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Nor cherish'd they relations poor;
That might decrease their present store:
Nor barn nor house did they repair;
That might oblige their future heir.
They neither added nor confounded;
They neither wanted nor abounded.
Each Christmas they accompts did clear,
And wound their bottom round the year.
Nor tear nor smile did they employ
At news of public grief, or joy.
When bells were rung, and bonfires made,
If ask'd, they ne'er denied their aid;
Their jug was to the ringers carried,
Whoever either died, or married.
Their billet at the fire was found,
Whoever was depos'd, or crown'd.
Nor good, nor bad, nor fools, nor wise;
They would not learn, nor could advise:
Without love, hatred, joy, or fear,
They led—a kind of—as it were:
Nor wish'd, nor car'd, nor laugh'd, nor cried :
And so they liv'd, and so they died.
HORACE, LIB. I. EPIST. IX. IMITATED.
Septimius, Claudi, nimirum intelligit unus,
Quantime facias, &c.
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE MR. HARLEY."
DEAR DICK,” howe'er it comes into his head,
Believes as firmly as he does his creed,
That you and I, Sir, are extremely great;
Though I plain Mat, you minister of state:
One word from me, without all doubt, he says,
Would six his fortune in some little place.
Thus better than myself, it seems, he knows
How far my interest with my patron goes;
And answering all objections I can make,
Still plunges deeper in his dear mistake.
From this wild fancy, Sir, there may proceed
One wilder yet, which I foresee and dread;
That I, in fact, a real interest have,
Which to my own advantage I would save,
And, with the usual courtier's trick, intend
To serve myself, forgetful of my friend.
1 Robert Harley, Esq. afterwards Earl of Oxford and Mortimer.
2 This was Richard Shelton, Esq. one of the interlocutors in the poem of Alma. Mr. Prior in his will styles him his dear friend and companion.
To shun this censure, I all shame lay by,
And make my reason with his will comply ;
Hoping for my excuse, 'twill be confess'd,
That of two evils I have chose the least.
So, Sir, with this epistolary scroll,
Receive the partner of my inmost soul:
Him you will find in letters, and in laws
Not unexpert, firm to his country's cause,
Warm in the glorious interest you pursue,
And, in one word, a good man and a true.
TO MR HARLEY, WOUNDED BY GUISCARD.]
Ducit opes animumque ferro. HoR.
IN one great now, superior to an age,
The full extremes of Nature’s force we find :
IIow heavenly virtue can exalt; or rage
Infernal, how degrade the human mind.
1 Antoine De Guiscard had been Abbot De Borly, near the Cevennes in France, but being of a vicious and profligate disposition, he committed offences which obliged him to fly from his country. He afterwards entered into the army, and was made colonel of a regiment of horse, and lieuteuant-general, with pensions both from England and Holland. He afterwards, to make his peace with France, became a spy on the English court; was discovered, and
While the fierce monk does at his trial stand,
He chews revenge, abjuring his offence:
Guile in his tongue, and murder in his hand,
He stabs his judge to prove his innocence.
The guilty stroke and torture of the steel
Insix’d, our dauntless Briton scarce perceives:
The wounds his country from his death must feel,
The patriot views; for those alone he grieves.
The barbarous rage that durst attempt thy life,
Harley, great counsellor, extends thy fame:
And the sharp point of cruel Guiscard's knife,
In brass and marble carves thy deathless name.
Faithful assertor of thy country’s cause,
Britain with tears shall bathe thy glorious wound:
She for thy safety shall enlarge her laws,
And in her statutes shall thy worth be found.
Yet midst her sighs she triumphs, on the hand
Reflecting, that diffus’d the public woe;
Meantime thy pain is gracious Anna's care: Our queen, our saint, with sacrificing breath,
Softens thy anguish : in her powerful prayer She pleads thy service, and forbids thy death.
Great as thou art, thou canst demand no more,
O breast bewail'd by earth, preserv’d by heaven!
No higher can aspiring virtue soar :
Enough to thee of grief, and fame is given.
AN EXTEMPORE INVITATION TO THE EARL OF OxFORD LORD HIGH TREASURER,
OUR weekly friends to-morrow meet
At Matthew's palace, in Duke-street,
To try for once, if they can dine
On bacon-ham, and mutton-chine.
If wearied with the great affairs,
Which Britain trusts to Harley's cares,
Thou, humble statesman, mayst descend,
Thy mind one moment to unbend,
To see thy servant from his soul
Crown with thy health the sprightly bowl:
WOL. I. 22