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His gallants are all faultless, his women divine,
And comedy wonders at being so fine;
Like a tragedy queen he has dizen'd her out,
Or rather like tragedy giving a rout.
His fools have their follies so lost in a crowd
Of virtues and feelings, that folly grows proud;
And coxcombs, alike in their failings alone,
Adopting his portraits, are pleas’d with their own.
Say, where has our poet this malady caught,
Or, wherefore his characters thus without fault?
Say, was it that vainly directing his view
To find out men's virtues, and finding them few,
Quite sick of pursuing each troublesome elf,
He grew lazy at last, and drew from himself?
Here Douglas retires from his toils to relax,
The scourge of impostors, the terror of quacks:
Come all ye quack bards, and ye quacking divines,
Come, and dance on the spot where your tyrant reclines:
When satire and censure encircled his throne,
I fear'd for your safety, I fear’d for my own;
But now he is gone, and we want a detector,
Our Dodds shall be pious, our Kenricks shall lecture;
Macpherson write bombast, and call it a style,
Our Townshend make speeches, and I shall compile;
New Lauders and Bowers the Tweed shall cross over,
No countryman living their tricks to discover;
Detection her taper shall quench to a spark,
And Scotchman meet Scotchman, and cheat in the dark.
Here lies David Garrick, describe me who can,
An abridgment of all that was pleasant in man;
As an actor, confest without rival to shine;
As a wit, if not first, in the very first line:
Yet, with talents like these, and an excellent heart,
The man had his failings, a dupe to his art.
Like an ill-judging beauty, his colours he spread,
And beplaster'd with rouge his own natural red.
On the stage he was natural, simple, affecting;
'T was only that when he was off, he was acting.
With no reason on earth to go out of his way,
He turn'd and he varied full ten times a-day:
Though secure of our hearts, yet confoundedly sick,
If they were not his own by finessing and trick:
He cast off his friends, as a huntsman his pack,
For he knew when he pleas'd he could whistle them back.
Of praise a mere glutton, he swallow'd what came,
And the puff of a dunce, he mistook it for fame;
'Till his relish grown callous, almost to disease,
Who pepper'd the highest was surest to please.
But let us be candid, and speak out our mind,
If dunces applauded, he paid them in kind.
Ye Kenricks, ye Kellys, and Woodfalls so grave,
What a commerce was yours, while you got and you gave!
How did Grub-street re-echo the shouts that you rais’d,
While he was be-Roscius’d, and you were be-prais'd!
But peace to his spirit, wherever it flies,
To act as an angel and mix with the skies:
Those poets, who owe their best fame to his skill,
Shall still be his flatterers, go where he will,
Old Shakspeare receive him with praise and with love,
And Beaumonts and Bens be his Kellys above.
Here Hickey reclines, a most blunt pleasant creature, And slander itself must allow him good nature; He cherish'd his friend, and he relish'd a bumper; Yet one fault he bad, and that one was a thumper! Perhaps you may ask if the man was a miser? I answer no, no, for he always was wiser: Too courteous, perhaps, or obligingly flat? His very worst foe can't accuse him of that. Perhaps he confided in men as they go, And so was too foolishly honest? ah, no! Then what was his failing? come tell it, and, burn ye. He was, could he help it? - a special attorney.
Here Reynolds is laid, and to tell you my mind, He has not left a wiser or better behind; His pencil was striking, resistless, and grand; His manners were gentle, complying, and bland; Still born to improve us in every part, His pencil our faces, his manners our heart : To coxcombs averse, yet most civilly steering, When they judg'd without skill, he was still hard of hearing: When they talk'd of their Raphaels, Correggios, and stuff, He shifted his trumpet, and only took snuff.
HERE Whitefoord reclines, and deny it who can,
Though he merrily liv'd, he is now a grave man:
Rare compound of oddity, frolic, and fun!
Who relish'd a joke, and rejoic'd in a pun;
Whose temper was generous, open, sincere;
A stranger to flatt'ry, a stranger to fear;
Who scatter'd around wit and humour at will;
Whose daily bons mots half a column might fill:
A Scotchman, from pride and from prejudice free;
A scholar, yet surely no pedant was he.
What pity, alas! that so lib'ral a mind
Should so long be to newspaper essays confin'd!
Who perhaps to the summit of science could soar,
Yet content "if the table be set in a roar;"
Whose talents to fill any station were fit,
Yet happy if Woodfall confess'd him a wit.
Ye newspaper witlings! ye pert scribbling folks!
Who copied his squibs, and re-echo'd his jokes;
Ye tame imitators, ye servile herd, come,
Still follow your master, and visit his tomb:
To deck it, bring with you festoons of the vine,
And copious libations bestow on his shrine;
Then strew all around it (you can do no less)
Cross-readings, Ship-news, and Mistakes of the Press.
Merry Whitefoord, farewell! for thy sake I admit
That a Scot may have humour, I had almost said wit.
This debt to thy mem'ry I cannot refuse,
“Thou best-humour'd man with the worst-humour'd Muse."
THE CLOWN'S REPLY.
John Trott was desir’d by two witty peers,
To tell them the reason why asses had ears;
“An't please you," quoth John, “I'm not given to letters,
Nor dare I pretend to know more than my betters;
Howe'er from this time I shall ne'er see your graces,
As I hope to be sav'd! without thinking on asses.
PROLOGUE, WRITTEN AND SPOKEN BY THE POET LABERIUS, A ROMAN KNIGHT,
WHOM CAESAR FORCED UPON THE STAGE.
Preserved by Macrobius.
What! no way left to shun th' inglorious stage,
And save from infamy my sinking age!
Scarce half alive, oppress’d with many a year,
What, in the name of dotage, drives me here?
A time there was, when glory was my guide,
Nor force nor fraud could turn my steps aside;
Unaw'd by power, and unappall’d by fear,
With honest thrift I held my honour dear:
But this vile hour disperses all my store,
And all my hoard of honour is no more;
For ah! too partial to my life's decline,
Cæsar persuades, submission must be mine;
Him I obey, whom Heaven itself obeys,
Hopeless of pleasing, yet inclin'd to please.
Here then at once I welcome every shame,
And cancel at threescore a life of fame;