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For thy cord, and my cord both equally tie;
And we live by the gold for which other men die.
Derry down, etc.
Stet quicunque volet potens
Aulae culmine lubrico, &c. SENECA.
INTERRED beneath this marble stone
Lie sauntering Jack and idle Joan.
While rolling threescore years and one
Did round this globe their courses run;
If human things went ill or well;
If changing empires rose or fell;
The morning past, the evening came,
And found this couple still the same.
They walked and eat, good folks, what then?
Why then they walked and eat again! 10
They soundly slept the night away;
They just did nothing all the day;
And having buried children four,
Would not take pains to try for more;
Nor sister either had, nor brother;
They seemed just tallied for each other.
Their moral and economy
Most perfectly they made agree;
Each virtue kept its proper bound,
Nor trespassed on the other's ground: 20
Nor fame, nor censure they regarded;
They neither punished nor rewarded.
He cared not what the footmen did;
Her maids she neither praised nor chid;
So every servant took his course;
And bad at first, they all grew worse.
Slothful disorder filled his stable; 27 And sluttish plenty decked her table. Their beer was strong, their wine was port; Their meal was large, their grace was short. They gave the poor the remnant meat, Just when it grew not fit to eat." They paid the church and parish rate; And took, but read not the receipt; For which they claim their Sunday's due, Of slumbering in an upper pew. No man's defects sought they to know; So never made themselves a foe. No man's good deeds did they commend; So never raised themselves a friend. 40 Nor cherished 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 accounts did clear, And wound their bottom round the year. Nor tear nor smile did they employ At news of public grief, or joy. 50 When bells were rung, and bonfires made, If asked, 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 deposed, or crowned. Nor good, nor bad, nor fools, nor wise; They would not learn, nor could advise: * Scott, in his ‘Bride of Lammermoor, borrows this. Johnnie Girder
Without love, hatred, joy, or fear, 59
They led—a kind of as it were:
Nor wished, nor cared, nor laughed, nor cried:
And so they lived, and so they died.
HORACE, LIB. I, EPIST. IX. IMITATED.
Septimius, Claudi, nimirum intelligit unus,
Quantime facias, etc.
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE ROBERT HARLEY
(AFTERWARDS EARL OF OXFORD).
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 fix 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. 10
From this wild fancy, Sir, there may proceed
One wilder yet, which I forsee 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.
To shun this censure, I all shame lay by,
And make my reason with his will comply;
Hoping for my excuse, 'twill be confessed,
That of two evils I have chos'n the least. 20
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, 24
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.
1 IN one great now, superior to an age,
The full extremes of Nature's force we find;
How heavenly virtue can exalt, or rage .
Infernal, how degrade the human mind.
2. 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.
3 The guilty stroke and torture of the steel
Infixed, our dauntless Briton scarce perceives;
The wounds his country from his death must feel,
The patriot views, for those alone he grieves.
4 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.
5 Faithful asserter 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.
6 Yet midst her sighs she triumphs, on the hand
Reflecting, that diffused the public woe;
A stranger to her altars, and her land;
No son of hers could meditate this blow.
7 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.
8 Great as thou art, thou canst demand no more,
O breast bewailed by earth, preserved by heaven!
No higher can aspiring virtue soar;
Enough to thee of grief, and fame is given.
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: 10
Among the guests, which e'er my house
Received, it never can produce
Of honour a more glorious proof;
Though Dorset used to bless the roof.