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Though small the time thou hast to spare,
The church is thy peculiar care.
Of pious prelates what a stock
You choose to rule the sable flock
You raise the honour of the peerage,
Proud to attend you at the steerage.
You dignify the noble race,
Content yourself with humbler place.
Now learning, valour, virtue, sense,
To titles give the sole pretence.
St. George beheld thee with delight
Vouchsafe to be an azure knight,
When on thy breast and sides Herculean
He fix’d the star and string cerulean.
Say, poet! in what other nation
Shone ever such a constellation 1
Attend, ye Popes 1 and Youngs! and Gays:
And tune your harps and strow your bays:
Your panegyrics here provide;
You cannot err on flattery's side:
Above the stars exalt your style,
You still are low ten thousand mile.
On Lewis all his bards bestow'd
Of incense many a thousand load,
But Europe mortified his pride,
And swore the fawning rascals ly'd :
Yet what the world refus’d to Lewis,
Applied to George, exactly true is.
Exactly true! invidious poet !
'Tis fifty thousand times below it.
Translate me now some lines if you can,
From Virgil, Martial, Ovid, Lucan ;
They could all power in heav'n divide,
And do no wrong to either side:
They teach you how to split a hair,
Give George and Jove an equal share.
Yet why should we be lac’d so strait?
I'll give my monarch butter-weight.
And reason good; for many a year
Jove never intermeddled here;
INor, though his priests be duly paid,
IDid ever we desire his aid:
We now can better do without him,
Since Woolston gave us arms to rout him.
• In the adversity of our best friends we always find some
thing that doth not displease us.”
S Rouchefoucault his Maxims drew
From Nature, I believe them true;
They argue no corrupted mind -
In him; the fault is in mankind.
This maxim more than all the rest
Is thought too base for human breast,
* In all distresses of our friends
We first consult our private ends,
While Nature, kindly bent to ease us,
Points out some circumstance to please us.”
If this perhaps your patience move,
1et reason and experience prove.
We all behold with envious eyes
Our equals rais'd above our size.
Who would not at a crowded show
Stand high himself, keep others low
I love my friend as well as you,
But why should he obstruct my view;
Then let me have the higher post,
Suppose it but an inch at most.
If in a battle you should find
One whom you love of all mankind
Had some heroic action done,
A champion kill'd, or trophy won,
Rather than thus be overtopt,
Would you not wish his laurels cropt *
Dear honest Ned is in the gout,
Lies rack'd with pain, and you without;
How patiently you hear him groan 1
How glad the case is not your own
What poet would not grieve to see
His brother write as well as he?
But rather than they should excel,
Would wish his rivals all in hell ?
Her end when Emulation misses,
She turns to envy, stings, and hisses.
The strongest friendship yields to pride,
Unless the odds be on our side.
Wain human-kind fantastic race!
Thy various follies who can trace?
Self-love, ambition, envy, pride,
Their empire in our hearts divide.
Give others riches, power, and station,
"Tis all on me an usurpation.
I have no title' to aspire,
Yet when you sink I seem the higher.
In Pope I cannot read a line
But, with a sigh, I wish it mine:
When he can in one couplet fix
More sense than I can do in six,
It gives me such a jealous fit,
I cry, “Pox take him and his wit.”
I grieve to be outdone by Gay
In my own humorous biting way.
Arbuthnot is no more my friend,
Who dares to irony pretend,
Which I was born to introduce,
Refin'd it first, and show'd its use.
St. John, as well as Pulteney, knows
That I had some repute for prose,
And till they drove me out of date,
Could maul a minister of state.
If they have mortified my pride, -
And made me throw my pen aside,
If with such talents Heav'n hath bless'd 'em,
Have I not reason to detest 'em
To all my foes, dear Fortune! send
Thy gifts, but never to my friend;
I tamely can endure the first,
But this with envy makes me burst.
Thus much may serve by way of proëm; -
Proceed we therefore to our Poem.
The time is not remote, when I
Must by the course of nature die;
When, I foresee, my special friends
Will try to find their private ends ;
And though 'tis hardly understood
Which way my death can do them good,
Yet thus, methinks, I hear them speak:
* See how the Dean begins to break l
Poor gentleman he droops apace ;
You plainly find it in his face:
That old vertigo in his head
Will never leave him, till he's dead.
Besides, his memory decays ;
He recollects not what he says;
He cannot call his friends to mind,
Forgets the place where last he din'd,
Plies you with stories o'er and o'er;
He told them fifty times before.
How does he fancy we can sit
To hear his out-of-fashion wit *
But, he takes up with younger folks,
Who for his wine will bear his jokes.
*Faith he must make his stories shorter,
Or change his comrades once a-quarter:
In half the time he talks them round;
There must another set be found.
“For poetry he's past his prime ;
He takes an hour to find a rhyme :
His fire is out, his wit decay’d,
His fancy sunk, his Muse a jade.
I'd have him throw away his pen :-
But there's no talking to some men.’
And then their tenderness appears -
By adding largely to my years :
• He's older than he would be reckon'd,
And well remembers Charles the second :
He hardly drinks a pint of wine,
And that, I doubt, is no good sign.
His stomach, too, begins to fail :
Last year we thought him strong and hale,
But now he's quite another thing;
I wish he may hold out till spring.’
They hug themselves, and reason thus,
* It is not yet so bad with us.”
In such a case they talk in tropes,
And by their fears express their hopes.
Some great misfortune to portend,
No enemy can match a friend.
With all the kindness they profess,
The merit of a lucky guess
(When daily How-d'ye's come of course,
And servants answer, “Worse and worse!')
Would please them better than to tell
That, “God be prais'd : the Dean is well.”
Then he who prophesied the best
Approves his foresight to the rest:
“You know I always fear'd the worst,
And often told you so at first.”
He’d rather choose that I should die
Than his prediction prove a lie :
Not one foretells I shall recover,
But all agree to give me over.
Yet should some neighbour feel a pain
Just in the parts where I complain,
How many a message would he send ?
What hearty prayers that I should mend?
Inquire what regimen I kept,
What gave me ease, and how I slept *