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"To save them from their evil fate,
In him was held a crime of state.
A wicked monster on the bench,
Whose fury blood could never quench;
As vile and profligate a villain,
As modern Scroggs, or old Tressilian;
Who long all justice had discarded,
Nor fear'd he God, nor man regarded;
Vow'd on the Dean his rage to vent,
And make him of his zeal repent:
But Heaven his innocence defends,
The grateful people stand his friends;
Not strains of law, nor judges' frown,
Nor topics brought to please the crown,
Nor witness hir'd, nor jury pick'd,
Prevail to bring him in convict.
"In exile, with a steady heart,
He spent his life's declining part;
Where folly, pride, and faction sway,
Remote from St. John, Pope, and Gay."
"Alas, poor Dean! his only scope
Was to be held a misanthrope.
This into general odium drew him,
Which if he lik'd, much good may 't do him.
His zeal was not to lash our crimes,
But discontent against the times:
For, had we made him timely offers,
To raise his post, or fill his coffers,
Perhaps he might have truckled down,
Like other brethren of his gown;
For party he would scarce have bled:
I say no more—because he 's dead.
What writings has he left behind?”
"I hear they're of a different kind: A few in verse; but most in prose—"
"Some high-flown pamphlets, I suppose : All scribbled in the worst of times,
To palliate his friend Oxford's crimes;
To praise queen Anne, nay more, defend her,
As never favouring the Pretender :
Or libels yet conceal'd from sight,
Against the court to show his spite :
Perhaps his travels, part the third;
A lie at every second word-
Offensive to a loyal ear: -
But- not one sermon, you may swear.’
"He knew an hundred pleasing stories,
With all the turns of Whigs and Tories:
Was cheerful to his dying day;
And friends would let him have his way.
"As for his works in verse or prose,
I own myself no judge of those.
Nor can I tell what critics thought them;
But this I know, all people bought them,
As with a moral view design'd
To please and to reform mankind :
And, if he often miss'd his aim,
The world must own it to their shame,
The praise is his, and theirs the blame.
He gave the little wealth he had
To build a house for fools and mad;
To show, by one satiric touch,
No nation wanted it so much.
That kingdom he hath left his debtor ;
I wish it soon may have a better.
And, since you dread no further lashes,
Methinks you may forgive his ashes."
BAUCIS AND PHILEMON.
ON THE EVER-LAMENTED LOSS OF THE TWO YEW-TREES IN THE PARISH OF CHILTHORNE, SOMERSET. 1708.
Imitated from the Eighth Book of Ovid.
In ancient times, as story tells,
The saints would often leave their cells,
And stroll about, but hide their quality,
To try good people's hospitality.
It happen'd on a winter-night,
As authors of the legend write,
Two brother-hermits, saints by trade,
Taking their tour in masquerade,
Disguis'd in tatter'd habits, went
To a small village down in Kent;
Where, in the strollers' canting strain,
They begg'd from door to door in vain,
Tried every tone might pity win;
But not a soul would let them in.
Our wandering saints, in woeful state,
Treated at this ungodly rate,
Having through all the village past,
To a small cottage came at last;
Where dwelt a good old honest ye'man,
Call'd in the neighbourhood Philemon;
Who kindly did these saints invite
In his poor hut to pass the night;
And then the hospitable sire
Bid Goody Baucis mend the fire;
While he from out the chimney took
A flitch of bacon off the hook,
And freely from the fattest side
Cut out large slices to be fry'd;
Then stepp'd aside to fetch them drink,
Fill'd a large jug up to the brink,
And saw it fairly twice go round;
Yet (what is wonderful!) they found
'Twas still replenish'd to the top,
As if they ne'er had touch'd a drop.
The good old couple were amaz’'d,
And often on each other gaz'd;
For both were frighten'd to the heart,
And just began to cry, "What ar't?"
Then softly turn'd aside to view
Whether the lights were burning blue.
The gentle pilgrims, soon aware on 't,
Told them their calling, and their errand:
"Good folks, you need not be afraid,
We are but saints," the hermits said:
"No hurt shall come to you or yours:
But for that pack of churlish boors,
Not fit to live on Christian ground,
They and their houses shall be drown'd;
shall see your cottage rise,
And grow a church before your eyes."
They scarce had spoke, when fair and soft
The roof began to mount aloft ;
Aloft rose every beam and rafter;
The heavy wall climb'd slowly after.
The chimney widen'd, and grew higher,
Became a steeple with a spire.
The kettle to the top was hoist,
And there stood fasten'd to a joist,
But with the upside down, to show
Its inclination for below :
In vain; for a superior force,
Apply'd at bottom, stops its course;
Doom'd ever in suspense to dwell,
'Tis now no kettle, but a bell.
A wooden jack, which had almost
Lost by disuse the art to roast,
A sudden alteration feels,
Increas'd by new intestine wheels;
And, what exalts the wonder more,
The number made the motion slower :
The flier, though 't had leaden feet,
Turn'd round so quick, you scarce could see 't;
But, slacken'd by some secret power,
Now hardly moves an inch an hour.
The jack and chimney, near ally'd,
Had never left each other's side:
'The chimney to a steeple grown,
The jack would not be left alone;
But, up against the steeple rear'd,
Became a clock, and still adher'd;
And still its love to household cares,
By a shrill voice at noon, declares,