« PreviousContinue »
Nor to prescribe when nerves convulse;
A strict dissenter saying grace, Nor mend th' alarum watch, your pulse.
A lect'rer preaching for a place, If I am right, your question lay,
Folks, things prophetic to dispense, What course I take to drive away
Making the past the future tense, The day-mare, Spleen, by whose false pleas The popish dubbing of a priest, Men prove mere suicides in ease;
Fine epitaphs on knaves deceas'd, And how I do myself demean
Green-apron'd Pythonissa's rage, In storiny world to live serene.,
Great Æsculapius on his stage, When by its magic lantern Spleen
A miser starving to be rich, With frightful figures spreads life's scene,
The prior of Newgate's dying speech, And threat'ning prospects urg'd my fears,
A jointer'd widow's ritual state, A stranger to the luck of heirs ;
Two Jews disputing tête-à-tête, Reason, some quiet to restore,
New almanacs compos'd by seers,
Experiments on felons' ears,
The superb muscle of the eye,
A coquet's April-weather face, Buoyant on bladders fill’d with hope.
A Queenb'rough mayor behind his mace, I always choose the plainest food
And fops in military show, To mend viscidity of blood.
Are sov'reign for the case in view. Hail ! water-gruel, healing power,
If spleen-fogs rise at close of day, Of easy access to the poor ;
I clear my ev'ning with a play, Thy help love's confessors implore,
Or to some concert take my way. And doctors secretly adore;
The company, the shine of lights,
The scenes of humour, music's flights,
Life's moving pictures, well-wrought plays, Prolific particles of Spleen.
To others' grief attention raise : I never sick by drinking grow,
Here, while the tragic fictions glow, Nor keep myself a cup too low,
We borrow joy by pitying woe; And seldom Chloe's lodgings haunt,
There gaily comic scenes delight, Thrifty of spirits, which I want.
And hold true mirrors to our sight. Hunting I reckon very good,
Virtue, in charming dress array'd, To brace the nerves, and stir the blood :
Calling the passions to her aid, But after no field-honours itch,
When moral scenes just actions join, Achiev'd by leaping hedge and ditch.
Takes shape, and shows her face divine. While Spleen lies soft relax'd in bed,
Music has charms, we all may find, Or o'er coal fires inclines the head,
Ingratiate deeply with the mind. Hygeia's sons with hound and horn,
When art does sound's high pow'r advance, And jovial cry awake the Morn.
To music's pipe the passions dance; These see her from the dusky plight,
Motions unwill'd its pow'rs have shown, Smear'd by th' embraces of the Night,
Tarantulated by a tune. With roral wash redeem her face,
Many have held the soul to be And prove herself of Titan's race,
Nearly ally'd to harmony. And, mounting in loose robes the skies,
Her have I known indulging grief, Shed light and fragrance as she flies.
And shunning company's relief. Then horse and hound fierce joy display,
Unveil her face, and, looking round, Exulting at the hark-away,
Own, by neglecting sorrow's wound, And in pursuit o'er tainted ground,
The consanguinity of sound. From lungs robust field-notes resound.
In rainy days keep double guard, Then, as St. George the dragon slew,
Or Spleen will surely be too hard ; Spleen pierc'd, trod down, and dying view ; Which, like those fish by sailors met, While all their spirits are on wing,
Fly highest, while their wings are wet. And woods, and hills, and valleys ring.
In such dull weather, so unfit To cure the mind's wrong bias, Spleen,
To enterprize a work of wit, Some recommend the bowling-green ;
When clouds one yard of azure sky, Some, hilly walks; all, exercise;
That's fit for simile, deny, Fling but a stone, the giant dies ;
I dress my face with studious looks, Laugh and be well. Monkeys have been
And shorten tedious hours with books. Extreme good doctors for the Spleen ;
But if dull fogs invade the head, And kitten, if the humour hit,
That mem'ry minds not what is read, Has harlequin'd away the fit.
I sit in window dry as ark, Since mirth is good in this behalf,
And on the drowning world remark : At some partic'lars let us laugh.
Or to some coffee-house I stray Witlings, brisk fools, curst with half sense, For news, the manna of a day, That stimulates their impotence;
And from the hipp'd discourses gather, Who buzz in rhyme, and, like blind Aies,
That politics go by the weather : Err with their wings for want of eyes.
Then seek good-humour'd tavern chums, Poor authors worshipping a calf,
And play at cards, but for small sums; Deep tragedies that make us laugh,
Or with the merry fellows quaff,
Sometimes I dress, with women sit,
Permit, ye fair, your idol form,
But oh, what pity 'tis to find Such beauties both of form and mind, By modern breeding much debas'd, In half the female world at least ! Hence I with care such lott'ries shun, Where, a prize miss'd, I'm quite undone ; And han't, by vent'ring on a wife, Yet run the greatest risk in life.
Mothers, and guardian aunts, forbear Your impious pains to form the fair,
Nor lay out so much cost and art,
Now, if untir’d, consider friend,
I never am at meeting seen,
Law, licens'd breaking of the peace,
I never game, and rarely bet,
Passion, as frequently is seen,
This view my forward zeal so shocks, Subsiding settles into Spleen.
In vain they hold the money-box. Hence, as the plague of happy life,
At such a conduct, which intends I run away from party-strife.
By vicious means such virtuous ends, A prince's cause, a church's claim,
I laugh off spleen, and keep my pence I 've known to raise a mighty flame,
From spoiling Indian innocence. And priest, as stoker, very free
Yet philosophic love of ease To throw in peace and charity.
I suffer not to prove disease, That tribe, whose practicals decree
But rise up in the virtuous cause Small beer the deadliest heresy;
Of a free press, and equal laws. Who, fond of pedigree, derive
The press restrain'd! nefandous thought! From the most noted whore alive;
In vain our sires have nobly fought : Who own wine's old prophetic aid,
While free from force the press remains, And love the mitre Bacchus made,
Virtue and Freedom cheer our plains, Forbid the faithful to depend
And Learning largesses bestows, On half-pint drinkers for a friend,
And keeps uncensur'd open house. And in whose gay red-letter'd face
We to the nation's public mart We read good-living more than grace :
Our works of wit, and schemes of art, Nor they so pure, and so precise,
And philosophic goods this way, Immac'iate as their white of eyes,
Like water-carriage, cheap convey. Who for the spirit hug the Spleen,
This tree, which knowledge so affords, Phylacter'd throughout all their mien,
Inquisitors with faming swords Who their ill-tasted home-brew'd pray'r
From lay approach with zeal defend, To the state's mellow forms prefer;
Lest their own paradise should end. Who doctrines, as infectious, fear,
The Press from her fecundous womb Which are not steep'd in vinegar,
Brought forth the arts of Greece and Rome; And samples of heart-chested grace
Her offspring, skill'd in logic war, Expose in show-glass of the face,
Truth's banner wav'd in open air; Did never me as yet provoke
The monster Superstition fled, Either to honour band and cloke,
And hid in shades its Gorgon head; Or deck my hat with leaves of oak.
And lawless pow'r, the long-kept field, I rail not with mock-patriot grace
By reason quell’d, was forc'd to yield. At folks, because they are in place;
This nurse of arts, and freedom's fence Nor, hir'd to praise with stallion pen,
To chain, is treason against sense ; Serve the ear-lechery of men ;
And, Liberty, thy thousand tongues But to avoid religious jars,
None silence, who design no wrongs ; The laws are my expositors,
For those, who use the gag's restraint, Which in my doubting mind create
First rob, before they stop complaint. Conformity to church and state.
Since disappointment gauls within, I go, pursuant to my plan,
And subjugates the soul to spleen, To Mecca with the caravan.
Most schemes, as money-snares, I hate, And think it right in common sense
And bite not at projector's bait. Both for diversion and defence.
Sufficient wrecks appear each day, Reforming schemes are none of mine ;
And yet fresh fools are cast away. To mend the world 's a vast design :
Ere well the bubbled can turn round, Like theirs, who tug in little boat,
Their painted vessel runs aground; To pull to them the ship afloat,
Or in deep seas it oversets While to defeat their labour'd end,
By a fierce hurricane of debts ; At once both wind and stream contend :
Or helm directors in one trip, Success herein is seldom seen,
Freight first embezzled, sink the ship. And zeal, when baffled, turns to Spleen.
Such was of late a corporation *, Happy the man, who innocent,
The brazen serpent of
the nation, Grieves not at ills he can't prevent;
Which, when hard accidents distress'd, His skiff does with the current glide,
The poor must look at to be blest, Not puffing pull’d against the tide.
And thence expect, with paper seal'd He, paddling by the scuffling crowd,
By fraud and us'ry, to be heal’d. Sees unconcern'd life's wager row'd,
I in no soul-consumption wait
Whole years at levees of the great,
• The Charitable Corporation, instituted for the Each hasty promise made in zeal.
relief of the industrious poor, by assisting thera When gospel propagators say,
with small sums upon pledges at legal interest. By We ’re bound our great light to display, the villany of those who had the management of And Indian darkness drive away,
this scheme, the proprietors were defrauded of very Yet none but drunken watchmen send,
considerable sums of money. In 1732 the conduct And scoundrel link-boys for that end;
of the directors of this body became the subject of a When they cry up this holy war,
parliamentary inquiry, and some of them, who were Which every christian should be for,
members of the house of commons, were expelled Yet such as owe the law their ears,
for their concern in this iniquitous transaction. We find emploved as engineers :
And hungry hopes regale the while
Scarce known to the fastidious daines, On the spare diet of a smile.
Nor skill'd to call them by their names. There you may see the idol stand
Nor can their passports in these days, With mirror in his wanton hand;
Your profit warrant, or your praise. Above, below, now here, now there,
On poems by their dictates writ, He throws about the sunny glare.
Critics, as sworn appraisers, sit, Crowds pant, and press to seize the prize,
And mere upholst'rers in a trice The gay delusion of their eyes.
On gems and paintings set a price. When Fancy tries her limning skill
These tayl’ring artists for our lays To draw and colour at her will,
Invent cramp'd rules, and with straight stays And raise and round the figure well,
Striving free Nature's shape to hit, And show her talent to excel,
Emaciate sense, before they fit. I guard my heart, lest it should woo
A common place, and many friends, Unreal beauties Fancy drew,
Can serve the plagiary's ends, And disappointed, feel despair
Whose easy vamping talent lies, At loss of things, that never were.
First wit to pilfer, then disguise. When I lean politicians mark
Thus some devoid of art and skill Grazing on ether in the Park;
To search the mine on Pindus' hill, Who e'er on wing with open throats
Proud to aspire and workmen grow, Fly at debates, expresses, votes,
By genius doom'd to stay below, Just in the manner swallows use,
For their own digging show the town Catching their airy food of news;
Wit's treasure brought by others down. Whose latrant stomachs oft molest
Some wanting, if they find a mine, The deep-laid plans their dreams suggest ;
An artist's judgment to refine, Or see some poet pensive sit,
On fame precipitately fix'd, Fondly mistaking Spleen for Wit :
The ore with baser metals mix'd Who, though short-winded, still will aim
Melt down, impatient of delay, To sound the epic trump of Fame;
And call the vicious mass a play. Who still on Phæbus' smiles will doat,
All these engage to serve their ends, Nor learn conviction from his coat;
A band select of trusty friends, I bless'd my stars, I never knew
Who, lesson'd right, extol the thing, Whimsies, which close pursu'd, undo,
As Psapho * taught his birds to sing; And have from old experience been
Then to the ladies they submit, Both parent and the child of Spleen.
Returning officers on wit: These subjects of Apollo's state,
A crowded house their presence draws, Who from false fire derive their fate,
And on the beaus imposes laws, With airy purchases undone
A judgment in its favour ends, Of lands, which none lend money on,
When all the pannel are its friends: Born dull, had follow'd thriving ways,
Their natures merciful and mild Nor lost one hour to gather bays.
Have from mere pity sav'd the child; Their fancies first delirious grew,
In bulrush ark the bantling found And scenes ideal took for true.
Helpless, and ready to be drown'd, Fine to the sight Parnassus lies,
They have preserv'd by kind support, And with false prospects cheats their eyes; And brought the baby-muse to court. The fabled gods the poets sing,
But there's a youth † that you can name, A season of perpetual spring,
Who needs no leading-strings to fame, Brooks, flow'ry fields, and groves of trees,
Whose quick maturity of brain Affording sweets and similes,
The birth of Pallas may explain : Gay dreams inspir'd in myrtle bow'rs,
Dreaming of whose depending fate, And wreaths of undecaying flow’rs,
I heard Melpomene debate, Apollo's harp with airs divine,
“ This, this is he, that was foretold The sacred music of the Nine,
Should emulate our Greeks of old. Views of the temple rais'd to Fame,
Inspir'd by me with sacred art, And for a vacant niche proud aim,
He sings, and rules the varied heart; Ravish their souls, and plainly show
If Jove's dread anger he rehearse, What Fancy's sketching power can do.
We hear the thunder in his verse; They will attempt the mountain steep,
If he describes love turn'd to rage,
The furies riot in his page.
* Psapho was a Lybian, who desiring to be a You, friend, like me, the trade of rhyme counted a god, effected it by this means : he tood Avoid, elab'rate waste of time,
young birds and taught them to sing, Psapho is a Nor are content to be undone,
great god. When they were perfect in their lessec. To pass for Phæbus' crazy son.
he let them fly; and other birds learning the same Poems, the hop-grounds of the brain,
ditty, repeated it in the woods ; on which his cousAfford the most uncertain gain;
trymen offered sacrifice to him, and considered hitz And lott’ries never tempt the wise
as a deity. With blanks so many to a prize.
+ Mr. Glover, the excellent author of Leonidas I only transient visits pay,
Boadicea, Medea, &c. Meeting the Muses in my way,
If he fair liberty and law
With understandings of a size By ruffian pow'r expiring draw,
To think their master very wise. The keener passions then engage
May Heav'n (it's all I wish for) send Aright, and sanctify their rage ;
One genial room to treat a friend, If he attempt disastrous love,
Where decent cupboard, little plate, We hear those plaints that wound the grove. Display benevolence, not state. Within the kinder passions glow,
And may my humble dwelling stand And tears distill’d from pity flow.”
Upon some chosen spot of land : From the bright vision I descend,
A pond before full to the brim, And my deserted theme attend.
Where cows may cool, and geese may swim; Me never did ambition seize,
Behind, a green like velvet neat, Strange fever most inflam'd by ease!
Soft to the eye, and to the feet; The active lunacy of pride,
Where od'rous plants in evening fair That courts jilt Fortune for a bride,
Breathe all around ambrosial air; This par'dise-tree, so fair and high,
From Eurus, foe to kitchen ground, I view with no aspiring eye:
Fenc'd by a slope with bushes crown'd, Like aspen shake the restless leaves,
Fit dwelling for the feather'd throng, And Sodom-fruit our pains deceives,
Who pay their quit-rents with a song; Whence frequent falls give no surprise,
With op'ning views of hill and dale, But fits of spleen, call'd growing wise.
Which sense and fancy too regale, Greatness in glitt'ring forms display'd
Where the half-cirque, which vision bounds, Aflects weak eyes much us’d to shade,
Like amphitheatre surrounds ; And by its falsely-envy'd scene
And woods impervious to the breeze, Gives self-debasing fits of Spleen.
Thick phalanx of embodied trees, We should be pleas'd that things are so,
From hills through plains in dusk array Who do for nothing see the show,
Extended far, repel the day. And, middle-siz’d, can pass between
Here stillness, height, and solemn shade Life's hubbub safe, because unseen,
Invite, and contemplation aid : And midst the glare of greatness trace
Here nymphs from hollow oaks relate A wat’ry sunshine in the face,
The dark decrees and will of Fate, And pleasure fled to, to redress
And dreams beneath the spreading beech The sad fatigue of idleness.
Inspire, and docile fancy teach ; Contentment, parent of delight,
While soft as breezy breath of wind, So much a stranger to our sight,
Impulses rustle through the mind. Say, goddess, in what happy place
Here Dryads, scorning Phæbus' ray Mortals behold thy blooming face;
While Pan melodious pipes away, Thy gracious auspices impart,
In measur'd motions frisk about, And for thy temple choose my heart.
Till old Silenus puts them out. They, whom thou deignest to inspire,
There see the clover, pea, and bean, Thy science learn, to bound desire;
Vie in variety of green ; By happy alchymy of mind
Fresh pastures speckled o'er with sheep They turn to pleasure all they find;
Brown fields their fallow sabbaths keep, They both disdain in outward mien
Plump Ceres golden tresses wear, . The grave and solemn garb of Spleen,
And poppy top-knots deck her hair, And meretricious arts of dress,
And silver streams through meadows stray, To feign a joy, and hide distress;
And Naïads on the margin play, Unmoy'd when the rude tempest blows,
And lesser nymphs on side of hills Without an opiate they repose ;
From play-thing urns pour down the rills. And, cover'd by your shield, defy
Thus shelter'd, free from care and strife, The whizzing shafts, that round them fly:
May I enjoy a calm through life; Nor meddling with the god's affairs,
See faction, safe in low degree, Concern themselves with distant cares;
As men at land see storms at sea, But place their bliss in mental rest,
And laugh at miserable elves And feast upon the good possess'd.
Not kind, so much as to themselves, - Fore'd by soft violence of pray'r,
Curs'd with such souls of base alloy, The blithsome goddess soothes my care,
As can possess, but not enjoy ; I feel the deity inspire,
Debarr'd the pleasure to impart And thus she models my desire.
By av'rice, sphincter of the heart, Two hundred pounds half-yearly paid,
Who wealth, hard-earn'd by guilty cares, Annuity securely made,
Bequeath untouch'd to thankless heirs. A farm some twenty miles from town,
May 1, with look ungloom'd by guile, Small, tight, salubrious, and my own;
And wearing Virtue's liv'ry-smile, Two maids, that never saw the town,
Prone the distressed to relieve, A serving-man, not quite a clown;
And little trespasses forgive,
With income not in Fortune's pow'r
With trips to town life to amuse,
To purchase books, and hear the news, And better to preserve the peace,
To see old friends, brush off the clown, Commission'd by the name of niece,
And quicken taste at coming down,