Bland,
All boys may read, and girls may understand!
Then might I sing, without the least offence,
And all I sung should be the nation's sense;
Or teach the melancholy muse to mourn,
Hang the sad verse on Carolina's urn,
And hail her passage to the realms of rest,
All parts perform'd, and all her children bless'd!
So-satire is no more I feel it die
No gazetteer more innocent than I
And let, a God's name, every fool and knave .
Be graced through life, and flatter'd in his grave.
F. Why so? if satire knows its time and place,
You still may lash the greatest—in disgrace :
For merit will by turns forsake them all;
Would you know when ? exactly when thoy fall.
But let all satire in all changes spare
Immortal S-k, and grave D-re.
Silent and soft, as saints removed to heaven,
All ties dissolved, and every sin forgiven,
These may some gentle ministerial wing
Receive, and place for ever near a king!
There, where no passion, pride, or shame transport,
Lall'd with the sweet nepenthe of a court ;
There, where no father's, brother's, friend's disgrace
Once break their rest, or stir them from their place ;
But past the sense of human miseries,
All tears are wiped for ever from all eyes ;
No cheek is known to blush, no heart to throb,
Save when they lose a question, or a job.
P. Good Heaven forbid, that I should blast their glory,
Who know how like Whig ministers to Tory;
And when three sovereigns died could scarce be vex'd,
Considering what a gracious prince was next.
Have I, in silent wonder, seen such things
As pride in slaves, and avarice in kings;
And at a peer or peeress, shall I fret,
Who starves a sister, or forswears a debt ?
Virtue, I grant you, is an empty boast;
But shall the dignity of vice be lost?
Ye Gods ! shall Cibber's son, without rebuke,
Swear like a lord, or Rich outwhore a duke ?
A favourite's porter with his master vie,
Be bribed as often, and as often lie?
Shall Ward draw contracts with a statesman's skill?
Or Japhet pocket, like his grace, a will ?
Is it for Bond or Peter (paltry things)
To pay their debts, or keep their faith like kings ?
If Blunt dispatch'd himself, he play'd the man;
And so may'st thou, illustrious Passeran !
But shall a printer, weary of his life,
Learn, from their books, to hang himself and wife ?
This, this, my friend, I cannot, must not bear :
Vice thus abused, demands a nation's care:
This calls the church to deprecate our sin,
And hurls the thunder of the laws on gin.
Let modest Foster, if he will, excel
Ten metropolitans in preaching well;
A simple quaker, or a quaker's wise,
Outdo Landaff in doctrine,---yea in life:
Let humble Allen, with an awkward shame,
Do good by stealth, and blush to find it fame :
Virtue may choose the high or low degree,
'Tis just alike to virtue and to me;
Dwell in a monk, or light upon a king,
She's still the same beloved, contented thing.
Vice is undone, if she forgets her birth,
And stoops from angels to the dregs of earth:
But 'tis the fall degrades her to a whore;
Let greatness own her, and she's mean no more:
Her birth, her beauty, crowds and courts confess,
Chaste matrons praise her, and grave bishops bless ;
In golden chains the willing world she draws,
And hers the Gospel is, and hers the laws;
Mounts the tribunal, lifts her scarlet head,
And sees pale Virtue carted in her stead.
Lo! at the wheels of her triumphal car,
Old England's genius, rough with many a scar,
Dragg’d in the dust! his arms hang idly round,
His flag inverted trails along the ground !
Our youth, all liveried o'er with foreign gold,
Before her dance : behind her crawl the old !
See thronging millions to the pagod run,
And offer country, parent, wife, or son!
Hear her black trumpet through the land proclaim,
That not to be corrupted is the shame.
In soldier, churchman, patriot, man in power,
'Tis avarice all, ambition is no more!
See, all our nobles begging to be slaves!
See, all our fools aspiring to be knaves !
The wit of cheats, the courage of a whore,
Are what ten thousand envy and adore:
All, all look up, with reverential awe,
At crimes that 'scape or triumph o'er the law:
While truth, worth, wisdom, daily they decry-
• Nothing is sacred now but villany.'
Yet may this verse (if such a verse remain)
Show there was one who held it in disdain.
Fr. "'Tis all a libel-Paxton, sir, will say.
P. Not yet my friend ! to-morrow, 'faith it may i
And for that very cause I print to-day.
How should I fret to mangle every line,
In reverence to the sins of thirty-nine !
Vice with such giant-strides comes on amain,
Invention strives to be before in vain;
Feign what I will, and paint it e'er so strong,
Some rising genius sins up to my song.
F. Yet none but you by name the guilty lash; E'en Guthry saves half Newgate by a dash. Spare then the person, and expose the vice.
P. How, sir! not damn the sharper, but the dice Come on then, satire! general unconfined, Spread thy broad wing, and souse on all the kind. Ye statesmen, priests, of one religion all! Ye tradesmen, vile, in army, court, or hall! Ye reverend atheists.-F. Scandal! name them, who
P. Why that's the thing you bid me not to do. Who starved a sister, who forswore a debt, I never named : the town 's inquiring yet. The poisoning dame-F. You mean—P. I don't.
F. You do. P. See, now I keep the secret, and not you! The bribing statesman-F. Hold: too high you go.
P. The bribed elector-F. There you stoop too low
P. I fain would please you, if I knew with what: Tell me, which knave is lawful game, which not ? Must great offenders, once escaped the crown, Like royal harts, be never more run down? Admit your law to spare the knight requires, A3 beasts of nature, may we hunt the 'equires ? Suppose I censure--you know what I mean To save a bishop, may I name a dean?
F. A dean, sir ? no; his fortune is not made ; You hurt a man that's rising in the trade.
P. If not the tradesman who sets up to-day,
Much less the 'prentice who to-morrow may.
Down, down, proud satire ! though a realm be spoil'd,
Arraign no mightier thief than wretched Wild:
Or, if a court or country's made a job,
Go drench a pickpocket, and join the mob.
But, sir, I beg you, (for the love of vice !)
The matter's weighty, pray consider twice:
Have you less pity for the needy cheat,
The poor and friendless villain, than the great?
Alas! the small discredit of a bribe
Scarce hurts the lawyer, but undoes the scribe.
Then better sure it charity becomes
To tax directors, who (thank God) have plums;
Still better, ministers ; or, if the thing
May pinch e'en there-why lay it on a king.
F. Stop ! stop !
P. Must satire, then, nor rise nor fall ?
Speak out, and bid me blame no rogues at all.
F. Yes, strike that Wild, I'll justify the blow,
P. Strike ? why the man was hang'd ten years ago : Who now that obsolete example fears ? E'en Peter trembles only for his ears.
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
P. As S-k, if he lives, will love the prince.
F. Strange spleen to S-k!
P. Do I wrong the man ?
God knows, I praise a courtier where I can.
When I confess there is who feels for fame,
And melts to goodness, need I Scarborough name?
Pleased let me own, in Esher's peaceful grove
(Where Kent and nature vie for Pelham's love,)
The scene, the master, opening to my view,
I sit and dream I see my Craggs anew!
Evin in a bishop I can spy desert ; Secker is decent, Rundel has a heart i