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Nor medlar fruit, delicious in decay:
Afflictions great! yet greater still remain :
My galligaskins, that have long withstood
The winter's fury, and encroaching frosts,
By time subdued, (what will not time subdue!)
A horrid chasm disclos’d with orifice
Wide, discontinuous; at which the winds
Eurus and Auster, and the dreadful force
Of Boreas, that congeals the Cronian waves,
Tumultuous enter with dire chilling blasts,
Portending agues. Thus a well-fraught ship
Long sail'd secure, or through th' Ægean deep,
Or the Ionian, till cruising near
The Lilybean shore, with hideous crush
On Scylla or Charybdis (dangerous rocks!)
She strikes rebounding; whence the shatter'd oak,
So fierce a shock unable to withstand,
Admits the sea; in at the gaping side
The crowding waves gush with impetuous rage,
Resistless, overwhelming; horrors seize
The mariners; death in their eyes appears,
They stare, they lave, they pump, they swear, they
pray: (Vain efforts !) still the battering waves rush in, Implacable, till, delug’d by the foam, The ship sinks foundering in the vast abyss.
COME hither, boy, we'll hunt to-day The Book-worm, rav’ning beast of prey ! Produc'd by parent Earth, at odds, As Fame reports it, with the gods. Him frantic hunger wildly drives Against a thousand authors' lives : Through all the fields of wit he flies; Dreadful his wit with clust'ring eyes, With horns without, and tusks within, And scales to serve him for a skin. Observe him nearly, lest he climb To wound the bards of ancient time, Or down the vale of Fancy go, . To tear some modern wretch below. On ev'ry corner fix thine eye, Or ten to one he slips thee by. See where his teeth a passage eat: We'll rouse him from the deep retreat,
But who the shelter's fore'd to give?
'Tis sacred Virgil, as I live !
From leaf to leaf, from song to song,
He draws the tadpole form along ;
He mounts the gilded edge before ;
He's up, he scuds the cover o'er; '
He turns, he doubles--there he pass'd ;
And here we have him, caught at last.
Insatiate brute, whose teeth abuse
The sweetest servants of the Muse !
(Nay, never offer to deny,
I took thee in the fact to fly.)
His roses nipt in ev'ry page,
My poor Anacreon mourns thy rage ;
. By thee my Ovid wounded lies ;
By thee my Lesbia's sparrow dies ;
Thy rabid teeth have half destroy’d
The work of love in Biddy Floyd ;
They rent Belinda's locks away,
And spoil'd the Blouzelind of Gay.
For all, for ev'ry single deed,
Relentless Justice bids thee bleed,
Then fall a victim to the Nine,
Myself the priest, my desk the shrine.
Bring Homer, Virgil, Tasso near, To pile a sacred altar here; Hold, boy! thy hand outruns thy wit, You've reach'd the plays that Dennis writ; You've reach'd me Philips' rustic strain; Pray take your mortal Bards again.
Come, bind the victim—there he lies;
And here between his num'rous eyes
This venerable dust I lay,
From manuscript just swept away.
The goblet in my hand I take,
(For the libation’s yet to make)
A health to poets ! all their days
May they have bread as well as praise ;