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From this wild fancy, Sir, there may proceed
One wilder yet, which I foresee 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
To Thun this censure, I all shame lay by;
And make my reason with his will comply:
Hoping, for my excuse, 't will be confeft,
That of two evils I have chose the least.
So, Sir, with this epiftolary scroll,
Receive the partner
inmost foul :
will find in letters and in laws Not unexpert, firm to his country's cause, Warm in the glorious interest you pursue, And, in one word, a good man and a true.
To Mr. HARLEY, wounded by GUISCARD, 1711.
“ Ducit opes animumque ferro."
IN N 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
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.
The guilty stroke and torture of the steel
Infix’d, our dauntless Briton scarce perceives :
The wounds his country from his death must feel,
The Patriot views; for those alone he grieves.
The' barbarous rage that durft artempt 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.
Faithful affertor 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.
Yet ʼmidst her sighs she triumphs, on the hand
Reflecting, that diffus’d the public woe;
A stranger to her altars, and her lanet :
No son of her's could meditate this blow.
Mean time thy pain is gracious Anna's care :
Our Queen, our Saint, with facrificing breath
Softens thy anguish : in her powerful prayer
She pleads thy service, and forbids thy death.
Great as thou art, thou canst demand no more,
O breast bewailid by earth : preserv’d by Heaven!
No higher can aspiring Virtue soar:
Enough to thee of grief and fame is given.
Earl of OXFORD, Lord High Treasurer, 1712.
UR weekly friends to-morrow meet
At Matthew's palace, in Duke-street,
try for once if they can dine
On bacon-ham and mutton-chine :
If, weary'd with the great affairs
Which Britain trusts to Harley's cares,
Thou, humble statesman, may'st descend,
Thy mind one moment to unbend ;
To see thy servant from his soul
Crown with thy health the sprightly bowl :
Among the guests which e'er my house
Receiv'd, it never can produce
Of honour a more glorious proof
Though Dorset us’d to bless the roof.
TWAY mice, full blythe and amicable,
Baten beside Erle Robert's table.
Lies there ne trap their necks to catch,
Ne old black cat their steps to watcli,
Their fill they eat of fowl and fish;
Feast lyche as heart of mouse mote wish.
As guests fat jovial at the board,
Forth leap'd our mice : eft soons the lord.
Of Boling, whilome John the Saint,
Who maketh oft' propos full queint,
Laugh’d jocund, and aloud he cried,
To Matthew feated on t'oth' fide;
To thee, lean Bard, it doth partain
To understand these creatures tweine.
Come frame us now some clean device,
Or playsant rhyme on yonder mice :
They seem, God fhield me, Mat and Charles:
Bad as Sir Topas, or squire Quarles,
(Matthew did for the nonce reply)
Ar emblem, or device am I:
But, could I chaunt, or rhyme, pardie,
Clear as Dan Chaucer, or as thee :
Ne verse from me (so God me shrive)
On moule, or other beast alive.
Certes I have this many days,
Sent myne poetic herd to graze.
Ne armed knight ydrad in war
With lion fierce will I compare :
Ne judge unjust, with furred fox,
Harming in secret guise the flocks :
Ne priest unworth of goddess coat,
To swine ydrunk, or filthy stoat.
Elk fimile farewell for aye,
From elephant, I trow, to flea.
Reply'd the friendlike
Matthew is angred on the spleen.
Ne so, quoth Mat, ne shall be e'er,
With wit that falleth all so fair :
Eftfoons, well weet ye, mine intent
Boweth to your commaundement.
If by these creatures ye have seen,
Pourtrayed Charles and Matthew been ;
Behoveth neet to wreck my brain,
The rest in order to explain.
That cup-board, where the mice difport,
I liken to St. Stephen's Court * :
Therein is space enough, I trow,
For elke comrade to come and goe :
And therein eke may both be fed
With fhiver of the wheaten bread.
And when, as these mine eyne survey,
They cease to skip, and squeak and play ;