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F. They too may be corrupted, you'll allow?
P. I only call those knaves who are so now. Is that to little ? come then, I'll complySpirit of Arnall ! aid me while I lie. Cobham's a coward, Polwarth is a slave, 130 And Lyttleton 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.
135 But pray, when others praise him do I blame? Call Verres, Wolsey, any odious name? Why rail they then if but a wreath of mine, Oh all accomplish'd St. John! deck thy shrine?
What! shall each spurr-gall’d hackney of the day, When Paxton gives him double pots and pay,
141 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
146 Of honour bind me not to maul his tools ; Sure if they cannot cut, it may be said, His saws are toothless, and his hatchets lead. It anger'd Turrene, once upon a day,
150 To see a footman kick'd that took his pay;
But when he heard th' affront the fellow gave,
F. Hold, Sir! for God's sake; where's th'affront to
The priest whose flattery bedropp'd the crown
P. Faith it imports not much from whom it came;
From tail to mouth they feed and they carouse;
195 Because the insult's not on man, but God?
Ask you what provocation I have had ?
T H A T T F A (
F. You're strangely proud.
P. So proud, I am no slave;
O sacred weapon ! left for truth's defence,
press, Like the last Gazette or the last Address.
When black Ambition stains a public cause,
all away :
No Waller's wreath can hide the Nation's scar, 230 Not Boileau turn the feather to a star.
Not so when diadem'd with rays divine, Touch'd with the flame that breaks from Virtue's Her priestess Muse forbids the good to die, [shrine, And opes the temple of Eternity.
235 There other trophies deck the truly brave Than such as Anstis casts into the grave; Far other stars then * and * *
wear, And may descend to Mordington from Stair ! (Such as on Hough's unsully'd mitre shine, 240 Or beam, good Digby! from a heart like thine.) Let envy howl, while heav'ns whole chorus sings, And bark at honour not conferr'd by kings; Let Flatt'ry sick’ning see the incense rise, Sweet to the world, and grateful to the skies: 245 Truth guards the poet, sanctifies the line, And makes immortal verse as mean as mine.
Yes, the last pen for freedom let me draw, When truth stands trembling on the edge of law, Here, last of Britons ! let your names be read : Are none, none living ? let me praise the dead; And for that cause which made your fathers shine, Fall by the votes of their degen’rate line.
F. Alas! alas ! pray end what you began, And write next winter more Essays on Man.