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2 Through ages thus I may presume to live,
And from the transcript of thy prose receive
What my own short-lived verse can never give.
3 Thus shall fair Britain with a gracious smile Accept the work; and the instructed isle, For more than treaties made, shall bless my toil.
4 Nor longer hence the Gallic style preferred, Wisdom in English idiom shall be heard, While Talbot tells the world, where Montaigne erred.
DESIRING THE QUEEN's PICTURE.
written AT PARIs, MDCCXIV, BUT LEFT UNFINISHED ON THE
SUDDEN NEWS OF HER MAJESTY'S DEATH.
THE train of equipage and pomp of state,
The shining sideboard, and the burnished plate,
Let other ministers, great Anne, require,
And partial fall thy gift to their desire.
To the fair portrait of my sovereign dame,
To that alone eternal be my claim.
My bright defender, and my dread delight,
If ever I found favour in thy sight;
If all the pains that for thy Britain's sake
My past has took, or future life may take, 10
Begrateful to my Queen, permit my prayer,
And with this gift reward my total care.
Will thy indulgent hand, fair saint, allow
The boon? and will thy ear accept the vow?
That in despite of age, of impious flame,
And eating Time, thy picture like thy fame
Entire may last; that as their eyes survey
The semblant shade, men yet unborn may say,
Thus great, thus gracious looked Britannia's queen;
Her brow thus smooth, her look was thus serene; 20
When to a low, but to a loyal hand
The mighty empress gave her high command,
That he to hostile camps and kings should haste,
To speak her vengeance, as their danger, passed; *
To say, she wills detested wars to cease:
She checks her conquest, for her subjects' ease,
And bids the world attend her terms of peace.
Thee, gracious Anne, thee present I adore,
Thee, queen of peace;—If time and fate have power
Higher to raise the glories of thy reign, 30
In words sublimer, and a nobler strain,
May future bards the mighty theme rehearse,
Here, Stator Jove, and Phoebus king of verse,
The votive tablet I suspend * * * * * * *
MATTHEW met Richard," when or where
From story is not mighty clear;
Of many knotty points they spoke,
And pro and con by turns they took.
Rats half the manuscript have eat;
Dire hunger! which we still regret.
O! may they ne'er again digest
The horrors of so sad a feast!
Yet less our grief, if what remains, 9
Dear Jacob," by thy care and pains
Shall be to future times conveyed.
It thus begins:
Here Matthew said,
Alma in verse, in prose the mind,
By Aristotle's pen defined,
Throughout the body squat or tall,
Is, bona fide, all in all.
And yet, slap-dash, is all again
In every sinew, nerve, and vein;
Runs here and there, like Hamlet's ghost; 20
While everywhere she rules the roast.
This system, Richard, we are told,
The men of Oxford firmly hold.
The Cambridge wits, you know, deny
With ipse dixit to comply.
They say (for in good truth they speak
With small respect of that old Greek),
That, putting all his words together,
'Tis three blue beans in one blue bladder.
Alma, they strenuously maintain, 30
Sits cock-horse on her throne the brain;
And from that seat of thought dispenses
Her sovereign pleasure to the senses.
Two optic nerves, they say, she ties,
Like spectacles, across the eyes;
By which the spirits bring her word,
Whene'er the balls are fixed or stirred,
How quick at park and play they strike;
The duke they court; the toast they like;
And at St James's turn their grace 40
From former friends now out of place.
Without these aids, to be more serious, 42 Her power, they hold, had been precarious: The eyes might have conspired her ruin; And she not known what they were doing. Foolish it had been, and unkind, That they should see, and she be blind. Wise nature likewise, they suppose, Has drawn two conduits down our nose; Could Alma else with judgment tell, 50 When cabbage stinks, or roses smell! Or who would ask for her opinion Between an oyster and an onion! For from most bodies, Dick, you know, Some little bits ask leave to flow; And, as through these canals they roll, Bring up a sample of the whole; Like footmen running before coaches, To tell the inn, what lord approaches. By nerves about our palate placed, 60 She likewise judges of the taste: Else (dismal thought!) our warlike men Might drink thick port for fine champagne; And our ill-judging wives and daughters Mistake small beer for citron waters. Hence too, that she might better hear, She sets a drum at either ear; And, loud or gentle, harsh or sweet, Are but the larums which they beat. Last, to enjoy her sense of feeling, 70 A thing she much delights to deal in, A thousand little nerves she sends Quite to our toes' and fingers' ends; And these in gratitude again Return their spirits to the brain;
In which their figure being printed, 76
As just before, I think, I hinted,
Alma informed can try the case,
As she had been upon the place.
Thus, while the judge gives different journeys
To country counsel and attornies,
He on the bench in quiet sits,
Deciding, as they bring their writs.
The Pope thus prays and sleeps at Rome,
And very seldom stirs from home;
Yet, sending forth his holy spies,
And having heard what they advise,
He rules the church's blest dominions,
And sets men's faith by his opinions.
The scholars of the Stagyrite, 90
Who for the old opinion fight,
Would make their modern friends confess
The difference but from more to less.
The mind, say they, while you sustain
To hold her station in the brain,
You grant, at least, she is extended;
Ergo, the whole dispute is ended.
For till to-morrow should you plead,
From form and structure of the head,
The mind as visibly is seen 100
Extended through the whole machine.
Why should all honour then be ta'en
From lower parts to load the brain;
When other limbs we plainly see,
Each in his way as brisk as hel
For music, grant the head receives it;
It is the artist's hand that gives it;
And, though the skull may wear the laurel,
The soldier's arm sustains the quarrel.