« PreviousContinue »
Her gods and godlike heroes rise to view,
Oh, when shall Britain, conscious of her claim,
And vanquish'd realms supply recording gold?
Then shall thy Craggs (and let me call him mine)
And round the orb in lasting notes be read,---
Who broke no promise, serv'd no private end,
And prais'd, unenvy'd, by the muse he lov'd.'
EPISTLE TO DR. ARBUTHNOT;
THE PROLOGUE TO THE SATIRES.
To the first Publication of this Epistle.
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 unge
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 to know, it was owing to the request of the learned and candid friend to whom it is inscribed, 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.
P.SHUT, shut the door, good John!' fatigu'd, I
'Tie up the knocker, say I'm sick, I'm dead.'
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
They pierce my thickets, through my grot they glide.
Is there a parson, much bemus'd in beer,
A clerk foredoom'd his father's soul to cross,
Arthur, whose giddy son neglects the laws,
And curses wit, and poetry, and Pope.
Friend to my life! (which did not you prolong,
If foes, they write; if friends, they read me dead.
With honest anguish, and an aching head;
This saving counsel, 'Keep your piece nine years.'
Pitholeon libell'd me--- but here's a letter
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,
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 minister, 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?
A. Good friend, forbear! you deal in dangerous things,
I'd never name queens, ministers, or kings;
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,
The creature's at his dirty work again,