Page images

Thence rolls the mighty Pow'r his broad survey,
And seals the nations' awful doom :
He sees proud Grandeur's meteor ray;
He yields to joy the festive day;
Then sweeps the length’ning shade, and marks

them for the tomb.



W ELL, this poetic itch creeps on ; Dodsley adopts you all his own : First Phoebe gave the luckless hint; Now your Epistles flare in print; This week on every stall they lie Display'd; the next, beneath a pye: Instead of purple and the coif, Curll prints your works, and writes your life. If Mævius scribble, 'tis to feed A bard inspir'd by daring need: But, having wherewithal to dine, What vengeance damns thee to the Nine? You write to please-a task indeed !Taste differs, just as men who read : This loves an easy line; and that Deems all that is not glaring, flat. Some, wit and thought can scarce endure; Swift is too vulgar, Pope obscure;

Whim, Weather, Envy, Party, Spite,
Sit heavy on the tribe that write;
Sad lot of authors ! vain your toil !
Away with all your midnight oil,
Your charity to human kind!
Who holds a taper to the blind ?
A poet, wrapt in song sublime,
Suits not our sublunary clime;
Few are endued with eagle eyes,
To mark his progress through the skies ;
And when he wings his lofty flight,
He perishes from vulgar sight.
Yet, spite of folly or caprice,
Suppose ('tis but hypothesis)
Your Muse could win her way to praise,
And Chesterfield to prove the lays:
Now sudden wreaths your temples crown,
Proclaim'd a poet-about town,
Thee, toasts admire, and peers caress;
Frail and fallacious happiness !
Peers treat their poets as their whores,
Enjoy, then turn them out of doors;

[ocr errors]

For wit (if always in your power)
Is but a cordial for an hour.
Shown like a fresh-imported ape,
Awhile you set the town agape;
Beaux, belles, and captains, form a ring.
To see the new facetious thing :
This happy minion of the Nine,
We wonder when he means to shine.
Fool! would you prattle, tête-à-tête,
With all the fair and all the great ?
Mark whom their favours are bestow'd on
Cibber, and Heidegger, and Boden.
Poets are arbiters of fame:
True; but who loves or fears a name?
Is it for fame, Sir - -- -
For fame that -----
Such hate a poet, or despise;
Their prospect in oblivion lies.
Search far and wide where Virtue dwells,
In camps, or colleges, or cells;
Heroes alike, and bards, instead
Of panegyric, sigh for bread.

Or call forth all the powers of fable, Describe a statesman just and able, Who, skill'd in play, disdains to pack; What will you gain ? the butt of sack ? Let Colley sing, in numbers meet, Our leagues and wars, and Spithead fleet: Satire be thine ; a flowery field Yet has a serpent oft conceal'd. A jury finds your words in print, But Curlls interpret what is meant. Grant it were safe, not Oldham's storm Of satire could a soul reform. To curb the time, can poets hope? Peter but sneers, though lash'd by Pope. Would you from dice or pox reclaim, Brand this or that flagitious name: What boots it, sharpers and intriguers ? But ask, were Chartres, Oldfield, beggars ? No, born for modern imitation, Worthies that throve in their vocation. Not e'en thy Horace, happy bard, Was by the barren Muse preferr’d,

« PreviousContinue »