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That pity only checks your growing spite To erring man, and prompts you still to write;
That your choice-works on humble stalls are laid,
Or vainly grace the windows of the trade;
And let us join our forces to subdue
I sing of NEws, and all those vapid sheets The rattling hawker vends through gaping streets;
Whate'er their name, whate'er the time they fly,
Damp from the press, to charm the reader's
For, soon as morning dawns with roseate hue,
Of Ledgers, Chronicles, and Posts again, Like bats, appearing, when the sun goes down,
From holes obscure and corners of the town. Of all these triflers, all like thesc, I write; Oh! like my subject could my song delight, The crowd at Lloyd's one poet's name should raise,
And all the Alley echo to his praise. In shoals the hours their constant numbers bring,
Like insects waking to th' advancing spring; Which take their rise from grubs obscene that lie
In shallow pools, or thence ascend the sky:
Whose swarming sons their short-lived sires succeed;
No changing season makes their number less,
Not so, my little flock! your preacher fly, Nor waste the time no worldly wealth can buy; But let the decent maid and sober clown Pray for these idlers of the sinful town: This day, at least, on nobler themes bestow, Nor give to Woodfall, or the world below.
But, Sunday past, what numbers flourish then,
What wond'rous labours of the press and pen! Diurnal most, some thrice each week affords, Some only once;-O avarice of words! When thousand starving minds such manna seek,
To drop the precious food but once a week. Endless it were to sing the powers of all, Their names, their numbers; how they rise and fall:
Like baneful herbs the gazer's eye they seize, Rush to the head, and poison where they please:
Like idle flies, a busy, buzzing train, They drop their maggots in the trifler's brain:
That genial soil receives the fruitful store, And there they grow and breed a thousand
Now be their arts display'd, how first they choose
A cause and party, as the bard his muse; Inspired by these, with clamorous zeal they
And through the town their dreams and omens fly:
So the Sibylline leaves were blown about, Disjointed scraps of fate involved in doubt; So idle dreams, the journals of the night, Are right and wrong by turns, and mingle wrong with right.— Some champions for the rights that prop the crown,
Some sturdy patriots, sworn to pull them down;
Some neutral powers, with secret forces fraught,
Wishing for war, but willing to be bought: While some to every side and party go, Shift every friend, and join with every foe; Like sturdy rogues in privateers they strike This side and that, the foes of both alike; A traitor-crew, who thrive in troubled times, Fear'd for their force, and courted for their crimes.
Chief to the prosperous side the numbers sail,
Fickle and false, they veer with every gale; As birds that migrate from a freezing shore, In search of warmer climes, come skimming
Nor here th' infectious rage for party stops,
But flits along from palaces to shops;
Breeds the Whig-farmer and the Tory-swain;
Brookes' and St. Alban's boasts not, but, instead,
Stares the Red Ram, and swings the Rod-
A little prop and pillar of the state.
Alluring lights, to lead us far about; Screen'd by such means, here Scandal whets her quill,
Here Slander shoots unseen, whene'er she
Such, sons of Britain! are the guides ye trust;
So wise their counsel, their reports so just :-
Their careless authors only strive to join
Those, who ne'er deign'd their Bible to peruse,
Would think it hard to be denied their news; Sinners and saints, the wisest with the weak, Here mingle tastes and one amusement seek; This, like the public inn, provides a treat, Where each promiscuous guest sits down to eat;
And such this mental food, as we may call Something to all men and to some men all
Next, in what rare production shall we
Such various subjects in so small a space?
'Tis this which makes all Europe's business
May tell their honours that he sells rappee. Add next th' amusement which the motley page
Affords to either sex and every age:
So charm the News; but we, who, far from town, Wait till the postman brings the packet down, Once in the week, a vacant day behold, And stay for tidings, till they're three days old:
That day arrives; no welcome post appears,
A master-passion is the love of news,
Now sing, my Muse, what various parts
These rival sheets of politics and prose. First, from each brother's hoard a part they draw,
A mutual theft that never fear'd a law; Whate'er they gain, to each man's portion fall, And read it once, you read it through them all: For this their runners ramble day and night, To drag each lurking deed to open light; For daily bread the dirty trade they ply, Coin their fresh tales and live upon the lie: Like bees for honey, forth for news they spring,
Industrious creatures! ever on the wing; Home to their several cells they bear the store,
Cull'd of all kinds, then roam abroad for more.
Should some fair frail-one drive her prancing pair,
Where rival peers contend to please the fair; When, with new force, she aids her conquering eyes,
And beauty decks with all that beauty buys; Quickly we learn whose heart her influence feels,
Whose acres melt before her glowing wheels. To these a thousand idle themes succeed, Deeds of all kinds and comments to each deed. Here stocks, the state-barometers, we view, That rise or fall, by causes known to few; Promotion's ladder who goes up or down; Who wed, or who seduced, amuse the town; What new-born heir has made his father blest;
What heir exults, his father now at rest; That ample list the Tyburn-herald gives, And each known knave, who still for Tyburn lives.
So grows the work, and now the printer tries His powers no more, but leans on his allies.
When lo! the advertising tribe succeed, Pay to be read, yet find but few will read;
And chief th' illustrious race, whose drops and pills
Have patent powers to vanquish human ills: These, with their cures, a constant aid remain,
To bless the pale composer's fertile brain; Fertile it is, but still the noblest soil Requires some pause, some intervals from toil;
And they at least a certain case obtain From Katterfelto's skill, and Graham's glowing strain.
I too must aid, and pay to see my name
Could stop one slander ere it found its way,
Whose darling work is tried, some fatal night?
Most wretched man! when, bane to every bliss,
He hears the serpent-critic's rising hiss; Then groans succeed: not traitors on the wheel
Can feel like him, or have such pangs to feel. Nor end they here: next day he reads his fall In every paper; crities are they all;
He sees his branded name, with wild affright, And hears again the cat-calls of the night.
Such help the STAGE affords: a larger space Is fill'd by PUFFS and all the puffing race. Physic had once alone the lofty style, The well-known boast, that ceased to raise a smile: Now all the province of that tribe invade, And we abound in quacks of every trade.
The simple barber, once an honest name, Cervantes founded, Fielding raised his fame: Barber no more-a gay perfumer comes, On whose soft cheek his own cosmetic blooms;
Here he appears, each simple mind to move, And advertises beauty, grace, and love: Come, faded belles, who would your youth
And learn the wonders of Olympian dew; Restore the roses that begin to faint, Nor think celestial washes vulgar paint;
Your former features, airs, and arts assume, Circassian virtues, with Circassian bloom. Come, batter'd beaux, whose locks are turn'd to gray,
And crop Discretion's lying badge away; Read where they vend these smart engaging things,
These flaxen frontlets with elastic springs;
Wish us to call them smart Friseurs from
That he who builds a chop-house, on his
Paints The true old original Blue Boar!
But when, amid this rabble-rout, we find
Contempt is all the anxious poet gains.
Now puffs exhausted, advertisements past, Their correspondents stand exposed at last; These are a numerous tribe, to fame unknown,
Who for the public good forego their own;
For leave to throw their precious time away.
Oh! cruel WOODFALL! when a patriot
draws His gray-goose-quill in his dear country's
To vex and maul a ministerial race,
He longs his best-loved labours to impart ;
These Roman souls, like Rome's great | You take a name; Philander's odes are seen,
sons, are known
To live in cells on labours of their own.
Where, tippling punch, grave Cato's self you'll see,
And Amor Patriæ vending smuggled tea.
Last in these ranks, and least, their art's disgrace,
Neglected stand the Muses' meanest race; Scribblers who court contempt, whose verse the eye
Disdainful views and glances swiftly by:
And win to verse the talents due to trade.
Curb then, O youth! these raptures as they rise,
Keep down the evil spirit and be wise; Follow your calling, think the Muses foes, Nor lean upon the pestle and compose.
I know your day-dreams, and I know the
Hid in your flow'ry path, and cry: Beware! Thoughtless of ill and to the future blind, A sudden couplet rushes on your mind; Here you may nameless print your idle rhymes,
And read your first-born work a thousand times; Th' infection spreads, your couplet grows арасе,
Stanzas to Delia's dog or Celia's face:
Printed, and praised, in every magazine:
Alas! what years you thus consume in vain,
Go! to your desks and counters all return; Your Sonnets scatter, your Acrostics burn; Trade, and be rich; or, should your careful sires
Bequeath you wealth, indulge the nobler fires: Should love of fame your youthful heart betray, Pursue fair fame, but in a glorious way, Nor in the idle scenes of Fancy's painting stray.
Of all the good that mortal men pursue, The Muse has least to give, and gives to few; Like some coquettish fair she leads us on, With smiles and hopes, till youth and peace are gone;
Then, wed for life, the restless wrangling pair Forget how constant one and one how fair: Meanwhile, Ambition, like a blooming bride, Brings power and wealth to grace her lover's side;
And though she smiles not with such flattering charms, The brave will sooner win her to their arms.
Then wed to her, if Virtue tie the bands, Go spread your country's fame in hostile lands;
Her court, her senate, or her arms adorn, And let her foes lament that you were born: Or weigh her laws, their ancient rights defend,
Though hosts oppose, be theirs and Reason's friend;
Arm'd with strong powers, in their defence engage, And rise the THURLOW of the future age.