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Lo! there, thy triumphs, Taaff; thy palms, Portmore ;
Tempt him to rein the steed, and stake his store.
Like a new bruiser on Broughtonick sand,
Amid the lists our hero takes his stand ;
Suck'd by the sharper, to the peer a prey,
He rolls his eyes, that witness huge dismay ;
When lo ! the chance of one unlucky heat
Strips him of game, strong-beer, and sweet retreat.
How aukward now he bears disgrace and dirt,
Nor knows the poor's last refuge, to be pert.
The shiftless beggar bears of ills the work ;
At once with dulness, and with hunger curs’d.
And feels the tasteless breast equestrian fires ?
And dwells fuch mighty rage in graver squires ?
In all attempts, but for their country, bold,
Britain, thy conscript counsellors behold!
(For some, perhaps, by fortune favour'd yet,
May gain a borough by a lucky bet)
Smit with the love of the laconick boot,
The cap and wig succinct, the filken fuit,
Mere modern Phaëtons usurp the reins,
And scour in rival race Newmarket's plains.
See, fide by fide, the Jockey and Sir John,
Discuss th' important point-of fix to one.
For O, my Muse, the deep-felt bliss how dear,
How great the pride, to gain a Jockey's ear!
See, like a routed hoft, with headlong pace,
Thy members pour amid the mingling race !
All ask, what crowds the tumults could produce ;
• Is Bedlam or the Commons all broke loose?"
Such noise and nonsense, betting, damning, finking,
Such emphasis of oaths, and claret-drinking !
Like school-boys freed, they run as chance directs,
Proud from a well-bred thing to risque their necks.
The warrior's scar not half so graceful seems,
As, at Newmarket, dislocated limbs.
Thy sages hear, amid th' admiring crowd
Adjudge the stakes, most eloquently loud :
With critick skill, o'er dubious bets prefide,
The low dispute, or kindle, or decide ;
All empty wisdom, and judicious prate,
Of distanc'd horses, gravely fix the fate,
Guide the nice conduct of a daring match,
And o’er th’equestrian rights with care paternal watch.
Mean time, no more the mimick patriots rise,
To guard Britannia’s honour, warm and wife :
No more in senates dare assert her laws,
the bold debate in freedom's cause;
Neglect the counsels of a sinking land,
And know no rostrum, but Newmarket's stand *.
Are these the sage directive powers, design'd,
With the nice search of a fagacious mind,
In judgment's scales the fate of realms to weigh,
Britannia's interest, trade, and laws survey?
O say, when least their fapient schemes are cross'd,
Or when a nation, or a match is lost?
Who dams and fires with more exactness trace,
Than of their country's kings the sacred race ;
Think London journies are the worst of ills,
And set their hands to articles for bills;
Strangers to all historians fage relate,
Theirs are the memoirs of th' equestrian state ;
Unkiild in Albion's past and present views,
Who Cheney's † records for Rapin peruse.
Go on, brave youths, till, in some future age,
Whips shall become the senatorial badge ;
* A kind of scaffold, where is held a confiftory, made up of several very eminent gentlemen, for determining doubtful cafes in the race, &c. This place might not improperly be called a Pandæmonium.
† The accurate and annual author of ar historical list of the runninghorses, &c.
Till England see her thronging fenators
Meet all at Westminster, in boots and spurs :
See the whole house, with mutual frenzy mad,
Her patriots all in leathern breeches clad;
Of bets, for taxes, learnedly debate,
And guide, with equal reins, a fteed and state.
How would a virtuous Houhnhym * neigh disdain,
To see his brethren brook th' imperious rein;
Bear slavery's wanton whip, or galling goad,
Smoke thro' the glebe, or trace the destin'd road ;
And robb’d of manhood by the murderous knife,
Sustain each sordid toil of servile life.
Yet 0, what rage would touch his generous mind,
To see his sons, of more than mortal kind;
A kind, with each ingenuous virtue bless'd,
That fills the prudent head, or valorous breast;
Afford diversion to that monster base,
That meanest spawn of man's half-monkey race,
In whom pride, av'rice, ignorance conspire-
That hated animal, a Yahoo squire !
How are th' adventurers of the British race
Chang'd from the chosen chiefs of ancient days ;
Who, warm’d with genuine glory's honest thirst,
Divinely labour'd in the Pythian duft.
Theirs was the wreath that lifted from the throng,
Theirs was the Theban bard's recording song.
Mean time, to manly emulation blind,
Slaves to each vulgar vice that stains the mind,
Our British Therons issue to the race,
Of their own generous coursers the disgrace.
What tho' the grooms of Greece ne'er took the odds,
They won no bets--but then they foar'd to gods;
And more an Hiero's palm, a Pindar's ode,
Than all th' united plates of George bestow'd.
* Vide Gulliver's Travels, voyage to the Houhnhyms.
Greece ! how I kindle at thy magick name,
Feel all thy warmth, and catch the kindred flame!
Thy folemn scenes and awful visions rise,
In ancient grace, before my mufing eyes.
Here Sparta's sons in mute attention hang,
While fage Lycurgus pours the mild harangue :
There Xerxes' hoft, all pale with deadly fear,
Shrink at her fated hero's * flashing spear.
Here, hung with many a lyre of filver ftring,
The laureat walks of sweet Ilissus Spring :
And lo! where, rapt in beauty's heavenly dream,
Hoar Plato walks his oliy'd Academe.
Yet, ah! no more the seat of arts and arms
Delights with wisdom, or with virtue warms,
Lo! the stern Turk, with more than Gothick rage,
Has blasted all the bays of ancient age :
No more her groves by sacred feet are trod,
Each Attick Grace has left the lov'd abode.
Fall'n is fair Greece! by Luxury's pleasing bane
Seduc'd, he drags a barb'rous foreign chain.
Britannia, watch ! O trim thy with’ring bays !
Remember thou hast rivald Græcia's praise,
Great nurse of works divine! Yet, oh, beware!
Left thou the fate of Greece, my country, share.
Recal thy wonted worth with conscious pride :
Thou too hast seen a Solon in a Hyde ;
Hast bade thine Edwards and thine Henrys rear,
With Spartan fortitude, the British spear;
Alike hast seen thy sons deserve the meed,
Or of che moral, or the martial deed.
Thid gemely ei pelke bofom of the lake :
HE balmy Zephyrs o'er the woodland ftray,
And gently stir the bosom of the lake: The fawns that panting in the covert lay,
Now thro' the gloomy park their revels take.
Pale rise the rugged hills that skirt the north,
The wood glows yellow'd by the evening rays; Silent and beauteous flows the filver Forth,
And Aman murmuring thro' the willows strays.
But, ah! what means this filence in the
grove, Where oft the wild notes sooth'd the love-fick boy? Why cease in Mary's Bower the songs of Love;
The songs of Love, of Innocence, and Joy?
When bright the lake reflects the setting ray,
The sportive virgins tread the flow'ry green ;
Here by the moon, full oft in chearful May,
merry bride-maids at the dance are seen.
But who these nymphs, that thro’ the copfe appear,
In robes of white adorn'd with violet blue? Fondly with purple flow'rs they deck yon bier,
And wave in solemn pomp the boughs of yew.