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The public envy! Now then, 't is allow'd,
The man is found, who may be justly proud:
But, see! how sickly is ambition's taste!
Ambition feeds on trash, and loaths a feast;
For, lo! Philander, of reproach afraid,
In secret loves his wife, but keeps her maid.
Some nymphs sell reputation; others buy ;
And love a market where the rates run high :
Italian music 's sweet, because 't is dear;
Their vanity is tickled, not their ear:
Their tastes would lessen, if the prices fell,
And Shakspeare's wretched stuff do quite as well;
Away the disenchanted fair would throng,
And own, that English is their mother tongue.
To show how much our northern tastes refine, Imported nymphs our peeresses outshine; While tradesmen starve, these Philomels are gay; For generous lords had rather give than pay.
Behold the masquerade's fantastic scene! The legislature join'd with Drury-Lane! When Britain calls, th' embroider'd patriots run, And serve their country — if the dance is done. "Are we not then allow'd to be polite ?"
Yes, doubtless! but first set your notions right.
Worth, of politeness is the needful ground;
Where that is wanting, this can ne'er be found.
Triflers not e'en in trifles can excel;
'Tis solid bodies only polish well.
Great, chosen prophet! for these latter days,
To turn a willing world from righteous ways!
Well, Heydegger, dost thou thy master serve;
Well has he seen his servant should not starve.
Thou to his name hast splendid temples rais'd;
In various forms of worship seen him prais'd,
Gaudy devotion, like a Roman, shown,
And sung sweet anthems in a tongue unknown.
Inferior offerings to thy god of vice
Are duly paid, in fiddles, cards, and dice;
Thy sacrifice supreme, an hundred maids!
That solemn rite of midnight masquerades!
If maids the quite exhausted town denies,
An hundred head of cuckolds may suffice.
Thou smil'st, well pleas'd with the converted land,,
To see the fifty churches at a stand.
And that thy minister may never fail,
But what thy hand has planted still prevail,
Of minor prophets a succession sure
The propagation of thy zeal secure.
See commons, peers, and ministers of state,
In solemn council met, and deep debate!
What god-like enterprise is taking birth?
What wonder opens on th' expecting Earth?
"T is done! with loud applause the council rings!
Fix'd is the fate of whores and fiddle-strings!
Though bold these truths, thou, Muse, with truths like these,
Wilt none offend, whom 't is a praise to please:
Let others flatter to be flatter'd; thou,
Like just tribunals, bend an aweful brow.
How terrible it were to common-sense,
To write a satire, which gave none offence!
And, since from life I take the draughts you see,
If men dislike them, do they censure me?
The fool, and knave, 't is glorious to offend,
And god-like an attempt the world to mend;
The world, where lucky throws to blockheads fall,
Knaves know the game, and honest men pay all.
How hard for real worth to gain its price!
A man shall make his fortune in a trice,
If blest with pliant, though but slender, sense,
Feign'd modesty, and real impudence :
A supple knee, smooth tongue, an easy grace,
A curse within, a smile upon his face :
A beauteous sister, or convenient wife,
Are prizes in the lottery of life;
Genius and virtue they will soon defeat,
And lodge you in the bosom of the great.
To merit, is but to provide a pain
For men's refusing what you ought to gain.
May, Dodington, this maxim fail in you,
Whom my presaging thoughts already view
By Walpole's conduct fir'd, and friendship grac'd,'
Still higher in your prince's favour plac'd;
And lending, here, those aweful councils aid,
Which you, abroad, with such success obey'd!
Bear this from one, who holds your friendship dear;
What most we wish, with ease we fancy near.
TO THE RIGHT HON. SIR SPENCER COMPTON.
ROUND Some fair tree th' ambitious woodbine grows,
And breathes her sweets on the supporting boughs: So sweet the verse, th' ambitions verse, should be, (O! pardon mine) that hopes support from thee;
Thee, Compton, born o'er senates to preside,
Their dignity to raise, their councils guide;
Deep to discern, and widely to survey,
And kingdoms' fates, without ambition, weigh;
Of distant virtues nice extremes to blend,
The crown's assertor, and the people's friend:
Nor dost thou scorn, amid sublimer views,
To listen to the labours of the Muse;
Thy smiles protect her, while thy talents fire,
And 't is but half thy glory to inspire.
Vex'd at a public fame, so justly won,
The jealous Chremes is with spleen undone ;
Chremes, for airy pensions of renown,
Devotes his service to the state and crown :
All schemes he knows, and, knowing, all improves,
Though Britain's thankless, still this patriot loves:
But patriots differ; some may shed their blood,
He drinks his coffee, for the public good;
Consults the sacred steam, and there foresees
What storms, or sunshine, Providence decrees;
Knows, for each day, the weather of our fate;
A quidnunc is an almanac of state.
You smile, and think this statesman void of use;
Why may not time his secret worth produce?
Since apes can roast the choice Castanian nut;
Since steeds of genius are expert at put;
Since half the Senate "Not content" can say,
Geese nations save, and puppies plots betray.
What makes him model realms, and counsel
An incapacity for smaller things:
Poor Chremes can't conduct his own estate,
And thence has undertaken Europe's fate.
Gehenno leaves the realm to Chremes' skill,
And boldly claims a province higher still:
To raise a name, th' ambitious boy has got,
At once, a Bible, and a shoulder-knot;
Deep in the secret, he looks through the whole,
And pities the dull rogue that saves his soul;
To talk with rev'rence you must take good heed,
Nor shock his tender reason with the Creed;
Howe'er well-bred, in public he complies,
Obliging friends alone with blasphemies.
Peerage is poison, good estates are bad
For this disease; poor rogues run seldom mad.
Have not attainders brought unhop'd relief,
And falling stocks quite cur'd an unbelief?
While the Sun shines, Blunt talks with wondrous
But thunder mars small beer, and weak discourse.
Such useful instruments the weather show,
Just as their mercury is high or low :
Health chiefly keeps an atheist in the dark;
A fever argues better than a Clarke :
Let but the logic in his pulse decay,
The Grecian he 'll renounce, and learn to pray;
While Cmourns, with an unfeigned zeal,
Th' apostate youth, who reason'd once so well.
C, who makes merry with the Creed,
He almost thinks he disbelieves indeed;
But only thinks so: to give both their due,
Satan, and he, believe, and tremble too.
Of some for glory such the boundless rage,
That they're the blackest scandal of their age.