« הקודםהמשך »
No matter where the scene is fix'd,
The persons were but oddly mix'd ;
When sober Damon thus began,
(And Damon is a clever man,)
‘I now grow old, but still from youth
Have held for modesty and truth :
The men who by these sea-marks steer,
In life's great voyage never err:
Upon this point I dare defy
The world; I pause for a reply.'
'Sir, either is a good assistant,
(Said one, who sat a little distant;
Truth decks our speeches and our books,
And modesty adorns our looks:
But farther progress we must take;
Not only born to look and speak,
The man must act. The Stagirite
Says thus, and says extremely right:
Strict justice is the sovereign guide
That o'er our actions should preside;
This queen of virtues is confess'd
To regulate and bind the rest ;
Thrice happy if you can but find
Her equal balance poise your mind;
All different graces soon will enter,
Like lines concurrent to their centre.'
'Twas thus, in short, these two went on, With yea and nay, and pro and con, Through many points divinely dark, And Waterland assaulting Clarke, Till, in theology half lost, Damon took up the Evening Post, Confounded Spain, compos'd the North, And deep in politics held forth.
Methinks we're in the like condition,
As at the Treaty of Partition :
That stroke, for all King William's care,
Begat another tedious war.
Mathew, who knew the whole intrigue,
Ne'er much approv'd that mystic league :
In the vile Utrecht Treaty, too,
Poor man! he found enough to do.
Sometimes to me he did apply,
But downright Dunstable was I,
And told him where they were mistaken,
And counsell’d him to save his bacon:
But (pass his politics and prose)
I never herded with his foes;
Nay, in his verses, as a friend,
I still found something to commend :
Sir, I excus'd his Nut-brown Maid,
Whate'er severer critics said;
Too far, I own, the girl was tried ;
The women all were on my side.
For Alma I return'd him thanks;
I lik'd her, with her little pranks :
Indeed poor Solomon, in rhyme,
Was much too grave to be sublime.'
Pindar and Damon scorn transition,
So on he ran a new division;
Till out of breath he turn'd to spit;
(Chance often helps us more than wit;)
T' other that lucky moment took,
t nick'd the time, broke in, and spok
Of all the gifts the gods afford,
we may take old Tully's word,)
greatest is a friend; whose love nows how to praise, and when reprove
From such a treasure never part,
But hang the jewel on your heart :
And pray, sir, (it delights me) tell,
You know this author mighty well-
* Know him! d'ye question it? Odds fish!
Sir, does a beggar know his dish ?
I lov'd him, as I told you, I
Advis'd him'-Here a stander-by
Twitch'd Damon gently by the cloke,
And thus, unwilling, silence broke:
• Damon, 'tis time we should retire,
The man you talk with, is Matt Prior.'
Patron through life, and from thy birth my friend,
Dorset! to thee this Fable let me send;
With Damon's lightness weigh thy solid worth;
The foil is known to set the diamond forth :
Let the feign'd Tale this real moral give,
How many Damons, how few Dorsets, live.
AN HONEST BUT A SIMPLE PAIR.
Est enim quiddam, idque intelligitur in omni virtute, quod deceat : quod cogitatione magis a virtute potest quam re separari.
Cic. de off. lib. 1.
Beyond the fix'd and settled rules
Of vice and virtue in the schools,
Beyond the letter of the law,
Which keeps our men and maids in awe,
The better sort should set before them
A grace, a manner, a decorum ;
Something that gives their acts a light,
Makes them not only just but bright,
And sets them in that open fame
Which witty Malice cannot blame.
For 'tis in life as 'tis in painting,
Much may be right, yet much be wanting ;
From lines drawn true our eye may trace,
A foot, a knee, a hand, a face ;
May justly own the picture wrought
Exact to rule, exempt from fault;
Yet if the colouring be not there,
The Titian stroke, the Guido air,
To nicest judgment show the piece,
At best 'twill only not displease;
It would not gain on Jersey's eye;
Gradford would frown, and set it by.
Thus in the picture of our mind
The action may be well design'd,
Guided by law, and bound by duty,
Yet want this je ne sçai quoi of beauty :
And though its error may be such
As Knags and Burgess* cannot hit;
It yet may feel the nicer touch
Of Wycherly's or Congreve's wit.
• What is this talk?' replies a friend, .
“And where will this dry moral end?
The truth of what you here lay down
By some example should be shown.'
With all my heart--for once; read on.'
An honest, but a simple pair,
(And twenty other I forbear)
May serve to make this thesis clear.
A doctor of great skill and fame,
Paulo Purganti was his name,
Had a good, comely, virtuous wife,
No woman led a better life;
She to intrigues was ev'n hard-hearted;
She chuckled when a bawd was carted;
And thought the nation ne'er would thrive,
Till all the whores were burnt alive.
On married men that dar'd be bad,
She thought no mercy should be had;
They should be hang'd, or starv’d, or flay'd,
Or serv'd like Romish priests in Swede.
In short, all lewdness she defied;
And stiff was her parochial pride.
Yet in an honest way the dame
Was a great lover of that same;
• Knags was lecturer of St. Giles in the Fields ; Burgess was a dissenter.