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Receiv'd of wits an undistinguish'd race,
May some choice patron bless each grey goose quill! May ev'ry Bavius have his Bufo still !
250 So when a statesman wants a day's defence, Or envy
holds a whole week's war with sense, Or simple pride for flatt'ry makes demands, May dunce by dunce be whistled off my hands! Bless'd be the great, for those they take away, 255 And those they left me ; for they left me GAY; Left me to see neglected genius bloom, Neglected die, and tell it on his tomb : Of all thy blameless life the sole return My verse, and QUEENSBÖRY weeping o'er thy urn!
Oh let me live my own, and die so too ! 261 (To live and die is all I have to do :)
Maintain Ver. 261. Ob let me live] In the first edition;
Give me on Thames's banks, in honest ease,
Maintain a poet's dignity and ease,
Why am I ask'd what next shall see the light ?
274 “ I found him close with Swift - Indeed? no doubt
(Cries prating Balbus) something will come out.” 'Tis all in vain, deny it as I will ; “ No, such a genius never can lie still;" And then for mine obligingly mistakes The first lampoon Sir Will. or Bubo makes. 280 Poor guiltless I! and can I chuse but smile, When ev'ry coxcomb knows me by my style?
Curst After ver. 270 in the MS.
Friendships from youth I sought, and seek them still:
And in a course of flatt'ry liv'd no fool.
VER. 280. 07 Bubo makes.1 By Bubo, it is universally considered Pope meant Bubb Doddington, afterwards Lord Melcombe. After ver. 282 in the MS.
P. What if I sing Augustus, great and good ?
Curst be the verse, how well soe'er it flow, That tends to make one worthy man my foe, Give virtue scandal, innocence a fear!
285 Or from the soft-ey'd virgin steal a tear ! But he who hurts a harmless neighbour's peace, Insults fall'n worth, or beauty in distress, Who loves a lie, lame slander helps about, Who writes a libel, or who copies out:
290 That fop, whose pride affects a patron's name, Yet absent, wounds an author's honest fame : Who can your merit selfishly approve, And show the sense of it without the love ; Who has the vanity to call you friend,
295 Yet wants the honour, injur’d, to defend ; Who tells whate'er you think, whate'er you say, And, if he lie not, must at least betray: Who to the Dean, and silver bell can swear, And sees at Cannons what was never there;
Dor a Norfolk hound;
Then smooth up all, and CAROLINE rehearse.
Leave to court-sermons, and to birth-day odes.
Let laurellid Cibber, and great Arnal shine.
The town, the court, the wits, the dunces weep.
Let Sporus tremble-A. What? that thing of silk, Sporus, that mere white curd of ass's milk? 306 Satire or sense, alas ! can Sporus feel? Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel? P. Yet let me flap this bug with gilded wings, This painted child of dirt, that stinks and stings ; 310 Whose buzz the witty and the fair annoys, Yet wit ne'er tastes, and beauty ne'er enjoys : So well-bred spaniels civilly delight In mumbling of the game they dare not bite. Eternal smiles his emptiness betray,
315 As shallow. streams run dimpling all the way. Whether in florid impotence he speaks, And, as the prompter breathes, the puppet squeaks ; Or at the ear of Eve, familiar toad, Half froth, half venom, spits himself abroad, In puns, or politics, or tales, or lies, Or spite, or smut, or rhymes, or blasphemies. His wit all sea-saw, between that and this, Now high, now low, now master up, now miss, And he himself one vile antithesis,
325 Amphibious thing! that acting either part, The trifling head, or the corrupted heart,
Did ever smock-face act so vile a part,
Fop at the toilet, flatt'rer at the board,
Not fortune's worshipper, nor fashion's fool,
the same. That not in fancy's maze he wander'd long, 340 But stoop'd to truth, and moraliz’d 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 ;
345 Laugh’d at the loss of friends he never had, The dull, the proud, the wicked, and the mad j The distant threats of vengeance on his head, The blow unfelt, the tear he never shed; The tale reviv'd, the lie so oft o'erthrown, 350 Th' imputed trash, and dulness not his own; The morals blacken'd when the writings 'scape, The libellid person, and the pictur'd shape; Abuse, on all he lov'd, or lov'd him, spread, A friend in exile, or a father, dead :