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EPISTLE TO DR. ARBUTHNOT,

BEING THE PROLOGUE TO THE SATIRES.

ADVERTISEMENT.

This paper is a sort of bill of complaint, begun many years

since, and drawn up by snatches, as the several occasions offered. I had no thoughts of publishing it, till it pleased some persons of rank and fortune (the authors of “ Verses to the imitator of Horace," and of an " Epistle to a doctor of divinity from a nobleman at Hampton Court”] to attack, in a very extraordinary manner, not only my writings (of which, being public, the public is judge), but my person, morals, and family; whereof, to those who know me not, a truer information may be requisite. Being divided between the necessity to say something of myself, and my own laziness to undertake so awkward a task, I thought it the shortest way to put the last hand to this epistle. If it have any thing pleasing, it will be that by which I am most desirous to please, the truth and the sentiment; and if any thing offensive, it will be only to those I am least

sorry to offend, the vicious or the ungenerous. Many will know their own pictures in it, there being not a

circumstance but what is true; but I have, for the most part, spared their names, and they may escape being laughed

at if they please. I would have some of them know it was owing to the reques

of the learned and candid friend to whom it is inscribed

· See Memoir prefixed to these volumes, p. xcii.

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that I make not as free use of theirs as they have done of mine. However, I shall have this advantage and honour on my side, that whereas, by their proceeding, any abuse may be directed at any man, no injury can possibly be done by mine, since a nameless character can never be found out but by its truth and likeness.

66 Tie

P. “Shut, shut the door, good John!" fatigued,

I said ;
up

the knocker, say I'm sick, I'm dead.”
The dogstar rages! nay, 'tis past a doubt
All Bedlam or Parnassus is let out:
Fire in each eye, and papers in each hand,
They rave, recite, and madden round the land.
What walls can guard me, or what shades can

hide ?
They pierce my thickets, through my grot they

glide,
By land, by water, they renew the charge,
They stop the chariot, and they board the barge.
No place is sacred, not the church is free,
E'en Sunday shines no sabbath day to me:
Then from the Mint walks forth the man of rhyme,
Happy to catch me just at dinner time.

Is there a parson much bemus'd in beer,
A maudlin poetess, a rhyming peer,
A clerk foredoom'd his father's soul to cross,
Who pens a stanza when he should engross?
Is there who, lock'd from ink and paper,

scrawls With desperate charcoal round his darken'd walls?

John Searl, Pope's faithful servant.

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and Pope.

All fly to Twit'nam, and in humble strain
Apply to me to keep them mad or vain.
Arthur, whose giddy son neglects the laws,
Imputes to me and my damn'd works the cause :
Poor Cornus sees his frantic wife elope,
And curses wit, and poetry,

Friend to my life, (which did not you prolong,
The world had wanted many an idle song)
What drop or nostrum can this plague remove?
Or which must end me, a fool's wrath or love?
A dire dilemma ! either way I'm sped ;
If foes, they write, if friends, they read me dead.
Seiz'd and tied down to judge, how wretched I!
Who can't be silent, and who will not lie,
To laugh were want of goodness and of grace,
And to be grave exceeds all power of face.
I sit with sad civility, I read
With honest anguish and an aching head,
And drop at last, but in unwilling ears,
This saving counsel,"Keep your piece nine years."

“Nine years!" cries he, who, high in Drury Lane, Lull’d by soft zephyrs through the broken pane, Rhymes ere he wakes, and prints before term ends, Oblig'd by hunger and request of friends : “The piece, you think, is incorrect? why, take it, I'm all submission : what you'd have it-make it.'

Three things another's modest wishes bound, My friendship, and a prologue, and ten pound."

3 Arthur Moore, Esq.

Pitholeon sends to me: You know his

grace, I want a patron; ask him for a place.” Pitholeon libell'd me-" But here's a letter Informs you, Sir, 'twas when he knew no better. : Dare you

refuse him? Curll invites to dine, He'll write a journal, or he'll turn divine.” Bless me! a packet.—“ 'Tis a stranger sues, A virgin tragedy, an orphan Muse." If I dislike it, “ Furies, death, and rage !" If I approve, “ Commend it to the stage." There (thank my stars) my whole commission ends, The players and I are, luckily, no friends. Fir'd that the house rejects him, “ 'Sdeath, I'll

print it, And shame the fools--your interest, Sir, with

Lintot.”. Lintot, dull rogue, will think your price too much:

Not, Sir, if you revise it, and retouch.” All my demurs but double his attacks; At last he whispers, “ Do, and we go snacks." Glad of a quarrel, straight I clap the door ;

Sir, let me see your works and you no more.

'Tis sung, when Midas' ears began to spring, (Midas, a sacred person and a king) His very ministers who spied them first (Some say his queen) was forc'd to speak or burst. And is not mine, my friend, a sorer case, When every coxcomb perks them in my face?

^ The London Journal. 6 An allusion to Sir Robert Walpole and Queen Caroline.

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A. Good friend, forbear! you deal in dangerous

things; I'd never name queens, ministers, or kings; Keep close to ears, and those let asses prick, 'Tis nothing-P. Nothing ! if they bite and kick? Out with it, Dunciad! let the secret pass, That secret to each fool, that he's an ass : The truth once told (and wherefore should we lie ?) The queen of Midas slept, and so may

1. You think this cruel ? take it for a rule, No creature smarts so little as a fool. Let peals of laughter, Codrus, round thee break, Thou unconcern’d canst hear the mighty crack: Pit, box, and gallery in convulsions hurl'd, Thou stand'st unshook amidst a bursting world. Who shames a scribbler ? break one cobweb thro', He spins the slight self-pleasing thread anew : Destroy his fib, or sophistry, in vain ; The creature's at his dirty work again, Thron’d in the centre of his thin designs, Proud of a vast extent of flimsy lines ! Whom have I hurt? has poet yet or peer Lost the arch'd eyebrow or Parnassian sneer? And has not Colley still his lord and whore ? His butchers Henley ? 6 his freemasons Moore ??

• Orator Henley declaimed among the butchers in Newport Market and Butcher's Row.

? He used frequently to head the processions of the Free

masons.

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