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Extract from a dialogue between a Satirick Poet and his
Friend. 'Tis all a libel, Paxton, Sir, will say :-
Poet. 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;
Even Guthry saves half Newgate by a dash.
Spare then the person, and expose the vice.
P. How! not condemn 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,—who?
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 low.
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 mean-
To 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 spoiled,
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 even there-why lay it on a king.
F. Stop! Stop!-P. 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 hanged ten years ago. Who now that obsolete example fears? Even Peter trembles only for his ears.
F. What, always Peter? Peter thinks you mad :—
You make men desperate, if they once are bad..
But why so few commended?-P. Not so fierce
You find the virtue, and I'll find the verse.
But random praise the task can ne'er be done;
Each mother asks it for her booby son,
Each widow asks it for the best of men,
For him she weeps, for him she weds again.
Praise cannot stoop, like Satire, to the ground;
The number may be hanged, but not be crowned.
No power the Muse's friendship can command,
No power, when Virtue claims it, can withstand.
P. If merely to come in, Sir, they go out, The way they take is strangely round about.
-What are you thinking?-F. Faith, the thought's no sin, I think your friends are out, and would be in.
F. They, too, may be corrupted, you'll allow?
P. I only call those knaves who are so now.
Is that too little ?-Come, then, I'll comply-
Spirit of Arnal! aid me while I lie.
Cobham's a coward, Polwarth is a slave,
And Lyttleton, a dark, designing knave.
St. John has ever been a mighty fool-
But, let me add, Sir Robert's mighty dull,
Has never made a friend in private life,
And was, besides, a tyrant to his wife.-
Ask you what provocation I have had ?—
The strong antipathy of good to bad.
When Truth or Virtue an affront endures,
The affront is mine, my friend, and should be yours:
Mine, as a foe professed to false pretence,
Who thinks a coxcomb's honour like his sense;
Mine, as a friend to every worthy mind;
And mine as man who feel for all mankind.
F. You're strangely proud-P. So proud, I am no slave: So impudent, I own myself no knave:
So odd, my country's ruin makes me grave.
Yes, I am proud: I must be proud, to see
Men not afraid of God, afraid of me:
Safe from the bar, the pulpit, and the throne,
Yet touched, and shamed by ridicule alone.
O, sacred weapon! left for Truth's defence,
Sole dread of folly, vice, and insolence!
Reverent I touch thee! but with honest zeal;
To rouse the watchmen of the publick weal,
To Virtue's work provoke the tardy hall,
And goad the prěl'ate slumbering in his stall.
Dialogue between Prince Edward and his Keeper.-MISS BAILLIE
Ed. WHAT brings thee now? it surely cannot be
The time of food: my prison hours are wont
To fly more heavily.
Keep. It is not food: I bring wherewith, my lord,
To stop a rent in these old walls, that oft
Hath grieved me, when I've thought of you o' nights;.
Through it the cold wind visits you.
Ed. And let it enter! it shall not be stopped.
Who visits me besides the winds of heaven?
Who mourns with me but the sad-sighing wind?
Who bringeth to mine ear the mimicked tones
Of voices once beloved and sounds long past,
But the light-winged and many voiced wind?
Who fans the prisoner's lean and fevered cheek
As kindly as the monarch's wreathed brows,
But the free piteous wind?
I will not have it stopped.
Keep. My lord, the winter now creeps on apace:
Hoar frost this morning on our sheltered fields
Lay thick, and glanced to the up-risen sun,
Which scarce had power to melt it.
Ed. Glanced to the up-risen sun! Ay, such fair morns,
When every bush doth put its glory on,
Like a gemmed bride! your rusticks now
And early hinds, will set their clouted feet
Through silver webs, so bright and finely wrought
As royal dames ne'er fashioned, yet plod on
Their careless way, unheeding.
Alas, how many glorious things there be
To look upon! Wear not the forests, now,
Their latest coat of richly varied dyes?
Keep. Yes, good my lord, the cold chill year advances, Therefore I pray you, let me close that wall.
Ed. I tell thee no, man; if the north air bites, Bring me a cloak. Where is thy dog to-day?
Keep. Indeed I wonder that he came not with me As he is wont.
Ed. Bring him, I pray thee, when thou comest again, He wags his tail and looks up to my With the assured kindness of one Who has not injured me.
A Summer Evening meditation.—Mrs. Barbauld.
'Tis past! The sultry tyrant of the south
Has spent his short-lived rage; more grateful hours
Move silent on; the skies no more repel
The dazzled sight, but with mild maiden beams
Of tempered lustre, court the cherished eye
To wander o'er their sphere; where, hung aloft,
Dian's bright crescent, like a silver bow,
New strung in heaven, lifts high its beamy horns,
Impatient for the night, and seems to push
Her brother down the sky. Fair Venus shines
Even in the eye of day; with sweetest beam
Propitious shines, and shakes a trembling flood
Of softened radiance from her dewy locks.
The shadows spread apace; while meek-eyed Eve,
Her cheek yet warm with blushes, slow retires
Through the Hesperian gardens of the west,
And shuts the gates of day. "Tis now the hour
When Contemplation, from her sunless haunts,
The cool damp grotto, or the lonely depth
Of unpierced woods, where wrapt in solid shade
She mused away the gaudy hours of noon,
And fed on thoughts unripened by the sun,
Moves forward; and with radiant finger points
To yon blue concave swelled by breath divine,
Where, one by one, the living eyes of heaven
Awake, quick kindling o'er the face of ether
One boundless blaze; ten thousand trembling fires,
And dancing lustres, where the unsteady eye,
Restless and dazzled, wanders unconfined
O'er all this field of glories; spacious field,
And worthy of the Master; he, whose hand
With hieroglyphicks older than the Nile
Inscribed the mystick tablet; hung on high
To publick gaze, and said, Adore, O man!
The finger of thy God!
How deep the silence, yet how loud the praise L
But are they silent all? or is there not
A tongue in every star, that talks with man,
And wooes him to be wise? or wooes in vain.
This dead of midnight is the noon of thought,
And wisdom mounts her zenith with the stars.
At this still hour, the self-collected soul
Turns inward, and beholds a stranger there
Of high descent, and more than mortal rank;
An embryo God; a spark of fire divine,
Which must burn on for ages, when the sun
(Fair transitory creature of a day!)
Has closed his golden eye, and, wrapt in shades,
Forgets his wonted journey through the east.
Seized in thought,
On fancy's wild and roving wing I sail,
From the green borders of the peopled earth,
And the pale moon, her duteous fair attendant;
From solitary Mars; from the vast orb
Of Jupiter, whose huge gigantick bulk
Dances in ether like the lightest leaf;
To the dim verge the suburbs of the system,
Where cheerless Saturn 'midst his watery moons
Gist with a lucid zone, in gloomy pomp,