Page images
PDF
EPUB

The rich may be polite; but, oh! 'tis sad
To say you're curious, when we swear you're mad.
By your revenue measure your expense,
And to your funds and acres join your sense.
No man is bless'd by accident or guess;
True wisdom is the price of happiness;
Yet few without long discipline are sage,
And our youth only lays up sighs for age.
But how, my muse! canst thou resist so long
The bright temptation of the courtly throng,
Thy most inviting theme? the court affords
Much food for satire ;-it abounds in lords.
• What lords are those saluting with a grin?'
One is just out, and one as lately in.

How comes it, then, to pass, we see preside
On both their brows an equal share of pride ?'
Pride, that impartial passion, reigns through all,
Attends our glory, nor deserts our fall.
As in its home it triumphs in high place,
And frowns a haughty exile in disgrace.
Some lords it bids admire their wands so white,
Which bloom, like Aaron's, to their ravish'd sight:
Some lords it bids resign, and turn their wands,
Like Moses', into serpents in their hands.
These sink, as divers, for renown, and boast,
With pride inverted, of their honours lost:
But against reason sure 'tis equal sin
To boast of merely being out or in.

What numbers here, thirough odd ambition, strive To seem the most transported things alive? As if by joy desert was understood, And all the fortunate were wise and good. Hence aching bosoms wear a visage gay, And stified groans frequent the ball and play. Completely dress'd by Monteuil and grimace, They take their birth-day suit, and public face: Their smiles are only part of what they wear, Put off at night, with Lady Bristol's hair: What bodily fatigue is half so bad ? With anxious care they labour to be glad.

What numbers, here, would into fame advance, Conscious of merit in the coxcomb's dance? The tavern! park ! assembly! mask! and play! Those dear destroyers of the tedious day! That wheel of fops ! that saunter of the town! Call it diversion, and the pill goes down. Fools grin on fools, and, stoic-like, support, Without one sigh, the pleasures of a court. Courts can give nothing to the wise and good But scorn of pomp, and love of solitude. High stations tumult, but not bliss, create : None think the great unhappy but the great : Fools gaze, and envy; envy darts a sting, Which makes a swain as wretched as a king.

I envy none their pageantry and show; I envy none the guilding of their woe. Give me, indulgent gods! with mind serene, And guiltless heart, to range the silvan scene; No splendid poverty, no smiling care, No well-bred hate or servile grandeur there; There pleasing objects useful thoughts suggest, The sense is ravish'd, and the soul is bless'd; On every thorn delightful wisdom grows, In every rill a sweet instruction flows : But some, untaught, o'erhear the whispering rill, In spite of sacred leisure blockheads still : Nor shoots up Folly to a nobler bloom In her own native soil, the drawing room.

The 'squire is proud to see his coursers strain, Or well-breath'd beagles sweep along the plain. Say, dear Hippolitus ! (whose drink is ale, Whose erudition is a Christmas-tale, Whose mistress is saluted with a smack, And friend receiv'd with thumps upon the back) When thy sleek gelding nimbly leaps the mound, And Ringwood opens on the tainted ground, Is that thy praise? let Ringwood's fame alone; Just Ringwood leaves each animal his own, Nor envies when a gipsy you commit, And shake the clumsy bench with country wit; Vol. II.

G

[ocr errors]

When you the dullest of dull things have said,
And then ask pardon for the jest you made.

Here breathe, my muse ! and then thy task renew;
Ten thousand fools unsung are still in view.
Fewer lay-atheists made by church-debates,
Fewer great beggars fam'd for large estates,
Ladies, whose love is constant as the wind,
Cits, who prefer a guinea to mankind;
Fewer grave lords to Scroope discreetly bend,
And fewer shocks a statesman gives his friend.

Is there a man of an eternal vein, Who lulls the Town in winter with his strain, At Bath, in summer, chants the reigning lass, And sweetly whistles as the waters pass? Is there a tongue, like Delia's o'er her cup, That runs for ages without winding-up? Is there whom his tenth epic mounts to fame? Such, and such only, might exhaust my theme; Nor would these heroes of the task be glad, For who can write so fast as men run mad?

SATIRE V.

On Women.

O fairest of creation ! last and bes
of all God's works! creature in whom excell'd
Whatever can to sight or thought be form'd
Holy, divine, good, amiable, or sweet i
How art thou last !

NOR reigns ambition in bold man alone ;

Sott female hearts the rude invader own: But there, indeed, it deals in nicer things Than routing armies and dethroning kings. Attend, and you discern it in the fair, Conduct a finger, or reclaim a hair, Or roll the lucid orbit of an eye, Or in full joy elaborate a sigh.“

The sex we honour, though their faults we blame, Nay, thank their faults for such a fruitful theme : A theme fair! doubly kind to me, Since satirizing those is praising thee; Who wouldst not bear, tõo modestly refin'd, A panegyric of a grosser kind.

Britannia's daughters, much more fair than nice, Too fond of admiration, lose their price; Worn in the public eye, give cheap delight To throngs, and tarnish to the sated sight: As unresery'd and beauteous as the sun, Through every sign of vanity they run ; Assemblies, parks, course feasts in city-halls, Lectures and trials, plays, committees, balls; Wells, bedlams, executions, Smithfield-scenes, And fortune-tellers' caves and lions' dens; Taverns, Exchanges, Bridewells, drawing-rooms, Instalments, pillories, coronations, tombs, Tumblers and funeral, puppet-shows, reviews, Sales, races, rabbets (and, still stranger !) pews.

Clarinda's bosom burns, but burns for fame, And love lies vanquish'd in a nobler flame; Warm gleams of hope she now dispenses, then, Like April suns, dives into clouds again : With all her lustre now her lover warms, Then, out of ostentation, hides her charms. 'Tis next her pleasure sweetly to complain, And to be taken with a sudden pain; Then she starts up, all ecstasy and bliss, And is, sweet soul! just as sincere in this : O how she rolls her charming eyes in spite! And looks delightfully with all her might! But, like our heroes, much more brave than wise, She conquers for the triumph, not the prize.

Zara resembles Ætna crown'd with snows, Without she freezes, and within she glows: Twice ere the sun descends, with zeal inspir'd, From the vain converse of the world retir'd. She reads the psalms and chapters for the day,

Cleopatra, or the last new play,

In

Thus gloomy Zara, with a solemn grace,
Deceives mankind, and hides behind her face.

Nor far beneath her in renown is she
Who, through good-breeding, is ill company;
Whose manners will not let her larum cease,
Who thinks you are uphappy when at peace;
To find you news who racks her subtle head,
And vows-that her great-grandfather is dead.

A dearth of words a woman need not fear,
But 'tis a task indeed to learn to hear :
In that the skill of conversation lies;
That shows or makes you both polite and wise.

Xantippe cries, 'Let nymphs who nought can say Be lost in silence, and resign the day; And let the guilty wife her guilt confess By tame behaviour and a soft address.' Through virtue she refuses to comply With all the dictates of humanity; Through wisdom she refuses to submit To wisdom's rules, and raves to prove her wit; Then, her unblemish'd honour to maintain, Rejects her husband's kindness with disdain ; But if, by chance, an ill-adapted word Drops from the lip of her unwary lord, Her darling china, in a whirlwind sent, Just intimates the lady's discontent. Wine may indeed excite the meekest dame, But keen Xantippe, scorning borrow'd flame, Can vent her thunders, and her lightnings play, O'er cooling gruel, and composing tea; Nor rests by night, but more sincere than nice, She shakes the curtains with her kind advice : Doubly, like echo, sound is her delight, And the last word is her eternal right. Is't not enough plagues, wars, and famines, rise To lash our crimes,-but must our wives be wise?

Famine, plague, war, and an unnumber'd throng Of guilt-avenging ills, to man belong. What black, what ceaseless, cares besiege our state? What strokes we feel from Fancy and from Fate ?

« PreviousContinue »