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And he must be an idle dreamer,
Who leaves the pie, and gnaws the streamer.
“That Cupid goes with bow and arrows,
And Venus keeps her coach and sparrows,
Is all but emblem to acquaint one.
The son is sharp, the mother wanton.
Such images have sometimes shown
A mystic sense, but oftner none;
For who conceives what bards devise,
That Heaven is plac'd in Celia's eyes?
Or where's the sense direct, and moral,
That teeth are pearl, or lips are coral?
'Your Horace owns he various writ,
As wild or sober maggots bit;
And where too much the poet ranted,
The sage philosopher recanted :
His grave Epistles may disprove
The wanton Odes he made to love. .
'Lucretius keeps a mighty pother
With Cupid and his fancied mother;
Calls her great Queen of earth and air,
Declares that winds and seas obey her,
And, while her honour he rehearses,
Implores her to inspire his verses.
Yet, free from this poetic madness,
Next page he says, in sober sadness,
That she and all her fellow gods
Sit idling in their high abodes,
Regardless of this world below,
Our health or hanging, weal or woe;
Nor once disturb their heavenly spirits
With Scapin's cheats, or Cæsar's merits.
Nor e'er can Latin poets prove
Where lies the real seat of Love :
Jecur they burn, and cor they pierce,
As either best supplies their verse;
And, if folks ask the reason fort,
Say one was long, and ť other short.
Thus I presume the British Muse
May take the freedom strangers use.
In prose our property is greater ;
Why should it then be less in metre?
If Cupid throws a single dart,
We make him wound the lover's heart;
But if he takes his bow and quiver,
'Tis sure he must transfix the liver:
For rhyme with reason may dispense,
And sound has right to govern sense.
‘But let your friends in verse suppose,
What ne'er shall be allow'd in prose,
Anatomists can make it clear
The liver minds his own affair,
Kindly supplies our public uses,
And parts and strains the vital juices,
Still lays some useful bile aside,
To tinge the chyle's insipid tide,
Else we should want both gibe and satire,
And all be burst with pure good nature :
Now gall is bitter with a witness,
And love is all delight and sweetness :
My logic then has lost its aim,
If sweet and bitter be the same;
And he, methinks, is no great scholar
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,
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 ?
Must people only take delight in
Those hours when they are tir'd with fighting?
And has no man but who has kill'd
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,
He grows dispirited and low,
He hates the fight and shuns the foe.
In scornful sloth Achilles slept,
And for his wench, like Tallboy, 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 hand unfurld,
To keep the fair, he gave the world.
Edward our Fourth, rever'd and crown'd,
Vigorous in youth, in arms renown'd,
While England's voice and Warwick's care
Design'd him Gallia's beauteous heir,
Chang'd 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 Goutras' prosp'rous field,
And fortune taught at length to yield,
He from his guards and midnight tent,
Disguis’d, o'er hills and vallies 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 rais'd their heart or fir'd their liver,
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; 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.
He, perfect dancer, climbs the rope,
And balances your fear and hope :
If after some distinguish'd 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;
Around the cord a while I sprawl,
And thence, though low, in earnest fall.
My preface tells you I digress'd :
He's half absolv'd who has confess'd.
I like, (quoth Dick) your simile,
And, in return, take two from me.
As masters in the clare-obscure
With various light your eyes allure,
A flaming yellow here they spread,
Draw off in blue, or charge in red;