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And he, methinks, is no great scholar, 449
Who can mistake desire for choler.
The like may of the heart be said;
Courage and terror there are bred.
All those, whose hearts are loose and low
Start if they hear but the tattoo;
And mighty physical their fear is;
For, soon as noise of combat near is,
Their heart, descending to their breeches,
Must give their stomach cruel twitches.
But heroes, who o'ercome or die,
Have their hearts hung extremely high; 460
The strings of which, in battle's heat,
Against their very corslets beat;
Keep time with their own trumpet's measure,
And yield them most excessive pleasure.
Now, if 'tis chiefly in the heart
That courage does itself exert,
"Twill be prodigious hard to prove,
That this is eke the throne of love.
Would Nature make one place the seat
Of fond desire, and fell debate; 470
Must people only take delight in
Those hours, when they are tired of fighting?
And has no man, but who has killed
A father, right to get a child!
These notions then I think but idle,
And love shall still possess the middle.
This truth more plainly to discover,
Suppose your hero were a lover.
Though he before had gall and rage,
Which death or conquest must assuage; 480
He grows dispirited and low;
He hates the fight and shuns the foe.
In scornful sloth Achilles slept, 483 And for his wench, like Tall-boy, wept; Nor would return to war and slaughter, Till they brought back the parson's daughter. Antonius fled from Actium's coast, Augustus pressing, Asia lost; His sails by Cupid's hands unfurled, To keep the fair, he gave the world. 490 Edward our Fourth, revered and crowned, Vigorous in youth, in arms renowned, While England's voice, and Warwick's care, Designed him Gallia's beauteous heir, Changed peace and power, for rage and wars, Only to dry one widow's tears. France's fourth Henry we may see A servant to the fair d’Estree; When, quitting Coutras’ prosperous field, And fortune taught at length to yield, 500 He from his guards and midnight tent Disguised o'er hills and valleys went, To wanton with the sprightly dame, And in his pleasure lost his fame. Bold is the critic who dares prove These heroes were no friends to love; And bolder he, who dares aver, That they were enemies to war. Yet, when their thought should, now or never, Have raised their heart, or fired their liver, 510 Fond Alma to those parts was gone, Which love more justly calls his own. Examples I could cite you more; But be contented with these four: For, when one's proofs are aptly chosen, Four are as valid as four dozen.
One came from Greece, and one from Rome; 517
The other two grew nearer home.
For some in ancient books delight;
Others prefer what moderns write;
Now I should be extremely loth,
Not to be thought expert in both.
But shall we take the muse abroad,
To drop her idly on the road,
And leave our subject in the middle,
As Butler did his bear and fiddle?
Yet he, consummate master, knew
When to recede, and where pursue;
His noble negligences teach
What others' toils despair to reach. 530
He, perfect dancer, climbs the rope,
And balances your fear and hope;
If, after some distinguished leap,
He drops his pole, and seems to slip,
Straight gathering all his active strength,
He rises higher half his length.
With wonder you approve his sleight;
And owe your pleasure to your fright.
But like poor Andrew I advance,
False mimic of my master's dance; 540
Around the cord awhile I sprawl,
And thence, though low, in earnest fall.
My preface tells you I digressed:
He's half absolved who has confessed.
I like, quoth Dick, your simile,
And, in return, take two from me.
As masters in the clair obscure
With various light your eyes allure;
A flaming yellow here they spread; 549
Draw offin blue, or charge in red;
Yet, from these colours oddly mixed,
Your sight upon the whole is fixed:
Or as, again, your courtly dames
(Whose clothes returning birth-day claims)
By arts improve, the stuffs they vary;
And things are best as most contrary;
The gown with stiff embroidery shining,
Looks charming with a slighter lining;
The out, if Indian figure stain,
The in-side must be rich and plain: 560
So you great authors have thought fit
To make digression temper wit.
When arguments too fiercely glare,
You calm them with a milder air;
To break their points, you turn their force,
And furbelow the plain discourse.
Richard, quoth Mat, these words of thine
Speak something sly, and something fine;
But I shall e'en resume my theme,
However thou mayst praise or blame. 570
As people marry now, and settle,
Fierce love abates his usual mettle;
Worldly desires, and household cares,
Disturb the godhead's soft affairs;
So now, as health or temper changes,
In larger compass Alma ranges,
This day below, the next above,
As light or solid whimsies move.
So merchant has his house in town,
And country-seat near Banstead down; 5S0
From one he dates his foreign letters,
Sends out his goods, and duns his debtors;
In toother, at his hours of leisure, 583
He smokes his pipe, and takes his pleasure.
And now your matrimonial Cupid,
Lashed on by time, grows tired and stupid.
For story and experience tell us,
That man grows old, and woman jealous;
Both would their little ends secure;
He sighs for freedom, she for power; 590
His wishes tend abroad to roam,
And hers, to domineer at home.
Thus passion flags by slow degrees,
And, ruffled more, delighted less,
The busy mind does seldom go
To those once-charming seats below;
But, in the breast incamped, prepares
For well-bred feints and future wars.
The man suspects his lady's crying,
When he last autumn lay a-dying, 600
Was but to gain him to appoint her
By codicil a larger jointure.
The woman finds it all a trick,
That he could swoon when she was sick;
And knows, that in that grief he reckoned
On black-eyed Susan for his second.
Thus, having strove some tedious years
With feigned desires, and real fears,
And, tired with answers and replies
Of John affirms, and Martha lies, 610
Leaving this endless altercation,
The mind affects a higher station.
Poltis, that generous king of Thrace,
I think, was in this very case.
All Asia now was by the ears,
And gods beat up for volunteers