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Adieu to virtue, if you're once a slave;
Send her to court you send her to her grave.
Well, if a King's a lion, at the least
The people are a many-headed beast:
Can they direct what measures to pursue,
Who know themselves so little what to do?
Alike in nothing but one lust of gold,
You laugh, if coat and breeches strangely vary
White gloves, and linen worthy Lady Mary.
But when no prelate's lawn with hair-shirt
Is half so incoherent as my mind,
When (each opinion with the next at strife,
One ebb and flow of follies all my life)
Just half the land would buy, and half be I plant, root up; I build, and then confound; sold;
Their country's wealth our mightier misers
Or cross, to plunder provinces, the main;
The rest, some farm the poor-box, some the
Turn round to square, and square again to
You never change one muscle of your face,
You think this madness but a common case,
Nor once to Chancery nor to Hale apply;
Yet hang your lip, to see a seam awry!
Some keep assemblies, and would keep the Careless how ill I with myself agree,
Kind to my dress, my figure, not to me.
Some with fat bucks on childless dotards Is this my guide, philosopher, and friend?
Some win rich widows by their chine and
While with the silent growth of ten per cent.
In dirt and darkness, hundreds sink content.
Of all these ways, if each pursue his own,
Satire, be kind, and let the wretch alone:
But shew me one who had it in his pow'r
To act consistent with himself an hour.
Sir Job sail'd forth, the evening bright and
"No place on earth (he cried) like Greenwich
Up starts a palace, lo! th' obedient base
Slopes at its foot, the woods its sides embrace,
The silver Thames reflects its marble face.
Now let some whimsy, or the devil within
Which guides all those who know not what (
But give the Knight (or give his Lady)
66 Away, away! take all your scaffolds down,
"For snug's the word: my dear! we'll live in
At am'rous Flavio is the stocking thrown;
That very night he longs to lie alone.
The fool whose wife elopes some thrice a
For matrimonial solace dies a martyr.
Did ever Proteus, Merlin, any witch,
Transform themselves so strangly as the rich? (
Well, but the poor-the poor have the same,
They change their weekly barber, weekly
Prefer a new japanner to their shoes,
This he who loves me, and who ought to
Who ought to make me (what he can, or none)
That man divine whom wisdom calls her own;
Great without title, without fortune blest ;
Rich ev'n when plunder'd, honour'd while op-
Lov'd without youth, and follow'd without
At home, tho' exil'd; free, tho' in the Tow'r : In short, that reas'ning, high, immortal thing;
Just less than Jove, and much above a king, Nay, half in Heaven-except (what's mighty odd)
A fit of vapours cloud this demi-god.
"Nor to admire, is all the art I know
"To make men happy, and to keep them so."
(Plain truth, dear Murray! needs no flow'rs of
So take it in the very words of Creech).
This vault of air, this congregated ball,
Self-centred sun, and stars that rise and fall,
There are, my friend! whose philosophic eyes
Look thro' and trust the Ruler with his skies;
To him commit the hou the day, the year,
And view this dreadful all without a fear.
Admire we then what earth's low entrails
Arabian shores,or Indian seas infold: [hold,
All the mad trade of fools and slaves for gold?
Discharge their garrets, move their beds, and Or popularity, or stars and strings?
(They know not whither) in a chaise and one;
They hire their sculler, and when once aboard
Grow sick, and damn the climate like a lord.
Yon laugh, half-beau, half-sloven, if I stand,
My wig all powder, and all suuff my band;
The mob's applauses, or the gifts of kings?
Say with what eyes we ought at court to gaze,
And pay the great our homage of amaze?
If weak the pleasure that from these can
The fear to want them is as weak a thing.
Whether we dread, or whether we desire,
In either case, believe me, we admire ;
Whether we joy or grieve, the same the curse,
Surpris'd at better, or surpris'd at worse.
Thus, good or bad to one extreme betray
Th' unbalanc'd mind, and snatch the man
For virtue's self may too much zeal be had;
The worst of madmen is a saint run mad.
Go then, and if you can, admire the state
Of beaming diamonds, and reflected plate:
Procure a taste to double the surprise,
And gaze on Parian charms with learned eyes:
Be struck with bright brocade, or Tyrian
Our birth-day nobles' splendid livery.
If not so pleas'd at council-board rejoice,
To see their judgments hang upon thy voice;
From morn to night, at senate, rolls, and hall,
Plead much, read more, dine late, or not
But wherefore all this labour, all this strife?
For fame, for riches, for a noble wife?
Shall one whom nature, learning, birth con
To form, not to admire but he admir'd,
Sigh while his Chloe, blind to wit and worth,
Weds the rich dullness of some son of earth?
Yet time ennobles or degrades each line;
It brighten'd Craggs's, and may darken thine:
And what is fame the meanest have their
The greatest can but blaze, and pass away. Grac'd as thou art with all the pow'r of words;
So known, so honour'd, at the House of Lords: Conspicuous scene! another yet is nigh, (More silent far) where kings and poets lie: Where Murray (long enough his country's pride)
Shall be no more than Tully or an Hyde!
Rack'd with sciatics, martyr'd with the stone,
Will any mortal let himself alone?
See Ward by batter'd beaus invited over,
And desp'rate misery lays hold on Dover.
The case is easier in the mind's disease;
There all men may be cur'd whene'er they
Would ye be blest? despise low joys, low
Disdain what every Cornbury disdains:
Be virtuous, and be happy for your pains.
But art thou one whom new opinions
Qne who believes as Tindal leads the way; Who virtue and a church alike disowns; Thinks that but words, and this but brick and stones?
Fly then on all the wings of wild desire,
Admire whate'er the maddest can admire.
Is wealth thy passion? Hence! from pole to
Where winds can carry, or where waves can roll,
For Indian spices, for Peruvian gold,
Prevent the greedy, or outbid the bold:
Advance the golden mountain to the skies;
On the broad base of fifty thousand rise,
Add one round hundred, and (if that's not
Add fifty more, and bring it to a square.
For, mark th' advantage, just so many score
Will gain a wife with half as many more ;
Procure her beauty, make that beauty chaste;
And then such friends-as cannot fail to last.
A man of wealth is dubb'd a man of worth;
Venus shall give him form, and Anstis youth.
(Believe me, many a German prince is worse,
Who, proud of pedigree, is poor of purse)
His wealth brave Timon gloriously con-
Ask'd for a groat, he gives a hundred pounds;
Or, if three ladies like a luckless play,
Takes the whole house upon a poet's day.
Now in such exigencies not to need,
Upon my word, you must be rich indeed;
A noble superfluity it craves,
Not for yourself, but for your fools and knaves;
Something, which for your honour they may cheat,
And which it much becomes you to forget.
If wealth alone then make and keep us blest,
Still, still be getting; never, never rest.
But if to power and place your passion lie,
If in the pomp of life consists the joy,
Then hire a slave, or (if you will) a lord,
To do the honours, and to give the word:
Tell at your levee, as the crowds approach,
To whom to nod, whom take into your coach;
Whom honour with your hand: to make re
Call'd" happy dog" the beggar at his door;
And envied thirst and hunger to the poor.
Or shall we every decency confound, Thro' taverns, stews, and bagnios take our round;
Go dine with Chartres, in each vice outdo
K-s lewd cargo, or Ty-y's crew,
From Latian Syrens, French Circæan feasts,
Retura'd well travell'd, and transform'd to
Or for a titled punk, or foreign flame,
Renounce our country and degrade our name.
If, after all, we must with Wilmot own,
The cordial drop of life is love alone,
And Swift cry wisely, "Vire la Bagatelle !"
The man that loves and laughs must sure do
Adieu-if this advice appear the worst,
Ev'u take the counsel which I gave you first;
Or better precepts if you can impart,
Why do; I'll follow them with all my heart.
WHILE you, great patron of mankind! sus
The balanc'd world, and open all the main ; Your country's chief, in arms abroad defend, At home with morals, arts, and laws amend; How shall the muse from such a monarch steal
An hour, and not defraud the public weal ?
Edward and Henry now the boast of fame, And virtuous Alfred, a more sacred name, After a life of gen'rous toils endur'd The Gaul subdu'd, or property secur'd, Ambition humbled, mighty cities storm'd, Or laws establish'd, and the world reform'd ; Clos'd their long glories with a sigh, to find Th' unwilling gratitude of base mankind! All buman virtue to his latest breath, Finds cuvy never conquer'd but by death. The great Alcides, every labour past, Had still this monster to subdue at last. Sure fate of all, beneath whose rising ray Each star of meaner merit fades away! Oppres'd we feel the beam directly beat, Those suns of glory please not till they set. To thee the world its present homage
The harvest early, but mature the praise : Great friend of liberty! in kings a name Above all Greeks, above all Roman fame: Whose word is truth, as sacred and rever'd As Heaven's own oracle from altars heard. Wonder of kings! like whom to mortal eyes None e'er has risen, and none e'er shall rise.
Just in one instance, be it yet confess'd,
Your people, Sir, are partial in the rest :
Foes to all living worth except your own,
And advocates for folly dead and gone.
Authors, like coins, grow dear as they grow
It is the rust we value, not the gold.
Chaucer's worst ribaldry is learn'd by rote,
And beastly Skelton heads of houses quote :
One likes no language but the Faery Queen;
A Scot will fight for Christ's Kirk o'er the
And cach true Briton is to Ben so civil,
He swears the muses met him at the Devil.
Tho' justly Greece her eldest sous admires, Why should not we be wiser than our sires? In ev'ry public virtue we excel;
We build, we paint, we sing, we dance as well;
And learned Athens to our art must stoop,
Could she behold us trembling thro' a hoop.
If time improve our wits as well as wine, Say at what age a poet grows divine? Shail we, or shall we not, accouat him so, Who died, perhaps, an hundred years ago? End all dispute, and fix the year precise When British bards begin t' immortalize? "Who lasts a century can have no flaw ? “I hold that wit a classic, good in law.” Suppose he wants a year, will you compound? [sound? And shall we deem him ancient, right, and Or damn to all eternity at once,
At ninety-nine, a modern and a dunce?
"We shall not quarrel for a year or two; "By courtesy of England he may do."
Then, by the rule that made the horse-tail
I pluck out year by year, as hair by hair,
And melt down ancients like a heap of snow,
While you, to measure merits, look in Stowe;
And, estimating authors by the year,
Bestow a garland only on a bier.
Shakspear (whom you and ev'ry playhouse bill
Style the divine, the matchless, what you will)
For gain, not glory, wing'd his roving flight,
And grew immortal in his own despite.
Ben, old and poor, as little seem'd to heed
The life to come, in ev'ry poet's creed.
Who now reads Cowley? if he pleases yet,
His moral pleases, not his pointed wit;
Forgot his epic, nay Pindaric art!
But still I love the language of his heart.
"Yet surely, surely these were famous men! "What boy but hears the sayings of old
"In all debates where critics bear a part, "Not one but nods, and talks of Johnson's art,
"Of Shakspear's nature, and of Cowley's wit; "How Beaumont's judgment check'd what
"How Shadwell hasty, Wycherly was slow,
"But, for the passions, Southern sure and
"These, only these, support the crowded
"From eldest Heywood down to Cibber's age."
All this may be, the people's voice is odd;
It is, and it is not, the voice of God.
To Gammer Gurton if it gives the bays,
And yet deny the Careless Husband praise,
Or say our fathers never broke a rule;
Why then, I say, the public is a fool.
But let them own that greater faults than we
They had, and greater virtues I'll agree.
Spenser himself affects the obsoletc,
And Sydney's verse balts ill on Roman feet:
Milton's strong pinion now not heaven can
Now, serpent-like, in prose he sweeps the
In quibbles, angel and archangel join,
And God the Father turns a school-divine.
Not that I'd lop the beauties from his book,
Like slashing Bentley with his desp'rate hook;
Or damn all Shakspear, like th' affected fool
At court, who hates whate'er he read at school.
But for the wits of either Charles's days,
The mob of gentlemen who wrote with ease;
Sprat, Carew, Sedley, and a hundred more
(Like twinkling stars the miscellanies o'er),
One simile, that solitary shines
In the dry desert of a thousand lines, [a page,
Or lengthen'd thought that gleams thro' mauy
Has sauctified whole poems for an age.
I lose my patience, and I own it too,
When works are censur'd not as bad, but new;
While, if our elders break all reason's laws,
These fools demand not pardon, but applause.
On Avon's bank, where flow'rs eternal blow,
If but ask if any weed can grow;
One tragic sentence if I dare deride,
Which Betterton's grave action dignified,
Or well-mouth'd Booth with emphasis pro-
(Tho' but, perhaps, a muster-roll of names,)
How will our fathers rise up in a rage,
And swear all shame is lost in George's age!
You'd think no fools disgrac'd the former reign,
Did not some grave examples yet remain,
Who scorn a lad should teach his father skill,
And, having once been wrong, will be so still.
He, who to seem more deep than you or I,
Extols old bards, or Merlin's prophecy,
Mistake him not: he envies, not admires;
And, to debase the sons, exalts the sires.
Had ancient times conspir'd to disallow
What then was new, what had been ancient
Or what remain'd so worthy to be read
By learned critics of the mighty dead?
In days of ease, when how the weary sword
Was sheath'd, and luxury with Charles restor'd;
In ev'ry taste of foreign courts improv'd,
"All, by the king's example, liv'd and lov`d.”
Then peers grew proud in horsemanship t'ex-
Newmarket's glory rose as Britain's fell;'
The soldier breath'd the gallantries of France,
And ev'ry flow'ry courtier writ romance.
Then marble, soften'd into life, grew warm;
And yielding metal flow'd to human form :
Lely on animated canvas stole
The sleepy eye that spoke the melting soul.
No wonder then, when all was love and sport,
The willing muses were debauch'd at court:
On each enervate string they taught the wote
To pant or tremble thro' an eunuch's throat.
But Britain, changeful as a child at play,
Now calls in princes, and now turns away.
Now Whig, now Tory, what we lov'd we hate ;
Now all for pleasure, now for church and state;
Now for prerogative, and now for laws;
Effects unhappy! from a noble cause.
Time was, a sober Englishman would knock
His servants up, and rise by five o'clock;
Instruct his family in ev'ry rule,
And send his wife to church, his son to school.
To worship like his fathers was his care;
To teach their frugal virtues to his heir;
To prove, that luxury could never hold;
And place, on good security, his gold.
Now times are chang'd, and one poetic itch
Has sciz'd the court and city, poor and rich :
Sons, sires, and grandsires, all will wear the
Our wives read Milton, and our daughters
To theatres and to rehearsals throng;
And all our grace at table is a song!
I, who so oft renounce the Muses, lie;
Not's self e'er tells more fibs than I.
When, sick of musc, our follies we deplore,
And promise our best friends to rhyme no
We wake next morning in a raging fit,
And call for pen and ink to shew our wit.
He serv'd a 'prenticeship who sets up shop;
Ward tried on puppies, and the poor, his drop;
Even Radcliff's doctors travel first to France,
Nor dare to practise till they've learn'd to
Who builds a bridge that never drove a pile?
(Should Ripley venture, all the world would
But those who cannot write, and those who
All rhyme, and scrawl, and scribble to a man.
Yet Sir, reflect, the mischief is not great;
These madmen never hurt the church or state;
Sometimes the folly benefits mankind;
And rarely av'rice taints the tuneful mind.
Allow him but his plaything of a pen,
He ne'er rebels, or plots, like other men :
Flight of cashiers, or mobs, he'll never mind;
And knows no losses while the muse is kind.
To cheat a friend, or ward, he leaves to Peter,
The good man heaps up nothing but mere
Enjoys his garden and his book in quiet;
And then a perfect hermit in his dict.
Of little use the man you may suppose,
Who says in verse what others say in prose:
Yet let me shew, a poet's of some weight,
And (tho' no soldier) useful to the state.
What will a child learn sooner than a song?
What better teach a foreigner the tongue?
What's long, or short, each accent where to
And speak in public with some sort of grace?
I scarce can think him such a worthless thing,
Unless he praise some monster of a king;
Or virtue or religion turn to sport,
To please a lewd or unbelieving court.
Unhappy Dryden ! in all Charies's days,
Roscommon only boasts unspotted bays;
And in our own (excuse from courtly stains)
No whiter page than Addison's remains.
He from the taste obscene reclaims our youth,
And sets the passions on the side of truth;
Forms the soft bosom with the gentlest art,
And pours cach human virtue in the heart.
Let Ireland tell, how wit upheld her cause,
Her trade supported, and supplied her laws;
And leave on Swift this grateful verse engrav'd,
"The rights a court attack'd, a poet sav'd."
Behold the hand that wrought a nation's
Stretch'd to relieve the ideot and the poor,
Proud vice to brand, or injur'd worth adorn,
And stretch the ray to ages yet unborn.
Not but there are who merit other palms;
Hopkins and Sternhold glad the heart with
The boys and girls whom charity maintains,
Implore your help in these pathetic strains :
How could devotion touch the country pews,
Unless the gods bestow'd a proper muse?
Verse cheers their leisure, verse assists their
Verse prays for peace, or sings down Pope and
The silene'd preacher yields to potent strain,
And feels that grace his pray'r besought in
The blessing thrills thro'all the lab'ring throng,
And heaven is won by violence of song.
Our rural ancestors, with little blest, Patient of labour when the end was rest, Indulg'd the day that hous'd their annual grain
With feasts and offrings, and a thankful strain:
The joy their wives, their sons, and servants
Ease of their toil, and partners of their care:
The laugh, the jest, attendants on the bowl,
Smooth'a ev'ry brow, and open'd ev'ry soul:
With growing years the pleasing license grew,
And taunts alternate innocently flew.
But times corrupt, and nature ill-inclin'd,
Produc'd the points that left the sting behind;
Till friend with friend, and families at strifo,
Triumphant malice rang'd thro' private life.
Who felt the wrong, or fear'd it, took th'alarm,
Appeal'd to law, and justice lent her arm.
At length by wholesome dread of statutes
The poets learn'd to please, and not to wound:
Most warp'd to flattery's side; but some, more
Her arts victorious triumph'd o'er our arms;
Britain to soft refinement less a foe,
Wit grew polite, and numbers learn'd to flow.
Waller was smooth; but Dryden taught tojoin
The varying verse, the full resounding line,
The long majestic march, and energy divine.
Tho' still some traces of our rustic vein
And splayfoot verse remain'd and will remain;
Late, very late, correctness grew our care,
When the tir'd nation breath'd from civil war.
Exact Racine, and Corneille's noble fire,
Shew'd us that France had something to
Not but the tragic spirit was our own,
And full in Shakespear, fair in Otway shone :
But Otway fail'd to polish or refine,
And fluent Shakespear scarce effac'd a line.
Even copious Dryden wanted, or forgot,
The last and greatest art, the art to blot.
Some doubt if equal pains or equal fire
The humbler muse of comedy require.
But, in known images of life, I guess
The labour greater, as th' indulgence less.
Observe how seldom even the best succeed :
Tell me if Congreve's fools are fools indeed?
What pert low dialogue has Farquhar writ!
How Van wants grace who never wanted wit!
The stage how loosely does Astrea tread,
Who fairly puts all characters to bed!
And idle Cibber, how he breaks the laws,
To make poor Pinkey eat with vast applause !