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It is evident that he had read Prior, though not to the best advantage; it is evident, too, that he had read not only Pope, but the metaphysical poets as well; and the poem of Careless Content, here given, is so good an imitation that it has been supposed to be a genuine Elizabethan production. His chief quality is one of ease and fluency; in combination with a certain cheerful briskness of thought and the amiable good sense that is the most striking element in his intellectual composition, it is to be found here and there in all he did. Unhappily for him and for us, it appears to have been as hard for him to correct as it was easy to write. Too often do his verses sound emptily to modern


The art of English poetry, I find,

At present, Jenkins, occupies your mind'

too often do they set modern fingers itching to shape and improve them. It follows that he is seen to most advantage when, upon compulsion of his stanza, he is at his briefest and most careful. It is not without reason, therefore, that he is generally known but as the author of the sly and amiable quatrian of benediction alike on King and Pretender. That is the man's highest point as an artist; it is at once his happiest and most complete utterance ; and the body of his verse will be searched in vain for such another proof of merit and accomplishment.



Two foot-companions once in deep discourse-
'Tom,' says the one, 'Let's go and steal a horse.'
'Steal!' says the other in a huge surprise,
'He that says I'm a thief, I say he lies.'

'Well, well,' replies his friend, 'No such affront!
I did but ask ye.
If you won't, you won't.'
So they jogged on, till in another strain
The querist moved to honest Tom again:
'Suppose,' says he, 'for supposition's sake
('Tis but a supposition that I make !)
Suppose that we should filch a horse, I say?'
Filch? filch?' quoth Tom, demurring by the way,
'That's not so bad as downright theft, I own,
But yet-methinks,-'twere better let alone.
It soundeth something pitiful and low.
Shall we go filch a horse, you say? Why, no!
I'll filch no filching;—and I'll tell no lie:
Honesty's the best policy, say I'

Struck with such vast integrity quite dumb,
His comrade paused. At last, says he, ‘Come, come,
Thou art an honest fellow, I agree.
Honest and poor.-Alas, that should not be!-
And dry into the bargain! And no drink!
Shall we go nim a horse, Tom? What dost think?'

How clear are things when liquor's in the case!
Tom answers quick, with casuistic grace,
"Nim? yes, yes, yes! Let's nim, with all my heart.
I see no harm in nimming, for my part.

Hard is the case, now I look sharp into 't,
That honesty should trudge i' th' dirt afoot!

So many empty horses round about,

That honesty should wear its bottoms out!
Besides, shall honesty be choked with thirst?
Were it my Lord Mayor's horse, I'd nim it first!
And, by the bye, my lad, no scrubby tit!
There is the best that ever wore a bit
Not far from hence.'-'I take ye,' quoth his friend,
'Is not yon stable, Tom, our journey's end ?’—
Good wits will jump; both meant the very steed,
The top o' the country both for shape and breed.
So to't they went, and with a halter round

His feathered neck they nimmed him off the ground.









'Twixt right and wrong how many gentle trimmers Will neither steal nor filch, but will be plaguy Nimmers!


I am content, I do not care,

Wag as it will the world for me!
When fuss and fret was all my fare
It got no ground that I could see;
So when away my caring went
I counted cost and was content.

With more of thanks and less of thought
I strive to make my matters meet;
To seek what ancient sages sought,

Physic and food in sour and sweet;
To take what passes in good part
And keep the hiccups from the heart.

With good and gently-humoured hearts
I choose to chat where'er I come,
Whate'er the subject be that starts;
But if I get among the glum

I hold my tongue to tell the troth,
And keep my breath to cool my broth.

For chance or change of peace or pain,
For Fortune's favour or her frown,
For lack or glut, for loss or gain,

I never dodge nor up nor down,
But swing what way the ship shall swim,
Or tack about with equal trim.

I suit not where I shall not speed,
Nor trace the turn of every tide.
If simple sense will not succeed

I make no bustling, but abide.
For shining wealth or scaring woe
I force no friend, I fear no foe.

Of ups and downs, of ins and outs,

Of they 're-i'-th'-wrong and we're-i'-th'-right,

I shun the rancours and the routs;

And, wishing well to every wight, Whatever turn the matter takes,

I deem it all but ducks and drakes.

With whom I feast I do not fawn,

Nor if the folks should flout me, faint. If wonted welcome be withdrawn

I cook no kind of a complaint.
With none disposed to disagree,
I like them best who best like me.

Not that I rate myself the rule

How all my betters should behave;
But fame shall find me no man's fool,
Nor to a set of men a slave ;
I love a friendship free and frank,
But hate to hang upon a hank.

Fond of a true and trusty tie,
I never loose where'er I link,
Though if a business budges by

I talk thereon just as I think;
My word, my work, my heart, my hand,
Still on a side together stand.

If names or notions make a noise,
Whatever hap the question hath
The point impartially I poise,

And read and write, but without wrath; For, should I burn or break my brains, Pray, who will pay me for my pains?

I love my neighbour as myself—

Myself like him too, by his leave! Nor to his pleasure, power or pelf

Came I to crouch, as I conceive! Dame Nature doubtless has designed A man the monarch of his mind.

Now taste and try this temper, sirs,

Mood it and brood it in your breast; Or, if ye ween for worldly stirs

That man does right to mar his rest, Let me be deft and debonair,

I am content, I do not care!


Evil, if rightly understood,
Is but the skeleton of good
Divested of its flesh and blood.

While it remains, without divorce,
Within its hidden secret source,
It is the good's own strength and force.

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