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Pit, box, and gallery, in convulfions hurl'd,
Thou ftand'st unshook amidst a bursting world.
Who fhames a Scribler? Break one cobweb through,
He fpins the flight, felf-pleafing thread anew:
Deftroy his fib or fophiftry, in vain,
'The creature's at his dirty work again,
Thron'd on the centre of his thin defigns,
Proud of a vast extent of flimzy lines!
Whom have I hurt? has Poet yet, or Peer,
Loft the arch'd eyebrow, or Parnassian sneer?
And has not Colly still his lord, and whore ?
His butchers Henley, his free-masons Moor?
Does not one table Bavius ftill admit?
Still to one Bishop Philips feem a wit?
Still Sappho-A. Hold; for God's fake-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 thefe-P. One Flatterer's worfe than all.
Of all mad creatures, if the learn'd are right,
It is the flaver kills, and not the bite.
A fool quite angry is quite innocent:
Alas! 'tis ten times worfe when they repent.
One dedicates in high heroic profe,
And ridicules beyond a hundred foes:
One from all Grubstreet will my fame defend,
And, more abufive, calls himfelf my friend.
For fong, for filence fome expect a bribe:
And others roar aloud, “ Subscribe, subscribe!"
This prints my Letters, that expects a bribe,
And others roar aloud, "Subfcribe, fubfcribe!"
There are, who to my perfon pay their court:
I cough like Horace, and, though lean, am short.
Ammon's great fon one fhoulder had too high,
Such Ovid's nofe, and, "Sir! you have an Eye!"—
Go on, obliging creatures, make me fee
All that difgrac'd my Betters, met in me.
Say for my comfort, languifhing in bed,
"Juft fo immortal Maro held his head;"
And when I die, be fure you let me know
Great Homer dy'd three thousand years ago.
Why did I write? what fin to me unknown
Dipt me in ink, my parents', or my own?
As yet a child, nor yet a fool to fame,
I lifp'd in numbers, for the numbers came.
I left no calling for this idle trade,
No duty broke, no father difobey'd:
Time, praife, or money, is the least they crave;
Yet each declares the other fool or knave.
After ver. 124. in the MS.
But, friend, this fhape, which You and Curll admire,
Came not from Ammon's fon, but from my Sire:
And for my head, if you'll the truth excufe,
I had it from my Mother c, not the Muse.
Happy, if he, in whom thefe frailties join'd,
Had heir'd as well the virtues of the mind.
a Curll fet up his head for a fign.
b His Father was crooked.
His Mother was much afflicted with headachs.
The Mufe but ferv'd to eafe fome friend, not Wife,
To help me through this long disease, my Life,
To fecond, Arbuthnot! thy Art and Care,
And teach, the Being you preferv'd to bear.
But why then publish? Granville the polite,
And knowing Walsh, would tell me I could write ;
Well-natur'd Garth inflam'd with early praife,
And Congreve lov'd, and Swift endur'd my lays;
The courtly Talbot, Somers, Sheffield read,
Ev'n mitred Rochefter would nod the head,
And St. John's felf (great Dryden's friends before)
With open arms receiv'd one Poet more.
Happy my ftudies, when by thefe approv'd!
Happier their Author, when by these belov'd!
From these the world will judge of men and books, 145
Not from the Burnets, Oldmixons, and Cooks.
Soft were my numbers: who could take offence
While pure Defcription held the place of Senfe?
Like gentle Fanny's was my flowery theme,
A painted miftrefs, or a purling ftream.
Yet then did Gildon draw his venal quill;
I wifh'd the man a dinner, and fate still.
Yet then did Dennis rave in furious fret ;
I never answer'd, I was not in debt.
If want provok'd, or madness made them print,
I wag'd no war with Bedlam or the Mint.
Did fome more fober Critic come abroad; If wrong, I fmil'd; if right, I kifs'd the rod. Pains, reading, ftudy, are their juft pretence, And all they want is fpirit, tafte, and sense.
Commas and points they fet exactly right,
And 'twere a fin to rob them of their mite.
Yet ne'er one fprig of laurel grac'd these ribalds,
From flashing Bentley down to pidling Tibalds :
Each wight, who reads not, and but scans and spells,
Each Word-catcher, that lives on fyllables,
Ev'n fuch small Critics fome regard may claim,
Preferv'd in Milton's or in Shakespeare's name.
Pretty! in amber to obferve the forms
Of hairs, or straws, or dirt, or grubs, or worms!
The things we know are neither rich nor rare,
But wonder how the devil they got there.
Were others angry: I excus'd them too;
Well might they rage, I gave them but their due.
A man's true merit 'tis not hard to find;
But each man's fecret ftandard in his mind,
That Cafting-weight pride adds to emptiness,
This, who can gratify? for who can guess?
The Bard whom pilfer'd Pastorals renown,
Who turns a Perfian tale for half a crown,
Juft writes to make his barrenness appear,
And ftrains from hard-bound brains, eight lines a year;
He, who, ftill wanting, though he lives on theft,
Steals much, fpends little, yet has nothing left:
And He, who, now to sense, now nonsense leaning, 185
Means not, but blunders round about a meaning:
And He, whofe fuftian's fo fublimely bad,
'It is not poetry, but profe run mad:
All these, my modest Satire bad translate,
And own'd that nine fuch Poets made a Tate.
How did they fume, and ftamp, and roar, and chafe !
And fwear, not Addison himself was fafe.
Peace to all fuch! but were there one whofe fires
True Genius kindles, and fair Fame infpires;
Bleft with each talent and each art to please,
And born to write, converfe, and live with ease:
Should fuch a man, too fond to rule alone,
Bear, like the Turk, no brother near the throne,
View him with fcornful, yet with jealous eyes,
And hate for arts that caus'd himself to rise;
Damn with faint praise, affent with civil leer,
And, without fneering, teach the reft to fneer;
Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike,
Juft hint a fault, and hesitate dislike;
Alike referv'd to blame, or to commend,
A timorous foe, and a fuspicious friend;
Dreading ev'n fools, by Flatterers besieg'd,
And fo obliging, that he ne'er oblig'd;
Like Cato, give his little Senate laws,
And fit attentive to his own applause ;
While Wits and Templars every sentence raise,
And wonder with a foolish face of praise—
Who but must laugh, if fuch a man there be?
Who would not weep, if Atticus were he!
After ver. 208. in the MS.
Who, if two Wits on rival themes conteft,
Approves of each, but likes the worst the best.
Alluding to Mr. Pope's and Tickell's Tranflation of the firft Book of the Iliad.