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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. 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-versă put, 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:
That writing is but just like dice;
And lucky maids 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;
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:
So when at school we first declaim,
Old Busby walks us in a theme,
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 sixpence matter upon what.
'Tis not how well an author says;
But 'tis how much, that gathers praise.
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 flew in, and Muse flies high;
So God knows when my clack will lie :
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’ry things aver:
They say, she's honest, as your claret,
Not sour’d with cant, nor stumm'd with merit:
Your chamber is the sole retreat
Of chaplains every Sunday night:
Of grace, no doubt, a certain sign,
When layman 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.
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,
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,
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,
As well almost as count Lauzun ;
Of unicorns and aligators,
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
On twenty books, yet ne'er look in one.
Then all your wits, that fleer and sham,
Down from Don Quixote to Tom Tram ;
From whom Ijests and puns purloin,
And slily put them off for mine:
Fond to be thought a country wit:
The rest,--when fate and you think fit.
Sometimes I climb my mare, and kick her
To bottled ale, and country vicar;
Sometimes at Stamford take a quart,
Squire Shephard's health, with all my heart
Thus, without much delight, or grief,
I fool away an idle life;
Till Shadwell from the town retires,
(Chok’d up with fame and sea-coal fires),
To bless the wood with peaceful lyric ;
Then hey for praise and panegyric ;
Justice restor'd, and nations freed,