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P.SHUT, shut the door, good John! fatigu’d I said,
Tye up the knocker, say I'm sick, I'm dead,
5 They rave, recite, and madden round the land.
What walls can guard me, or what shades can hide ? They pierce my thickets, thro' my grot they glide, By land, by water, they renew the charge, They stop the chariot, and they board the barge. IO No place is sacred, not the church is free, Ev'n 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,
15 A maudlin poetess, a rhyming peer, A clerk, foredoom'd his father's foul to cross, Who pens a Stanza, when he should engross? Is there, who, lock'd from ink and paper, scrawls With desp’rate charcoal found his darken'd walls?
All fly to TWIT'NAM, and in humble strain
25 And curses wit, and poetry, and Pope.
Friend to my life! (which did not you prolong, The world had wanted many an idle song) What drop or noftrum can this plague remove ? Or which must end me, a fool's wrath or love? 30 A dire dilemma ! either way I'm fped. If foes, they write, if friends, they read me dead. Seiz'd and ty'd down to judge, how wretched I ! Who can't be filent, and who will not lye : To laugh, were want of goodness and of grace, 35 And to be grave, exceeds all pow'r of face. I fit with fad civility, I read With honest anguish, and an aching head; And drop at laft, but in unwilling ears, This saving counsel, “Keep your piece nine years.” 40
Nine years ! cries he, who high in Drury-lane, Lull’d by soft zephyrs thro’ 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, 45 “ I'm all submission, what you'd have it, make it."
Three things another's modeft wishes bound, My friendship, and a Prologue, and ten pound. Pitholeon fends 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? Curl invites to dine, “ He'll write a Journal, or he'll turn divine.”
Blefs me! a packet.—"'Tis a stranger sues,
« Commend it to the stage."
If I approve,
There (thank my fars) my whole commission ends, The players and I are, luckily, no friends, Fir'd that the house reje&t him, “ 'Sdeath I'll print it, « And shame the fools-Your int'reft, 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;
65 At last he whispers, “ Do; and we go snacks." Glad of a quarrel, ftrait I clap the door, Sir, let me see your works and you no more.
'Tis sung, when Midas' cars began to spring, (Midas, a sacred person and a king)
70 His very minister who spy'd 'em first, (Some say his queen) was forc'd to speak, or hurft. And is not mine, my friend, a forer case, When ev'ry coxcomb perks them in my face?
A. Good friend forbear! you deal in dang’rous things, I'd never name queens, minifters, or kings;
76 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 :
80 The truth once told (and wherefore should we lic?) The queen of Midas slept, and so may I.
You think this cruel? take it for a rule,
95 Loft the arch'd eye-brow, or Parnaffian fneer?
And has not Colly still his lord, and whore ?
One dedicates in high heroic profe, And ridicules beyond a hundred foes :
110 One from all Grub-street will my fame defend, And more abusive, calls himself my friend. This prints my Letters, that expects a bribe, And others roar aloud, “ Subscribe, subscribe !"
There are, who to my person pay their court : 115 I cough like Horace, and, tho' lean, am short. Ammon's great son one shoulder had too high, , Such Ovid's nose, and, “Sir! you have an eye"Go on, obliging creatures; make me fee All that disgrac'd my betters, met in me.
120 Say for my comfort, languishing in bed, 56 Just so immortal Maro held his head :" And when I die, be sure you let me know Great Homer dy'd three thousand years ago.
Why did I write? what sin to me unknown 125 Dipt me in ink, my parents', or my own? As yet a child, nor yet a fool to fame, I lisp'd in numbers, for the numbers came. I left no calling for this idle trade, No duty broke, no father disobey'd.
130 The Mufe but ferv'd to ease fome friend, not wife, To help me thro' this long disease, my life, To second, ARBUTHNOT! thy art and care, And teach, the being you preferv'd, to bear.
But why then publish ? Granville the polite,
140 And St. John's self (great Dryden's friends before) With open
arms receiv'd one poet more.
Soft were my numbers; who could take offence
Did some more sober critic come abroad;