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Dwell in a monk, or light upon a king,
She's still the same belov'd, contented thing,
Vice is undone, if she forgets her birth,
And stoops from angels to the dregs of earth :
But 'tis the fall degrades her to a whore;
Let greatness own her, and she's mean no more:
Her birth, her beauty, crowds and courts confess,
Chaste matrons praise her, and grave bishops bless;
In golden chains the willing world she draws,
And hers the Gospel is and hers the laws;
Mounts the tribunal, lifts her scarlet head,
And sees pale virtue carted in her stead,
Lo! at the wheels of her triumphant car,
Old England's genius, rough with many a scar,
Dragg'd in the dust! his arms hang idly round,
His flag inverted trails along the ground!
Our youth, all livery'd o'er with foreign gold,
Before her dance : behind her crawl the old !
See thronging millions to the pagod run,
And offer country, parent, wife, or son !
Hear her black trumpet through the land proclaim,
That not to be corrupted is the shame.
In soldier, churchman, patriot, man in power,
'Tis avarice all, ambition is no more!
See, all our nobles begging to be slaves !
See, all our fools aspiring to be knaves!
The wit of cheats, the courage of a whore,
Are what ten thousand envy, and adore:
All, all look up, with reverential awe,
At crimes that 'scape, or triumph o'er the law:
While truth, worth, wisdom, daily they decry-
• Nothing is sacred now but villany.'
Yet may this verse (if such a verse remain)
Show there was one who held it in disdain.
Fr.''TTIS all a libel'--Paxton, sir, will say,
P. Not yet, my friend! to morrow, faith it
And for that very cause I print to-day.
How should I fret to mangle every line,
In reverence to the sins of thirty-nine !
Vice with such giant-strides comes on amain,
Invention strives to be before in vain;
Feign what I will, and paint it e'er so strong,
Some rising genius sins up to my song.
F. Yet none but you by name the guilty lash;
Ev'n Guthry saves half Newgate by a dash.
Spare then the person, and expose the vice.
P. How, sir! not damn the sharper, but the dice! Come on then, satire ! general, unconfin'd, Spread thy broad wing, and souse on all the kind. Ye statesmen, priests, of one religion all ! Ye tradesmen, vile, in army, court, or hall! Ye reverend atheists. F. Scandal! name them, who?
P. Why that's the thing you bid me not to do: Who starv'd a sister, who forswore a debt, I never nam'd; the town's inquiring yet. The poisoning dame.-F. You mean-P. I don't
F. You do. P. See, now I keep the secret, and not you! The bribing statesman.-F. Hold, too high you go.
P. The brib'd elector---F. There you stoop too low.
P. I fain would please you, if I knew with what: Tell me, which name is lawful game, which not? Must great offenders, once escap'd the crown, Like royal harts, be never more run down? Admit your law to spare the knight requires, As beasts of nature may we hunt the 'squires ? Suppose I censure you know what I mean... To save a bishop, may I name a dean?
F. A dean, sir? no; his fortune is not made, You hurt a man that's rising in the trade.
P. If not the tradesman who set up to day,
Much less the 'prentice who to morrow may.
Down, down, proud satire! though a realm be
Arraign no mightier thief than wretched Wild;
Or, if a court or country's made a job,
Go drench a pickpocket, and join the mob.
But, sir, I beg you, (for the love of vice!)
The matter's weighty, pray consider twice ;
Have you less pity for the needy cheat,
The poor and friendless villain, than the great ?
Alas! the small discredit of a bribe
Scarce hurts the lawyer, but undoes the scribe.
Then better sure it charity becomes
To tax directors, who (thank God) have plums;
Still better, ministers; or, if the thing
May pinch ev'n there-- why lay it on a king.
F. Stop! stop!
P. Must satire, then, nor rise nor fall ?
Speak out, and bid me blame no rogues at all.
F. Yes, strike that Wild, I'll justify the blow.
P. Strike? why the man was hang'd ten years ago: Who now that obsolete example fears? Ev'n Peter trembles only for his ears.
F. What, always Peter? Peter thinks you mad, You make men desperate, if they once are bad, Else might he take to virtue some years hence
P. As S-k, if he lives, will love the prince.
F. Strange spleen to Sk!
P. Do I wrong the man?
God knows, I praise a courtier where I can.
When I confess, there is who feels for fame,
And melts to goodness, need I Scarborow name?
Pleas'd let me own, in Esher's peaceful grove
(Where Kent and nature vie for Felham's love),
The scene, the master, opening to my view,
I sit and dream I see my Craggs anew!
Ev'n in a bishop I can spy desert ;
Secker is decent, Rundel has a heart;
Manners with candour are to Benson given;
To Berkeley every virtue under heaven.
But does the court a worthy man remove ?.
That instant, I declare, he has my love:
I shun his zenith, court his mild decline;
Thus Somers once, and Halifax, were mine.
Oft, in the clear, still mirror of retreat,
I study'd Shrewsbury, the wise and great;
Carleton's calm sense, and Stanhope's noble flame
Compar'd, and knew their gen'rous end the same:
How pleasing Atterbary's softer hour!
How shiu'd the soul, unconquer'd in the Tower!
How can I Pulteney, Chesterfield forget,
While Roman spirit charms, and Attic wit ?
Argyle, the state's whole thunder born to wield,
And shake alike the senate and the field ?
Or Wyndham, just to freedom and the throne,
The master of our passions, and his own?
Names, which I long have lov'd, nor lov'd in vain,
Rank'd with their friends, not number'd with their
train; And if yet higher the proud list should end, Still let me say, no follower, but a friend.
Yet think not, friendship only prompts my lays: I follow virtue; where she shines, I praise ; Points she to priest or elder, Whig or Tory, Or round a quaker's beaver cast a glory. I never (to my sorrow I declare) Din'd with the man of Ross, or my Lord May’r. Some, in their choice of friends (nay, look not grave) Have still a secret bias to a knave: To find an honest man I beat about, Aud love him, court him, praise him, in or out. F. Then why so few commended?
P. Not so fierce; Find you the virtue, and I'll find the verse. But random praise--the task can ne'er be done: Each mother asks it for her booby-son;
Each widow asks it for the best of men, u
For him she weeps, for bim she weds again.
Praise cannot stoop, like satire, to the ground:
The number may be hang’d, but not be crown'd.
Enough for half the greatest of these days,
To 'scape my censure, not expect my praise.
Are they not rich? what more can they pretend ?
Dare they to hope a poet for their friend?
What Richelieu wanted. Louis scarce could gain,
And what young Ammon wish'd, but wish'd in vain.
No power the muse's friendship can command;
No power, when virtue claims it, can withstand:
To Cato, Virgil paid one honest line ;
O let my country's friends illumine mine! [sin,
---What are you thinking? F. Faith the thought's Do
I think your friends are out, and would be in.
P. If merely to come in, sir, they go out,
The way they take is strangely round about.
F. They too may be corrupted, you'll allow,
P. I only call those knaves who are so now.
Is that too little? Come then, I'll comply.--
Spirit of Arnall! aid me while I lie:
Cobham's a coward, Polwarth is a slave,
And Lyttelton a dark, designing knave;
St. John has ever been a wealthy fool.
But let me add, sir Robert's mighty dull,
Has never made a friend in private life,
And was, besides, a tyrant to his wife.
But pray, when others pràise him, do I blame?
Call Verres, Wolsey, any odious name?
Why rail they then, it but a wreath of mine,
O all-accomplish'd St. John ! deck thy shrine ?
What! shall each spur-gall'd hackuey of the day,
When Paxton gives bin double pots and pay,
Or each new-pension'd sycophant, pretend
To break my windows if I treat a friend,
Then wisely plead, to me they meant no hurt,
But 'twas my guest at whom they threw the dirt ?
Sure, if I spare the minister, no rules
Of honour bind me, not to maul his tools;