Page images

The love of arts lies cold and dead

In Halifax's urn;
And not one muse of all he fed

Has yet the grace to mourn.

My friends, by turns, my friends confound,

Betray, and are betray'd :
Poor Y-r's sold for fifty pounds,

And B-115 is a jade.

Why make I friendships with the great,

When I no favour seek ?
Or follow girls seven hours in eight?-

I need but once a week.

Still idle, with a busy air,

Deep whimseys to contrive; The gayest valetudinaire,

Most thinking rake alive.

Solicitous for others' ends,

Though fond of dear repose; Careless or drowsy with my friends, And frolic with my


Luxurious lobster-nights, farewell

For sober, studious days! And Burlington's delicious meal,

For salads, tarts, and pease!

5 Eustace Budgell.

Adieu to all but Gay alone,

Whose soul, sincere and free,
Loves all mankind, but flatters none,

And so may starve with me.



Grown old in rhyme, 'twere barbarous to discard
Your persevering, unexhausted bard;
Damnation follows death in other men,
But your damn'd poet lives and writes again.
The adventurous lover is successful still,
Who strives to please the fair against her will.
Be kind, and make him in his wishes easy,
Who in your own despite has strove to please ye.
He scorn'd to borrow from the wits of yore,
But ever writ, as none e'er writ before.
You modern wits, should each man bring his claim,
Have desperate debentures on your fame;
And little would be left you, I'm afraid,
If all your debts to Greece and Rome were pail.
From this deep fund our author largely draws,
Nor sinks his credit lower than it was.
Though plays for honour in old time he made,
'Tis now for better reasons—to be paid.
Believe him, he has known the world too long,
And seen the death of much immortal song.

He says, poor poets lost, while players won,
As pimps grow rich while gallants are undone.
Though Tom the poet writ with ease and pleasure,
The comic Tom abounds in other treasure.
Fame is at best an unperforming cheat;
But 'tis substantial happiness to eat.
Let ease, his last request, be of your giving,
Nor force him to be damn’d to get his living.



AUTHORS are judg’d by strange capricious rules : The great ones are thought mad, the small ones

fools : Yet sure the best are most severely fated ; For fools are only laugh'd at, wits are hated. Blockheads with reason men of sense abhor ; But fool 'gainst fool, is barbarous civil war. Why on all others then should critics fall ? Since some have writ, and shown no wit at all. Condemn a play of theirs, and they evade it ; Cry, “ Damn not us, but damn the French, who

made it." By running goods these graceless owlers gain; Theirs are the rules of France, the plots of Spain.

1 See Memoir prefixed to these volumes, p. Ixi.

But wit, like wine, from happier climates brought, Dash'd by these rogues, turns English common

draught. They pall Moliere's and Lopez' sprightly strain, And teach dull harlequins to grin in vain.

How shall our author hope a gentler fate, Who dares most impudently not translate ? It had been civil, in these ticklish times, To fetch his fools and knaves from foreign climes. Spaniards and French abuse to the world's end, But

spare old England, lest you hurt a friend. If

any fool is by our satire bit, Let him hiss loud, to show you all he's hit. Poets make characters, as salesmen clothes ; We take no measure of your fops and beaux; But here all sizes and all shapes you meet, And fit yourselves like chaps in Monmouth Street.

Gallants, look here! this fool's cap2 has an air,
Goodly and smart, with ears of Issachar.
Let no one fool engross it, or confine
A common blessing! now ’tis yours, now mine.
But poets in all ages had the care
To keep this cap

for such as will, to wear.
Our author has it now (for every wit
Of course resign'd it to the next that writ)
And thus upon the stage 'tis fairly thrown;
Let him that takes it wear it as his own.

2 Shows a cap with ears. 8 Flings down the cap, and exit.




Ye Lords and Commons, men of wit

And pleasure about town,
Read this, ere you translate one bit

Of books of high renown.

Beware of Latin authors, all,

Nor think your verses sterling,
Though with a golden pen you scrawl,

And scribble in a Berlin.

For not the desk with silver nails,

Nor bureau of expense,
Nor standish well japann'd, avails

To writing of good sense.

1 George Sandys, the old, and as yet unequalled, translator of Ovid's Metamorphoses.

2 A note prefixed to this poem in Roscoe's ed. of Pope's Works informs us that “ Sir Samuel Garth, who published the Metamorphoses of Ovid, translated by · Dryden, Addison, Garth, Mainwaring, Congreve, Rowe, Pope, Gay, Eusden, Croxal, and other eminent hands,' had himself no other share in the undertaking, than engaging the various translators in their task, and putting their labours into some order.” The fact is, Sir Samuel translated the whole of the 14th Book, and the story of Cippus in the 15th Book of the Metamorphoses.

« PreviousContinue »