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But oh! what sense ! what energy of thoughts !
That he wants algebra, he must confess;
But not a soul to give our arms success.
“Ah; that's a hit indeed,” Vincenna cries;
But who in heat of blood was ever wise?
I own 'twas wrong, when thousands call’d me back
To make that hopeless, ill-advis'd, attack;
All say, 'twas madness; nor dare I deny;
Sure never fool so well deserv'd to die."
Could this deceive in others, to be frec,
It ne'er, Vincenna, could deceive in thee;
Whose conduct is a comment to thy tongue,
So clear, the dullest cannot take thee wrong.
Thou on one sleeve wilt thy revenues wear;
And haunt the court, without a prospect there.
Are these expedients for renown? Confess
Thy little self, that I may scorn thee less.
Be wise, Vincenna, and the court forsake;
Our fortunes there, nor thou, nor I, shall make.
Ev'n men of merit, ere their point they gain,
In hardy service make a long campaign;
Most manfully besiege their patron's gate,
And oft repuls'd, as oft attack the great
With painful art, and application warm,
And take, at last, some little place by storm ;
Enough to keep two shoes on Sunday clean,
And starve upon discreetly, in Sheer Lane.
Already this thy fortune can afford;
Then starve without the favour of my lord.
'Tis true, great fortunes some great men confer;
But often, ev'n in doing right, they err:
From caprice, not from choice, their favours come;
They give, but think it toil to know to whom:
The man that's nearest, yawning, they advance:
'Tis inhumanity to bless by chance.
If merit sues, and greatness is so loth
To break its downy trance, I pity both.
I grant at court, Philander, at his need,
(Thanks to his lovely wife) finds friends indeed.
Of every charm and virtue she's possest:
Philander! thou art exquisitely blest;
The public envy! Now then, 'tis allow'd,
The man is found, who may be justly proud :
But, see ! how sickly is ambition's taste !
Ambition feeds on trash, and loaths a feast;
For, lo! Philander, of reproach afraid,
In secret loves his wife, but keeps her maid.
Some nymphs sell reputation; others buy; And love a market where the rates run high: Italian music's sweet, because 'tis dear; Their vanity is tickled, not their ear: Their tastes would lessen, if the prices fell, And Shakespeare's wretched stuff do quite as well; Away the disenchanted fair would throng, And own that English is their mother tongue.
To show how much our northern tastes refine, Imported nymphs our peeresses outshine ; While tradesmen starve, these Philomels are gay; For generous lords had rather give than pay.
Behold the masquerade’s fantastic scene ! The legislature join'd with Drury Lane ! When Britain calls, th' embroider'd patriots run, And serve their country—if the dance is done. " Are we not then allow'd to be polite ?"
Yes, doubtless ; but first set your notions right.
Worth, of politeness is the needful ground;
Where that is wanting, this can ne'er be found.
Triflers not e'en in trifles can excel;
'Tis solid bodies only polish well.
Great, chosen prophet! For these latter days,
To turn a willing world from righteous ways !
Well, Heydegger, dost thou thy master serve;
Well has he seen his servant should not starve.
Thou to his name hast splendid temples rais'd;
In various forms of worship seen him prais'd,
Gaudy devotion, like a Roman, shown,
sung sweet anthems in a tongue unknown. Inferior off’rings to thy god of vice Are duly paid, in fiddles, cards, and dice; Thy sacrifice supreme, a hundred maids ! That solemn rite of midnight masquerades ! If maids the quite exhausted town denies, A hundred heads of cuckolds may suffice. Thou smil'st, well pleas'd with the converted land, To see the fifty churches at a stand. And that thy minister may never fail, But what thy hand has planted still prevail, Of minor prophets a succession sure The propagation of thy zeal secure.
See commons, peers, and ministers of state, In solemn council met, and deep debate ! What godlike enterprise is taking birth ? What wonder opens on th' expecting earth? 'Tis done! with loud applause the council rings ! Fix'd is the fate of whores and fiddle-strings ! Tho' bold these truths, thou, muse,
with truths like these,
Wilt none offend, whom 'tis a praise to please :
Let others flatter to be flatter'd, thou,
Like just tribunals, bend an awful brow.
How terrible it were to common sense,
To write a satire, which gave none offence!
And, since from life I take the draughts you see,
If men dislike them, do they censure me?
The fool, and knave, 'tis glorious to offend,
And godlike an attempt the world to mend ;
The world, where lucky throws to blockheads fall,
Knaves know the game, and honest men pay all.
How hard for real worth to gain its price!
A man shall make his fortune in a trice,
If blest with pliant, tho' but slender, sense,
Feign'd modesty, and real impudence :
A supple knee, smooth tongue, an easy grace,
A curse within, a smile upon his face ;
A beauteous sister, or convenient wife,
Are prizes in the lottery of life ;
Genius and virtue they will.soon defeat,
And lodge you in the bosom of the great.
To merit, is but to provide a pain
For men's refusing what you ought to gain.
May, Dodington, this maxim fail in you,
Whom my presaging thoughts already view
By Walpole's conduct fir'd, and friendship grac'd,
Still higher in your prince's favour plac'd;
And lending, here, those awful councils aid,
Which you, abroad, with such success obey'd :
Bear this from one, who holds your
friendship dear; What most we wish, with ease we fancy near.
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE SIR SPENCER COMPTON.
Round some fair tree th' ambitious woodbine grows,
And breathes her sweets on the supporting boughs;
So sweet the verse, th' ambitious verse, should be,
(O! pardon mine) that hopes support from thee;
Thee, Compton, born o'er senates to preside,
Their dignity to raise, their councils guide ;
Deep to discern, and widely to survey,
And kingdoms' fates, without ambition, weigh;
Of distant virtues nice extremes to blend,
The crown's asserter, and the people's friend :
Nor dost thou scorn, amid sublimer views,
To listen to the labours of the muse;
Thy smiles protect her, while thy talents fire,
And 'tis but half thy glory to inspire.
Vex'd at a public fame, so justly won,
The jealous Chremes is with spleen undone;
Chremes, for airy pensions of renown,
Devotes his service to the state and crown ;
All schemes he knows, and, knowing, all improves,
Tho' Britain's thankless, still this patriot loves :
But patriots differ; some may shed their blood,
He drinks his coffee, for the public good;
Consults the sacred steam, and there foresees
What storms, or sunshine, Providence decrees ;
Knows, for each day, the weather of our fate;
A quid nunc is an almanack of state.