« PreviousContinue »
Now from the dust of ancient days bring forth
Their sober zeal, integrity, and worth;
Courage ungrac'd by these, affronts the skies,
Is but the fire without the sacrifice.
The stream, that feeds the well-spring of the heart,
Not more invigorates life's noblest part,
Than Virtue quickens with a warmth divine
The pow'rs, that Sin has brought to a decline.
A. Th' inestimable Estimate of Brown
Rose like a paper-kite, and charm'd the town;
But measures plann'd and executed well,
Shifted the wind that rais'd it, and it fell.
He trod the very self-same ground you tread,
And Victory refuted all he said.
B. And yet his judgment was not fram'd amiss;
Its error, if it err'd, was merely this-
He thought the dying hour already come,
And a complete recov'ry struck him dumb.
But that effeminacy, folly, lust,
Enervate and enfeeble, and needs must;
And that a nation shamefully debas'd,
Will be despis'd, and trampled on at last,
Unless sweet Penitence her pow'rs renew;
Is truth, if History itself be true.
There is a time, and Justice marks the date,
For long-forbearing Clemency to wait;
That hour elaps'd, th' incurable revolt
Is punish'd, and down comes the thunderbolt.
If Mercy then put by the threatening blow,
Must she perform the same kind office now?
May she and, if offended Heav'n be still
Accessible, and pray'r prevail, she will.
"Tis not, however, insolence and noise,
The tempest of tumultuary joys,
Nor is it yet despondence and dismay
Will win her visits or engage her stay;
Pray'r only, and the penitential tear,
Can call her smiling down, and fix her here.
But when a country (one that I could name) In prostitution sinks the sense of shame; When infamous Venality, grown bold, Writes on his bosom, To be let or sold; When Perjury, that Heav'n-defying vice, Sells oaths by tale, and at the lowest price, Stamps God's own name upon a lie just made, To turn a penny in the way of trade; When Av'rice starves (and never hides his face) Two or three millions of the human race, And not a tongue inquires, how, where, or when, Though conscience will have twinges now and then; When profanation of the sacred cause In all its parts, times, ministry, and laws, Bespeaks a land, once Christian, fall'n, and lost, In all, that wars against that title most; What follows next let cities of great name, And regions long since desolate, proclaim. Nineveh, Babylon, and ancient Rome, Speak to the present times, and times to come; They cry aloud in ev'ry careless ear, "Stop, while ye may; suspend your mad career; O learn from our example and our fate, Learn wisdom and repentance ere too late." Not only Vice disposes and prepares The mind, that slumbers sweetly in her snares, To stoop to Tyranny's usurp'd command, And bend her polish'd neck beneath his hand, (A dire effect, by one of Nature's laws Unchangeably connected with its cause ;) But Providence himself will intervene, To throw his dark displeasure o'er the scene.
All are his instruments; each form of war,
What burns at home, or threatens from afar,
Nature in arms, her elements at strife,
The storms, that overset the joys of life,
Are but his rods to scourge a guilty land,
And waste it at the bidding of his hand.
He gives the word, and Mutiny soon roars
In all her gates, and shakes her distant shores;
The standards of all nations are unfurl'd;
She has one foe, and that one foe the World.
And, if he doom that people with a frown,
And mark them with a seal of wrath press'd down
Obduracy takes place; callous and tough,
The reprobated race grows judgment-proof:
Earth shakes beneath them, and Heav'n roars above;
But nothing scares them from the course they love.
To the lascivious pipe and wanton song,
That charm down fear, they frolic it along,
With mad rapidity and unconcern,
Down to the gulf, from which is no return.
They trust in navies, and their navies fail-
God's curse can cast away ten thousand sail!
They trust in armies, and their courage dies;
In wisdom, wealth, in fortune, and in lies;
But all they trust in withers, as it must,
When He commands, in whom they place no trust.
Vengeance at last pours down upon their coast
A long-despis'd but now victorious host;
Tyranny sends the chain, that must abridge
The noble sweep of all their privilege;
Gives liberty the last, the mortal shock;
Slips the slave's collar on, and snaps the lock.
A. Such lofty strains embellish what you teach. Mean you to prophesy, or but to preach?
B. I know the mind, that feels indeed the fire
The Muse imparts, and can command the lyre,
Acts with a force, and kindles with a zeal,
Whate'er the theme, that others never feel.
If human woes her soft attention claim,
A tender sympathy pervades the frame,
She pours a sensibility divine
Along the nerve of ev'ry feeling line.
But if a deed not tamely to be borne
Fire indignation and a sense of scorn,
The strings are swept with such a pow'r, so loud,
The storm of music shakes th' astonish'd crowd.
So, when remote futurity is brought
Before the keen inquiry of her thought,
A terrible sagacity informs
The poet's heart; he looks to distant storms;
He hears the thunder ere the tempest low'rs;
And, arm'd with strength surpassing human pow'rs,
Seizes events as yet unknown to man,
And darts his soul into the dawning plan.
Hence, in a Roman mouth, the graceful name
Of prophet and of poet was the same;
Hence British poets, too, the priesthood shar'd,
And every hallow'd Druid was a bard.
But no prophetic fires to me belong;
I play with syllables, and sport in song.
A. At Westminster, where little poets strive
To set a distich upon six and five.
Where Discipline helps op'ning buds of sense,
And makes his pupils proud with silver pence,
I was a poet too; but modern taste
Is so refin'd, and delicate, and chaste,
That verse, whatever fire the fancy warms,
Without a creamy smoothness has no charms.
Thus, all success depending on an ear,
And thinking I might purchase it too dear,
If sentiment were sacrific'd to sound,
And truth cut short to make a period round,
I judg'd a man of sense could scarce do worse,
Than caper in the morris-dance of verse.
B. Thus reputation is a spur to wit,
And some wits flag through fear of losing it.
Give me the line, that plows its stately course
Like a proud swan, conq'ring the stream by force;
That, like some cottage-beauty, strikes the heart,
Quite unindebted to the tricks of art.
When Labor and when Dullness, club in hand,
Like the two figures at St. Dunstan's stand,
Beating alternately, in measur'd time,
The clock-work tintinnabulum of rhyme,
Exact and regular the sounds will be;
But such mere quarter-strokes are not for me.
From him, who rears a poem lank and long,
To him who strains his all into a song;
Perhaps some bonny Caledonian air,
All birks and braes, though he was never there;
Or, having whelp'd a prologue with great pains,
Feels himself spent, and fumbles for his brains;
A prologue interdash'd with many a stroke-
An art contriv'd to advertise a joke,
So that the jest is clearly to be seen,
Not in the words-but in the gap between:
Manner is all in all, whate'er is writ,
The substitute for genius, sense, and wit.
To dally much with subjects mean and low,
Proves that the mind is weak, or makes it so.
Neglected talents rust into decay,
And ev'ry effort ends in push-pin play.
The man that means success, should soar above
A soldier's feather, or a lady's glove;
Else summoning the Muse to such a theme,
The fruit of all her labor is whipp'd cream.
As if an eagle flew aloft, and then-
Stoop'd from its highest pitch to pounce a wren.
As if the poet, purposing to wed,
Should carve himself a wife in gingerbread.
Ages elaps'd ere Homer's lamp appear'd,
And ages ere the Mantuan swan was heard.
To carry nature lengths unknown before,
To give a Milton birth, ask'd ages more.
Thus Genius rose and set at order'd times,
And shot a day-spring into distant climes,
Ennobling ev'ry region that he chose;
He sunk in Greece, in Italy he rose ;
And, tedious years of Gothic darkness pass'd,
Emerg'd all splendor in our isle at last.
Thus lovely halcyons dive into the main,
Then show far off their shining plumes again.
A. Is genius only found in epic lays?
Prove this, and forfeit all pretence to praise.
Make their heroic pow'rs your own at once,
Or candidly confess yourself a dunce.
B. These were the chief: each interval of night Was grac'd with many an undulating light, In less illustrious bards his beauty shone A meteor, or a star; in these the Sun.
The nightingale may claim the topmost bough, While the poor grasshopper must chirp below. Like him unnotic'd, I, and such as I,
Spread little wings, and rather skip than fly;
Perch'd on the meagre produce of the land,
An ell or two of prospect we command;
But never peep beyond the thorny bound,
Or oaken fence, that hems the paddock round.
In Eden, ere yet innocence of heart
Had faded, poetry was not an art;
Language, above all teaching, or if taught,
Only by gratitude and glowing thought,
Elegant as simplicity, and warm
As ecstasy, unmanacled by form,
Not prompted, as in our degen'rate days,
By low ambition and the thirst of praise,
Was natural as is the flowing stream,
And yet magnificent-a God the theme!
That theme on Earth exhausted, though above
"Tis found as everlasting as his love,
Man lavish'd all his thoughts on human things-
The feats of heroes, and the wrath of kings;
But still, while Virtue kindled his delight,
The song was moral, and so far was right.
"Twas thus till Luxury seduc'd the mind
To joys less innocent, as less refin'd;
Then Genius danc'd a bacchanal; he crown'd
The brimming goblet, seiz'd the thyrsus, bound
His brows with ivy, rush'd into the field
Of wild imagination, and there reel'd,
The victim of his own lascivious fires,
And, dizzy with delight, profan'd the sacred wires.
Anacreon, Horace, play'd in Greece and Rome
This bedlam part; and others nearer home. [reign'd
When Cromwell fought for pow'r, and while he
The proud protector of the pow'r he gain'd,
Religion, harsh, intolerant, austere,
Parent of manners like herself severe,
Drew a rough copy of the Christian face
Without the smile, the sweetness, or the grace;
The dark and sullen humor of the time
Judg'd ev'ry effort of the Muse a crime;
Verse, in the finest mould of fancy cast,
Was lumber in an age so void of taste:
But when the second Charles assum'd the sway,
And arts reviv'd beneath a softer day,
Then, like a bow long forc'd into a curve,
The mind, releas'd from too constrain'd a nerve,
Flew to its first position with a spring,
That made the vaulted roofs of pleasure ring.
His court, the dissolute and hateful school
Of Wantonness, where vice was taught by rule,
Swarm'd with a scribbling herd, as deep inlaid
With brutal lust as ever Circe made.
From these a long succession, in the rage
Of rank obscenity, debauch'd their age;
Nor ceas'd, till, ever anxious to redress
The abuses of her sacred charge, the press,
The Muse instructed a well-nurtur'd train
Of abler votaries to cleanse the stain,
And claim the palm for purity of song,
That Lewdness had usurp'd and worn so long.
Then decent Pleasantry and sterling Sense,
That neither gave nor would endure offence,
Whipp'd out of sight, with satire just and keen,
The puppy pack, that had defil'd the scene.
In front of these came Addison. In him
Humor in holiday and sightly trim,
Sublimity and Attic taste, combin'd,
To polish, furnish, and delight, the mind.
Then Pope, as harmony itself exact,
In verse well-disciplin'd, complete, compact,
Gave virtue and morality a grace,
That, quite eclipsing Pleasure's painted face,
Levied a tax of wonder and applause,
Ev'n on the fools that trampled on their laws.
But he (his musical finesse was such,
So nice his ear, so delicate his touch)
Made poetry a mere mechanic art;
And ev'ry warbler has his tune by heart.
Nature imparting her satiric gift,
Her serious mirth, to Arbuthnot and Swift,
With droll sobriety they rais'd a smile
At Folly's cost, themselves unmov'd the while.
That constellation set, the world in vain
Must hope to look upon their like again.
A. Are we then left?-B. Not wholly in the dark;
Wit now and then, struck smartly, shows a spark,
Sufficient to redeem the modern race
From total night and absolute disgrace.
While servile trick and imitative knack
Confine the million in the beaten track,
Perhaps some courser, who disdains the road,
Snuffs up the wind, and flings himself abroad.
Contemporaries all surpass'd, see one;
Short his career indeed, but ably run;
Churchill; himself, unconscious of his pow'rs,
In penury consum'd his idle hours;
And, like a scatter'd seed at random sown,
Was left to spring by vigor of his own.
Lifted at length, by dignity of thought
And dint of genius, to an affluent lot,
He laid his head in Luxury's soft lap,
And took, too often, there his easy nap.
If brighter beams than all he threw not forth,
'Twas negligence in him, not want of worth.
Surly, and slovenly, and bold, and coarse,
Too proud for art, and trusting in mere force,
Spendthrift alike of money and of wit,
Always at speed, and never drawing bit,
He struck the lyre in such a careless mood,
And so disdain'd the rules he understood,
The laurel seem'd to wait on his command,
He snatch'd it rudely from the Muses' hand.
Nature, exerting an unwearied pow'r,
Forms, opens, and gives scent to ev'ry flow'r;
Spreads the fresh verdure of the field, and leads
The dancing Naiads through the dewy meads:
She fills profuse ten thousand little throats
With music, modulating all their notes;
With artless airs and concerts of her own:
But seldom (as if fearful of expense)
Vouchsafes to man a poet's just pretence-
Fervency, freedom, fluency of thought,
Harmony, strength, words exquisitely sought;
Fancy, that from the bow, that spans the sky,
Brings colors, dipp'd in Heav'n, that never die;
A soul exalted above Earth, a mind
Skill'd in the characters that form mankind;
And, as the Sun in rising beauty dress'd,
Looks to the westward from the dappled east,
And marks, whatever clouds may interpose,
Ere yet his race begins, its glorious close;
An eye like his to catch the distant goal;
Or, ere the wheels of verse begin to roll,
Like his to shed illuminating rays
On ev'ry scene and subject it surveys:
Thus grac'd, the man asserts a poet's name,
And the world cheerfully admits the claim.
Pity Religion has so seldom found
Stands in the desert, shiv'ring and forlorn,
A wint'ry figure, like a wither'd thorn.
The shelves are full, all other themes are sped;
Hackney'd and worn to the last flimsy thread,
Satire has long since done his best; and curst
And lothesome Ribaldry has done his worst;
Fancy has sported all her pow'rs away
In tales, in trifles, and in children's play;
And 'tis the sad complaint, and almost true,
Whate'er we write, we bring forth nothing new.
"T were new indeed to see a bard all fire,
Touch'd with a coal from Heav'n, assume the lyre,
And tell the world, still kindling as he sung,
With more than mortal music on his tongue,
That He, who died below, and reigns above,
Inspires the song, and that his name is Love.
For, after all, if merely to beguile,
By flowing numbers and a flow'ry style,
The tedium that the lazy rich endure,
Which now and then sweet poetry may cure;
Or, if to see the name of idle self,
If flatt'ry, folly, lust, employ the pen;
If acrimony, slander, and abuse,
And charms the woodland scenes, and wilds un- Give it a charge to blacken and traduce;
And ev'ry Muse attend her in her way.
Virtue indeed meets many a rhyming friend,
And many a compliment politely penn'd;
But, unattir'd in that becoming vest
Religion weaves for her, and half undress'd,
Stamp'd on the well-bound quarto, grace the shelf,
To float a bubble on the breath of Fame,
Prompt his endeavor and engage his aim,
Debas'd to servile purposes of pride,
How are the pow'rs of genius misapplied!
The gift, whose office is the Giver's praise,
To trace him in his word, his works, his ways!
Then spread the rich discov'ry, and invite
Mankind to share in the divine delight,
Distorted from its use and just design,
To make the pitiful possessor shine.
To purchase, at the fool-frequented fair
Of vanity, a wreath for self to wear,
Is profanation of the basest kind—
Proof of a trifling and a worthless mind.
A. Hail Sternhold, then; and Hopkins, hail!-
Though Butler's wit, Pope's numbers, Prior's ease,
With all that fancy can invent to please
Adorn the polish'd periods as they fall,
One madrigal of theirs is worth them all.
A. "Twould thin the ranks of the poetic tribe,
To dash the pen through all that you proscribe.
B. No matter we could shift when they were not; And should, no doubt, if they were all forgot.
Nam neque me tantum venientis sibilus austri,
Nec percussa juvant fluctu tam litora, nec qua
Saxosas inter decurrunt flumina valles.
Virg. Ecl. v.
THOUGH Nature weigh our talents, and dispense
To ev'ry man his modicum of sense,
And Conversation in its better part
May be esteem'd a gift, and not an art,
Yet much depends, as in the tiller's toil,
A skilful guide into poetic ground!
The flow'rs would spring where'er she deign'd to On culture, and the sowing of the soil.
Words learn'd by rote a parrot may rehearse,
But talking is not always to converse;
Not more distinct from harmony divine,
The constant creaking of a country sign.
As Alphabets in ivory employ,
Hour after hour, the yet unletter'd boy.
Sorting and puzzling with a deal of glee Those seeds of science call'd his A B C ; So language in the mouths of the adult, Witness its insignificant result,
Too often proves an implement of play,
A toy to sport with, and pass time away.
Collect at ev'ning what the day brought forth,
Compress the sum into its solid worth,
And if it weigh th' importance of a fly,
The scales are false, or algebra a lie.
Sacred interpreter of human thought,
How few respect or use thee as they ought!
But all shall give account of ev'ry wrong,
Who dare dishonor or defile the tongue;
Who prostitute it in the cause of vice,
Or sell their glory at a market-price;
Who vote for hire, or point it with lampoon,
The dear-bought placeman, and the cheap buf-
There is a prurience in the speech of some, Wrath stays him, or else God would strike them dumb:
His wise forbearance has their end in view,
They fill their measure, and receive their due.
The heathen lawgivers of ancient days,
Names almost worthy of a Christian's praise,
Would drive them forth from the resort of men,
And shut up ev'ry satyr in his den.
O come not ye near innocence and truth,
Ye worms that eat into the bud of youth!
Infectious as impure, your blighting pow'r
Taints in its rudiments the promis'd flow'r;
Its odor perish'd, and its charming hue,
Thenceforth 'tis hateful, for it smells of you.
Not ev'n the vigorous and headlong rage
Of adolescence, or a firmer age,
Affords a plea allowable or just
For making speech the pamperer of lust;
But when the breath of age commits the fault,
"Tis nauseous as the vapor of a vault.
So wither'd stumps disgrace the sylvan scene,
No longer fruitful, and no longer green;
The sapless wood, divested of the bark,
Grows fungous, and takes fire at ev'ry spark.
Ye pow'rs who rule the tongue, if such there are, And make colloquial happiness your care, Preserve me from the thing I dread and hate, A duel in the form of a debate.
Oaths terminate, as Paul observes, all strifeSome men have surely then a peaceful life; Whatever subject occupy discourse, The feats of Vestris, or the naval force, Asseveration blust'ring in your face Makes contradiction such a hopeless case: In ev'ry tale they tell, or false or true, Well known, or such as no man ever knew, They fix attention, heedless of your pain, With oaths like rivets forc'd into the brain; And ev'n when sober truth prevails throughout, They swear it, till affirmance breeds a doubt. A Persian, humble servant of the Sun, Who, though devout, yet bigotry had none, Hearing a lawyer, grave in his address, With adjurations ev'ry word impress, Suppos'd the man a bishop, or at least, God's name so much upon his lips, a priest; Bow'd at the close with all his graceful airs, And begg'd an int'rest in his frequent pray'rs.
Go, quit the rank to which ye stood preferr'd, Henceforth associate in one common herd; Religion, virtue, reason, common-sense, Pronounce your human form a false pretence; A mere disguise, in which a devil lurks, Who yet betrays his secret by his works.
The clash of arguments and jar of words,
Worse than the mortal brunt of rival swords,
Decide no question with their tedious length,
For opposition gives opinion strength,
Divert the champions prodigal of breath,
And put the peaceably-dispos'd to death.
O thwart me not, Sir Soph, at ev'ry turn,
Nor carp at ev'ry flaw you may discern;
Though syllogisms hang not on my tongue,
I am not surely always in the wrong;
"Tis hard if all is false that I advance,
A fool must now and then be right by chance.
Not that all freedom of dissent I blame;
No-there I grant the privilege I claim;
A disputable point is no man's ground;
Rove where you please, 'tis common all around.
Discourse may want an animated-No,
To brush the surface, and to make it flow;
But still remember, if you mean to please,
To press your point with modesty and ease.
The mark, at which my juster aim I take,
Is contradiction for its own dear sake.
Set your opinion at whatever pitch,
Knots and impediments make something hitch;
Adopt his own, 'tis equally in vain,
Your thread of argument is snapp'd again;
The wrangler, rather than accord with you,
Will judge himself deceiv'd, and prove it too.
Vociferated logic kills me quite,
A noisy man is always in the right,
I twirl my thumbs, fall back into my chair,
Fix on the wainscot a distressful stare,
And, when I hope his blunders are all out,
Reply discreetly" To be sure no doubt!"
Dubius is such a scrupulous good man-
Yes-you may catch him tripping, if you can.
He would not, with a peremptory tone,
Assert the nose upon his face his own;
With hesitation admirably slow,
He humbly hopes-presumes-it may be so.
His evidence, if he were call'd by law
To swear to some enormity he saw,
For want of prominence and just relief,
Would hang an honest man, and save a thief.
Through constant dread of giving truth offence,
He ties up all his hearers in suspense;
Knows what he knows, as if he knew it not;
What he remembers seems to have forgot;
His sole opinion, whatsoe'er befall,
Centring at last in having none at all,
Yet, though he tease and balk your list'ning ear,
He makes one useful point exceeding clear;
Howe'er ingenious on his darling theme
A sceptic in philosophy may seem,
Reduc'd to practice, his beloved rule
Would only prove him a consummate fool;
Useless in him alike both brain and speech,
Fate having plac'd all truth above his reach,
His ambiguities his total sum,
He might as well be blind, and deaf, and dumb.
Where men of judgment creep and feel their way,
The positive pronounce without dismay;
Their want of light and intellect supplied
By sparks absurdity strikes out of pride.
Without the means of knowing right from wrong,
They always are decisive, clear, and strong;
Where others toil with philosophic force,
Their nimble nonsense takes a shorter course;
Flings at your head conviction in the lump,
And gains remote conclusions at a jump:
Their own defect, invisible to them,
Seen in another, they at once condemn ;
And, though self-idoliz'd in ev'ry case,
Hate their own likeness in a brother's face.
The cause is plain, and not to be denied,
The proud are always most provok'd by pride.
Few competitions but engender spite;
And those the most, where neither has a right.
The point of honor has been deem'd of use,
To teach good manners, and to curb abuse;
Admit it true, the consequence is clear,
Our polish'd manners are a mask we wear,
And, at the bottom barb'rous still and rude,
We are restrain'd, indeed, but not subdu'd.
The very remedy, however sure,
Springs from the mischief it intends to cure,
And savage in its principle appears,
Tried, as it should be, by the fruit it bears.
"Tis hard, indeed, if nothing will defend
Mankind from quarrels but their fatal end;
That now and then a hero must decease,
That the surviving world may live in peace.
Perhaps at last close scrutiny may show
The practice dastardly, and mean, and low;
That men engage in it compell'd by force,
And fear, not courage, is its proper source:
The fear of tyrant custom, and the fear
Lest fops should censure us, and fools should sneer. Unfriendly to society's chief joys,
At least to trample on our Maker's laws,
And hazard life for any or no cause,
To rush into a fix'd eternal state
Out of the very flames of rage and hate,
Or send another shiv'ring to the bar
With all the guilt of such unnatʼral war,
Whatever Use may urge, or Honor plead,
On Reason's verdict is a madman's deed.
Am I to set my life upon a throw,
Because a bear is rude and surly? No-
A moral, sensible, and well-bred man
Will not affront me; and no other can.
Were I empower'd to regulate the lists,
They should encounter with well-loaded fists;
A Trojan combat would be something new,
Let Dares beat Entellus black and blue;
Then each might show, to his admiring friends,
In honorable bumps his rich amends,
And carry, in contusions of his skull,
A satisfactory receipt in full.
A story, in which native humor reigns,
Is often useful, always entertains:
A graver fact, enlisted on your side,
May furnish illustration, well applied;
But sedentary weavers of long tales
Give me the fidgets, and my patience fails.
"Tis the most asinine employ on Earth,
To hear them tell of parentage and birth,
And echo conversations, dull and dry,
Embellish'd with-" He said," and "So said I."
At ev'ry interview their route the same,
The repetition makes attention lame:
We bustle up with unsuccessful speed,
And in the saddest part cry-"Droll, indeed!"
The path of narrative with care pursue,
Still making probability your clew;
On all the vestiges of truth attend,
And let them guide you to a decent end.
Of all ambitions man may entertain,
The worst, that can invade a fickly brain,
Is that which angles hourly for surprise,
And baits its hook with prodigies and lies.
Credulous infancy, or age as weak,
Are fittest auditors for such to seek,
Who, to please others, will themselves disgrace,
Yet please not, but affront you to your face.
A great retailer of this curious ware
Having unloaded and made many stare,
Can this be true?"—an arch observer cries,
Yes," (rather mov'd,) " I saw it with these eyes:” "Sir! I believe it on that ground alone,
I could not, had I seen it with my own."
A tale should be judicious, clear, succinct;
The language plain, and incidents well-link'd;
Tell not as new what ev'ry body knows,
And, new or old, still hasten to a close;
There, centring in a focus round and neat,
Let all your rays of information meet.
What neither yields us profit nor delight,
Is like a nurse's lullaby at night;
Guy Earl of Warwick, and fair Eleanore,
Or giant-killing Jack, would please me more.
The pipe, with solemn interposing puff,
Makes half a sentence at a time enough;
The dozing sages drop the drowsy strain,
Then pause, and puff-and speak, and pause again.
Such often, like the tube they so admire,
Important triflers! have more smoke than fire.
Pernicious weed! whose scent the fair annoys,
Thy worst effect is banishing for hours
The sex, whose presence civilizes ours:
Thou art, indeed, the drug a gard'ner wants,
To poison vermin that infest his plants;
But are we so to wit and beauty blind,
As to despise the glory of our kind,
And show the softest minds and fairest forms
As little mercy as he grubs and worms?
They dare not wait the riotous abuse,
Thy thirst-creating steams at length produce,
When wine has giv'n indecent language birth,
And forc'd the flood-gates of licentious mirth;
For sea-born Venus her attachment shows
Still to that element from which she rose,
And with a quiet, which no fumes disturb,
Sips meek infusions of a milder herb.
Th' emphatic speaker dearly loves t' oppose,
In contact inconvenient, nose to nose.
As if the gnomon on his neighbor's phiz,
Touch'd with the magnet, had attracted his.
His whisper'd theme, dilated and at large,
Proves after all a wind-gun's airy charge,
An extract of his diary-no more,
A tasteless journal of the day before.
He walk'd abroad, o'ertaken in the rain,
Call'd on a friend, drank tea, stepp'd home again
Resum'd his purpose, had a world of talk
With one he stumbled on, and lost his walk.
I interrupt him with a sudden bow-
"Adieu, dear sir! lest you should lose it now."
I cannot talk with civet in the room,
A fine puss-gentleman that's all perfume;
The sight's enough-no need to smell a beau-
Who thrusts his nose into a raree-show?
His odoriferous attempts to please
Perhaps might prosper with a swarm of bees;
But we that make no honey, though we sting,
Poets are sometimes apt to maul the thing.