On Stephen Duck, The Thresher, And Favourite Poet. A Quibbl
The Thresher Duck, could o'er the Q prevail,
The Proverb says; No Fence against a Flayl.
From threshing Corn, he turns to thresh his Brains;
For which Her My allows him Grains.
Though 'tis confess't, that those who ever saw
His Poems, think them all not worth a Straw.
Thrice happy Duck, employ'd in threshing Stubble!
Thy Toil is lessen'd, and thy Profits double.
Advice To The Grub Street Verse-Writers
Ye poets ragged and forlorn,
Down from your garrets haste;
Ye rhymers, dead as soon as born,
Not yet consign'd to paste;
I know a trick to make you thrive;
O, 'tis a quaint device:
Your still-born poems shall revive,
And scorn to wrap up spice.
Get all your verses printed fair,
Then let them well be dried;
And Curll must have a special care
To leave the margin wide.
Lend these to paper-sparing Pope;
And when he sets to write,
No letter with an envelope
Could give him more delight.
When Pope has fill'd the margins round,
Why then recall your loan;
Sell them to Curll for fifty pound,
And swear they are your own.
The Dean’s Answer
The nymph who wrote this in an amorous fit,
I cannot but envy the pride of her wit,
Which thus she will venture profusely to throw
On so mean a design, and a subject so low.
For mean's her design, and her subject as mean,
The first but a rebus, the last but a dean.
A dean's but a parson: and what is a rebus?
A thing never known to the Muses or Phoebus.
The corruption of verse; for, when all is done,
It is but a paraphrase made on a pun.
But a genius like hers no subject can stifle,
It shows and discovers itself through a trifle.
By reading this trifle, I quickly began
To find her a great wit, but the dean a small man.
Rich ladies will furnish their garrets with stuff,
Which others for mantuas would think fine enough:
So the wit that is lavishly thrown away here,
Might furnish a second-rate poet a year.
Thus much for the verse, we proceed to the next,
Where the nymph has entirely forsaken her text:
Her fine panegyrics are quite out of season:
And what she describes to be merit, is treason:
The changes which faction has made in the state,
Have put the dean's politics quite out of date:
Now no one regards what he utters with freedom,
And, should he write pamphlets, no great man would read 'em;
And, should want or desert stand in need of his aid,
This racer would prove but a dull founder'd jade.
The Progress Of Poetry
The Farmer's Goose, who in the Stubble,
Has fed without Restraint, or Trouble;
Grown fat with Corn and Sitting still,
Can scarce get o'er the Barn-Door Sill:
And hardly waddles forth, to cool
Her Belly in the neighb'ring Pool:
Nor loudly cackles at the Door;
For Cackling shews the Goose is poor.
But when she must be turn'd to graze,
And round the barren Common strays,
Hard Exercise, and harder Fare
Soon make my Dame grow lank and spare:
Her Body light, she tries her Wings,
And scorns the Ground, and upward springs,
While all the Parish, as she flies,
Hear Sounds harmonious from the Skies.
Such is the Poet, fresh in Pay,
(The third Night's Profits of his Play;)
His Morning-Draughts 'till Noon can swill,
Among his Brethren of the Quill:
With good Roast Beef his Belly full,
Grown lazy, foggy, fat, and dull:
Deep sunk in Plenty, and Delight,
What Poet e'er could take his Flight?
Or stuff'd with Phlegm up to the Throat,
What Poet e'er could sing a Note?
Nor Pegasus could bear the Load,
Along the high celestial Road;
The Steed, oppress'd, would break his Girth,
To raise the Lumber from the Earth.
But, view him in another Scene,
When all his Drink is Hippocrene,
His Money spent, his Patrons fail,
His Credit out for Cheese and Ale;
His Two-Year's Coat so smooth and bare,
Through ev'ry Thread it lets in Air;
With hungry Meals his Body pin'd,
His Guts and Belly full of Wind;
And, like a Jockey for a Race,
His Flesh brought down to Flying-Case:
Now his exalted Spirit loaths
Incumbrances of Food and Cloaths;
And up he rises like a Vapour,
Supported high on Wings of Paper;
He singing flies, and flying sings,
While from below all Grub-street rings.
Stella’s Birth-Day. 1724-5
As when a beauteous nymph decays,
We say she's past her dancing days;
So poets lose their feet by time,
And can no longer dance in rhyme.
Your annual bard had rather chose
To celebrate your birth in prose:
Yet merry folks, who want by chance
A pair to make a country dance,
Call the old housekeeper, and get her
To fill a place for want of better:
While Sheridan is off the hooks,
And friend Delany at his books,
That Stella may avoid disgrace,
Once more the Dean supplies their place.
Beauty and wit, too sad a truth!
Have always been confined to youth;
The god of wit and beauty's queen,
He twenty-one and she fifteen,
No poet ever sweetly sung,
Unless he were, like Phoebus, young;
Nor ever nymph inspired to rhyme,
Unless, like Venus, in her prime.
At fifty-six, if this be true,
Am I a poet fit for you?
Or, at the age of forty-three,
Are you a subject fit for me?
Adieu! bright wit, and radiant eyes!
You must be grave and I be wise.
Our fate in vain we would oppose:
But I'll be still your friend in prose:
Esteem and friendship to express,
Will not require poetic dress;
And if the Muse deny her aid
To have them sung, they may be said.
But, Stella, say, what evil tongue
Reports you are no longer young;
That Time sits with his scythe to mow
Where erst sat Cupid with his bow;
That half your locks are turn'd to gray?
I'll ne'er believe a word they say.
'Tis true, but let it not be known,
My eyes are somewhat dimmish grown;
For nature, always in the right,
To your decays adapts my sight;
And wrinkles undistinguished pass,
For I'm ashamed to use a glass:
And till I see them with these eyes,
Whoever says you have them, lies.
No length of time can make you quit
Honour and virtue, sense and wit;
Thus you may still be young to me,
While I can better hear than see.
O ne'er may Fortune show her spite,
To make me deaf, and mend my sight!
Stella’s Birth-Day: A Great Bottle Of Wine, Long Buried, Being That Day Dug Up. 1722-3
Resolv'd my annual verse to pay,
By duty bound, on Stella's day,
Furnish'd with paper, pens, and ink,
I gravely sat me down to think:
I bit my nails, and scratch'd my head,
But found my wit and fancy fled:
Or if, with more than usual pain,
A thought came slowly from my brain,
It cost me Lord knows how much time
To shape it into sense and rhyme:
And, what was yet a greater curse,
Long thinking made my fancy worse.
Forsaken by th'inspiring Nine,
I waited at Apollo's shrine:
I told him what the world would say,
If Stella were unsung to-day:
How I should hide my head for shame,
When both the Jacks and Robin came;
How Ford would frown, how Jim would leer,
How Sheridan the rogue would sneer,
And swear it does not always follow,
That semel'n anno ridet Apollo.
I have assur'd them twenty times,
That Phoebus help'd me in my rhymes;
Phoebus inspired me from above,
And he and I were hand and glove.
But, finding me so dull and dry since,
They'll call it all poetic license;
And when I brag of aid divine,
Think Eusden's right as good as mine.
Nor do I ask for Stella's sake;
'Tis my own credit lies at stake:
And Stella will be sung, while I
Can only be a stander by.
Apollo, having thought a little,
Return'd this answer to a tittle.
Though you should live like old Methusalem,
I furnish hints and you shall use all 'em,
You yearly sing as she grows old,
You'd leave her virtues half untold.
But, to say truth, such dulness reigns,
Through the whole set of Irish deans,
I'm daily stunn'd with such a medley,
Dean White, Dean Daniel, and Dean Smedley,
That, let what dean soever come,
My orders are, I'm not at home;
And if your voice had not been loud,
You must have pass'd among the crowd.
But now, your danger to prevent,
You must apply to Mrs. Brent;
For she, as priestess, knows the rites
Wherein the god of earth delights.
First, nine ways looking, let her stand
With an old poker in her hand;
Let her describe a circle round
In Saunders' cellar on the ground:
A spade let prudent Archy hold,
And with discretion dig the mould.
Let Stella look with watchful eye,
Rebecca, Ford, and Grattans by.
Behold the bottle, where it lies
With neck elated toward the skies!
The god of winds and god of fire
Did to its wondrous birth conspire;
And Bacchus for the poet's use
Pour'd in a strong inspiring juice.
See! as you raise it from its tomb,
It drags behind a spacious womb,
And in the spacious womb contains
A sov'reign med'cine for the brains.
You'll find it soon, if fate consents;
If not, a thousand Mrs. Brents,
Ten thousand Archys, arm'd with spades,
May dig in vain to Pluto's shades.
From thence a plenteous draught infuse,
And boldly then invoke the Muse;
But first let Robert on his knees
With caution drain it from the lees;
The Muse will at your call appear,
With Stella's praise to crown the year.
To Stella, Who Collected And Transcribed His Poems
As, when a lofty pile is raised,
We never hear the workmen praised,
Who bring the lime, or place the stones;
But all admire Inigo Jones:
So, if this pile of scattered rhymes
Should be approved in aftertimes;
If it both pleases and endures,
The merit and the praise are yours.
Thou, Stella, wert no longer young,
When first for thee my harp was strung,
Without one word of Cupid's darts,
Of killing eyes, or bleeding hearts;
With friendship and esteem possest,
I ne'er admitted Love a guest.
In all the habitudes of life,
The friend, the mistress, and the wife,
Variety we still pursue,
In pleasure seek for something new;
Or else, comparing with the rest,
Take comfort that our own is best;
The best we value by the worst,
As tradesmen show their trash at first;
But his pursuits are at an end,
Whom Stella chooses for a friend.
A poet starving in a garret,
Invokes his mistress and his Muse,
And stays at home for want of shoes:
Should but his Muse descending drop
A slice of bread and mutton-chop;
Or kindly, when his credit's out,
Surprise him with a pint of stout;
Or patch his broken stocking soles;
Or send him in a peck of coals;
Exalted in his mighty mind,
He flies and leaves the stars behind;
Counts all his labours amply paid,
Adores her for the timely aid.
Or, should a porter make inquiries
For Chloe, Sylvia, Phillis, Iris;
Be told the lodging, lane, and sign,
The bowers that hold those nymphs divine;
Fair Chloe would perhaps be found
With footmen tippling under ground;
The charming Sylvia beating flax,
Her shoulders marked with bloody tracks;
Bright Phyllis mending ragged smocks:
And radiant Iris in the pox.
These are the goddesses enrolled
In Curll's collection, new and old,
Whose scoundrel fathers would not know 'em,
If they should meet them in a poem.
True poets can depress and raise,
Are lords of infamy and praise;
They are not scurrilous in satire,
Nor will in panegyric flatter.
Unjustly poets we asperse;
Truth shines the brighter clad in verse,
And all the fictions they pursue
Do but insinuate what is true.
Now, should my praises owe their truth
To beauty, dress, or paint, or youth,
What stoics call without our power,
They could not be ensured an hour;
'Twere grafting on an annual stock,
That must our expectation mock,
And, making one luxuriant shoot,
Die the next year for want of root:
Before I could my verses bring,
Perhaps you're quite another thing.
So Maevius, when he drained his skull
To celebrate some suburb trull,
His similes in order set,
And every crambo he could get;
Had gone through all the common-places
Worn out by wits, who rhyme on faces;
Before he could his poem close,
The lovely nymph had lost her nose.
Your virtues safely I commend;
They on no accidents depend:
Let malice look with all her eyes,
She dare not say the poet lies.
Stella, when you these lines transcribe,
Lest you should take them for a bribe,
Resolved to mortify your pride,
I'll here expose your weaker side.
Your spirits kindle to a flame,
Moved by the lightest touch of blame;
And when a friend in kindness tries
To show you where your error lies,
Conviction does but more incense;
Perverseness is your whole defence;
Truth, judgment, wit, give place to spite,
Regardless both of wrong and right;
Your virtues all suspended wait,
Till time has opened reason's gate;
And, what is worse, your passion bends
Its force against your nearest friends,
Which manners, decency, and pride,
Have taught from you the world to hide;
In vain; for see, your friend has brought
To public light your only fault;
And yet a fault we often find
Mixed in a noble, generous mind:
And may compare to Etna's fire,
Which, though with trembling, all admire;
The heat that makes the summit glow,
Enriching all the vales below.
Those who, in warmer climes, complain
From Phoebus' rays they suffer pain,
Must own that pain is largely paid
By generous wines beneath a shade.
Yet, when I find your passions rise,
And anger sparkling in your eyes,
I grieve those spirits should be spent,
For nobler ends by nature meant.
One passion, with a different turn,
Makes wit inflame, or anger burn:
So the sun's heat, with different powers,
Ripens the grape, the liquor sours:
Thus Ajax, when with rage possest,
By Pallas breathed into his breast,
His valour would no more employ,
Which might alone have conquered Troy;
But, blinded be resentment, seeks
For vengeance on his friends the Greeks.
You think this turbulence of blood
From stagnating preserves the flood,
Which, thus fermenting by degrees,
Exalts the spirits, sinks the lees.
Stella, for once your reason wrong;
For, should this ferment last too long,
By time subsiding, you may find
Nothing but acid left behind;
From passion you may then be freed,
When peevishness and spleen succeed.
Say, Stella, when you copy next,
Will you keep strictly to the text?
Dare you let these reproaches stand,
And to your failing set your hand?
Or, if these lines your anger fire,
Shall they in baser flames expire?
Whene'er they burn, if burn they must,
They'll prove my accusation just.
A Panegyric Of The Dean In The Person Of A Lady In The North
Resolved my gratitude to show,
Thrice reverend Dean, for all I owe,
Too long I have my thanks delay'd;
Your favours left too long unpaid;
But now, in all our sex's name,
My artless Muse shall sing your fame.
Indulgent you to female kind,
To all their weaker sides are blind:
Nine more such champions as the Dean
Would soon restore our ancient reign;
How well to win the ladies' hearts,
You celebrate their wit and parts!
How have I felt my spirits raised,
By you so oft, so highly praised!
Transform'd by your convincing tongue
To witty, beautiful, and young,
I hope to quit that awkward shame,
Affected by each vulgar dame,
To modesty a weak pretence;
And soon grow pert on men of sense;
To show my face with scornful air;
Let others match it if they dare.
Impatient to be out of debt,
O, may I never once forget
The bard who humbly deigns to chuse
Me for the subject of his Muse!
Behind my back, before my nose,
He sounds my praise in verse and prose.
My heart with emulation burns,
To make you suitable returns;
My gratitude the world shall know;
And see, the printer's boy below;
Ye hawkers all, your voices lift;
'A Panegyric on Dean Swift!'
And then, to mend the matter still,
'By Lady Anne of Market-Hill!'
I thus begin: My grateful Muse
Salutes the Dean in different views;
Dean, butler, usher, jester, tutor;
Robert and Darby's coadjutor;
And, as you in commission sit,
To rule the dairy next to Kit;
In each capacity I mean
To sing your praise. And first as Dean:
Envy must own, you understand your
Precedence, and support your grandeur:
Nor of your rank will bate an ace,
Except to give Dean Daniel place.
In you such dignity appears,
So suited to your state and years!
With ladies what a strict decorum!
With what devotion you adore 'em!
Treat me with so much complaisance,
As fits a princess in romance!
By your example and assistance,
The fellows learn to know their distance.
Sir Arthur, since you set the pattern,
No longer calls me snipe and slattern,
Nor dares he, though he were a duke,
Offend me with the least rebuke.
Proceed we to your preaching next!
How nice you split the hardest text!
How your superior learning shines
Above our neighbouring dull divines!
At Beggar's Opera not so full pit
Is seen as when you mount our pulpit.
Consider now your conversation:
Regardful of your age and station,
You ne'er were known by passion stirr'd
To give the least offensive word:
But still, whene'er you silence break,
Watch every syllable you speak:
Your style so clear, and so concise,
We never ask to hear you twice.
But then a parson so genteel,
So nicely clad from head to heel;
So fine a gown, a band so clean,
As well become St. Patrick's Dean,
Such reverential awe express,
That cowboys know you by your dress!
Then, if our neighbouring friends come here
How proud are we when you appear,
With such address and graceful port,
As clearly shows you bred at court!
Now raise your spirits, Mr. Dean,
I lead you to a nobler scene.
When to the vault you walk in state,
In quality of butler's mate;
You next to Dennis bear the sway:
To you we often trust the key:
Nor can he judge with all his art
So well, what bottle holds a quart:
What pints may best for bottles pass
Just to give every man his glass:
When proper to produce the best;
And what may serve a common guest.
With Dennis you did ne'er combine,
Not you, to steal your master's wine,
Except a bottle now and then,
To welcome brother serving-men;
But that is with a good design,
To drink Sir Arthur's health and mine,
Your master's honour to maintain:
And get the like returns again.
Your usher's post must next be handled:
How blest am I by such a man led!
Under whose wise and careful guardship
I now despise fatigue and hardship,
Familiar grown to dirt and wet,
Though draggled round, I scorn to fret:
From you my chamber damsels learn
My broken hose to patch and darn.
Now as a jester I accost you;
Which never yet one friend has lost you.
You judge so nicely to a hair,
How far to go, and when to spare;
By long experience grown so wise,
Of every taste to know the size;
There's none so ignorant or weak
To take offence at what you speak.
Whene'er you joke, 'tis all a case
Whether with Dermot, or his grace;
With Teague O'Murphy, or an earl;
A duchess, or a kitchen girl.
With such dexterity you fit
Their several talents with your wit,
That Moll the chambermaid can smoke,
And Gahagan take every joke.
I now become your humble suitor
To let me praise you as my tutor.
Poor I, a savage bred and born,
By you instructed every morn,
Already have improved so well,
That I have almost learnt to spell:
The neighbours who come here to dine,
Admire to hear me speak so fine.
How enviously the ladies look,
When they surprise me at my book!
And sure as they're alive at night,
As soon as gone will show their spight:
Good lord! what can my lady mean,
Conversing with that rusty Dean!
She's grown so nice, and so penurious,
With Socrates and Epicurius!
How could she sit the livelong day,
Yet never ask us once to play?
But I admire your patience most;
That when I'm duller than a post,
Nor can the plainest word pronounce,
You neither fume, nor fret, nor flounce;
Are so indulgent, and so mild,
As if I were a darling child.
So gentle is your whole proceeding,
That I could spend my life in reading.
You merit new employments daily:
Our thatcher, ditcher, gardener, baily.
And to a genius so extensive
No work is grievous or offensive:
Whether your fruitful fancy lies
To make for pigs convenient styes;
Or ponder long with anxious thought
To banish rats that haunt our vault:
Nor have you grumbled, reverend Dean,
To keep our poultry sweet and clean;
To sweep the mansion-house they dwell in,
And cure the rank unsavoury smelling.
Now enter as the dairy handmaid:
Such charming butter never man made.
Let others with fanatic face
Talk of their milk for babes of grace;
From tubs their snuffling nonsense utter;
Thy milk shall make us tubs of butter.
The bishop with his foot may burn it,
But with his hand the Dean can churn it.
How are the servants overjoy'd
To see thy deanship thus employ'd!
Instead of poring on a book,
Providing butter for the cook!
Three morning hours you toss and shake
The bottle till your fingers ache;
Hard is the toil, nor small the art,
The butter from the whey to part:
Behold a frothy substance rise;
Be cautious or your bottle flies.
The butter comes, our fears are ceased;
And out you squeeze an ounce at least.
Your reverence thus, with like success,
(Nor is your skill or labour less,)
When bent upon some smart lampoon,
Will toss and turn your brain till noon;
Which in its jumblings round the skull,
Dilates and makes the vessel full:
While nothing comes but froth at first,
You think your giddy head will burst;
But squeezing out four lines in rhyme,
Are largely paid for all your time.
But you have raised your generous mind
To works of more exalted kind.
Palladio was not half so skill'd in
The grandeur or the art of building.
Two temples of magnific size
Attract the curious traveller's eyes,
That might be envied by the Greeks;
Raised up by you in twenty weeks:
Here gentle goddess Cloacine
Receives all offerings at her shrine.
In separate cells, the he's and she's,
Here pay their vows on bended knees:
For 'tis profane when sexes mingle,
And every nymph must enter single;
And when she feels an inward motion,
Come fill'd with reverence and devotion.
The bashful maid, to hide her blush,
Shall creep no more behind a bush;
Here unobserved she boldly goes,
As who should say, to pluck a rose,
Ye, who frequent this hallow'd scene,
Be not ungrateful to the Dean;
But duly, ere you leave your station,
Offer to him a pure libation,
Or of his own or Smedley's lay,
Or billet-doux, or lock of hay:
And, O! may all who hither come,
Return with unpolluted thumb!
Yet, when your lofty domes I praise
I sigh to think of ancient days.
Permit me then to raise my style,
And sweetly moralize a-while.
Thee, bounteous goddess Cloacine,
To temples why do we confine?
Forbid in open air to breathe,
Why are thine altars fix'd beneath?
When Saturn ruled the skies alone,
(That golden age to gold unknown,)
This earthly globe, to thee assign'd,
Received the gifts of all mankind.
Ten thousand altars smoking round,
Were built to thee with offerings crown'd;
And here thy daily votaries placed
Their sacrifice with zeal and haste:
The margin of a purling stream
Sent up to thee a grateful steam;
Though sometimes thou wert pleased to wink,
If Naiads swept them from the brink:
Or where appointing lovers rove,
The shelter of a shady grove;
Or offer'd in some flowery vale,
Were wafted by a gentle gale,
There many a flower abstersive grew,
Thy favourite flowers of yellow hue;
The crocus and the daffodil,
The cowslip soft, and sweet jonquil.
But when at last usurping Jove
Old Saturn from his empire drove,
Then gluttony, with greasy paws
Her napkin pinn'd up to her jaws,
With watery chops, and wagging chin,
Braced like a drum her oily skin;
Wedged in a spacious elbow-chair,
And on her plate a treble share,
As if she ne'er could have enough,
Taught harmless man to cram and stuff.
She sent her priests in wooden shoes
From haughty Gaul to make ragouts;
Instead of wholesome bread and cheese,
To dress their soups and fricassees;
And, for our home-bred British cheer,
Botargo, catsup, and caviare.
This bloated harpy, sprung from hell,
Confined thee, goddess, to a cell:
Sprung from her womb that impious line,
Contemners of thy rites divine.
First, lolling Sloth, in woollen cap,
Taking her after-dinner nap:
Pale Dropsy, with a sallow face,
Her belly burst, and slow her pace:
And lordly Gout, wrapt up in fur,
And wheezing Asthma, loth to stir:
Voluptuous Ease, the child of wealth,
Infecting thus our hearts by stealth.
None seek thee now in open air,
To thee no verdant altars rear;
But, in their cells and vaults obscene,
Present a sacrifice unclean;
From whence unsavoury vapours rose,
Offensive to thy nicer nose.
Ah! who, in our degenerate days,
As nature prompts, his offering pays?
Here nature never difference made
Between the sceptre and the spade.
Ye great ones, why will ye disdain
To pay your tribute on the plain?
Why will you place in lazy pride
Your altars near your couches' side:
When from the homeliest earthen ware
Are sent up offerings more sincere,
Than where the haughty duchess locks
Her silver vase in cedar box?
Yet some devotion still remains
Among our harmless northern swains,
Whose offerings, placed in golden ranks,
Adorn our crystal rivers' banks;
Nor seldom grace the flowery downs,
With spiral tops and copple crowns;
Or gilding in a sunny morn
The humble branches of a thorn.
So poets sing, with golden bough
The Trojan hero paid his vow.
Hither, by luckless error led,
The crude consistence oft I tread;
Here when my shoes are out of case,
Unweeting gild the tarnish'd lace;
Here, by the sacred bramble tinged,
My petticoat is doubly fringed.
Be witness for me, nymph divine,
I never robb'd thee with design;
Nor will the zealous Hannah pout
To wash thy injured offering out.
But stop, ambitious Muse, in time,
Nor dwell on subjects too sublime.
In vain on lofty heels I tread,
Aspiring to exalt my head;
With hoop expanded wide and light,
In vain I 'tempt too high a flight.
Me Phoebus in a midnight dream
Accosting, said, 'Go shake your cream
Be humbly-minded, know your post;
Sweeten your tea, and watch your toast.
Thee best befits a lowly style;
Teach Dennis how to stir the guile;
With Peggy Dixon thoughtful sit,
Contriving for the pot and spit.
Take down thy proudly swelling sails,
And rub thy teeth and pare thy nails;
At nicely carving show thy wit;
But ne'er presume to eat a bit:
Turn every way thy watchful eye,
And every guest be sure to ply:
Let never at your board be known
An empty plate, except your own.
Be these thy arts; nor higher aim
Than what befits a rural dame.
'But Cloacina, goddess bright,
Sleek——claims her as his right;
And Smedley, flower of all divines,
Shall sing the Dean in Smedley's lines.'
Verses On The Death Of Dr. Swift, D.S.P.D.
As Rochefoucauld his maxims drew
From Nature, I believe 'em true:
They argue no corrupted mind
In him; the fault is in mankind.
This maxim more than all the rest
Is thought too base for human breast:
'In all distresses of our friends,
We first consult our private ends;
While Nature, kindly bent to ease us,
Points out some circumstance to please us.'
If this perhaps your patience move,
Let reason and experience prove.
We all behold with envious eyes
Our equal rais'd above our size.
Who would not at a crowded show
Stand high himself, keep others low?
I love my friend as well as you
But would not have him stop my view.
Then let him have the higher post:
I ask but for an inch at most.
If in a battle you should find
One, whom you love of all mankind,
Had some heroic action done,
A champion kill'd, or trophy won;
Rather than thus be overtopt,
Would you not wish his laurels cropt?
Dear honest Ned is in the gout,
Lies rack'd with pain, and you without:
How patiently you hear him groan!
How glad the case is not your own!
What poet would not grieve to see
His brethren write as well as he?
But rather than they should excel,
He'd wish his rivals all in hell.
Her end when emulation misses,
She turns to envy, stings and hisses:
The strongest friendship yields to pride,
Unless the odds be on our side.
Vain human kind! fantastic race!
Thy various follies who can trace?
Self-love, ambition, envy, pride,
Their empire in our hearts divide.
Give others riches, power, and station,
'Tis all on me a usurpation.
I have no title to aspire;
Yet, when you sink, I seem the higher.
In Pope I cannot read a line,
But with a sigh I wish it mine;
When he can in one couplet fix
More sense than I can do in six;
It gives me such a jealous fit,
I cry, 'Pox take him and his wit!'
Why must I be outdone by Gay
In my own hum'rous biting way?
Arbuthnot is no more my friend,
Who dares to irony pretend,
Which I was born to introduce,
Refin'd it first, and show'd its use.
St. John, as well as Pultney, knows
That I had some repute for prose;
And, till they drove me out of date,
Could maul a minister of state.
If they have mortify'd my pride,
And made me throw my pen aside;
If with such talents Heav'n has blest 'em,
Have I not reason to detest 'em?
To all my foes, dear Fortune, send
Thy gifts; but never to my friend:
I tamely can endure the first,
But this with envy makes me burst.
Thus much may serve by way of proem:
Proceed we therefore to our poem.
The time is not remote, when I
Must by the course of nature die;
When I foresee my special friends
Will try to find their private ends:
Tho' it is hardly understood
Which way my death can do them good,
Yet thus, methinks, I hear 'em speak:
'See, how the Dean begins to break!
Poor gentleman, he droops apace!
You plainly find it in his face.
That old vertigo in his head
Will never leave him till he's dead.
Besides, his memory decays:
He recollects not what he says;
He cannot call his friends to mind:
Forgets the place where last he din'd;
Plies you with stories o'er and o'er;
He told them fifty times before.
How does he fancy we can sit
To hear his out-of-fashion'd wit?
But he takes up with younger folks,
Who for his wine will bear his jokes.
Faith, he must make his stories shorter,
Or change his comrades once a quarter:
In half the time he talks them round,
There must another set be found.
'For poetry he's past his prime:
He takes an hour to find a rhyme;
His fire is out, his wit decay'd,
His fancy sunk, his Muse a jade.
I'd have him throw away his pen;-
But there's no talking to some men!'
And then their tenderness appears,
By adding largely to my years:
'He's older than he would be reckon'd
And well remembers Charles the Second.
'He hardly drinks a pint of wine;
And that, I doubt, is no good sign.
His stomach too begins to fail:
Last year we thought him strong and hale;
But now he's quite another thing:
I wish he may hold out till spring.'
Then hug themselves, and reason thus:
'It is not yet so bad with us.'
In such a case, they talk in tropes,
And by their fears express their hopes:
Some great misfortune to portend,
No enemy can match a friend.
With all the kindness they profess,
The merit of a lucky guess
(When daily 'How d'ye's' come of course,
And servants answer, 'Worse and worse!')
Would please 'em better, than to tell,
That, 'God be prais'd, the Dean is well.'
Then he who prophecy'd the best
Approves his foresight to the rest:
'You know I always fear'd the worst,
And often told you so at first.'
He'd rather choose that I should die,
Than his prediction prove a lie.
Not one foretells I shall recover;
But all agree to give me over.
Yet, should some neighbour feel a pain
Just in the parts where I complain,
How many a message would he send?
What hearty prayers that I should mend?
Inquire what regimen I kept,
What gave me ease, and how I slept?
And more lament when I was dead,
Than all the sniv'llers round my bed.
My good companions, never fear;
For though you may mistake a year,
Though your prognostics run too fast,
They must be verify'd at last.
Behold the fatal day arrive!
'How is the Dean?'-'He's just alive.'
Now the departing prayer is read;
'He hardly breathes.'-'The Dean is dead.'
Before the passing-bell begun,
The news thro' half the town has run.
'O, may we all for death prepare!
What has he left? and who's his heir?'-
'I know no more than what the news is;
'Tis all bequeath'd to public uses.'-
'To public use! a perfect whim!
What had the public done for him?
Mere envy, avarice, and pride:
He gave it all-but first he died.
And had the Dean, in all the nation,
No worthy friend, no poor relation?
So ready to do strangers good,
Forgetting his own flesh and blood?'
Now Grub-Street wits are all employ'd;
With elegies the town is cloy'd:
Some paragraph in ev'ry paper
To curse the Dean or bless the Drapier.
The doctors, tender of their fame,
Wisely on me lay all the blame:
'We must confess his case was nice;
But he would never take advice.
Had he been rul'd, for aught appears,
He might have liv'd these twenty years;
For, when we open'd him, we found
That all his vital parts were sound.'
From Dublin soon to London spread,
'Tis told at Court, the Dean is dead.
Kind Lady Suffolk in the spleen
Runs laughing up to tell the Queen.
The Queen, so gracious, mild, and good,
Cries, 'Is he gone! 'tis time he should.
He's dead, you say; why, let him rot:
I'm glad the medals were forgot.
I promis'd them, I own; but when?
I only was the Princess then;
But now, as consort of a king,
You know, 'tis quite a different thing.'
Now Chartres, at Sir Robert's levee,
Tells with a sneer the tidings heavy:
'Why, is he dead without his shoes?'
Cries Bob, 'I'm sorry for the news:
O, were the wretch but living still,
And in his place my good friend Will!
Or had a mitre on his head,
Provided Bolingbroke were dead!'
Now Curll his shop from rubbish drains:
Three genuine tomes of Swift's remains!
And then, to make them pass the glibber,
Revis'd by Tibbalds, Moore, and Cibber.
He'll treat me as he does my betters,
Publish my will, my life, my letters:
Revive the libels born to die;
Which Pope must bear, as well as I.
Here shift the scene, to represent
How those I love my death lament.
Poor Pope will grieve a month, and Gay
A week, and Arbuthnot a day.
St. John himself will scarce forbear
To bite his pen, and drop a tear.
The rest will give a shrug, and cry,
'I'm sorry-but we all must die!'
Indifference, clad in Wisdom's guise,
All fortitude of mind supplies:
For how can stony bowels melt
In those who never pity felt?
When we are lash'd, they kiss the rod,
Resigning to the will of God.
The fools, my juniors by a year,
Are tortur'd with suspense and fear;
Who wisely thought my age a screen,
When death approach'd, to stand between:
The screen remov'd, their hearts are trembling;
They mourn for me without dissembling.
My female friends, whose tender hearts
Have better learn'd to act their parts,
Receive the news in doleful dumps:
'The Dean is dead: (and what is trumps?)
Then, Lord have mercy on his soul!
(Ladies, I'll venture for the vole.)
Six deans, they say, must bear the pall:
(I wish I knew what king to call.)
Madam, your husband will attend
The funeral of so good a friend.
No, madam, 'tis a shocking sight:
And he's engag'd to-morrow night:
My Lady Club would take it ill,
If he should fail her at quadrille.
He lov'd the Dean-(I lead a heart)
But dearest friends, they say, must part.
His time was come: he ran his race;
We hope he's in a better place.'
Why do we grieve that friends should die?
No loss more easy to supply.
One year is past; a different scene!
No further mention of the Dean;
Who now, alas! no more is miss'd,
Than if he never did exist.
Where's now this fav'rite of Apollo!
Departed:-and his works must follow;
Must undergo the common fate;
His kind of wit is out of date.
Some country squire to Lintot goes,
Inquires for 'Swift in Verse and Prose.'
Says Lintot, 'I have heard the name;
He died a year ago.'-'The same.'
He searcheth all his shop in vain.
'Sir, you may find them in Duck-lane;
I sent them with a load of books,
Last Monday to the pastry-cook's.
To fancy they could live a year!
I find you're but a stranger here.
The Dean was famous in his time,
And had a kind of knack at rhyme.
His way of writing now is past;
The town hath got a better taste;
I keep no antiquated stuff,
But spick and span I have enough.
Pray do but give me leave to show 'em;
Here's Colley Cibber's birth-day poem.
This ode you never yet have seen,
By Stephen Duck, upon the Queen.
Then here's a letter finely penn'd
Against the Craftsman and his friend:
It clearly shows that all reflection
On ministers is disaffection.
Next, here's Sir Robert's vindication,
And Mr. Henley's last oration.
The hawkers have not got 'em yet:
Your honour please to buy a set?
'Here's Woolston's tracts, the twelfth edition;
'Tis read by every politician:
The country members, when in town,
To all their boroughs send them down;
You never met a thing so smart;
The courtiers have them all by heart:
Those maids of honour who can read
Are taught to use them for their creed.
The rev'rend author's good intention
Hath been rewarded with a pension.
He doth an honour to his gown,
By bravely running priestcraft down:
He shows, as sure as God's in Gloucester,
That Jesus was a grand imposter;
That all his miracles were cheats,
Perform'd as jugglers do their feats:
The church had never such a writer;
A shame he hath not got a mitre!'
Suppose me dead; and then suppose
A club assembled at the Rose ;
Where, from discourse of this and that,
I grow the subject of their chat.
And while they toss my name about,
With favour some, and some without,
One, quite indiff'rent in the cause,
My character impartial draws:
'The Dean, if we believe report,
Was never ill receiv'd at Court.
As for his works in verse and prose
I own myself no judge of those;
Nor can I tell what critics thought 'em:
But this I know, all people bought 'em.
As with a moral view design'd
To cure the vices of mankind:
His vein, ironically grave,
Expos'd the fool, and lash'd the knave.
To steal a hint was never known,
But what he writ was all his own.
'He never thought an honour done him,
Because a duke was proud to own him,
Would rather slip aside and choose
To talk with wits in dirty shoes;
Despis'd the fools with stars and garters,
So often seen caressing Chartres.
He never courted men in station,
Nor persons held in admiration;
Of no man's greatness was afraid,
Because he sought for no man's aid.
Though trusted long in great affairs
He gave himself no haughty airs:
Without regarding private ends,
Spent all his credit for his friends;
And only chose the wise and good;
No flatt'rers; no allies in blood:
But succour'd virtue in distress,
And seldom fail'd of good success;
As numbers in their hearts must own,
Who, but for him, had been unknown.
'With princes kept a due decorum,
But never stood in awe before 'em.
He follow'd David's lesson just:
'In princes never put thy trust';
And, would you make him truly sour,
Provoke him with a slave in pow'r.
The Irish senate if you nam'd,
With what impatience he declaim'd!
Fair Liberty was all his cry,
For her he stood prepar'd to die;
For her he boldly stood alone;
For her he oft expos'd his own.
Two kingdoms, just as faction led,
Had set a price upon his head;
But not a traitor could be found
To sell him for six hundred pound.
'Had he but spar'd his tongue and pen
He might have rose like other men:
But pow'r was never in his thought,
And wealth he valu'd not a groat:
Ingratitude he often found,
And pity'd those who meant the wound:
But kept the tenor of his mind,
To merit well of human kind:
Nor made a sacrifice of those
Who still were true, to please his foes.
He labour'd many a fruitless hour
To reconcile his friends in pow'r;
Saw mischief by a faction brewing,
While they pursu'd each other's ruin.
But, finding vain was all his care,
He left the Court in mere despair.
'And, oh! how short are human schemes!
Here ended all our golden dreams.
What St. John's skill in state affairs,
What Ormond's valour, Oxford's cares,
To save their sinking country lent,
Was all destroy'd by one event.
Too soon that precious life was ended,
On which alone our weal depended.
When up a dangerous faction starts,
With wrath and vengeance in their hearts;
By solemn League and Cov'nant bound,
To ruin, slaughter, and confound;
To turn religion to a fable,
And make the government a Babel;
Pervert the law, disgrace the gown,
Corrupt the senate, rob the crown;
To sacrifice old England's glory,
And make her infamous in story:
When such a tempest shook the land,
How could unguarded Virtue stand?
'With horror, grief, despair, the Dean
Beheld the dire destructive scene:
His friends in exile, or the tower,
Himself within the frown of power,
Pursu'd by base envenom'd pens,
Far to the land of slaves and fens;
A servile race in folly nurs'd,
Who truckle most when treated worst.
'By innocence and resolution,
He bore continual persecution,
While numbers to preferment rose,
Whose merits were, to be his foes;
When ev'n his own familiar friends,
Intent upon their private ends,
Like renegadoes now he feels,
Against him lifting up their heels.
'The Dean did by his pen defeat
An infamous destructive cheat;
Taught fools their int'rest how to know,
And gave them arms to ward the blow.
Envy hath own'd it was his doing,
To save that helpless land from ruin;
While they who at the steerage stood,
And reap'd the profit, sought his blood.
'To save them from their evil fate,
In him was held a crime of state.
A wicked monster on the bench,
Whose fury blood could never quench,
As vile and profligate a villain,
As modern Scroggs, or old Tresilian,
Who long all justice had discarded,
Nor fear'd he God, nor man regarded,
Vow'd on the Dean his rage to vent,
And make him of his zeal repent;
But Heav'n his innocence defends,
The grateful people stand his friends.
Not strains of law, nor judge's frown,
Nor topics brought to please the crown,
Nor witness hir'd, nor jury pick'd,
Prevail to bring him in convict.
'In exile, with a steady heart,
He spent his life's declining part;
Where folly, pride, and faction sway,
Remote from St. John, Pope, and Gay.
'His friendships there, to few confin'd,
Were always of the middling kind;
No fools of rank, a mongrel breed,
Who fain would pass for lords indeed:
Where titles gave no right or power
And peerage is a wither'd flower;
He would have held it a disgrace,
If such a wretch had known his face.
On rural squires, that kingdom's bane,
He vented oft his wrath in vain;
Biennial squires to market brought;
Who sell their souls and votes for nought;
The nation stripp'd, go joyful back,
To rob the church, their tenants rack,
Go snacks with thieves and rapparees,
And keep the peace to pick up fees;
In ev'ry job to have a share,
A jail or barrack to repair;
And turn the tax for public roads,
Commodious to their own abodes.
'Perhaps I may allow, the Dean
Had too much satire in his vein;
And seem'd determin'd not to starve it,
Because no age could more deserve it.
Yet malice never was his aim;
He lash'd the vice, but spar'd the name;
No individual could resent,
Where thousands equally were meant.
His satire points at no defect,
But what all mortals may correct;
For he abhorr'd that senseless tribe
Who call it humour when they gibe.
He spar'd a hump, or crooked nose,
Whose owners set not up for beaux.
True genuine dulness mov'd his pity,
Unless it offer'd to be witty.
Those who their ignorance confess'd
He ne'er offended with a jest;
But laugh'd to hear an idiot quote
A verse from Horace, learn'd by rote.
'He knew a hundred pleasant stories
With all the turns of Whigs and Tories:
Was cheerful to his dying day;
And friends would let him have his way.
'He gave the little wealth he had
To build a house for fools and mad;
And show'd by one satiric touch,
No nation wanted it so much.
That kingdom he hath left his debtor,
I wish it soon may have a better.'