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Then shall thy Craggs (and let me call him mine)
EPISTLE TO DR. ARBUTHNOT:
BEING THE PROLOGUE TO THE SATIRES.
P. Shut, shut the door, good John ! fatigu’d, I said,
Is there a parson, much bemus'd in beer, A maudlin poetess, a rhyming peer, A clerk, foredoom'd his father's soul to cross, Who pens a stanza, when he should engross? Is there, who, lock'd from ink and paper, scrawls With desperate charcoal round his darken'd walls ? All fly to Twit’nam, and, in humble strain, Apply to ine, to keep them mad or vain. Arthur, whose giddy son neglects the laws, Imputes to me and my damn'd works the cause : Poor Cornus sees his frantic wife elope, And curses wit, and poetry, and Pope.
Friend to my life! (which did you not prolong, The world had wanted many an idle song,) What drop of nostrum can this plague remove? Or which must end me, a fool's wrath or love? A dire dilemma! either way I'm sped; If foes, they write, if friends, they read me dead Seiz'd and ty'd down to judge, how wretched I! Who can't be silent, and who will not lie: To laugh, were want of goodness and of grace; And to be grave, exceeds all power of face. I sit with sad civility ; I read With honest anguish, and an aching head; And drop at last, but in unwilling ears, This saving counsel, “Keep your piece nine years.”
“ Nine years !" cries he, who high in Drury-lane, Lull'd by soft zephyrs through the broken pane, Rhymes ere he wakes, and prints before term ends, Oblig'd by hunger and request of friends : “ The piece, you think, is incorrect? why take it ; I'm all submission; what you'd have it, make it. ”
Three things another's modest wishes bound, My friendship, and a prologue, and ten pound.
Pitholeon sends to me : “ You know his grace: I want a patron; ask him for a place." Pitholeon libell’d me "but here's a letter Informs you, sir, 'twas when he knew no better. Dare you refuse him ? Curll invites to dine, He'll write a journal, or he'll turn divine." Bless me! a packet. - "'Tis a stranger sues, A Virgin Tragedy, an Orphan Muse.” If I dislike it, “ Furies, death, and rage !" If I approve, « Commend it to the stage." There (thank my stars) my whole commission ends, The players and I are, luckily, no friends. [it, Fir'd that the house reject him, “ 'Sdeath! I'll print And shame the fools- your interest, sir, with
Lintot.” Lintot, dull rogue ! will think your price too much: “ Not, sir, if you revise it, and retouch.” All my demurs but double his attacks: At last he whispers, “ Do; and we go snacks.” Glad of a quarrel, straight I clap the door, “ Sir, let me see your works and you no more."
'Tis sung, when Midas' ears began to spring, (Midas, a sacred person and a king,) His very minister, who spy'd them first, (Some say his queen,) was forc'd to speak, or burst. And is not mine, my friend, a sorer case, When every coxcomb perks them in' my face ? A. Good friend, forbear! you deal in dangerous
things, I'd never name queens, ministers, or kings;
Keep close to ears, and those let asses prick,
You think this cruel ? Take it for a rule,
through, He spins the slight, self-pleasing thread anew : Destroy his fib or sophistry, in vain, The creature's at his dirty work again, Thron’d on the centre of his thin designs, Proud of a vast extent of Aimsy lines ! Whom have I hurt? has poet yet, or peer, Lost the arch'd eyebrow, or Parnassian sneer? And has not Colly still his lord, and whore ? His butchers Henley, his free-masons Moor? Does not one table Bavius still admit ? Still to one bishop Philip seems a wit ? Still Sappho - A. Hold ! for God's sake - you'll
offend; No names-- be calm — learn prudence of a friend : I too could write, and I am twice as tall; [all. But foes like these — P. One flatterer's worse than Of all mad creatures, if the learn'd are right, It is the slaver kills, and not the bite.
A fool quite angry is quite innocent :
There are, who to my person pay their court :
Why did I write ? what sin to me unknown Dipp'd me in ink, my parents', or my own? As yet a child, nor yet a fool to Fame, I lisp'd in numbers, for the numbers came. I left no calling for this idle trade, No duty broke, no father disobey'd ; The Muse but serv'd to ease some friend, not wife; To help me through this long disease, my life; To second, Arbuthnot ! thy art and care, And teach, the being you presery'd, to bear.
But why then publish ? Granville the polite, And knowing Walsh, would tell me I could write ; Well-natur'd Garth inflam'd with early praise, And Congreve lov’d, and Swift endur'd my lays ;