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Yet, with talents like these, and an excellent heart,
The man had his failings—a dupe to his art.
Like an ill-judging beauty, his colours he spread,
And beplaster'd with rouge his own natural red.
On the stage he was natural, simple, affecting ;
'Twas only that when he was off, he was acting.
With no reason on earth to go out of his way,
He turn'd and he varied full ten times a day;
Though secure of our hearts, yet confoundedly sick,
If they were not his own by finessing and trick :
He cast off his friends, as a huntsman his pack ;
For he knew, when he pleased, he could whistle them back.
Of praise a mere glutton, he swallow'd what came,
And the puff of a dunce, he mistook it for fame;
Till his relish grown callous, almost to disease,
Who pepper'd the highest was surest to please.
But let us be candid, and speak out our mind :
If dunces applauded, he paid them in kind.
Ye Kenricks, ye Kellys, and Woodfalls,3 so grave,
What a commerce was yours, while you got and you gave !
How did Grub Street re-echo the shouts that
While he was be-Roscius'd and you were be-praised !
But peace to his spirit, wherever it flies,
To act as an angel and mix with the skies :
Those poets who owe their best fame to his skill
Shall still be his flatterers, go where he will;
Old Shakspeare receive him with praise and with love,
And Beaumonts and Bens be his Kellys above.
Here Hickey4 reclines, a most blunt, pleasant creature, And slander itself must allow him good-nature :
He cherish'd his friend, and he relish'd a bumper ;
Yet one fault he had, and that one was a thumper.
Perhaps you may ask if the man was a miser ;
I answer, No, no, for he always was wiser :
Too courteous, perhaps, or obligingly flat ?
His very worst foe can't accuse him of that.
Perhaps he confided in men as they go,
And so was too foolishly honest ? Ah, no!
Then what was his failing ? come, tell it, and burn ye,-
He was, could he help it ? a special attorney.
Here Reynolds is laid, and, to tell you my mind,
He has not left a wiser or better behind :
His pencil was striking, resistless, and grand;
His manners were gentle, complying, and bland;
Still born to improve us in every part,
His pencil our faces, his manners our heart :
To coxcombs averse, yet most civilly steering,
When they judged without skill, he was still hard of hearing :
When they talk'd of their Raphaels, Correggios, and stuff,
He shifted his trumpet, and only took snuff.
After the fourth edition of this poem was printed, the publisher received the
following epitaph on Mr Whitefoord, from friend of the late Dr Goldsmith,
HERE Whitefoord reclines; and, deny it who can,
Though he merrily lived, he is now a grave man ;
Rare compound of oddity, frolic, and fun!
Who relish'd a joke, and rejoiced in a pun ;3
! • Trumpet :' Sir Joshua Reynolds was so remarkably deaf as to be under the necessity of using an ear trumpet in company. 2 + Whitefoord: 'Mr Caleb Whitefoord, author of many humorous essays. 3. Pun :' Mr W. was 80 notorious a punster, that Dr Goldsmith used to say it was impossible to keep him company without being infected with the itch of punning.
Whose temper was generous, open, sincere ;
A stranger to flattery, a stranger to fear;
Who scatter'd around wit and humour at will;
Whose daily bon mots half a column might fill :
A Scotchman, from pride and from prejudice free;
A scholar, yet surely no pedant was he.
What pity, alas ! that so liberal a mind
Should so long be to newspaper essays confined !
Who perhaps to the summit of science could soar,
Yet content if “the table he set in a roar ;
Whose talents to fill any station were fit,
Yet happy if Woodfall 1 confess'd him a wit.
Ye newspaper witlings ! ye pert scribbling folks!
Who copied his squibs, and re-echoed his jokes ;
Ye tame imitators, ye servile herd, come,
Still follow your master, and visit his tomb :
To deck it, bring with you festoons of the vine,
And copious libations bestow on his shrine !
Then strew all around it (you can do no less)
Cross-readings, Ship-news, and Mistakes of the Press.? 170
Merry Whitefoord, farewell ! for thy sake I admit That a Scot may have humour— I had almost said wit : This debt to thy memory I cannot refuse, “ Thou best-humour'd man with the worst-humour'd muse." 3
THE DOUBLE TRANSFORMATION :
SECLUDED from domestic strife,
Jack Bookworm led a college life ;
A fellowship at twenty-five,
Made him the happiest man alive;
He drank his glass, and crack'd his joke,
And freshmen wonder'd as he spoke.
Such pleasures, unalloy'd with care,
Could any accident impair?
Could Cupid's shaft at length transfix
Our swain, arrived at thirty-six ?
Oh ! had the archer ne'er come down
To ravage in a country town,
Or Flavia been content to stop
At triumphs in a Fleet Street shop:
Oh! had her eyes forgot to blaze,
Or Jack had wanted eyes to gaze
Oh ! But let exclamation cease ;
Her presence banish'd all his peace;
So with decorum all things carried,
Miss frown'd, and blush'd, and then was—married !
Need we expose to vulgar sight The raptures of the bridal night? Need we intrude on hallow'd ground, Or draw the curtains closed around? Let it suffice, that each had charms : He clasp'd a goddess in his arms ;
And though she felt his visage rough,
Yet in a man 'twas well enough.
The honey-moon like lightning flew;
The second brought its transports too;
A third, a fourth, were not amiss ;
The fifth was friendship mix'd with bliss :
But when a twelvemonth pass'd away,
Jack found his goddess made of clay ;
Found half the charms that deck'd her face
Arose from powder, shreds, or lace :
But still the worst remain'd behind,
That very face had robb’d her mind.
Skill'd in no other arts was she,
But dressing, patching, repartee ;
And, just as humour rose or fell,
By turns a slattern or a belle ;
'Tis true she dress'd with modern grace,
Half naked at a ball or race;
But when at home, at board or bed,
Five greasy nightcaps wrapp'd her head.
Could so much beauty condescend
To be a dull domestic friend ?
Could any curtain lectures bring
To decency so fine a thing ?
In short, by night, 'twas fits or fretting ;
By day, 'twas gadding or coquetting.
Fond to be seen, she kept a bevy
Of powder'd coxcombs at her levee :
The squire and captain took their stations,
And twenty other near relations :
Jack suck'd his pipe, and often broke
A sigh in suffocating smoke;
While all their hours were pass'd between
Insulting repartee or spleen.