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Let courtly wits to wits afford supply,
As hog to hog in huts of Westphaly:
If one, thro’Nature's bounty, or his lord's,
Has what the frugal dirty soil affords,
From him the next receives it, thick or thin,
As pure a mess almost as it came in;
The blessed benefit, not there confin'd,
180 Drops to the third, who nuzzles close behind; From tail to mouth, they feed and they carouse; The last full fairly gives it to the House.
F. This filthy simile, this beastly line, Quite turns my stomach---P. So does flatt'ry mine; And all your courtly civet-cats can vent, Perfume to you, to me is excrement. But hear me further ---Japhet, 'tis agreed, Writ not, and Chartres scarce could write or read; In all the courts of Pindus guiltless quite; 199 But pens can førge, my friend, that cannot write; And must no egg in Japhet's face be thrown, Because the deed he forg'd was not my own ? Must never patriot then declaim at gin Unless, good man! he has been fairly in ?
195 No zealous pastor blame a failing spouse, Without a staring reason on his brows? And each blasphemer quite escape the rod, Because the insult's not on man, but God? Ask you what provocation I have had ?
202 The strong antipathy of good to bad. When truth or virtue an affront endures, Th'affront is mine, my friend, and should be your's.
Mine as a foe profess’d to false pretence,
Who think a coxcomb's honour like his sense; 205
Mine as a friend to ev'ry worthy mind;
And mine as man, who feel for all mankind.
F. You're strangely proud.
P. So proud, I am no slave;
So impudent, I own myself no knave;
So odd, my country's ruin makes me grave.
Yes, I am proud : I must be proud to see
Men not afraid of God, afraid of me;
Safe from the bar, the pulpit, and the throne,
Yet touch'd and sham'd by ridicule alone. 215
O sacred weapon ! left for truth's defence,
Sole dread of folly, vice, and insolence!
To all but heav'n-directed hands deny'd,
The Muse may give thee, but the gods must guide :
* Rev'rent I touch thee! but with honest zeal,
To rouse the watchman of the public weal,
To Virtue's work provoke the tardy hall,
And goad the prelate slumb'ring in his stall,
Ye tinsel insects! whom a court maintains,
That counts your beauties only by your stains, 225
Spin all your cobwebs o'er the eye of day,
The Muse's wing shall brush you all away:
All his Grace preaches, all his Lordship sings,
All that makes saints of queens, and gods of kings;
All, all but truth, drops dead-born from the press,
Like the last Gazette, or the last Address.
When black Ambition stains a public cause,
A monarch's sword when mad Vain-glory draws,
Not Waller's wreath can hide the nation's scar,
Not Boileau turn the feather to a star.
Not so when diadem'd with rays divine,
Touch'd wit' the flame that breaks from Virtue's
Her priestess Muse forbids the good to die, [shrine,
And opes the temple of Eternity.
There other trophies deck the truly brave
Than such as Anstis casts into the grave;
Far other stars then * and **
wear, And may descend to Mordington from Stair; (Such as on Hough's unsully'd mitre shine, 244 Or beam, good Digby! from a heart like thine.) Let Envy howl, while heav'n's whole chorus sings. And bark at honour not conferr'd by kings; Let Flatt’ry, sick’ning, see the intense rise, Sweet to the world, and grateful to the skies : Truth guards the poet, sanctifies the line, 250 And makes immortal, verse, as mean as mine.
Yes, the last pen for freedoin let me draw,
When truth stands trembling on the edge of law.
Here, last of Britons! let your names be read :
Are none, none living ? let me praise the dead, 255
And for that cause which made your fathers shine,
Fall by the votes of their degen’rate line.
F. Alas! alas! pray end what you began,
And write next winter more Essays on Man. 259
To Robert, Earl of Oxford, and Lord Mortimer. *
Such were the notes thy once lov'd poet sung
Till death, untimely, stopp'd his tuneful tongue.
Oh, just beheld and lost! admir'd and mourn'd!
With softest manners, gentlest arts, adorn'd!
Bless'd in each science ! bless'd in ev'ry strain ! 5
Dear to the Muse! to Harley dear---in vain !
For him thou oft' hast bid the world attend,
Fond to forget the statesman in the friend;
For Swift and him despis'd the farce of state,
The sober follies of the wise and great;
Dext'rous the craving, fawning, crowd to quit,
And pleas'd to’scape from flattery to wit.
Absent or dead, still let a friend be dear,
(A sigh the absent claims, the dead a tear)
Recall those nights that clos'd thy toilsome days, 15
Still hear thy Parnell in his living lays,
Who, careless now of int’rest, fame, or fate,
Perhaps forgets that Oxford ere was great;
Or deeming meanest, what we greatest call,
Beholds thee glorious only in thy fall.
And sure if aụght below the seats divine,
Can touch immortals, 'tis a soul like thine;
*Sent to the Earl of Oxford, with Dr. Parnell's Poems, published by our author after the said Earl's imprisonment in the Tower, and retreat into the coun: iry, in the year 1721.
A soul supreme, in each hard instance try'd,
Above all pain, all passion, and all pride,
The rage of pow'r, the blast of public breath, 25
The last of lucre, and the dread of death.
In vain to desarts thy retreat is made,
The Muse attends thee to thy silent shade:
'Tis her's the brave man's latest steps to trace,
Rejudge his acts, and dignify disgrace.
When Int'rest calls off all her sneaking train,
And all th' oblig'd desert, and all the vain,
She waits, or to the scaffold, or the cell,
When the last ling'ring friend has bid farewell.
Ev'n now she shades thy ev’ning walk with bays; 35
(No hireling she, no prostitute to praise)
Ev’n now, observant of the parting ray,
Eyes the calm sunset of thy various day;
Thro' Fortune's cloud one truly great can see,
Nor fears to tell that Mortimer is he.
To James Craggs, Esq. Secretary of State, 1720.
A soul as full of worth as void of pride,
Which nothing seeks to shew, or needs to hide,
Which nor to guilt nor fear its caution owes,
And boasts a warmth that from no passion flows.
A face untaught to feign; a judging eye,
That darts severe upon a rising lie,
And strikes a blush thro' frontless flattery.