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The wooden head resolved the question;
While you and Pettis helped 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-versä put,
Should Hebrew-wise be understood;
And means, the Poet makes the God.
Egyptian gardeners thus are said to
Have set the leeks they after prayed to;
And Romish bakers praise the deity
They chipped, 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,
It must be the colic in your belly;
That writing is but just like dice,
And lucky mains 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 tried 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 89
On horse called 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 six-pence matter upon what.
'Tis not how well an author says;
But 'tis how much, that gathers praise. 100
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 you're well; so God be wi' you;
Was all I thought at first to write;—
But things, since then, are altered quite;
Fancies flow in, and Muse flies high,
So God knows when my clack will lie; 110
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 hoped 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 savoury things aver; 120
They say she's honest as your claret,
Not soured with cant, nor stummed with merit.
Your chamber is the sole retreat 123
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. 130
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
Dragooned 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, 140
And keep your places till you die.
For me, whom wandering Fortune threw
From what I loved, 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, 150
With whom old Homer makes such
The greatest actions I can find,
Are, that they did their work, and dined.
The books of which I’m chiefly fond,
Are such as you have whilom conned;
That treat of China's civil law, 156
And subjects' rights in Golconda;
Of highway-elephants at Ceylon,
That rob in clans, like men of the Highland;
Of apes that storm, or keep a town, 160
As well almost as count Lauzun;
Of unicorns and alligators,
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. 170
Then all your wits, that fleer and sham,
Down from Don Quixote to Tom Tram;
From whom I jests 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. 1so
Thus, without much delight, or grief,
I fool away an idle life;
Till Shadwell from the town retires,
(Choked up with fame and sea-coal fires,)
To bless the wood with peaceful lyric;
Then hey for praise and panegyric;
Justice restored, and nations freed,
And wreaths round William's glorious head.
TO THE COUNTESS OF DORSET,
WRITTEN IN HER MILTON, BY MR BRADBURY.
SEE here how bright the first-born virgin shone,
And how the first fond lover was undone.
Such charming words our beauteous mother spoke,
As Milton wrote, and such as yours her look.
Yours, the best copy of the original face,
Whose beauty was to furnish all the race.
Such chains no author could escape but he;
There's no way to be safe, but not to see.
HERE reading how fond Adam was betrayed,
And how by sin Eve's blasted charms decayed;
Our common loss unjustly you complain;
So small that part of it, which you sustain.
You still, fair mother, in your offspring trace
The stock of beauty destined for the race:
Kind nature, forming them, the pattern took
For Heaven's first work, and Eve's original look.
You, happy saint, the serpent's power control:
Scarce any actual guilt defiles your soul; 10
And hell does o'er that mind vain triumph boast,
Which gains a Heaven, for earthly Eden lost.
With virtue strong as yours had Eve been armed,
In vain the fruit had blushed, or serpent charmed:
Nor had our bliss by penitence been bought;
Nor had frail Adam fallen, nor Milton wrote.