« PreviousContinue »
Oh death, all-eloquent ! you only prove
Then, too, when fate shall thy fair frame destroy
May one kind grave unite each hapless namne,
Her gloomy presence saddens all the scene,
What scenes appear where'er I turn my view ?
While prostrate here in humble grief I lie,
No, fly me, fly me! far as pole from pole;
See in her cell sad Eloisa spread,
I come, I come! prepare your roseate bowers,
Elegy on an Unfortunate Lady.
Why bade ye else, ye powers! her soul aspire
From these perhaps (cre nature bade her die)
But'thou, false guardian of a charge too good,
What can atone (O ever injured shade!) Thy fate unpitied, and thy rites unpaid ! No friend's complaint, no kind domestic tear Pleased thy pale ghost, or graced thy mournful bier: By foreign hands thy dying eyes were closed, By foreign hands thy decent limbs composed, By foreigu hands thy humble grave adorned, By strangers honoured, and by strangers mourned !
What though no friends in sable weeds appear, Oh blind to truth, and God's whole scheme below,
Who sees and follows that great scheme the best, To midnight dances and the public show!
Best knows the blessing, and will most be blest.
For ills or accidents that chance to all.
Was this their virtue, or contempt of life?
Lamented Digby! sunk thee to the grave ? While angels with their silver wings o'ershade Tell me, if virtue made the son expire ? The ground now sacred by thy relics made.
Why, full of days and honour, lives the sire ? So, peaceful rests, without a stone, a name, Why drew Marseilles' good bishop purer breath, What once had beauty, titles, wealth, and fame. When nature sickened, and each gale was death! How loved, how honoured once, avails thee not, Or why so long (in life if long can be) To whom related, or by whom begot;
Lent Heaven a parent to the poor and me? A heap of dust alone remains of thee;
What makes all physical or moral ill ? 'Tis all thou art, and all the proud shall be!
There deviates nature, and here wanders will.
As that the virtuous son is ill at ease
When his lewd father gave the dire disease.
Think we, like some weak prince, the Eternal Cause [Happiness Depends, not on Goods, but on Virtue.]
Prone for his favourites to reverse his laws ? [From the Essay on Man.']
Shall burning Ætna, if a sage requires,
Forget to thunder, and recall her fires ? Order is Heaven's first law; and this confessed, On air or sea new motions be impressed, Some are, and must be, greater than the rest, Oh blameless Bethel! to relieve thy breast ? More rich, more wise ; but who infers from hence When the loose mountain trembles from on high, That such are happier, shocks all common sense. Shall gravitation cease, if you go by? Heaven to mankind impartial we confess,
Or some old temple, nodding to its fall, If all are equal in their happiness :
For Chartres' head reserve the hanging wall! But mutual wants this happiness increase ;
But still this world (so fitted for the knave) All nature's difference keeps all nature's peace. Contents us not. A better shall we have ? Condition, circumstance, is not the thing:
A kingdom of the just then let it be: Bliss is the same in subject or in king,
But first consider how those just agree. In who obtain defence, or who defend,
The good must merit God's peculiar care ; In him who is, or him who finds a friend :
But who, but God, can tell us who they are ! Heaven breathes through every member of the whole One thinks on Calvin Heaven's own spirit fell; One common blessing, as one common soul.
Another deems him instrument of hell; But fortune's gifts, if each alike possessed,
If Calvin feel Heaven's blessing, or its rod, And each were equal, must not all contest?
This cries there is, and that there is no God. If then to all men happiness was meant,
What shocks one part will edify the rest, God in externals could not place content.
Nor with one system can they all be blest. Fortune her gifts may variously dispose,
The very best will variously incline, And these be happy called, unhappy those;
And what rewards your virtue, punish mine. But Heaven's just balance equal will appear, Whatever is, is right. This world, 'tis true, While those are placed in hope, and these in fear; Was made for Cæsar-but for Titus too; Not present good or ill, the joy or curse,
And which more blest! who chained his country, say But future views of better, or of worse.
Or he whose virtue sighed to lose a day? Oh, sons of earth! attempt ye still to rise,
But sometimes virtue starves, while vice is fed.' By mountains piled on mountains, to the skies ! What then? Is the reward of virtue bread! Heaven still with laughter the vain toil surveys, That vice may merit, 'tis the price of toil; And buries madmen in the heaps they raise.
The kpave deserves it, when he tills the soil; Know, all the good that individuals find,
The knave deserves it, when he tempts the main, Or God and nature meant to mere mankind,
Where folly fights for kings, or dives for gain ;
'No-shall the good want health, the good want power?' The good or bad the gifts of fortune gain;
Add health and power, and every earthly thing; But these less taste them, as they worse obtain. •Why bounded powerwhy private? why no king ! Say, in pursuit of profit or delight,
Nay, why external for internal given ?
Who ask and reason thus, will scarce conceive Which meets contempt, or which compassion first ! God gives enough, while he has more to give; Count all the advantage prosperous vice attains, Immense the power, immense were the demand; 'Tis but what virtue flies from and disdains :
Say at what part of nature will they stand? And grant the bad what happiness they would, What nothing earthly gives, or can destroy, One they must want, which is, to pass for good. The soul's calm sunshine, and the heart-felt joy,
es virtue's prize: a better would you fix !
Alike or when or where they shone or shine, Then give Humility a coach and six,
Or on the Rubicon, or on the Rhine.
An honest man's the noblest work of God.
When what to oblivion better were resigned,
All fame is foreign but of true desert;
Plays round the head, but comes not to the heart: As well as dream such trifles are assigned,
One self-approving hour whole years outweighs As toys and empires, for a godlike mind.
Of stupid starers, and of loud huzzas; Rewards, that either would to virtue bring
And more true joy Marcellus exiled feels, No joy, or be destructive of the thing;
Than Cæsar with a senate at his heels. How oft by these at sixty are undone
In parts superior what advantage lies! The virtues of a saint at twenty-one !
Tell (for you can) what is it to be wise ! To whom can riches give repute or trust,
'Tis but to know how little can be known; Content, or pleasure, but the good and just ?
To see all other faults, and feel our own:
Without a second, or without a judge:
All fear, none aid you, and few understand.
Above life's weakness, and its comforts too.
Bring then these blessings to a strict account;
How each for other oft is wholly lost;
How sometimes life is risked, and always ease:
Say, wouldst thou be the man to whom they fall!
Mark how they grace Lord Umbra, or Sir Billy:
Look but on Gripus, or on Gripus' wife;
Or ravished with the whistling of a name, In quiet flow from Lucrece to Lucrece:
See Cromwell, damned to everlasting fame!
If all united thy ambition call,
There, in the rich, the honoured, famed, and great,
In hearts of kings, or arms of queens who lay,
From dirt and sea-weed as proud Venice rose;
But stained with blood, or ill exchanged for gold :
Or infamous for plundered provinces.
Ere taught to shine, or sanctified from shame!
What greater bliss attends their close of life!
Compute the morn and evening to the day;
The whole amount of that enormous fame, Is but the more a fool, the more a knave.
A tale, that blends their glory with their shame! Who noble ends by noble means obtains,
Know then this truth (enough for man to know), Or failing, smiles in exile or in chains,
Virtue alone is happiness below.' Like good Aurelius let him reign, or bleed
The only point where human bliss stands still,
And tastes the good without the fall to ill;
Is blest in what it takes, and what it gives;
And if it lose, attended with no pain :
Without satiety, though e'er so blessed, In the small circle of our foes or friends;
And but more relished as the more distressed : To all beside as much an empty shade,
The broadest mirth unfeeling Folly wears, An Eugene living, as a Cæsar dead;
Less pleasing far than Virtue's very tears:
Good, from each object, from each place acquired, Glad of a quarrel, straight I clap the door,
'Sir, let me see your works and you no more.' Never elated, while one man's oppressed;
You think this cruel ? Take it for a rule, Never dejected, while another's blest;
No creature smarts so little as a fool. And where no wants, no wishes can remain,
Let peals of laughter, Codrus ! round thee break, Since but to wish more virtue, is to gain.
Thou unconcerned canst hear the mighty crack:
Pit, box, and gallery, in convulsions hurled, [From the Prologue to the Satires, Addressed to
Thou stand'st unshook amidst a bursting world. Arbuthnot.]
Who shames a scribbler? Break one cobweb through,
He spins the slight, self-pleasing thread anew :
The creature's at his dirty work again;
Throned in the centre of his thin designs, All bedlam or Parnassus is let out:
Proud of a vast extent of flimsy lines ! Fire in each eye, and papers in each hand,
Whom have I hurt? has poet yet, or peer,
What walls can guard me, or what shades can hide? And has not Colly still his lord and whore !
Does not one table Bavius still admit?
Still Sappho--A. Hold; for God's sake-you'll offend Even Sunday shines no Sabbath day to me;
No names be calm-learn prudence of a friend : Then from the mint walks forth the man of rhyme, I, too, could write, and I am twice as tall; Happy to catch me just at dinner time.
But foes like these-P. One flatterer's worse than all. Is there a parson, much bemused in beer,
Of all mad creatures, if the learned are right, A maudlin poetess, a rhyming peer,
It is the slaver kills, and not the bite. A clerk, foredoomed his father's soul to cross,
A fool quite angry is quite innocent:
Alas! 'tis ten times worse when they repent.
One from all Grub-street will my fame defend, Apply to me, to keep them mad or vain.
And, more abusive, calls himself my friend. Arthur, whose giddy son neglects the laws,
This prints my letters, that expects a bribe, Imputes to me and my damned works the cause : And others roar aloud, 'Subscribe, subscribe!' Poor Cornus sees his frantic wife elope,
There are, who to my person pay their court : And curses wit, and poetry, and Pope.
I cough like Horace, and though lean, am short. Friend to my life! (which did you not prolong, Ammon's great son one shoulder had too high, The world had wanted many an idle song)
Such Ovid's nose, and, ‘Sir! you have an eye!' What drop or nostrum can this plague remove? Go on, obliging creatures, make me see Or which must end me, a fool's wrath or love? All that disgraced my betters, met in me. A dire dilemma! either way I'm sped;
Say for my comfort, languishing in bed, If foes, they write ; if friends, they read me dead. 'Just so immortal Maro held his head;' Seized and tied down to judge, how wretched I ; And when I die, be sure you let me know Who can't be silent, and who will not lie:
Great Homer died three thousand years ago. To laugh were want of goodness and of grace;
Why did I write? what sin to me unknown And to be grave, exceeds all power of face.
Dipped me in ink; my parents', I sit with sad civility; I read
As yet a child, nor yet a fool to fame, With honest anguish, and an aching head;
I lisped in numbers, for the numbers came. And drop at last, but in unwilling ears,
I left no calling for this idle trade, This saving counsel, “Keep your piece nine years.' No duty broke, no father disobeyed :
Nine years!' cries he, who high in Drury Lane, The muse but served to ease some friend, not wife; Lulled by soft zephyrs through the broken pane, To help me through this long disease, my life; Rhymes ere he wakes, and prints before term ends, To second, Arbuthnot ! thy art and care, Obliged by hunger, and request of friends:
And teach the being you preserved, to bear. • The piece, you think, is incorrect? why take it ; But why then publish ? Granville the polite, I'm all submission; what you'd have it, make it.' And knowing Walsh, would tell me I could write ;
Three things another's modest wishes bound, Well-natured Garth, inflamed with early praise, My friendship, and a prologue, and ten pound. And Congreve loved, and Swift endured my lays; Pitholeon sends to me : You know his grace;
The courtly Talbot, Somers, Sheffield read, I want a patron; ask him for a place.
Even mitred Rochester would nod the head, Pitholeon libelled me but here's a letter
And St John's self (great Dryden's friends before) Informs you, sir, 'twas when he knew no better. With open arms received one poet more. Dare you refuse him? Curll invites to dine, Happy my studies, when by these approved ! He'll write a journal, or he'll turn divine.'
Happier their author, when by these beloved ! Bless me! a packet—"'Tis a stranger sues, From these the world will judge of men and books, A virgin tragedy, an orphan muse.'
Not from the Burnets, Oldmixons, and Cooks. If I dislike it, 'furies, death, and rage !
Soft were my numbers; who could take offence If I approve, commend it to the stage.'
While pure description held the place of sense ? There (thank my stars) my whole commission ends, Like gentle Fanny's was my flowery theme, The players and I are, luckily, no friends.
A painted mistress, or a purling stream. Fired that the house reject him,''Sdeath! I'll print it, Yet then did Gildon draw his venal quill ; And shame the fools-your interest, sir, with Lintot.' I wished the man a dinner, and sat still. Lintot, dull rogue! will think your price too much : Yet then did Dennis rave in furious fret ; Not, sir, if you revise it, and retouch.'
I never answered ; I was not in debt. All my demurs but double his attacks :
If want provoked, or madness made them print, At last he whispers, ' Do, and we go snacks.'
I waged no war with bedlam or the mint.
Did some more sober critic come abroad;
Who can your merit selfishly approre, If wrong, I smiled, if right, I kissed the rod.
And show the sense of it without the lore; Pains, reading, study, are their just pretence, Who has the vanity to call you friend, And all they want is spirit, taste, and sense.
Yet wants the honour, injured, to defend; Commas and points they set exactly right,
Who tells whate'er you think, whate'er you say, And 'twere a sin to rob them of their mite.
And, if he lie not, must at least betray:
But all such babbling blockheads in his stead.
Satire or sense, alas ! can Sporus feel ?
This painted child of dirt, that stinks and stings; Were others angry? I excused them too;
Whose buzz the witty and the fair anboys, Well might they rage, I gave them but their due. Yet wit ne'er tastes, and beauty ne'er enjoys: A man's true merit 'tis not hard to find;
So well-bred spaniels cirilly delight
In mumbling of the game they dare not bite.
As shallow streams run dimpling all the way ;
Whether in florid impotence he speaks, Who turns a Persian tale for half-a-crown,
And, as the prompter breathes, the puppet squeaks; Just writes to make his barrenness appear,
Or at the ear of Eve, familiar toad,
His wit all seesaw,
between that and this, Means not, but blunders round about a meaning; Now high, now low, now master up, now miss, And he, whose fustian's so sublimely bad,
And he himself one vile antithesis. It is not poetry, but prose run mad :
Amphibious thing! that acting either part, All these my modest satire bade translate,
The trifling head, or the corrupted heart, And owned that nine such poets made a Tate. Fop at the toilet, flatterer at the board, How did they fume, and stamp, and roar, and chafe! Now trips a lady, and now struts a lord. And swear, not Addison himself was safe.
Eve's tempter thus the Rabbins have expressed: Peace to all such! but were there one whose fires A cherub's face, a reptile all the rest, True genius kindles, and fair fame inspires;
Beauty that shocks you, parts that none will trust, Blest with each talent and each art to please, Wit that can creep, and pride that licks the dust. And born to write, converse, and live with ease : Not fortune's worshipper, nor fashion's fool; Should such a man, too fond to rule alone,
Not lucre's inadman, nor ambition's tool; Bear, like the Turk, no brother near the throne, Not proud nor servile: be one poet's praise, View him with scornful, yet with jealous eyes,
That, if he pleased, he pleased by manly ways; And hate for arts that caused himself to rise ;
That flattery even to kings he held a shame, Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer, And thought a lie in verse or prose the same; And, without sneering, teach the rest to sneer; That not in fancy's maze he wandered long, Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike,
But stooped to truth, and moralised his song; Just hint a fault, and hesitate dislike;
That not for fame, but virtue's better end, Alike reserred to blame, or to commend,
He stood the furious foe, the timid friend, A timorous foe, and a suspicious friend;
The damning critic, half-approving wit, Dreading even fools, by flatterers besieged,
The coxcomb hit, or fearing to be hit; And so obliging, that he ne'er obliged;
Laughed at the loss of friends he never had, Like Cato, give his little senate laws,
The dull, the proud, the wicked, and the mad; And sit attentive to his own applause;
The distant threats of vengeance on his head ; While wits and Templars every sentence raise,
The blow, unfelt, the tear he never shed; And wonder with a foolish face of praise.
The tale revived, the lie so oft o'erthrown, Who but must laugh, if such a man there be ! The imputed trash, and dulness not his own; Who would not weep, if Atticus were he ?*
The morals blackened when the writings 'scape,
The libelled person, and the pictured shape; Cursed be the verse, how well soe'er it flow, Abuse on all he loved, or loved him, spread, That tends to make one worthy man my foe,
A friend in exile, or a father dead; Give virtue scandal, innocence a fear,
The whisper, that to greatness still too near, Or from the soft-eyed virgin steal a tear !
Perhaps yet vibrates on his sovereign's ear, But he who hurts a harmless neighbour's peace,
Welcome to thee, fair Virtue, all the past;
For thee, fair Virtue! welcome even the last!
The Man of Ross.+
(From the Moral Essays Epistle III.) Yet absent wounds an author's honest fame :
But all our praises why should lords engross!
Rise, honest Muse! and sing the Man of Ross : * The jealousy betwixt Addison and Pope, originating in * Lord Hervey. literary and political rivalry, broke out into an open rupture + The Man of Ross was Mr John Kyrle, who died in 1724, aged by the above highly-finished and poignant satire. When Atter. 90, and was interred in the church of Ross, in Herefordshire. bury read it, he saw that Pope's strength lay in satirical Mr Kyrle was enabled to effect many of his benevolent purpoetry, and he wrote to him not to suffer that talent to be un.
poses by the assistance of liberal subscriptions Pope had been employed.
in Ross, on his way from Lord Bathurst's to Lord Oxford