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Amphibious thing! that, acting either part,
The trifling head or the corrupted heart,
Fop at the toilet, flatterer at the board,
Now trips a lady, and now struts a lord.
Eve's tempter thus the rabbins have express'd,
A cherub's face, a reptile all the rest;
Beauty that shocks you, parts that none can trust,
Wit that can creep, and pride that licks the dust.
Not fortune's worshipper, nor fashion's fool,
Nor lucre's madman, nor ambition's tool,
Not proud nor servile be one poet's praise;
That, if he pleased, he pleased by manly ways:
That flattery, ev'n to kings, he held a shame,
And thought a lie in prose or verse the same;
That not in fancy's maze he wander'd long,
But stoop'd to truth, and moralized his song;
That not for fame, but virtue's better end,
He stood the furious foe, the timid friend,
The damning critic, half-approving wit,
The coxcomb hit, or fearing to be hit;
Laugh'd at the loss of friends he never had,
The dull, the proud, the wicked, and the mad;
The distant threats of vengeance on his head,
The blow unfelt, the tear he never shed;
The tale revived, the lie so oft o'erthrown,
Th' imputed trash, and dulness not his own;
The morals blacken'd when the writings 'scape,
The libell'd person and the pictured shape;
Abuse on all he loved, or loved him, spread,
A friend in exile, or a father dead;
The whisper, that to greatness still too near,
Perhaps yet vibrates on his sovereign's ear:
Welcome for thee, fair virtue! all the past:
For thee, fair virtue! welcome ev'n the last!
A. But why insult the poor, affront the great!
P. A knave's a knave to me in every state;
Alike my scorn, if he succeed or fail,
Sporus at court, or Japhet in a jail;
A hireling scribbler or a hireling peer,
Knight of the post corrupt, or of the shire;
If on a pillory, or near a throne,
He gain his prince's ear, or lose his own.
Yet soft by nature, more a dupe than wit, Sappho can tell you how this man was bit: This dreaded sat'rist Dennis will confess Foe to his pride, but friend to his distress: So humble, he has knock'd at Tibbald's door, Has drunk with Cibber, nay, has rhymed for More. Full ten years slander'd, did he once reply? Three thousand suns went down on Welsted's lie. To please a mistress one aspersed his life; He lash'd him not, but let her be his wife : Let Budgel charge low Grub-street on his quill, And write whate'er he pleased, except his will; Let the two Curlls of town and court abuse His father, mother, body, soul, and Muse. Yet why that father held it for a rule, It was a sin to call his neighbour fool: That harmless mother thought no wife impure: Hear this, and spare his family, James Muir! Unspotted names, and memorable long! If there be force in virtue or in song.
Of gentle blood (part shed in honour's cause,
While yet in Britain honour had applause)
Each parent sprung-A. What fortune, pray?
P. Their own,
And better got than Bestia's from the throne.
Born to no pride, inheriting no strife,
Nor marrying discord in a noble wife,
Stranger to civil and religious rage,
The good man walk'd innoxious through his age.
No courts he saw, no suits would ever try,
Nor dared an oath, nor hazarded a lie :
Unlearn'd, he knew no schoolman's subtle art;
No language, but the language of the heart:
By nature honest, by experience wise;
Healthy by temperance and by exercise;
His life, though long, to sickness past unknown,
His death was instant, and without a groan.
Oh grant me thus to live, and thus to die!
Who sprung from kings shall know less joy than I.
Oh friend, may each domestic bliss be thine!
Be no unpleasing melancholy mine:
Me let the tender office long engage
To rock the cradle of reposing age,
With lenient arts extend a mother's breath,
Make languor smile, and smooth the bed of death,
Explore the thought, explain the asking eye,
And keep a while one parent from the sky!
On cares like these, if length of days attend,
May Heaven, to bless those days, preserve my friend;
Preserve him social, cheerful, and serene,
And just as rich as when he served a queen!
A. Whether that blessing be denied or given,
Thus far was right—the rest belongs to Heaven.
Fr. "Tis all a libel-Paxton (sir) will say.
P. Not yet, my friend! to-morrow 'faith it may;
And for that very cause I print to-day.
How should I fret to mangle every line,
In reverence to the sins of thirty-nine!
Vice with such giant strides comes on amain,
Invention strives to be before in vain;
Feign what I will, and paint it e'er so strong,
Some rising genius sins up to my song.
F. Yet none but you by name the guilty lash;
E'en Guthry saves half Newgate by a dash.
Spare then the person, and expose the vice.
P. How, sir! not damn the sharper, but the dice? Come on, then, satire! general, unconfined,
Spread thy broad wing, and souse on all the kind;
Ye statesmen, priests, of one religion all!
Ye tradesmen, vile in army, court, or hall!
Ye reverend Atheists. F. Scandal! name them,
P. Why, that's the thing you bid me not to do.
Who starved a sister, who forswore a debt,
I never named; the town's inquiring yet.
The poisoning dame-F. You mean-P. I don't.
F. You do.
P. See, now I keep the secret, and not you!
The bribing statesman-F. Hold, too high you go.
P. The bribed elector-F. There you stoop too
P. I fain would please you, if I knew with what; Tell me, which knave is lawful game, which not? Must great offenders, once escaped the crown, Like royal harts, be never more run down? Admit your law to spare the knight requires, As beasts of nature may we hunt the squires? Suppose I censure-you know what I meanTo save a bishop, may I name a dean?
F. A dean, sir? no; his fortune is not made; You hurt a man that's rising in the trade.
P. If not the tradesman who set up to-day,
Much less the 'prentice who to-morrow may.
Down, down, proud satire! though a realm be spoil'd,
Arraign no mightier thief than wretched Wild;
Or, if a court or country's made a job,
Go drench a pickpocket, and join the mob.
But, sir, I beg you (for the love of vice!),
The matter's weighty, pray consider twice;
Have you less pity for the needy cheat,
The poor and friendless villain, than the great?
Alas! the small discredit of a bribe
Scarce hurts the lawyer, but undoes the scribe.
'Then better sure it charity becomes
To tax directors, who (thank God) have plums;
Still better ministers; or, if the thing
May pinch ev❜n there—why, lay it on a king.
F. Stop! stop!.
Must satire, then, nor rise nor fall? Speak out, and bid me blame no rogues at all.
F. Yes, strike that Wild, I'll justify the blow. P. Strike? why, the man was hang'd ten years ago: Who now that obsolete example fears?
Ev'n Peter trembles only for his ears.
F. What, always Peter? Peter thinks you mad. You make men desperate if they once are bad : Else might he take to virtue some years henceP. As S-k, if he lives, will love the prince. F. Strange spleen to S-k!
Do I wrong the man?
God knows I praise a courtier where I can.
When I confess there is who feels for fame,
And melts to goodness, need I Scarborough name?
Pleased let me own, in Esher's peaceful grove
(Where Kent and nature vie for Pelham's love),
The scene, the master, opening to my view,
I sit and dream I see my Craggs anew!
Ev'n in a bishop I can spy desert:
Secker is decent; Rundell has a heart;
Manners with candour are to Benson given;
To Berkley, every virtue under heaven.
But does the court a worthy man remove?
That instant, I declare, he has my love:
I shun his zenith, court his mild decline :
Thus Somers once, and Halifax, were mine.
Oft, in the clear, still mirror of retreat,
I studied Shrewsbury, the wise and great;
Carleton's calm sense, and Stanhope's noble flame,
Compared, and knew their generous end the same:
How pleasing Atterbury's softer hour!
How shined the soul, unconquer'd, in the Tower!
How can I Pulteney, Chesterfield forget,
While Roman spirit charms, and Attic wit:
Argyll, the state's whole thunder born to wield,
And shake alike the senate and the field:
Or Wyndham, just to freedom and the throne,
The master of our passions and his own?