Page images

To leafless shrubs the flowering palms succeed,
And odorous myrtle to the noisome weed.
The lambs with wolves shall graze the verdant mead,
And boys in flowery bands the tiger lead;
The steer and lion at one crib shall meet,
And harmless serpents lick the pilgrim's feet ;
The smiling infant in his hand shall take
The crested basilisk and speckled snake,
Pleas'd, the green lustre of the scales survey,
And with their forky tongue shall innocently play.
Rise, crown'd with light, imperial Salem, rise !
Exalt thy towery head, and lift thy eyes !
See a long race thy spacious courts adorn;
See future sons and daughters, yet unborn,
In crowding ranks on every side arise,
Demanding life, impatient for the skies !
See barbarous nations at thy gates attend,
Walk in thy light, and in thy temple bend;
See thy bright altars throng'd with prostrate kings,
And heap'd with products of Sabæan springs !
For thee Idume's spicy forests blow,
And seeds of gold in Ophir's mountains glow.
See Heav'n its sparkling portals wide display,
And break upon thee in a flood of day.
No more the rising sun shall gild the morn,
Nor evening Cynthia fill her silver horn;
But lost, dissolv'd in thy superior rays,
One tide of glory, one unclouded blaze
O'erflow thy courts : the light himself shall shine
Reveal'd, and God's eternal day be thine !
The seas shall waste, the skies in smoke decay,
Rocks fall to dust, and mountains melt away;
But fix'd his word, his saving pow'r remains ;-
Thy realm for ever lasts, thy own Messiah reigns !

[ocr errors]

EPISTLE TO DR. ARBUTHNOT. P :: 'SHUT, shut the door, good John!' fatigued,

I said;
. Tie up the knocker, say I'm sick, I'm dead.'
The dog-star rages ! nay, 'tis past a doubt
All Bedlam or Parnassus is let out:
Fire in each eye, and papers in each hand,
They rave, recite, and madden round the land.

What walls can guard me, or what shades can hide?
They pierce my thickets, through my grot they glide,
By land, by water, they renew the charge,
They stop the chariot, and they board the barge.
No place is sacred, not the church is free,
Ev'n Sunday shines no sabbath-day to me :
Then from the mint walks forth the man of rhyme,
Happy to catch me just at dinner-time.

Is there a parson much be-mus'd in beer, A maudlin poetess, a rhyming peer, A clerk foredoom'd his father's soul to cross, Who pens a stanza when he should engross? Is there who, lock'd from ink and paper, scrawls With desperate charcoal round his darken'd walls? All fly to Twit'nam, and in humble strain Apply to me to keep them mad or vain. Arthur, whose giddy son neglects the laws, Imputes to me and my damn'd works the cause : Poor Cornus sees his frantic wife elope, And curses wit, and poetry, and Pope.

Friend to my life! (which did not you prolong, The world had wanted many an idle song) What drop or nostrum can this plague remove? Or which must end me, a fool's wrath or love? A dire dilemma ! either way I'm sped; If foes, they write; if friends, they read me dead, Seiz'd and tied down to judge, how wretched I! Who can't be silent, and who will not lie. To laugh were want of goodness and of grace, And to be grave exceeds all pow'r of face.

I sit with sad civility, I read
With honest anguish and an aching head,
And drop at last, but in unwilling ears,
This saving counsel, 'Keep your piece nine years.'

Nine years! cries he, who, high in Drury-lane,
Lull'd by soft zephyrs through the broken pane,
Rhymes ere he wakes, and prints before term ends,
Oblig'd by hunger and request of friends:
‘The piece, you think, is incorrect? why take it,
I'm all submission; what you'd have it--make it.'

Three things another's modest wishes bound; My friendship, and a prologue, and ten pound.'

Pitholeon sends to me: 'You know his grace,
I want a patron; ask him for a place.'
Pitholeon libell'd me- But here's a letter
Informs you, Sir, 'twas when he knew no better.
Dare. you refuse him ? Curll invites to dine,
He'll write a journal, or he'll turn divine.'
Bless me! a packet.-' 'Tis a stranger sues,
A virgin tragedy, an orphan Muse.'
If I dislike it, ' Furies, death, and rage!'
If I approve, ‘Commend it to the stage.'
There (thank my stars) my whole commission ends,
The players and I are, luckily, no friends.
Fir'd that the house rejects him, "'Sdeath, I'll print it,
And shame the fools-your interest, Sir, with Lintot.'
Lintot, dull rogue, will think your price too much :

Not, Sir, if you revise it, and retouch.'
All my demurs but double his attacks ;
At last he whispers, ‘Do, and we go snacks.'
Glad of a quarrel, straight I clap the door;
'Sir, let me see your works and you no more."

"Tis sung, when Midas' ears began to spring, (Midas, a sacred person and a king) His very minister who spied them first (Some say his queen) was forc'd to speak or burst. And is not mine, my friend, a sorer case, When every coxcomb perks them in my face?

A. Good friend, forbear! you deal in dangerous

things ; I'd never name queens, ministers, or kings; 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: 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 gallery, in convulsions hurl'd,
Thou stand'st unshook amidst a bursting world.
Who shames a scribbler? break one cobweb through,
He spins the slight self-pleasing thread anew : :
Destroy his fib, or sophistry, in vain;
The creature's at his dirty work again,
Thron'd on the centre of his thin designs,
Proud of a vast extent of flimsy lines !
Whom have I hurt? has poet yet or peer
Lost the archi'd eyebrow 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?
Still Sapphio.-A. Hold! for God's 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 flatterer's worse than all.
of all mad creatures, if the learn'd are right,
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 my friend.

[ocr errors]

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, though lean, am short;
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 só immortal Maro held his head :'
And when I die, be sure you let me know
Great Homer died three thousand years ago.

Why did I write? what sin to me unknown Dipp'd 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 sery'd to ease some friend, not wife, To help me through this long disease, my life, To second, Arbutlinot! thy art and care, And teach the being you preserv'd to bear.

But why then publish? Granville the polite, And knowing Walsh, would tell me I could write; Well-natur'd Garth infiam'd with early praise, Aod Congreve lov'd, and Swift endur'd, my lays; The courtly Talbot, Somers, Sheffield, read, Ev'n mitred Rochester would nod the head, 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 flowery theme, “A painted mistress, or a purling stream." Yet then did Gildon draw his venal quill; I wish'd the man a dinner, and sat still:

« PreviousContinue »