« AnteriorContinuar »
Keep close to ears, and those let asses prick,
'Tis nothing-P. Nothing ? if they bite and kick?
Out with it, DUNCIAD! let the secret pass,
That secret to each fool, that he's an ass : 80
The truth once told (and wherefore should we lie ?)
The Queen of Midas slept, and so may I.
You think this cruel ? take it for a rule,
No creature smarts so little as a fool.
Let peals of laughter, Codrus ! round thee break,
Thou unconcern'd canst hear the mighty crack :
Pit, box, and gall’ry in convulsions hurl'd,
Thou stand'st unshook amidst a bursting world.
Who shames a scribler ? break one cobweb thro',
He spins the slight, self-pleasing thread anew : 90
Destroy his fib, or sophistry, in vain,
The creature's at his dirty work again,
Thron’d in the centre of his thin designs,
Proud of a vast extent of flimzy lines !
Whom have I hurt ? has poet yet, or peer, 95
Lost the arch'd eye-brow, or Parnassian sneer?
And has not Colley still his lord, and whore ?
His butchers Henley, his free-masons Moore ?
Does not one table Bavius still admit?
Still to one Bishop Philips seem a wit ?
Ver. 98. His butchers Henley,] Orator Henley, who declaimed on Sundays on religious subjects, and on Wednesdays on the sciences; -one shilling was the price of admittance. His oratory was among the butchers of Newport Market and Butcher Row.
Still Sappho-A. Hold! for God-sake-you'll offend.
No names—be calm learn prudence of a friend :
I too could write, and I am twice as tall ;
But foes like these P. One flatt'rer's worse than all.
Of all mad creatures, if the learn'd are right, 105
It is the slaver kills, and not the bite.
A fool quite angry is quite innocent :
Alas ! 'tis ten times worse when they repent.
One dedicates in high heroic prose,
And ridicules beyond a hundred foes :
One from all Grub-street will my fame defend,
And, more abusive, calls himself
This prints my letters, that expects a bribe,
And others roar aloud, “ Subscribe, subscribe.”
There are, who to my person pay
their court :
I cough like Horace, and, tho' lean, am short; 116
Ammon's great son one shoulder had too high,
Such Ovid's nose, and “ Sir! you have an eye.” —
Go on, obliging creatures, make me see,
All that disgrac'd my betters, met in me.
Say for my comfort, languishing in bed,
- Just so immortal Maro held his head :"
Ver. 100. Still to one Bishop] This is Bishop Boulter, who
was Ambrose Philips' great friend and patron. Boulter wrote, in
conjunction with Philips, a paper called the Freethinker. ,
Ver. III. in the MS.
For song, for silence some expect a bribe;
And others roar aloud, “ Subscribe, subscribe.”
Time, praise, or money, is the least they crave;
Yet each declares the other, fool or knave.
And when I die, be sure you let me know,
Great Homer dy'd three thousand years ago.
Why did I write ? what sin to me unknown 125
Dipt me in ink, my parents', or my own?
As yet a child, nor yet a fool to fame,
I lisp'd in numbers, for the numbers came.
I left no calling for this idle trade,
No duty broke, no father disobey'd.
The muse but serv'd to ease some friend, not wife,
To help me through this long disease, my life,
To second, ARBUTHNOT! thy art and care,
And teach, the being you preserv'd, to bear. 134
A. But why then publish? P. Granville the polite, And knowing Walsh, would tell me I could write ; Well-natur'd Garth inflam'd with early praise, And Congreve lov'd, and Swift endur’d my lays : The courtly Talbot, Somers, Sheffield read, Ev'n mitred Rochester would nod the head, 140
After Ver. 124. in the MS.
But, Friend, this shape, which you and Curl * admire,
Came not from Ammon's son, but from my siret:
And for my head, if you'll the truth excuse,
I had it from my mother $, not the muse.
Happy, if he, in whom these frailties join'd,
Had heir'd as well the virtues of the mind. * Curl set up his head for a sign. † His father was crooked.
His mother was much afflicted with head-achs. VER. 139. Talbot, &c.] All these were patrons or admirers of Mr. Dryden; though a scandalous libel against him, entitled Dryden's Satire to his Muse, has been printed in the name of the Lord Somers, of which he was wholly ignorant.
And St. John's self (great Dryden's friends before)
With open arms receiv'd one Poet more.
Happy my studies, when by these approv'd !
Happier their author, when by these belov'd!
From these the world will judge of men and books,
Not from the Burnets, Oldmixons, and Cooks.
Soft were my numbers; who could take offence
While pure description held the place of sense ?
Like gentle Fanny's was my flow'ry theme,
A painted mistress, or a purling stream.
150 Yet then did Gildon draw his venal quill ; I wish'd the man a dinner, and sate still. Yet then did Dennis rave in furious fret; I never answer'd, I was not in debt. If want provok'd, or madness made them print, 155 I wag'd no war with Bedlam or the Mint,
Did some more sober critic come abroad; If wrong, I smild; if right, I kiss'd the rod. Pains, reading, study, are their just pretence, And all they want is spirit, taste, and sense. 160
VER. 146. Burnets, &c.] Authors who occasionally wrote against Pope.
VER. 151. Yet then did Gildon] Gildon was born at the village of Gillingham, near Shaftesbury, in Dorsetshire. He was sent to Doway, to the English college of Secular Priests there, to be made a priest; but came to London, spent his property, and endeavoured to repair his fortune by writing abusive pamphlets.
VER. 153. Yet then did Dennis] Dennis the critic, and miscellaneous writer.
Commas and points they set exactly right,
And 'twere a sin to rob them of their mite.
Yet ne'er one sprig of laurel grac'd these ribalds,
From slashing Bentley down to piddling Tibalds :
Each wight who reads not, and but scans and spells,
Each word-catcher that lives on syllables, 166
Ev’n such small critics some regard may claim,
Preserv'd in Milton's or in Shakespear's name.
Pretty! in amber to observe the forms
Of hairs, or straws, or dirt, or grubs, or worms !
The things, we know, are neither rich nor rare,
But wonder how the devil they got there.
Were others angry: I excus’d them too ;
Well might they rage, I gave them but their due.
A man's true merit 'tis not hard to find;
But each man's secret standard in his mind,
That casting-weight pride adds to emptiness,
This, who can gratify? for who can guess ?
The bard whom pilfer'd pastorals renown,
Who turns a Persian tale for half a crown, 180
Just writes to make his barrenness appear,
And strains, from hard-bound brains, eight lines a year;
He, who still wanting, tho' he lives on theft,
Steals much, spends little, yet has nothing left: 184
And he, who now to sense, now nonsense leaning,
Means not, but blunders round about a meaning:
VER. 180. a Persian tale] Amb. Philips translated the Persiun Tales.