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What walls can guard me, or what shades can hide? They pierce my thickets, thro'
Grot they glide, By land, by water, they renew the charge, They stop the chariot, and they board the barge. 10 No place is facred, 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 be-mus'd in beer, 15 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 desp’rate charcoal round his darken’d walls? All fly to TWIT'NAM, and in humble strain Apply to me, to keep them mad yr vain.
Is there a Bard in durance ? turn them free,
NOT E s. VER. 12. Ev'n Sunday Shines no Sabbath-day to me.] The beauty of this line arises from the figurative terms of the predicate alluding to the subject. A secret, in elegant expression, which our Author often practised.
VER. 13. Mint.) A place to which infolvent debtors retired, to enjoy an illegal protection, which they were there fuffered to afford one another, from the perfecution of their creditors.
Arthur, whose giddy son neglects the Laws, Imputes to me and my damn'd works the cause: Poor Cornus sees his frantic wife elope, 25 And curses Wit, and Poetry, and Pope.
Friend to my Life! (which did not you 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 ?30 A dire dilemma! either way I'm sped,
, If foes, they write, if friends, they read me dead. Seiz'd and ty'd down to judge, how wretched I ! Who can't be silent, and who will not lye: To laugh, were want of goodness and of grace, 35 And to be grave, exceeds all Pow'r of face. I fit with fad civility, I read With honest anguish, and an aching head;
Dear Doctor, tell me, is not this a curse?
VER. 33. Seiz'd and ty'd down to judge,] Alluding to the scene in the Plain-Dealer, where Oldfox gags, and ties down the Widow, to hear his well-pen'd stanzas.
Ver. 38. honest anguish,] i. e. undissembled.
Ibid. an aching head;} Alluding to the disorder he was then lo constantly afflicted with.
And drop at last, but in unwilling ears,
39 This faving counsel, “ Keep your piece nine years.”
Nine years! cries he, who high in Drury-lane, Lulld by soft Zephyrs thro' the broken pane, Rhymes ere he wakes, and prints before Term ends, Oblig'd by hunger, and request of friends: “ The piece, you think, is incorrect? why take it,45 " 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 fends to me: “You know his Grace, " I want a Patron; ask him for a Place."
50 Pitholeon libell'd me“ but here's a letter “ Informs you, Sir, 'twas when he knew no better. s Dare
refuse him? Curl invites to dine, “ He'll write a Journal, or he'll turn Divine.”
If you refuse, he goes, as fates incline,
Distates to me Numb'ring, or inspires
Bless me! a packet.— "'Tis a stranger sues, 55 “ A Virgin Tragedy, an Orphan Muse.” If I dislike it, “ Furies, death and rage !” I
« Commend it to the Stage.” There (thank my stars) my whole commission ends, The Play’rs and I are, luckily, no friends. 60 Fir'd that the house reject him, “'Sdeath I'll print it, " And shame the fools Your int'reft, 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;
you no more.
VARIATIONS. VER. 60. in the former Edd.
Cibber and I are luckily no friends.
NOTES. VER. 69. 'Tis fung, when Midas' &c.] The Poet means fung by Persius; and the words alluded to are,
Vidi, vidi ipse, Libelle ! Auriculas Afini Mida Rex habet. The transition is fine, but obscure: for he has here imitated the manner of that mysterious writer, as well as taken up his image. Our Author had been hitherto complaining of the folly
very Minister who spy'd them first,
Ver. 72. Queen] The story is told, by fome, of his Barber, but by Chaucer of his Queen. See Wife of Bath's Tale in Dryden's Fables.
Si fractus illabatur orbis,