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Reason, they say, belongs to man,
But let them prove it if they can.
Wise Aristotle and Smiglesius,
By ratiocinations specious,
Have strove to prove with great precision,
With definition and division,
Homo est ratione preditum ;
But for my soul I cannot credit 'em;
And must in spite of them maintain,
That man and all his ways are vain;
And that this boasted lord of nature
Is both a weak and erring creature.
That instinct is a surer guide
Than reason, boasting mortals' pride;
And that brute beasts are far before 'em,
Deus est anima brutorum.
Who ever knew an honest brute
At law his neighbor prosecute,
Bring action for assault and battery,
Or friend beguile with lies and flattery?
O'er plains they ramble unconfin'd,
No politics disturb their mind;
They eat their meals and take their sport,
Nor know who's in or out at court;
They never to the levee go
To treat as dearest friend, a foe;
They never importune his Grace,
Nor ever cringe to men in place;
Nor undertake a dirty job,
Nor draw the quill to write for Bob :*
[Sir Robert Walpole, the object of so much vituperation by Swift.]
Fraught with invective they ne'er go,
To folks at Paternoster Row;
No judges, fiddlers, dancing. masters,
No pickpockets or poetasters,
Are known to honest quadrupeds,
No single brute his fellow leads.
Brutes never meet in bloody fray,
Nor cut each others' throats for pay.
Of beasts, it is confess'd, the ape
Comes nearest us in human shape;
he imitates each fashion,
And malice is his ruling passion;
But both in malice and grimaces,
A courtier any ape surpasses.
Behold him, humbly cringing, wait
Upon the minister of state ;
View him soon after to inferiors
Aping the conduct of superiors:
He promises with equal air,
And to perform takes equal care.
He in his turn finds imitators,
At court, the porters, lacqueys, waiters,
Their master's manners still contract,
And footmen, lords and dukes can act.
Thus at the court, both great and small,
Behave alike, for all ape all.
ON A BEAUTIFUL YOUTH, STRUCK BLIND BY LIGHTNING.
Sure 'twas by Providence design'd,
Rather in pity, than in hate,
That he should be, like Cupid, blind,
To save him from Narcissus' fate.
ON THE TAKING OF QUEBEC, AND DEATH OF
Amidst the clamor of exulting joys,
Which triumph forces from the patriot heart,
Grief dares to mingle her soul-piercing voice,
And quells the raptures which from pleasure start.
0, Wolfe ! to thee a streaming flood of woe,
Sighing we pay, and think e'en conquest dear;
Quebec in vain shall' teach our breast to glow,
Whilst thy sad fate extorts the heart-wrung tear.
* (First printed in “ The Bec," 1759. See vol. i. p. 18.]
+ [" The Princess of Eboli, the mistress of Phillip II. of Spain, and Maugiron, the minion of Henry III. of France, had each of them lost an eye ; and the famous Latin epigram, which Goldsmith has cither translated or imitated, was written on them."-LORD BYRON, Works, vol. vi. p. 390.]
† (First printed in the “Busy Body," 1759. The alleged relationship of the Poet with this distinguished officer, produced very naturally an effort to celebrate him, after a death so honorable.]
Alive, thee foe thy dreadful vigor fled,
And saw thee fall with joy-pronouncing eyes ;
Yet they shall know thou conquerest, though dead!
Since from thy tomb a thousand heroes rise.
Weeping, murmuring, complaining,
Lost to every gay delight;
Myra, too sincere for feigning,
Fears th' approaching bridal night.
Yet why impair thy bright perfection ?
Or dim thy beauty with a tear?
Had Myra follow'd my direction,
She long had wanted cause of fear.
TO IRIS, IN BOW-STREET, COVENT-GARDEN.
Imitated from the French.t
Say, cruel Iris, pretty rake,
Dear mercenary beauty,
* (First printed in “ The Bee,” 1759.)
† (First printed in The Bee," 1759. The original is in Ménagrana, tom. iv. p. 200:
ÉTRENNE À IRIS.
“ Pour témoignage de ma flamme,
Iris, du meilleur de mon âme,
Je vous donne à ce nouvel an,
Non pas dentelle, ni ruban,
What annual offering shall I make
Expressive of my duty ?
My heart, a victim to thine eyes,
Should I at once deliver,
Say, would the angry fair one prize
The gift, who slights the giver ?
A bill, a jewel, watch, or toy,
My rivals give—and let 'em ; If gems, or gold, impart a joy,
I'll give them when I get 'em.
I'll give—but not the full-blown rose,
Or rose-bud more in fashion ; Such short-liv'd off'rings but disclose
A transitory passion.
I'll give thee something yet unpaid,
Not less sincere than civil: I'll give thee—ah! too charming maid,
I'll give thee-to the devil.
Non pas essence, non pas pommade,
Quelques boites de marmalade,
Un mouchoir, des gants, un bouquet,
Non pas fleures, ni chapelet.
Quoi donc ? attendez, je vou donne,
0! fille plus belle que bonne,
Qui m'avez toujours refusé
Le point si souvent proposé,
Je vous donne.--Ah! le puis-je dire ?
Oui; c'est trop souffrir le martyre,
Il est temps de m'emanciper,
Patience va m'échapper,
Fussiez-vous cent fois plus aimable,
Belle Iris, je vous donne-au diable.")