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I'll take thy notion for my own— 1460
(So much philosophers have done);
It makes my system more complete:
Dick, can it have a nobler fate 4
Take what you will, said Dick, dear friend;
But bring thy matters to an end.
I find, quoth Mat, reproof is vain: Who first offend will first complain. Thou wishest I should make to shore, Yet still putt'st in thy thwarting oar. What I have told thee fifty times 1470 In prose, receive for once in rhymes: A huge fat man in country fair, Or city church (no matter where) Laboured and pushed amidst the crowd, Still bawling out extremely loud, Lord save us, why do people press! Another, marking his distress, Friendly replied, Plump gentleman, Get out as fast as eler you can; Or cease to push, or to exclaim: 1480 You make the very crowd you blame. Says Dick, your moral does not need The least return; so e'en proceed; Your tale, howe'er applied, was short; So far, at least, I thank you for’t. Mat took his thanks; and, in a tone More magisterial, thus went on. Now, Alma settles in the head, As has before been sung, or said; And here begins this farce of life; 1490 Enter revenge, ambition, strife;
Behold on both sides men advance, 1492
To form in earnest Bays's dance.
L'Avare, not using half his store,
Still grumbles that he has no more;
Strikes not the present tun, for fear
The vintage should be bad next year;
And eats to-day with inward sorrow,
And dread of fancied want to-morrow.
Abroad if the surtout you wear 1500
Repels the rigour of the air;
Would you be warmer, if at home
You had the fabric and the loom!
And, if two boots keep out the weather,
What need you have two hides of leather?
Could Pedro, think you, make no trial
Of a sonata on his viol,
Unless he had the total gut
Whence every string at first was cut!
When Rarus shows you his cartoon 1510
He always tells you, with a groan,
Where two from that same hand were torn
Long before you or he were born.
Poor Vento's mind so much is crossed
For part of his Pretonius lost,
That he can never take the pains
To understand what yet remains.
What toil did honest Curio take,
What strict enquiries did he make,
To get one medal wanting yet, 1520
And perfect all his Roman set!
'Tis found; and, O his happy lot!
'Tis bought, locked up, and lies forgot.
Of these no more you hear him speak:
He now begins upon the Greek.
These, ranged and showed, shall in their
Remain obscure as in their urns.
My copper-lamps at any rate,
For being true antique, I bought:
Yet wisely melted down my plate,
On modern models to be wrought;
And trifles I alike pursue,
Because they’re old, because they're new.
Dick, I have seen you with delight,
For Georgy 1 make a paper kite.
And simple odes, too many, show ye
My servile complaisance to Chloe.
Parents and lovers are decreed
By Nature fools. That's brave indeed,
Quoth Dick, such truths are worth receiving.
Yet still Dick looked as not believing. 1541
Now, Alma, to divines and prose
I leave thy frauds, and crimes, and woes;
Nor think to-night of thy ill-nature,
But of thy follies, idle creature!
The turns of thy uncertain wing,
And not the malice of thy sting;
Thy pride of being great and wise
I do but mention, to despise;
I view with anger and disdain 1550
How little gives thee joy or pain;
A print, a bronze, a flower, a root,
A shell, a butterfly can do.’t;
Even a romance, a tune, a rhyme,
Help thee to pass the tedious time,
Which else would on thy hand remain;
Though, flown, it ne'er looks back again;
1 Mr Shelton's son.
And cards are dealt, and chess-boards
To ease the pain of coward thought:
Happy result of human wit!
That Alma may herself forget.
Dick, thus we act; and thus we are,
Or tossed by hope, or sunk by care.
With endless pain this man pursues
What, if he gained, he could not use:
And th’ other fondly hopes to see
What never was, nor e'er shall be.
We err by use, go wrong by rules,
In gesture grave, in action fools;
We join hypocrisy to pride, 1570
Doubling the faults we strive to hide.
Or grant that, with extreme surprise,
We find ourselves at sixty wise;
And twenty pretty things are known,
Of which we can't accomplish one;
Whilst, as my system says, the mind
Is to these upper rooms confined:
Should I, my friend, at large repeat
Her borrowed sense, her fond conceit,
The bead-roll of her vicious tricks, 1580
My poem will be too prolix.
For could I my remarks sustain,
Like Socrates, or Miles Montaigne,
Who in these times would read my books,
But Tom o'Stiles, or John o' Nokes?
As Brentford kings, discreet and wise,
After long thought and grave advice,
Into Lardella's coffin peeping,
Saw nought to cause their mirth or
So Alma, now to joy or grief 1590
Superior, finds her late relief;
Wearied of being high or great, -
And nodding in her chair of state;
Stunned and worn out with endless chat
Of Will did this, and Nan said that;
She finds, poor thing, some little crack,
Which Nature, forced by Time, must make,
Through which she wings her destined
Upward she soars; and down drops clay:
While some surviving friend supplies 1600
Hic jacet, and a hundred lies.
O Richard, till that day appears,
Which must decide our hopes and fears,
Would fortune calm her present rage,
And give us playthings for our age;
Would Clotho wash her hands in milk,
And twist our thread with gold and silk;
Would she, in friendship, peace, and plenty
Spin out our years to four times twenty;
And should we both in this condition 1610
Have conquered love, and worse ambition;
(Else those two passions, by the way,
May chance to show us scurvy play);
Then, Richard, then should we sit down,
Far from the tumult of this town;
I fond of my well-chosen seat,
My pictures, medals, books complete.
Or, should we mix our friendly talk,
O'ershaded in that favourite walk,
Which thy own hand had whilom planted, 1620
Both pleased with all we thought we