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A tongue that can cheat widows, cancel scores, Make Scots speak treason, cozen subtlest whores, With royal favourites in flatt'ry vie,
60 And Oldmixon and Burnet both outlie.
He spies me out; I whisper, gracious God! What sin of mine could merit such a rod ? That all the shot of Dulness now must be From this thy blunderbuss discharg’d on me! 65 Permit, he cries, no stranger to your fame, To crave your sentiment, if 's your name. What speech esteem you most ? The King's, said I. But the best words ?-0, Sir, the Dictionary. You miss my aim ;, I mean the most acute, And perfect speaker-Onslow, past dispute.
Me to hear this; yet I must be content
With his tongue, in his tongue called complement;
In which he can win widows, and pay scores,
Make men speak treason, cozen subtlest whores,
Out-fatter favourites, or outlie either
Jovius or Surius, or both together.
He names me, and comes to me: I whisper, God!
How have I sinn'd, that thy wrath's furious rod,
This fellow chuseth me? He saith, Sir,
I love your judgment; whom do you prefer
For the best linguist? and I silily
Said, that I thought Calepine's Dictionary.
But, Sir, of writers ? Swift for closer style,
But Hoadly for a period of a mile.
Why, yes, 'tis granted, these indeed may pass ;
Good common linguists, and so Panurge was;
Nay, troth the Apostles (tho' perhaps too rough)
Had once a pretty gift of tongues enough:
Yet these were all poor gentlemen! I dare
Affirm 'twas travel made them what they were.
Thus others' talents having nicely shown,
He came by sure transition to his own;
Till I cry'd out, You prove yourself so able,
Pity you was not druggerman at Babel ;
For had they found a linguist half so good,
I make no question but the Tow'r had stood.
Nay, But of men ? most sweet Sir! Beza, then,
Some Jesuits, and two rev’rend men
Of our two academies, I nam’d. Here
He stopt me, and said ; Na', your Apostles were
Good pretty linguists ; so Panurgus was,
Yet a poor gentleman; all these may pass
By travail. Then, as if he would have sold
His tongue he prais'd it, and such wonders told,
That I was fain to say, if you had liv’d, Sir,
Time enough to have been interpreter
To Babel's bricklayers, sure the Tow'r had stood.
He adds, If of court-life you knew the good
Obliging Sir! for courts you sure were made,
Why then for ever bury'd in the shade?
Spirits like you should see and should be seen ;
The King would smile on you-at least the Queen.
Ah, gentle Sir! you courtiers so cajole us-
But Tully has it, Nunquam minus solus :
And as for courts, forgive me if I say,
No lessons now are taught the Spartan way.
Tho’ in his pictures Lust be full display'd,
Few are the converts Aretine has made ;
95 And tho the Court show vice exceeding clear, None should, by my advice, learn virtue there.
At this entranc'd, he lifts his hands and eyes, Squeaks like a high-stretch'd lutestring, and replies; Oh 'tis the sweetest of all earthly things
100 To gaze on princes, and to talk of kings ! Then happy man who shows the tombs! said I ; He dwells amidst the royal family ;
You would leave loneness. I said, not alone
My loneness is; but Spartanes' fashion ;
To teach by painting drunkards, doth not last
Now; Aretine's pictures have made few chaste;
No more can princes' courts, tho' there be few
Better pictures of vice, teach me virtue.
He, like to a high-stretch'd lutestring squeakt, O, Sir!
'Tis sweet to talk of kings ! At Westminster,
He ev'ry day from king to king can walk,
Of all our Harries, all our Edwards talk, 105
And get, by speaking truth of monarchs dead,
What few can of the living, ease and bread.
Lord, Sir, a mere mechanic! strangely low,
And coarse of phrase-your English all are so.
How elegantly your Frenchmen! Mine, d’ye mean?
I have but one, I hope the fellow's clean. 111
Oh! Sir, politely so! nay let me die,
Your only wearing is your Paduasoy.
Not, Sir, my only; I have better still,
And this you see is but my dishabille
115 Wild to get loose, his patience I provoke, Mistake, confound, object at all he spoke :
Said I, the man that keeps the Abbey tombs,
And for his price doth, with whoever comes,
Of all our Harrys and our Edwards talk,
From king to king, and all their kin can walk;
Your ears shall hear nought but kings; your eyes meet
Kings only; the way to it is King's-street.
He smack'd and cry’d, He's base, mechanique coarse,
So’re all your Englishmen in their discourse.
Are not your Frenchmen neat? Mine, as you see,
I have but one, Sir; look, he follows me.
Certes, the’re neatly cloath'd. I of this mind am,
Your only wearing is your grogaram.
But as coarse iron, sharpen'd, mangles more,
And itch most burns when anger'd to a sore;
So when you plague a fool, 'tis still the curse, 120
You only make the matter worse and worse.
He past it o’er; affects an easy smile
At all my peevishness, and turns his style.
He asks, what news? I tell him of new plays,
New eunuchs, harlequins, and operas.
He hears, and as a still, with simples in it,
Between each drop it gives stays half a minute,
Loath to enrich me with too quick replies,
By little and by little drops he lies.
Mere household trash! of birthnights, balls, and shows
More than ten Holinsheds, or Halls, or Stows. 131
Not so, Sir; I have more. Under this pitch
He would not fly. I chafd him ; but as itch
Scratch'd into smart, and as blunt iron ground
Into an edge hurts worse; so I (fool !) found
Crossing hurts me. To fit my sullenness,
He to another key his stile doth dress,
And asks, what news ? I tell him of new plays :
He takes my hand, and as a still, which stays
A semibrief 'twixt each drop, he niggardly,
As loath to inrich me, so tells many a lye,
When the Queen frown'd or smil'd; and he knows what
A subtle statesman may gather of that;