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It is evident that he had read Prior, though not to the best advantage; it is evident, too, that he had read not only Pope, but the metaphysical poets as well; and the poem of Careless Content, here given, is so good an imitation that it has been supposed to be a genuine Elizabethan production. His chief quality is one of ease and fluency; in combination with a certain cheerful briskness of thought and the amiable good sense that is the most striking element in his intellectual composition, it is to be found here and there in all he did. Unhappily for him and for us, it appears to have been as hard for him to correct as it was easy to write. Too often do his verses sound emptily to modern
The art of English poetry, I find,
At present, Jenkins, occupies your mind'
too often do they set modern fingers itching to shape and improve them. It follows that he is seen to most advantage when, upon compulsion of his stanza, he is at his briefest and most careful. It is not without reason, therefore, that he is generally known but as the author of the sly and amiable quatrian of benediction alike on King and Pretender. That is the man's highest point as an artist; it is at once his happiest and most complete utterance ; and the body of his verse will be searched in vain for such another proof of merit and accomplishment.
W. E. HENLEY.
Two foot-companions once in deep discourse-
'Well, well,' replies his friend, 'No such affront!
Struck with such vast integrity quite dumb,
How clear are things when liquor's in the case!
Hard is the case, now I look sharp into 't,
So many empty horses round about,
That honesty should wear its bottoms out!
His feathered neck they nimmed him off the ground.
'Twixt right and wrong how many gentle trimmers Will neither steal nor filch, but will be plaguy Nimmers!
I am content, I do not care,
Wag as it will the world for me!
With more of thanks and less of thought
Physic and food in sour and sweet;
With good and gently-humoured hearts
I hold my tongue to tell the troth,
For chance or change of peace or pain,
I never dodge nor up nor down,
I suit not where I shall not speed,
I make no bustling, but abide.
Of ups and downs, of ins and outs,
Of they 're-i'-th'-wrong and we're-i'-th'-right,
I shun the rancours and the routs;
And, wishing well to every wight, Whatever turn the matter takes,
I deem it all but ducks and drakes.
With whom I feast I do not fawn,
Nor if the folks should flout me, faint. If wonted welcome be withdrawn
I cook no kind of a complaint.
Not that I rate myself the rule
How all my betters should behave;
Fond of a true and trusty tie,
I talk thereon just as I think;
If names or notions make a noise,
And read and write, but without wrath; For, should I burn or break my brains, Pray, who will pay me for my pains?
I love my neighbour as myself—
Myself like him too, by his leave! Nor to his pleasure, power or pelf
Came I to crouch, as I conceive! Dame Nature doubtless has designed A man the monarch of his mind.
Now taste and try this temper, sirs,
Mood it and brood it in your breast; Or, if ye ween for worldly stirs
That man does right to mar his rest, Let me be deft and debonair,
I am content, I do not care!
ON THE ORIGIN OF EVIL.
Evil, if rightly understood,
While it remains, without divorce,