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Those ancient woods that shaded all the ground ?
We see no new-built palaces aspire,
No kitchens emulate the vestal fire.
Where are those troops of poor, that thronged of
The good old landlord's hospitable door?
Well, I could wish, that still in lordly domes [tombs;
Some beasts were killed, though not whole heca-
That both extremes were banished from their walls,
Carthusian fasts, and fulsome bacchanals;
And all mankind might that just mean observe,
In which none e'er could surfeit, none could starve.
These as good works, 'tis true, we all allow,
But oh! these works are not in fashion now,
Like rich old wardrobes, things extremely rare,
Extremely fine, but what no man will wear.
Thus much I've said, I trust, without offence;
Let no court sycophant pervert my sense,
Nor sly informer watch these words to draw
Within the reach of treason, or the law.
WELL, if it be my time to quit the stago,
Adieu to all the follies of the age!
I die in charity with fool and knave,
Secure of peace at least beyond the grave.
I've had my purgatory here betimes,
And paid for all my satires, all my rhymes.
The poet's hell, its tortures, fiends, and flames,
To this were trifles, toys, and empty names.
With foolish pride, my heart was never fired,
Nor the vain itch t admire, or be admired;
I hoped for no commission from his grace:
I bought no benefice, I begged no place;
Had no new verses, nor new suit to shew;
Yet went to court!—the dev'l would have it so.
But, as the fool that in reforming days
Would go to mass in jest (as story says)
Could not but think, to pay his fine was odd,
Since 'twas no formed design of serving God;
So was I punished, as if full as proud,
As prone to ill, as negligent of good,
As deep in debt, without a thought to pay,
As vain, as idle, and as false, as they
Who live at court, for going once that way!
Scarce was I entered, when, behold! there came
A thing which Adam had been posed to name;
Noah had refused it lodging in his ark,
here all the race of reptiles might embark:
A verier monster, than on Afric's shore
The sun e'er got, or slimy Nilus bore,
Or Sloane' or Woodward's wondrous shelves contain,
Nay, all that lying travellers can feign.
The watch would hardly let him pass at noon,
At night would swear him dropt out of the moon.
One, whom the mob, when next we find or make
A Popish plot, shall for a Jesuit take,
And the wise justice, starting from his chair,
Cry, By your priesthood tell me what you are ?
Such was the wight: th' apparel on his back,
Though coarse, was rev'rend, and though bare, was
The suit, if by the fashion one might guess,
Was velvet in the youth of good Queen Bess,
But mere tuff-taffety what now remained;
So Time, that changes all things, had ordained!
Our sons shall see it leisurely decay,
First turn plain rash, then vanish quite away.
This thing has travelled, speaks each language too,
And knows what's fit for every state to do;
Of whose best phrase and courtly accent joined,
He forms one tongue, exotic and refined.
Talkers I've learned to bear; Motteux I knew,
Henley himself I've heard, and Budgell too.
The Doctor's Wormwood style, the hash of tongues
A pedant makes, the storm of Gonson's lungs,
The whole artillery of the terms of war,
And (all those plagues in one) the bawling bar;
These I could bear; but not a rogue so civil,
Whose tongue will compliment you to the devil;
A tongue that can cheat widows, cancel scores,
Make Scots speak treason, cozen subtlest w-
With royal favourites in flatt'ry vie,
And Oldmixon and Burnet both outlie.
He spies me out: I whisper, gracious God!
What sin of mine could merit such a rod ?
That all the shot of dulness now must be
From this thy blunderbuss discharged on me!
“Permit” (he cries) “no stranger to your fame
To crave your sentimens, if — 's your name.
What speech esteem you most? • The king's,' said I.
But the best words?_0, sir, the dictionary.'
“You miss my aim; I mean the most acute,
And perfect speaker ?—“Onslow, past dispute.'
But, sir, of writers? “Swift for closer style,
But Hoadly for a period of a mile.'
Why yės, 'tis granted, these indeed may pass:
Good common linguists, and so Panurge was;
Nay, troth the apostles (though perhaps too rough)
Had once a pretty gift of tongues enough:
Yet these were all poor gentlemen! I dare
Affirm, 'twas travel made them what they were."
Thus other talents having nicely shown,
He came by sure transition to his own:
Till I cried out, “ You prove yourself so able,
Pity! you was not dragoman at Babel;
For had they found a linguist half so good,
I make no question but the tower had stood.
Obliging sir! for courts you sure were made,
Why then for ever buried in the shade?
Spirits like you should see and should be seen,
The king would smile on you—at least the queen.'
“Ah, gentle sir! you courtiers so cajole us-
But Tully has it, Nunquam minus solus:
And as for courts, forgive me if I say
No lessons now are taught the Spartan way:
Though in his pictures lust be full display'd,
Few are the converts Aretine' has made:
And though the court shew vice exceeding clear,
None should, by my advice, learn virtue there.'
At this entranced, he lifts his hands and eyes, Squeaks like a high-stretch'd lutestring, and replies Oh, 'tis the sweetest of all earthly things 1 A celebrated Italian poet, who lost the favour of Leo X, by
To gaze on princes, and to talk of kings!'
* Then, happy man who shews the tombs!”” said I,
He dwells amidst the royal family; .
He ev'ry day from king to king can walk,
Of all our Harries, all our Edwards talk,
And get by speaking truth of monarchs dead
What few can of the living, ease and bread.
“Lord, sir, a mere mechanic! strangely low,
And coarse of phrase,—your English all are so.
How elegant your Frenchmen?” “Mine, d'ye mean?
I have but one, I hope the fellow's clean.”
“Oh! sir, politely so! nay, let me die,
Your only wearing is your paduasoy.”
“Not, sir, my only, I have better still,
And this you see is but my dishabille.”—
Wild to get loose, his patience I provoke,
Mistake, confound, object at all he spoke:
But as coarse iron, sharpened, mangles more,
And itch most hurts when angered to a sore;
So when you plague a fool, 'tis still the curse,
You only make the matter worse and worse.
He passed it o'er; affects an easy smile
At all my peevishness, and turns his style.
He asks, “What news?” I tell him of new plays,
New singers, harlequins, and operas.
He hears, and as a still with simples in it,
Between each drop it gives, stays half a minute,
Loth to enrich me with too quick replies,
By little, and by little, drops his lies. [shows,
Mere household trash! of birthnights, balls, and
More than ten Hollinsheds, or Halls, or Stowes.
When the queen frowned, or smiled, he knows; and
A subtle minister may make of that:
(what Who sins with whom: who got his pension rug, Or quicken'd a reversion by a drug: Whose place is quartered out three parts in four, And whether to a Bishop or a w- ; Who, having lost his credit, pawned his rent, Is therefore fit to have a government: Who in the secret, deals in stocks secure, And cheats th' unknowing widow and the poor: Who makes the trust of charity a job, And gets an act of Parliament to rob: Why turnpikes rise, and now no cit nor clown
Can gratis see the country, or the town:
Shortly no lad shall chuck, or lady vole,
But some excising courtier will have toll.
As one of Woodward's patients, sick, and sore,
I puke, I nauseate,—yet he thrusts in more:
Trims Europe's balance, tops the statesman's part,
And talks Gazettes and Post-boys o'er by beart.
Like a big wife at sight of loathsome meat
Ready to cast, I yawn, I sigh, and sweat.
Then as a licensed spy, whom nothing can
Silence or hurt, he libels the great man;
Swears every place entailed for years to come,
In sure succession to the day of doom:
He names the price for ev'ry office paid,
And says our wars thrive ill, because delayed:
Nay, hints, 'tis by connivance of the court,
That Spain robs on, and Dunkirk's still a port.
Not more amazement seized on Circe's guests,
To see themselves fall endlong into beasts,
Than mine, to find a subject staid and wise
Already half turn'd traitor by surprise.
I felt th' infection slide from him to me,
As in the pox, some give it to get free;
And quick to swallow me, methought I saw
One of our giant statues ope its jaw.
In that nice moment, as another lie Stood just a-tilt, the minister came by. To him he flies, and bows, and bows again, Then, close as Umbra,” joins the dirty train. Not Fannius' self more impudently near, When half his nose is in his Prince's ear. I quaked at heart; and still afraid, to see All the court filled with stranger things than he, 3 Ran out as fast as one, that pays his bail And dreads more actions, hurries from a gaol.
Bear me, some god! oh, quickly bear me hence To wholesome solitude, the nurse of sense: Where Contemplation prunes her ruffled wings, And the free soul looks down to pity kings! There sober thought pursued th' amusing theme, Till fancy coloured it, and form’d a dream.