Page images
PDF
EPUB

The magpie, lighting on the stock,

“ When thou, suspended high in air, Stood chattering with incessant din ;

Dy’st on a more ignoble tree, And with her beak gave many a knock,

(For thou shalt steal thy landlord's mare), To rouse and warn the nymph within.

Then, bloody caitiff! think on me.”

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

" And thy confederate dame, who brags

That she condemn'd me to the fire, Shall rend her petticoats to rags,

And wound her legs with every brier. “ Nor thou, Lord Arthur, shalt escape ;

To thee I often call'd in vain, Against that assassin iu crape ;

Yet thou couldst tamely see me slain. • Nor, when I felt the dreadful blow,

Or chid the Dean, or pinch'd thy spouse; Since you

could see me treated so (An old retainer to your house): May that fell Dean, by whose command Was form'd this Machiavelian plot, Not leave a thistle on thy land;

Then who will own thee for a Scot?

ON THE DEATH OF DR. SWIFT. Occasioned by reading the following Maxim in RocherOU.

CAULT,“ Dans l'adversité de nos meilleurs amis, nous trouvons toujours quelque chose qui ne nous déplaît pas." " In the adversity of our best friends, we always find some

thing that doth not displease us."
As Rochefoucault his maxims drew
From nature, I believe them true:
They argue no corrupted mind
In him; the fault is in mankind.

This maxim more than all the rest
Is thought too base for human breast:
“ In all distresses of our friends,
We first consult our private ends;
While nature, kindly bent to ease us,
Points out some circumstance to please us.”

If this perhaps your patience move,
Let reason and experience prove.

We all behold with envious eyes
Our equals rais'd above our size.
Who would not at a crowded show
Stand high himself, keep others low?
I love my friend as well as you :
But why should he obstruct my view ?
Then let me have the higher post;
Suppose it but an inch at most.
If in a battle you should find
One, whom you love of all mankind,
Had some heroic action done,
A champion kill'd, or trophy won;
Rather than thus be over-topt,
Would you not wish his laurels cropt?
Dear honest Ned is in the gout,
Lies rack'd with pain, and you

without: How patiently you hear him groan! How glad the case is not your own!

What poet would not grieve to see
His brother write as well as he ?
But, rather than they should excel,
Would wish his rivals all in hell?

Her end when emulation misses,
She turns to envy, stings, and hisses:
The strongest friendship yields to pride,
Unless the odds be on our side.
Vain human-kind! fantastic race !
Thy various follies who can trace ?
Self-love, ambition, envy, pride,
Their empire in our hearts divide.
Give others riches, power, and station,
?Tis all to me an usurpation.
I have no title to aspire;
Yet, when you sink, I seem the higher.
In Pope I cannot read a line,
But with a sigh I wish it mine:
When he can in one couplet fix
More sense than I can do in six;

U u

[ocr errors]

" Pigs and fanatics, cows, and teagues,
Through all thy empire I foresee,
To tear thy hedges, join in leagues,

Sworn to revenge my thorn and me. “ And now, thou wretch ordain'd by fate,

Neal Gahagen, Hibernian clown, With hatchet blunter than thy pate,

To hack my hallow'd timber down;

It gives me such a jealous fit,

But now he's quite another thing: I cry, “ Pox take him and his wit!"

I wish he may hold out till spring !" I grieve to be outdone by Gay

They hug themselves, and reason thus: In my own humorous biting way.

“ It is not yet so bad with us!” Arbuthnot is no more my friend,

In such a case, they talk in tropes, Who dares to irony pretend,

And by their fears express their hopes. Which I was born to introduce,

Some great misfortune to portend, Refin'd it first, and show'd its use.

No enemy can match a friend. St. John, as well as Pulteney, knows

With all the kindness they profess, That I had some repute for prose;

The merit of a lucky guess And, till they drove me out of date,

(When daily how-d'ye's come of course, Could maul a minister of state.

And servants answer, “ Worse and worse !") If they have mortified my pride,

Would please them better, than to tell, And made me throw my pen aside ;

That, “ God be prais'd, the Dean is well." If with such talents heaven hath bless'd 'em, Then he who prophesy'd the best, Have I not reason to detest 'em?

Approves his foresight to the rest: To all my foes, dear fortune, send

“ You know I always fear'd the worst, Ti gifts; but never to my friend :

And often told you so at first.” I tamely can endure the first;

He'd rather choose that I should die, But this with envy makes me burst.

Than his predictions prove a lie. Thus much may serve by way of proem;

Not one foretells I shall recover; Proceed we therefore to our poem.

But all agree to give me over. The time is not remote when I

Yet, should some neighbour feel a pain Must by the course of nature die;

Just in the parts where I complain ; When, I foresee, my special friends

How many a message would he send ! Will try to find their private ends :

What hearty prayers that I should mend! And, though 'tis hardly understood

Inquire what regimen I kept; Which way my death can do them good,

What gave me ease, and how I slept? Yet thus, methiraks, I hear them speak:

And more lament when I was dead, “ See how the Dean begins to break!

Than all the snivellers round my bed. Poor gentleman, he droops apace !

My good companions, never fear; You plainly find it in his face.

For, though you may mistake a year, That old vertigo in his head

Though your prognostics run too fast, Will never leave him, till he's dead.

They must be verify'd at last. Besides, his memory decays:

Behold the fatal day arrive! He recollects not what he says;

“ How is the Dean?"_" He's just alive.” He cannot call his friends to mind;

Now the departing prayer is read; Forgets the place where last he din'd;

He hardly breathes—The Dean is dead. Plies you with stories o'er and o'er;

Before the passing-bell begun, He told them fifty times before.

The news through half the town is run. How does he fancy we can sit

“ Oh! may we all for death prepare ! To hear his out-of-fashion wit?

What has he left? and who's his heir ?" But he takes up with younger folks,

“ I know no more than what the news is; Who for his wine will bear his jokes.

'Tis all bequeath'd to public uses.” Faith! he must make his stories shorter,

“ To public uses ! there's a whim! Or change his comrades once a quarter:

What had the public done for him? In half the time he talks them round,

Mere envy, avarice, and pride: There must another set be found.

He gave it all-but first he dy'd. “ For poetry, he's past his prime:

And had the Dean, in all the nation, He takes an hour to find a rhyme;

No worthy friend, no poor relation? His fire is out, his wit decay'd,

So ready to do strangers good, His fancy sunk, his Muse a jade.

Forgetting his own flesh and blood !" I'd have him throw away his pen;

Now Grub-street wits are all employ'd; But there's no talking to some men !"

With elegies the town is cloy'd: And then their tenderness appears

Some paragraph in every paper, By adding largely to my years:

To curse the Dean, or bless the Drapier. “ He's older than he would be reckon'd,

The doctors, tender of their fame, And well remembers Charles the Second.

Wisely on me lay all the blame. He hardly drinks a pint of wine ;

66 We must confess, his case was nice; And that, I doubt, is no good sign.

But he would never take advice. His stomach too begins to fail :

Had he been rul'd, for aught appears, Last year we thought him strong and hale; He might have liv'd these twenty years :

99

SWIFT

For, when we open'd him, we found

My Lady Club will take it ill, That all his vital parts were sound."

If he should fail her at quadrille. From Dublin soon to London spread,

He lov'd the Dean—(I lead a heart.) 'Tis told at court, “ The Dean is dead."

But dearest friends, they say, must part. And Lady Suffolk, in the spleen,

His time was come; he ran his race; Runs laughing up to tell the queen.

We hope he's in a better place." The queen, so gracious, mild, and good,

Why do we grieve that friends should die? Cries, “ Is he gone! 'tis time he shou’d.

No loss more easy to supply. He's dead, you say; then let him rot.

One year is past; a different scene! I'm glad the medals were forgot.

No farther mention of the Dean, I promis'd him, I own; but when ?

Who now, alas! no more is miss'd, I only was the princess then:

Than if he never did exist. But now, as consort of the king,

Where's now the favourite of Apollo? You know, 'tis quite another thing."

Departed :-and his works must follow; Now Chartres, at Sir Robert's levee,

Must undergo the common fate ; Tells with a sneer the tidings heavy:

His kind of wit is out of date. " Why, if he dy'd without his shoes,"

Some country squire to Lintot goes, Cries Bob, “ I'm sorry for the news:

Inquires for Swift in verse and prose. Oh, were the wretch but living still,

Says Lintot, “ I have heard the name; And in his place my good friend Will!

He dy'd a year ago.”—“ The same.” Or had a mitre on his head,

He searches all the shop in vain, Provided Bolingbroke were dead!"

“ Sir, you may find them in Duck-lane: Now Curll his shop from rubbish drains :

I sent them, with a load of books, Three genuine tomes of Swift's remains!

Last Monday, to the pastry-cook’s. And then, to make them pass the glibber,

To fancy they could live a year! Revis’d by Tibbalds, Moore, and Cibber.

I find you're but a stranger here. He'll treat me as he does my betters,

The Dean was famous in his time, Publish my will, my life, my letters ;

And had a kind of knack at rhyme. Revive the libels born to die:

His way of writing now is past :Which Pope must bear, as well as I.

The town has got a better taste. Here shift the scene, to represent

I keep no antiquated stuff; How those I love my death lament.

But spick and span I have enough. Poor Pope will grieve a month, and Gay

Pray, do but give me leave to show 'em : A week, and Arbuthnot a day.

Here's Colley Cibber's birth-day poem. St. John himself will scarce forbear

This ode you never yet have seen, To bite his pen, and drop a tear.

By Stephen Duck, upon the queen. The rest will give a shrug, and cry,

Then here's a letter finely penn'd " I'm sorry—but we all must die!"

Against the Craftsman and his friend : Indifference, clad in wisdom's guise,

Jt clearly shows that all reflection All fortitude of mind supplies :

On ministers is disaffection. For how can stony bowels melt

Next, here's Sir Robert's vindication, In those who never pity felt!

And Mr. Henley's last oration. When we are lash'd they kiss the rod,

The hawkers have not got them yet, Resigning to the will of God.

Your honour please to buy a set? The fools, my juniors by a year,

“ Here's Woolston's tracts, the twelfth edition ; Are tortur'd with suspense and fear ;

'Tis read by every politician: Who wisely thought my age a screen,

The country-members, when in town, When death approach’d, to stand between:

To all their boroughs send them down : The screen remov'd, their hearts are trembling ;

You never met a thing so smart; They mourn for me without dissembling.

The courtiers have them all by heart:

Those maids of honour who can read,
My female friends, whose tender hearts
Have better learn'd to act their parts,

Are taught to use them for their creed,
Receive the news in doleful dumps :

The reverend author's good intention “ The Dean is dead : (Pray what is trumps ?)

Hath been rewarded with a pension :

He doth an honour to his gown, Then, Lord have mercy on his soul ! (Ladies, I'll venture for the vole.)

By bravely running priestcraft down:

He shows, as sure as God's in Gloster, Six Deans, they say, must bear the pall:

That Moses was a grand impostor; (I wish I knew what king to call.)

That all his miracles were cheats,
Madam, your husband will attend
The funeral of so good a friend."

Perform'd as jugglers do their feats:

The church had never such a writer ; “ No, madam, 'tis a shocking sight;

A shame he hath not got a mitre !" And he's engag'd to-morrow night:

The * *

Suppose me dead; and then suppose

Should vice expect to 'scape rebuke, A club assembled at the Rose ;

Because its owner is a duke? Where, from discourse of this and that,

His friendships, still to few confin'd, I grow the subject of their chat.

Were always of the middling kind; And while they toss my name about,

No fools of rank, or mongrel breed, With favour some, and some without;

Who fain would pass for lords indeed : One, quite indifferent in the cause,

Where titles give no right or power, My character impartial draws.

And peerage is a wither'd flower; * The Dean, if we believe report,

He would have deem'd it a disgrace, Was never ill-receiv'd at court,

If such a wretch had known his face. Although, ironically grave,

On rural squires, that kingdom's bane, He sham'd the fool, and lash'd the knave ;

He vented oft his wrath in vain : To steal a hint was never known,

* # squires to market brought, But what he writ was all his own."

Who sell their souls and **** for nought: “ Sir, I have heard another story;

go joyful back, He was a most confounded Tory,

To rob the church, their tenants rack; And grew, or he is much bely'd,

Go snacks with ***** justices, Extremely dull, before he dy'd.”

And keep the peace to pick up fees; “ Can we the Drapier then forget?

In every job to have a share, Is not our nation in his debt?

A gaol or turnpike to repair; 'Twas he that writ the Drapier's letters !"- A turn ****** * to public roads

“ He should have left them for his betters; Commodious to their own abodes. We had a hundred abler men,

“ He never thought an honour done him, Nor need depend upon his pen.

Because a peer was proud to own him; Say what you will about his reading,

Would rather slip aside, and choose You never can defend his breeding;

To talk with wits in dirty shoes; Who, in his satires running riot,

And scorn the tools with stars and garters, Could never leave the world in quiet;

So often seen caressing Chartres. Attacking when he took the whim,

He never courted men in station, Court, city, camp—all one to him.

Nor persons held in admiration; But why would he, except he slobber'd,

Of no man's greatness was afraid, Offend our patriot great Sir Robert,

Because he sought for no man's aid. Whose counsels aid the sovereign power

Though trusted long in great affairs, To save the nation every hour!

He gave himself no haughty airs : What scenes of evil he unravels

Without regarding private ends, In satires, libels, lying travels,

Spent all his credit for his friends; Not sparing his own clergy cloth,

And only chose the wise and good; But eats into it, like a moth!"

No flatterers ; no allies in blood : “ Perhaps I may allow the Dean

But succour'd virtue in distress, Had too much satire in his vein,

And seldom fail'd of good success ; And seem'd determin'd not to starve it,

As numbers in their hearts must own, Because no age could more deserve it.

Who, but for him, had been unknown. Yet malice never was his aim;

“ He kept with princes due decorum; He lash'd the vice, but spar'd the name.

Yet never stood in awe before 'em. No individual could resent,

He follow'd David's lesson just ; Where thousands equally were meant:

In princes never put bis trust: His satire points at no defect,

And, would you make him truly sour, But what all mortals may correct;

Provoke him with a slave in power. For he abhor'd the senseless tribe

The Irish senate if you nam'd, Who call it humour when they gibe :

With what impatience he declaim'd! He spar'd a hump or crooked nose,

Fair Liberty was all his cry; Whose owners set not up for beaux.

For her he stood prepar'd to die ; True genuine dulness mov'd his pity,

For her he boldly stood alone; Unless it offer'd to be witty.

For her he oft expos'd his own. Those who their ignorance confest,

Two kingdoms, just as faction led, He ne'er offended with a jest;

Had set a price upon his head; But laugh'd to hear an ideot quote

But not a traitor could be found A verse from Horace learn'd by rote.

To sell him for six hundred pound. Vice, if it e'er can be abash'd,

“ Had he but spar'd his tongue and pen, Must be or ridicul'd, or lash'd.

He might have rose like other men : If you resent it, who's to blame ?

But power was never in his thought, He neither know's you, nor your name.

And wealth he valued not a groat:

[ocr errors]

SWIFT

Ingratitude he often found,

Who long all justice had discarded, And pity'd those who meant the wound;

Nor fear'd he God, nor man regarded; But kept the tenor of his mind,

Vow'd on the Dean his rage to vent, To merit well of human-kind;

And make him of his zeal repent: Nor made a sacrifice of those

But Heaven his innocence defends, Who still were true, to please his foes.

The grateful people stand his friends; He labour'd many a fruitless hour,

Not strains of law, nor judges' frown, To reconcile his friends in power;

Nor topics brought to please the crown, Saw mischief by a faction brewing,

Nor witness hir’d, nor jury pick’d, While they pursued each other's ruin.

Prevail to bring him in convict. But, finding vain was all his care,

“ In exile, with a steady heart, He left the court in mere despair.

He spent his life's declining part, “And, oh ! how short are human schemes ! Where folly, pride, and faction sway ; Here ended all our golden dreams.

Remote from St. John, Pope, and Gay." What St. John's skill in state affairs,

“ Alas, poor Dean! his only scope What Ormond's valour, Oxford's cares,

Was to be held a misanthrope. To save their sinking country lent,

This into general odium drew him, Was all destroy'd by one event.

Which if he lik’d, much good may't do him. Too soon that precious life was ended,

His zeal was not to lash our crimes, On which alone our weal depended.

But discontent against the times : When up a dangerous faction starts,

For, had we made him timely offers With wrath and vengeance in their hearts;

To raise his post, or fill his coffers, By solemn league and covenant bound,

Perhaps he might have truckled down, To ruin, slaughter, and confound;

Like other brethren of his gown; To turn religion to a fable,

For party he would scarce have bled :And make the government a Babel ;

I say no more because he's dead. Pervert the laws, disgrace the gown,

What writings has he left behind ?" Corrupt the senate, rob the crown;

“ I hear they're of a different kind: To sacrifice old England's glory,

A few in verse; but most in prose" And make her infamous in story:

“ Some high-flown pamphlets, I suppose : When such a tempest shook the land,

All scribbled in the worst of times, How could unguarded virtue stand!

To palliate his friend Oxford's crimes; “ With horror, grief, despair, the Dean

To praise Queen Anne, nay more, defend her, Beheld the dire destructive scene:

As never favouring the Pretender : His friends in exile, or the tower,

Or libels yet conceal'd from sight, Himself within the frown of power;

Against the court to show his spite : Pursued by base envenom'd pens,

Perhaps his travels, part the third ; Far to the land of s—and fens;

A lie at every second word A servile race in folly nurs'd,

Offensive to a loyal ear:Who truckle most, when treated worst.

But not one sermon, you may swear." “ By innocence and resolution,

“ He knew an hundred pleasing stories, He bore continual persecution ;

With all the turns of Whigs and Tories : While numbers to preferment rose,

Was cheerful to his dying-day; Whose merit was to be his foes;

And friends would let him have his way. When ev'n his own familiar friends,

“ As for his works in verse or prose, Intent upon their private ends,

I own myself no judge of those. Like renegadoes now he feels,

Nor can I tell what critics thought them; Against him lifting up their heels.

But this I know, all people bought them, “ The Dean did, by his pen, defeat

As with a moral view design'd, An infamous destructive cheat;

To please and to reform mankind:

And, if he often miss'd his aim, Taught fools their interest how to know,

The world must own it to their shame, And gave them arms to ward the blow. Envy hath own'd it was his doing,

The praise is his, and theirs the blame.

He gave the little wealth he had To save that hapless land from ruin;

To build a house for fools and mad;
While they who at the steerage stood,

To show, by one satiric touch,
And reap'd the profit, sought his blood.

No nation wanted it so much.
“ To save them from their evil fate,

That kingdom he hath left his debtor,
In him was held a crime of state.

I wish it soon may have a better.
A wicked monster on the bench,

And, since you dread no further lashes,
Whose fury blood could never quench:

Methinks you may forgive his ashes.”

As vile and profligate a villain
As modern Scroggs, or old Tressilian;

« PreviousContinue »