« PreviousContinue »
Extremely ready to resign
All that may make me none of mine.
South-sea subscriptions take who please,
Leave me but liberty and ease..
'Twas what I said to Craggs and Child,
Who prais'd my modesty, and smil'à.
'Give me,' I cried (enough for me),
My bread, and independency!'
So bought an annual-rent or two,
And liv'djust as you see I do;
Near fifty, and without a wife,
I trust that sinking fund, my life.
Can I retrench? Yes, mighty well,
Shrink back to my paternal cell,
A little house, with trees a-row,
And, like its master, very low,
There died my father, no man's debtor,
And there I'll die, nor worse nor better.
To set this matter full before ye,
Our old friend Swift will tell his story.
Harley, the nation's great support---
But you may read it, I stop short.
THE LATTER PART OF SATIRE VI. B. II.*
CHARMING noons! and nights divine!
Or when I sup, or when I dine,
My friends above, my folks below,
Chatting and laughing all a-row,
The beans and bacon set before 'em,
The grace-cup serv'd with all decorum :
Each willing to be pleas'd, and please,
And ev'n the very dogs at ease!
Here no man prates of idle things,
How this or that Italian sings,
* See the first part in Swift's Poems.
A neighbour's madness, or his spouse's,
Or what's in either of the houses:
But something much more our concern,
And quite a scandal not to learn:
Which is the happier, or the wiser,
A man of merit, or a miser?
Whether we ought to choose our friends,
For their own worth, or our own ends?
What good, or better, we may call,
And what the very best of all?
Our friend, Dan Prior, told (you know)
A tale extremely à propos:'
Name a town life, and in a trice
He had a story of two mice.
Once on a time (so runs the fable)
A country mouse, right hospitable,
Receiv'd a town mouse at his board,
Just as a farmer might a lord.
A frugal mouse, upon the whole,
Yet lov'd his friend, and had a soul,
Knew what was handsome, and would do't,
On just occasion, coûte qui coûte.'
He brought him bacon (nothing lean);
Pudding that might have pleas'd a dean;
Cheese, such as men in Suffolk make,
But wish'd it Stilton for his sake;
Yet, to his guest though no way sparing,
He eat himself the rind and paring.
Our courtier scarce could touch a bit,
But show'd his breeding and his wit;
He did his best to seem to eat,
And cried, I vow you're mighty neat.*
But, lord, my friend, this savage scene!
For God's sake come, and live with men :
Consider, mice, like men, must die,
Both small and great, both you and I:
Then spend your life in joy and sport;
(This doctrine, friend, I learn'd at court).'
The veriest hermit in the nation
May yield, God knows, to strong temptation.
Away they came, through thick and thin,
To a tall house near Lincoln's-inn:
(Twas on the night of a debate,
When all their lordships had sat late).
Behold the place, where if a poet
Shin'd in description, he might show it;
Tell how the moon-beam trembling falls,
And tips with silver all the walls;
Palladian walls, Venetian doors,
Grotesco roofs, and stucco floors:
But let it (in a word) be said,
The moon was up, and men a-bed,
The napkins white, the carpet red;
The guests withdrawn had left the treat,
And down the mice sat, tête à tête."
Our courtier walks from dish to dish,
Tastes for his friend of fowl and fish;
Tells all their names, lays down the law:
• Que ça est bon! Ah goûtez ça !
That jelly's rich, this malmsey healing,
Pray dip your whiskers and your tail in.'
Was ever such a happy swain?
He stuffs and swills, and stuffs again.
'I'm quite asham'd---'tis mighty rude
To eat so much--but all's so good.
I have a thousand thanks to give...
My lord alone knows how to live.'
No sooner said, but from the hall
Rush chaplain, butler, dogs, and all:
A rat, a cat! clap to the door'---
The cat comes bouncing on the floor.
O for the heart of Homer's mice,
Or gods to save them in a trice!
(It was by Providence they think,
For your damn'd stucco has no chink).
An't please your honour,' quoth the peasant,
This same dessert is not so pleasant:
Give me again my hollow tree,
A crust of bread, and liberty!'
AGAIN? new tumults in my breast?
Ah spare me, Venus! let me, let me rest!
I am not now, alas! the man
As in the gentle reign of my queen Anne. Ah! sound no more thy soft alarms,
Nor circle sober fifty with thy charms!
Mother too fierce of dear desires!
Turn, turn to willing hearts your wanton fires:
To number five direct your doves
There spread round Murray all your blooming loves; Noble and young, who strikes the heart
With every sprightly, every decent part;
Equal the injur'd to defend,
To charm the mistress, or to fix the friend. He, with a hundred arts refin'd,
Shall stretch thy conquests over half the kind: To him each rival shall submit,
Make but his riches equal to his wit.
Then shall thy form the marble grace,
(Thy Grecian form) and Chloe lend the face: His house, embosom'd in the grove,
Sacred to social life and social love,
Shall glitter o'er the pendent green,
Where Thames reflects the visionary scene:
Thither the silver-sounding lyres
Shall call the smiling loves and young desires;
There, every grace and muse shall throng,
Exalt the dance, or animate the song;
There youths and nymphs, in consort gay,
Shall hail the rising, close the parting day.
With me, alas! those joys are o'er;
For me the vernal garlands bloom no more. Adieu! fond hope of mutual fire,
The still-believing, still renew'd desire; Adieu! the heart-expanding bowl,
And all the kind deceivers of the soul! But why? ah. tell me, ah too dear!
Steals down my cheek th' involuntary tear? Why words so flowing, thoughts so free,
Stop, or turn nonsense, at once glance of thee? Thee, dress'd in fancy's airy beam,
Absent I follow through th' extended dream;
Now, now I cease, I clasp thy charms,
And now you burst (ah cruel) from my arms!
And swiftly shoot along the Mall,
Or softly glide by the canal;
Now shown by Cynthia's silver ray,
And now on rolling waters snatch'd away.
EST you should think that verse shall die,
Which sounds the silver Thames along,
Taught on the wings of truths to fly
Above the reach of vulgar song;
Though daring Milton sits sublime,
In Spenser native muses play;
Nor yet shall Waller yield to time,
Nor pensive Cowley's moral lay...