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For if his holiness would thump
His reverend bum 'gainst horse's rump.
He might b' equipt from his own stable
With one more white, and eke more able.
Or as with Gondolas, and men, his
Good excellence the Duke of Wenice 10
(I wish, for rhyme, ’t had been the king)
Sails out, and gives the gulf a ring;
Which trick of state, he wisely maintains,
Keeps kindness up 'twixt old acquaintance:
For else, in honest truth, the sea
Has much less need of gold, than he.
Or, not to rove, and pump one's fancy
For popish similes beyond sea;
As folks from mud-wall'd tenement
Bring landlords pepper-corn for rent; 20
Present a turkey, or a hen,
To those might better spare them ten :
Ev’n so, with all submission, I
(For first men instance, then apply)
Send you each year a homely letter,
Who may return me much a better.
Then take it, Sir, as it was writ,
To pay respect, and not show wit:
Nor look askew at what it saith;
There's no petition in it, 'Faith. 30
Here some would scratch their heads, and try
What they should write, and how, and why;
But I conceive, such folks are quite in
Mistakes, in theory of writing.
If once for principle 'tis laid,
That thought is trouble to the head;
I argue thus: the world agrees.
WOL. I. p
That he writes well, who writes with ease:
Then he, by sequel logical,
Writes best, who never thinks at all. 40
Verse comes from Heav'n, like inward light;
Mere human pains can ne'er come by’t:
The God, not we, the poem makes;
We only tell folks what he speaks.
Hence when anatomists discourse,
How like brutes' organs are to ours;
They grant, if higher powers think fit,
A bear might soon be made a wit;
And that for any thing in nature,
Pigs might squeak love-odes, dogs bark satire. 50
Memnon, though stone, was counted vocal ;
But ’twas the God, meanwhile, that spoke all.
Rome oft has heard a cross haranguing,
With prompting priest behind the hanging:
The wooden head resolv’d the question;
While you and Pettis help'd the jest on.
Your crabbed rogues, that read Lucretius,
Are against gods, you know; and teach us,
The God makes not the poet; but
The thesis, vice-versâ put, 60
Should Hebrew-wise be understood •
And means, the Poet makes the God.
Egyptian gard’ners thus are said to
Have set the leeks they after pray'd to ;
And Romish bakers praise the deity
They chipp'd, while yet in its paniety.
That when you poets swear and cry,
The God inspires; I rave, I die;
If inward wind does truly swell ye.
"T must be the colic in your belly: 70
That writing is but just like dice;
And lucky, mains make people wise:
That jumbled words, if fortune throw'em,
Shall, well as Dryden, form a poem;
Or make a speech, correct and witty,
As you know who—at the committee.
So atoms dancing round the centre,
They urge, made all things at a venture.
But granting matters should be spoke
By method, rather than by luck; 80
This may confine their younger styles,
Whom Dryden pedagogues at Will's:
But never could be meant to tie
Authentic wits, like you and I:
For as young children, who are try’d in
Go-carts, to keep their steps from sliding;
When members knit, and legs grow stronger,
Make use of such machine no longer;
But leap pro libitu, and scout
On horse call’d hobby, or without: 90
So when at school we first declaim,
Old Busby walks us in a theine,
Whose props support our infant vein,
And help the rickets in the brain:
But when our souls their force dilate,
And thoughts grow up to wit’s estate;
In verse or prose, we write or chat,
Not six-pence matter upon what.
'Tis not how well an author says;
But 'tis how much, that gathers praise. 100
Tonson, who is himself a wit,
Counts writers' merits by the sheet.
Thus each should down with all he thinks,
As boys eat bread, to fill up chinks.
Kind Sir, I should be glad to see you;
I hope y' are well; so God be wi' you;
Was all I thought at first to write:
But things, since then, are alter'd quite;
Fancies flow in, and Muse flies high;
So God knows when my clack will lie: 110
I must, Sir, prattle on, as afore,
And beg your pardon yet this half hour.
So at pure barn of loud Non-con,
Where with my grannam I have gone,
When Lobb had sifted all his text,
And I well hop'd the pudding next;
Now To APPLY, has plagued me more,
Than all his villain cant before.
For your religion, first, of her
Your friends do sav'rythings aver: 120
They say, she's honest, as your claret,
Not sour’d with cant, nor stum’d with merit:
Your chamber is the sole retreat
Of chaplains every Sunday night:
Of grace, no doubt, a certain sign,
When lay-man herds with man divine: -
For if their fame be justly great,
Who would no Popish nuncio treat;
That his is greater, we must grant,
Who will treat nuncios Protestant. 130
One single positive weighs more,
You know, than negatives a score.
In politics, I hear, you're stanch,
Directly bent against the French;
Deny to have your free-born toe
Dragoon’d into a wooden shoe:
Are in no plots; but fairly drive at
The public welfare, in your private:
And will, for England's glory, try
Turks, Jews, and Jesuits to defy, 140
And keep your places till you die.
For me, whom wand'ring Fortune threw
From what I lov'd, the town and you;
Let me just tell you how my time is
Past in a country-life.—Imprimis,
As soon as Phoebus' rays inspect us,
First, Sir, I read, and then I breakfast;
So on, till foresaid God does set,
I sometimes study, sometimes eat.
Thus, of your heroes and brave boys, 150
With whom old Homer makes such noise,
The greatest actions I can find,
Are, that they did their work, and din'd.
The books of which I’m chiefly fond,
Are such, as you have whilom conn'd;
That treat of China's civil law,
And subjects’ rights in Golconda;
Of highway-elephants at Ceylan,
That rob in clans, like men o' th' Highland;
Of apes that storm, or keep a town, 160
As well almost, as count Lauzun;
Of unicorns and alligators,
Elks, mermaids, mummies, witches, satyrs,
And twenty other stranger matters;
Which, though they're things I’ve no concern in,
Make all our grooms admire my learning.
Critics I read on other men,
And hypers upon them again;
From whose remarks I give opinion