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Yet, to his guest though no way sparing,
He eat himself the rind and paring.
Our courtier scarce could touch a bit,
But show'd his breeding and his wit;
He did his best to seem to eat,
And cried, "I vow you're mighty neat.
But Lord, my friend, this savage scene!
For God's sake, come, and live with men;
Consider, mice, like men, must die,
Both small and great, both you and I:
Then spend your life in joy and sport;
(This doctrine, friend, I learnt at court.")
The veriest hermit in the nation
May yield, God knows, to strong temptation.
Away they come, through thick and thin,
To a tall house near Lincoln's-inn:
("Twas on the night of a debate,
When all their lordships had sat late.)
Behold the place, where if a poet
Shin'd in description, he might show it;
Tell how the moonbeam trembling falls,
And tips with silver all the walls;
Palladian walls, Venetian doors,
Grotesco roofs, and stucco floors:
But let it (in a word) be said,
The Moon was up, and men a-bed,
The napkins white, the carpet red:
The guests withdrawn had left the treat,
And down the mice sate, tête-à-tête.
Our courtier walks from dish to dish,
Tastes for his friend of fowl and fish;
Tells all their names, lays down the law,
Que ca est bon! Ah goûtez ca!
That jelly's rich, this malmsey healing,
Pray dip your whiskers and your tail in."
Was ever such a happy swain!
He stuffs and swills, and stuffs again.
"I'm quite asham'd-'tis mighty rude
To eat so much-but all's so good.
I have a thousand thanks to give-
My lord alone knows how to live."
No sooner said, but from the hall
Rush chaplain, butler, dogs, and all :
"A rat! a rat! clap to the door!"-
The cat comes bouncing on the floor.
O for the heart of Homer's mice,
Or gods to save them in a trice!
(It was by Providence they think,
For your damn'd stucco has no chink.)
ROBERT EARL OF OXFORD AND EARL MORTIMER.
Sent to the Earl of Oxford, with Dr. Parnell's Poems published by our Author, after the said Earl's imprisonment in the Tower, and Retreat into the Country, in the Year 1721.
SUCH were the notes thy once-lov'd poet sung.
Till Death untimely stopp'd his tuneful tongue.
Oh just beheld, and lost! admir'd, and mourn'd!
With softest manners, gentlest arts adorn'd!
Blest in each science, blest in every strain!
Dear to the Muse! to Harley dear-in vain!
For him, thou oft hast bid the world attend,
Fond to forget the statesman in the friend;
For Swift and him, despis'd the farce of state,
The sober follies of the wise and great;
Dextrous the craving, fawning crowd to quit,
And pleas'd to 'scape from flattery to wit.
Absent or dead, still let a friend be dear,
(A sigh the absent claims, the dead a tear,)
Recall those nights that clos'd thy toilsome days,
Still hear thy Parnell in his living lays,
Who, careless now of interest, fame, or fate,
Perhaps forgets that Oxford e'er was great;
Or, deeming meanest what we greatest call,
Beholds thee glorious only in thy fall.
And sure, if aught below the seats divine
Can touch immortals, 'tis a soul like thine:
A soul supreme, in each hard instance tried,
Above all pain, and passion, and all pride,
The rage of power, the blast of public breath,
The lust of lucre, and the dread of Death.
In vain to deserts thy retreat is made;
The Muse attends thee to thy silent shade:
'Tis hers, the brave man's latest steps to trace,
Re-judge his acts, and dignify disgrace.
When interest calls off all her sneaking train,
And all th' oblig'd desert, and all the vain;
She waits, or to the scaffold, or the cell,
When the last lingering friend has bid farewell.
Ev'n now she shades thy evening-walk with bays,
|(No hireling she, no prostitute to praise);
Ev'n now, observant of the parting ray,
Eyes the calm sun-set of thy various day,
Through Fortune's cloud one truly great can see,
Nor fears to tell, that Mortimer is he.