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See on these ruby lips the trembling breath,
These cheeks now fading at the blast of death;
Cold is that breast which warmd the world before,
And those love-darting eyes must roll no more.
Thus, if eternal justice rules the ball,
Thus shall your wives, and thus your children fall :
On all the line a sudden vengeance waits,
And frequent hearses shall besiege your gates :
There passengers shall stand, and, pointing, say
(While the long funerals blacken all the way),
Lo! these were they whose souls the furies steel'd,
And cursed with hearts unknowing how to yield.
Thus unlamented pass the proud away,
The gaze of fools, and pageant of a day!
So perish all, whose breast ne'er learn’d to glow
For others' good, or melt at others' wo.
What can atone (oh ever injured shade !)
Thy fate unpitied and thy rites unpaid ?
No friend's complaint, no kind domestic tear
Pleased thy pale ghost, or graced thy mournful bier:
By foreign hands thy dying eyes were closed,
By foreign hands thy decent limbs composed,
By foreign hands thy humble grave adorn'd,
By strangers honour'd, and by strangers mourn'd!
What though no friends in sable weeds appear,
Grieve for an hour, perhaps, then mourn a year,
And bear about the mockery of wo
To midnight dances and the public show?
What though no weeping loves thy ashes grace,
Nor polish'd marble emulate thy face?
What though no sacred earth allow thee room,
Nor hallow'd dirge be mutter'd o'er thy tomb?
Yet shall thy grave with rising flowers be dressid,
And the green turf lie lightly on thy breast :
There shall the morn her earliest tears bestow,
There the first roses of the year shall blow;
While angels with their silver wings o'ershade
The ground now sacred by thy relics made.
So peaceful rests, without a stone, a name, 'That once had beauty, titles, wealth, and fame. How loved, how honour'd once, avails thee not, To whom related, or by whom begot; A heap of dust alone remains of thee, 'Tis all thou art, and all the proud shall be !
Poets themselves must fall, like those they sung, Deaf the praised ear, and mute the tunesul tongue, Ev'n he, whose soul now melts in mournful lays, Shall shortly want the generous tear he pays; Then from his closing eyes thy form shall part, And the last pang shall tear thee from his heart; Life's idle business at one gasp be o'er, The Muse forgot, and thou beloved no more!
EPISTLE TO DR. ARBUTHNOT.
P. SHut, shut up 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,
Al 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 bemused 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 Twitnam, 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 you not 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.
Seized 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 power 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 nire years."
“Nine years !” he cries, who high in Drury-lane, Lull'd by soft zephyrs through the broken pane, Rhymes ere he wakes, and prints before term ende Obliged 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.
Fired that the house reject 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 forced to speak or burst. Ànd 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 huri'd,
Thou stand'st unshook amid a bursting world.
Who shames a scribbler ? Break one cobweb
He spins the slight, self-pleasing thread anew :
Destroy his fib or sophistry, in vain,
The creature's at his dirty work again;
Throned in 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 arch'd eyebrow or Parnassian sneer?
And has not Colly still his lord and bore?
His butchers Henley, his freemasons Moore ?
Does not one table Bavius still admit?
Still to one bishop Philips seem a wit?
Still Sappho–A. Hold; for God's sake-you'll of-
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
Of all mad creatures, if the learn'd are right, [all.
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.
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 disgraced my betters, met in me.
Say for my comfort, languishing in bed,
“ Just so 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 served to ease some friend, not wife;
To help me through this long disease, my life;
To second, Arbuthnot! thy art and care,
And teach the being you preserved, to bear.