Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE GHOST, by CHARLES CHURCHILL



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THE GHOST, by            
First Line: With eager search to dart the soul
Last Line: Were delivered at pewterers' hall, in lime street.
Subject(s): England; Ghosts; Gypsies; Magic; Quackery & Quacks; Supernatural; English; Gipsies


BOOK I.

WITH eager search to dart the soul,
Curiously vain, from pole to pole,
And from the planets' wandering spheres
To extort the number of our years,
And whether all those years shall flow
Serenely smooth, and free from woe,
Or rude misfortune shall deform
Our life with one continual storm;
Or if the scene shall motley be,
Alternate joy and misery,
Is a desire which, more or less,
All men must feel, though few confess.
Hence, every place and every age
Affords subsistence to the sage,
Who, free from this world and its cares,
Holds an acquaintance with the stars,
From whom he gains intelligence
Of things to come some ages hence,
Which unto friends, at easy rates,
He readily communicates.
At its first rise, which all agree on,
This noble science was Chaldean;
That ancient people, as they fed
Their flocks upon the mountain's head,
Gazed on the stars, observed their motions,
And suck'd in astrologic notions,
Which they so eagerly pursue,
As folks are apt whate'er is new,
That things below at random rove,
Whilst they're consulting things above;
And when they now so poor were grown,
That they'd no houses of their own,
They made bold with their friends the stars,
And prudently made use of theirs.
To Egypt from Chaldee it travell'd,
And Fate at Memphis was unravell'd:
The exotic science soon struck root,
And flourish'd into high repute.
Each learned priest, oh strange to tell!
Could circles make, and cast a spell;
Could read and write, and taught the nation
The holy art of divination.
Nobles themselves, for at that time
Knowledge in nobles was no crime,
Could talk as learned as the priest,
And prophesy as much, at least.
Hence all the fortune-telling crew,
Whose crafty skill mars Nature's hue,
Who, in vile tatters, with smirch'd face,
Run up and down from place to place,
To gratify their friends' desires,
From Bampfield Carew, to Moll Squires,
Are rightly term'd Egyptians all;
Whom we, mistaking, Gypsies call.
The Grecian sages borrow'd this,
As they did other sciences,
From fertile Egypt, though the loan
They had not honesty to own.
Dodona's oaks, inspired by Jove,
A learned and prophetic grove,
Turn'd vegetable necromancers,
And to all comers gave their answers.
At Delphos, to Apollo dear,
All men the voice of Fate might hear;
Each subtle priest on three-legg'd stool,
To take in wise men, play'd the fool.
A mystery, so made for gain,
E'en now in fashion must remain;
Enthusiasts never will let drop
What brings such business to their shop;
And that great saint we Whitefield call,
Keeps up the humbug spiritual.
Among the Romans, not a bird
Without a prophecy was heard;
Fortunes of empires often hung
On the magician magpie's tongue,
And every crow was to the state
A sure interpreter of Fate.
Prophets, embodied in a college
(Time out of mind your seat of knowledge;
For genius never fruit can bear
Unless it first is planted there,
And solid learning never falls
Without the verge of college walls)
Infallible accounts would keep
When it was best to watch or sleep,
To eat or drink, to go or stay,
And when to fight or run away;
When matters were for action ripe,
By looking at a double tripe;
When emperors would live or die,
They in an ass's skull could spy;
When generals would their station keep,
Or turn their backs, in hearts of sheep.
In matters, whether small or great,
In private families or state
As amongst us, the holy seer
Officiously would interfere;
With pious arts and reverend skill
Would bend lay bigots to his will;
Would help or injure foes or friends,
Just as it served his private ends.
Whether in honest way of trade
Traps for virginity were laid;
Or if, to make their party great,
Designs were form'd against the state,
Regardless of the common weal,
By interest led, which they call zeal,
Into the scale was always thrown
The will of Heaven to back their own.
England—a happy land we know,
Where follies naturally grow,
Where without culture they arise
And tower above the common size;
England, a fortune-telling host,
As numerous as the stars, could boast,—
Matrons, who toss the cup, and see
The grounds of Fate in grounds of tea,
Who, versed in every modest lore,
Can a lost maidenhead restore,
Or, if their pupils rather choose it,
Can show the readiest way to lose it;
Gypsies, who every ill can cure,
Except the ill of being poor,
Who charms 'gainst love and agues sell,
Who can in hen-roost set a spell,
Prepared by arts, to them best known,
To catch all feet except their own,
Who, as to fortune, can unlock it
As easily as pick a pocket;
Scotchmen, who, in their country's right,
Possess the gift of second-sight,
Who (when their barren heaths they quit,
Sure argument of prudent wit,
Which reputation to maintain,
They never venture back again)
By lies prophetic heap up riches,
And boast the luxury of breeches.
Amongst the rest, in former years,
Campbell (illustrious name!) appears,
Great hero of futurity,
Who, blind, could every thing foresee,
Who, dumb, could every thing foretell,
Who, Fate with equity to sell,
Always dealt out the will of Heaven
According to what price was given.
Of Scottish race, in Highlands born,
Possess'd with native pride and scorn,
He hither came, by custom led,
To curse the hands which gave him bread.
With want of truth, and want of sense,
Amply made up by impudence
(A succedaneum, which we find
In common use with all mankind);
Caress'd and favour'd too by those
Whose heart with patriot feelings glows,
Who foolishly, where'er dispersed,
Still place their native country first;
(For Englishmen alone have sense
To give a stranger preference,
Whilst modest merit of their own
Is left in poverty to groan)
Campbell foretold just what he would,
And left the stars to make it good,
On whom he had impress'd such awe,
His dictates current pass'd for law;
Submissive, all his empire own'd;
No star durst smile, when Campbell frown'd.
This sage deceased,—for all must die,
And Campbell's no more safe than I,
No more than I can guard the heart,
When Death shall hurl the fatal dart,—
Succeeded, ripe in art and years,
Another favourite of the spheres;
Another and another came,
Of equal skill, and equal fame;
As white each wand, as black each gown,
As long each beard, as wise each frown,
In every thing so like, you'd swear
Campbell himself was sitting there:
To all the happy art was known,
To tell our fortunes, make their own.
Seated in garret,—for, you know,
The nearer to the stars we go
The greater we esteem his art,—
Fools, curious, flock'd from every part;
The rich, the poor, the maid, the married,
And those who could not walk, were carried.
The butler, hanging down his head,
By chambermaid, or cookmaid led,
Inquires, if from his friend the Moon
He has advice of pilfer'd spoon.
The court-bred woman of condition,
(Who, to approve her disposition
As much superior as her birth
To those composed of common earth,
With double spirit must engage
In every folly of the age)
The honourable arts would buy,
To pack the cards, and cog a die.
The hero—who, for brawn and face,
May claim right honourable place
Amongst the chiefs of Butcher-row:
Who might, some thirty years ago,
If we may be allow'd to guess
At his employment by his dress,
Put medicines off from cart or stage,
The grand Toscano of the age;
Or might about the country go
High-steward of a puppet-show,—
Steward and stewardship most meet,
For all know puppets never eat:
Who would be thought (though, save the mark!
That point is something in the dark)
The man of honour, one like those
Renown'd in story, who loved blows
Better than victuals, and would fight,
Merely for sport, from morn to night:
Who treads like Mavors firm, whose tongue
Is with the triple thunder hung,
Who cries to Fear, 'Stand off—aloof,'
And talks as he were cannon-proof;
Would be deem'd ready, when you list,
With sword and pistol, stick and fist,
Careless of points, balls, bruises, knocks,
At once to fence, fire, cudgel, box,
But at the same time bears about,
Within himself, some touch of doubt,
Of prudent doubt, which hints—that fame
Is nothing but an empty name;
That life is rightly understood
By all to be a real good;
That, even in a hero's heart,
Discretion is the better part;
That this same honour may be won,
And yet no kind of danger run—
Like Drugger comes, that magic powers
May ascertain his lucky hours;
For at some hours the fickle dame,
Whom Fortune properly we name,
Who ne'er considers wrong or right,
When wanted most, plays least in sight,
And, like a modern court-bred jilt,
Leaves her chief favourites in a tilt.
Some hours there are, when from the heart
Courage into some other part,
No matter wherefore, makes retreat,
And Fear usurps the vacant seat;
Whence, planet-struck, we often find
Stuarts and Sackvilles of mankind.
Farther, he'd know (and by his art
A conjurer can that impart)
Whether politer it is reckon'd
To have, or not to have, a second;
To drag the friends in, or alone
To make the danger all their own;
Whether repletion is not bad,
And fighters with full stomachs mad;
Whether, before he seeks the plain,
It were not well to breathe a vein;
Whether a gentle salivation,
Consistently with reputation,
Might not of precious use be found,
Not to prevent, indeed, a wound,
But to prevent the consequence
Which oftentimes arises thence,
Those fevers, which the patient urge on
To gates of death, by help of surgeon;
Whether a wind at east or west
Is for green wounds accounted best;
Whether (was he to choose) his mouth
Should point towards the north or south;
Whether more safely he might use,
On these occasions, pumps or shoes;
Whether it better is to fight
By sunshine or by candlelight;
Or, lest a candle should appear
Too mean to shine in such a sphere,
For who could of a candle tell
To light a hero into hell;
And, lest the sun should partial rise
To dazzle one or t' other's eyes,
Or one or t' other's brains to scorch,
Might not Dame Luna hold a torch?
These points with dignity discuss'd,
And gravely fix'd,—a task which must
Require no little time and pains,
To make our hearts friends with our brains,—
The man of war would next engage
The kind assistance of the sage,
Some previous method to direct,
Which should make these of none effect.
Could he not, from the mystic school
Of Art, produce some sacred rule,
By which a knowledge might be got
Whether men valiant were, or not;
So he that challenges might write
Only to those who would not fight?
Or could he not some way dispense
By help of which (without offence
To Honour, whose nice nature's such
She scarce endures the slightest touch)
When he, for want of t' other rule,
Mistakes his man, and, like a fool,
With some vain fighting blade gets in,
He fairly may get out again?
Or should some demon lay a scheme
To drive him to the last extreme,
So that he must confess his fears,
In mercy to his nose and ears,
And like a prudent recreant knight,
Rather do anything than fight,
Could he not some expedient buy
To keep his shame from public eye?
For well he held,—and, men review,
Nine in ten hold the maxim too,—
That honour's like a maidenhead,
Which, if in private brought to bed,
Is none the worse, but walks the town,
Ne'er lost, until the loss be known.
The parson, too, (for now and then
Parsons are just like other men,
And here and there a grave divine
Has passions such as yours and mine)
Burning with holy lust to know
When Fate preferment will bestow,
'Fraid of detection, not of sin,
With circumspection sneaking in
To conjurer, as he does to whore,
Through some bye-alley or back-door,
With the same caution orthodox
Consults the stars, and gets a pox.
The citizen, in fraud grown old,
Who knows no diety but gold,
Worn out, and gasping now for breath,
A medicine wants to keep off death;
Would know, if that he cannot have,
What coins are current in the grave;
If, when the stocks (which, by his power,
Would rise or fall in half an hour;
For, though unthought of and unseen,
He work'd the springs behind the screen)
By his directions came about,
And rose to par, he should sell out;
Whether he safely might, or no,
Replace it in the funds below?
By all address'd, believed, and paid,
Many pursued the thriving trade,
And, great in reputation grown,
Successive held the magic throne.
Favour'd by every darling passion,
The love of novelty and fashion,
Ambition, avarice, lust, and pride,
Riches pour'd in on every side.
But when the prudent laws thought fit
To curb this insolence of wit;
When senates wisely had provided,
Decreed, enacted, and decided,
That no such vile and upstart elves
Should have more knowledge than themselves;
When fines and penalties were laid
To stop the progress of the trade,
And stars no longer could dispense,
With honour, further influence;
And wizards (which must be confess'd
Was of more force than all the rest)
No certain way to tell had got
Which were informers, and which not;
Affrighted sages were, perforce,
Obliged to steer some other course.
By various ways, these sons of Chance
Their fortunes labour'd to advance,
Well knowing, by unerring rules,
Knaves starve not in the land of fools.
Some, with high titles and degrees,
Which wise men borrow when they please,
Without or trouble, or expense,
Physicians instantly commence,
And proudly boast an equal skill
With those who claim the right to kill.
Others about the country roam,
(For not one thought of going home)
With pistol and adopted leg,
Prepared at once to rob or beg.
Some, the more subtle of their race,
(Who felt some touch of coward grace,
Who Tyburn to avoid had wit,
But never fear'd deserving it)
Came to their brother Smollett's aid,
And carried on the critic trade.
Attach'd to letters and the Muse,
Some verses wrote, and some wrote news;
Those each revolving month are seen,
The heroes of a magazine;
These, every morning, great appear
In Ledger, or in Gazetteer,
Spreading the falsehoods of the day,
By turns for Faden and for Say.
Like Swiss, their force is always laid
On that side where they best are paid:
Hence mighty prodigies arise,
And daily monsters strike our eyes;
Wonders, to propagate the trade,
More strange than ever Baker made,
Are hawk'd about from street to street,
And fools believe, whilst liars eat.
Now armies in the air engage,
To fright a superstitious age;
Now comets through the ether range,
In governments portending change;
Now rivers to the ocean fly
So quick, they leave their channels dry;
Now monstrous whales on Lambeth shore
Drink the Thames dry, and thirst for more;
And every now and then appears
An Irish savage, numbering years
More than those happy sages could
Who drew their breath before the flood;
Now, to the wonder of all people,
A church is left without a steeple;
A steeple now is left in lurch,
And mourns departure of the church,
Which, borne on wings of mighty wind,
Removed a furlong off we find;
Now, wrath on cattle to discharge,
Hailstones as deadly fall, and large,
As those which were on Egypt sent,
At once their crime and punishment;
Or those which, as the prophet writes,
Fell on the necks of Amorites,
When, struck with wonder and amaze,
The sun, suspended, stay'd to gaze,
And, from her duty longer kept,
In Ajalon his sister slept.
But if such things no more engage
The taste of a politer age,
To help them out in time of need
Another Tofts must rabbits breed:
Each pregnant female trembling hears,
And, overcome with spleen and fears,
Consults her faithful glass no more,
But, madly bounding o'er the floor,
Feels hairs all o'er her body grow,
By Fancy turn'd into a doe.
Now, to promote their private ends,
Nature her usual course suspends,
And varies from the stated plan
Observed e'er since the world began.
Bodies—which foolishly we thought,
By Custom's servile maxims taught,
Needed a regular supply,
And without nourishment must die—
With craving appetites, and sense
Of hunger easily dispense,
And, pliant to their wondrous skill,
Are taught, like watches, to stand still,
Uninjured, for a month or more,
Then go on as they did before.
The novel takes, the tale succeeds,
Amply supplies its author's needs,
And Betty Canning is at least,
With Gascoyne's help, a six months' feast.
Whilst, in contempt of all our pains,
The tyrant Superstition reigns
Imperious in the heart of man,
And warps his thoughts from Nature's plan;
Whilst fond Credulity, who ne'er
The weight of wholesome doubts could bear,
To Reason and herself unjust,
Takes all things blindly upon trust;
Whilst Curiosity, whose rage
No mercy shows to sex or age,
Must be indulged at the expense
Of judgment, truth, and common sense,
Impostures cannot but prevail;
And when old miracles grow stale,
Jugglers will still the art pursue,
And entertain the world with new.
For them, obedient to their will,
And trembling at their mighty skill,
Sad spirits, summon'd from the tomb,
Glide, glaring ghastly, through the gloom;
In all the usual pomp of storms,
In horrid customary forms,
A wolf, a bear, a horse, an ape,
As Fear and Fancy give them shape,
Tormented with despair and pain,
They roar, they yell, and clank the chain.
Folly and Guilt (for Guilt, howe'er
The face of Courage it may wear,
Is still a coward at the heart)
At fear-created phantoms start.
The priest—that very word implies
That he's both innocent and wise—
Yet fears to travel in the dark,
Unless escorted by his clerk.
But let not every bungler deem
Too lightly of so deep a scheme;
For reputation of the art,
Each ghost must act a proper part,
Observe Decorum's needful grace,
And keep the laws of Time and Place;
Must change, with happy variation,
His manners with his situation;
What in the country might pass down,
Would be impertinent in town.
No spirit of discretion here
Can think of breeding awe and fear;
'Twill serve the purpose more by half
To make the congregation laugh.
We want no ensigns of surprise,
Locks stiff with gore, and saucer eyes;
Give us an entertaining sprite,
Gentle, familiar, and polite,
One who appears in such a form
As might an holy hermit warm,
Or who on former schemes refines,
And only talks by sounds and signs,
Who will not to the eye appear,
But pays her visits to the ear,
And knocks so gently, 't would not fright
A lady in the darkest night.
Such is our Fanny, whose good-will,
Which cannot in the grave lie still,
Brings her on earth to entertain
Her friends and lovers in Cock-lane.

BOOK II.

A sacred standard rule we find,
By poets held time out of mind,
To offer at Apollo's shrine,
And call on one, or all the Nine.
This custom, through a bigot zeal,
Which moderns of fine taste must feel
For those who wrote in days of yore,
Adopted stands, like many more;
Though every cause which then conspired
To make it practised and admired,
Yielding to Time's destructive course,
For ages past hath lost its force.
With ancient bards, an invocation
Was a true act of adoration,
Of worship an essential part,
And not a formal piece of art,
Of paltry reading a parade,
A dull solemnity in trade,
A pious fever, taught to burn
An hour or two, to serve a turn.
They talk'd not of Castalian springs,
By way of saying pretty things,
As we dress out our flimsy rhymes;
'Twas the religion of the times;
And they believed that holy stream
With greater force made Fancy teem,
Reckon'd by all a true specific
To make the barren brain prolific:
Thus Romish Church, (a scheme which bears
Not half so much excuse as theirs)
Since Faith implicitly hath taught her,
Reverses the force of holy water.
The Pagan system, whether true
Or false, its strength, like buildings, drew
From many parts disposed to bear,
In one great whole, their proper share.
Each god of eminent degree
To some vast beam compared might be;
Each godling was a peg, or rather
A cramp, to keep the beams together:
And man as safely might pretend
From Jove the thunderbolt to rend,
As with an impious pride aspire
To rob Apollo of his lyre.
With settled faith and pious awe,
Establish'd by the voice of Law,
Then poets to the Muses came,
And from their altars caught the flame.
Genius, with Phœbus for his guide,
The Muse ascending by his side,
With towering pinions dared to soar,
Where eye could scarcely strain before.
But why should we, who cannot feel
These glowings of a Pagan zeal,
That wild enthusiastic force,
By which, above her common course,
Nature, in ecstasy upborne,
Look'd down on earthly things with scorn;
Who have no more regard, 'tis known,
For their religion than our own,
And feel not half so fierce a flame
At Clio's as at Fisher's name;
Who know these boasted sacred streams
Were mere romantic, idle dreams,
That Thames has waters clear as those
Which on the top of Pindus rose,
And that, the fancy to refine,
Water's not half so good as wine;
Who know, if profit strikes our eye,
Should we drink Helicon quite dry,
The whole fountain would not thither lead
So soon as one poor jug from Tweed:
Who, if to raise poetic fire,
The power of beauty we require,
In any public place can view
More than the Grecians ever knew;
If wit into the scale is thrown,
Can boast a Lennox of our own;
Why should we servile customs choose,
And court an antiquated Muse?
No matter why—to ask a reason,
In pedant bigotry is treason.
In the broad, beaten turnpike-road
Of hacknied panegyric ode,
No modern poet dares to ride
Without Apollo by his side,
Nor in a sonnet take the air,
Unless his lady Muse be there;
She, from some amaranthine grove,
Where little Loves and Graces rove,
The laurel to my lord must bear,
Or garlands make for whores to wear;
She, with soft elegiac verse,
Must grace some mighty villain's hearse,
Or for some infant, doom'd by Fate
To wallow in a large estate,
With rhymes the cradle must adorn,
To tell the world a fool is born.
Since then our critic lords expect
No hardy poet should reject
Establish'd maxims, or presume
To place much better in their room,
By nature fearful, I submit,
And in this dearth of sense and wit—
With nothing done, and little said,
(By wild excursive Fancy led
Into a second Book thus far,
Like some unwary traveller,
Whom varied scenes of wood and lawn,
With treacherous delight, have drawn,
Deluded from his purposed way,
Whom every step leads more astray:
Who, gazing round, can no where spy,
Or house, or friendly cottage nigh,
And resolution seems to lack
To venture forward, or go back)
Invoke some goddess to descend,
And help me to my journey's end;
Though conscious Arrow all the while
Hears the petition with a smile,
Before the glass her charms unfolds,
And in herself my Muse beholds.
Truth, Goddess of celestial birth,
But little loved or known on earth,
Whose power but seldom rules the heart,
Whose name, with hypocritic art,
An arrant stalking-horse is made,
A snug pretence to drive a trade,
An instrument, convenient grown,
To plant more firmly Falsehood's throne,
As rebels varnish o'er their cause
With specious colouring of laws,
And pious traitors draw the knife
In the king's name against his life;
Whether (from cities far away,
Where Fraud and Falsehood scorn thy sway)
The faithful nymph's and shepherd's pride,
With Love and Virtue by thy side,
Your hours in harmless joys are spent
Amongst the children of Content;
Or, fond of gaiety and sport,
You tread the round of England's court,
Howe'er my lord may frowning go,
And treat the stranger as a foe,
Sure to be found a welcome guest
In George's and in Charlotte's breast;
If, in the giddy hours of youth,
My constant soul adhered to truth;
If, from the time I first wrote Man,
I still pursued thy sacred plan,
Tempted by Interest in vain
To wear mean Falsehood's golden chain;
If, for a season drawn away,
Starting from Virtue's path astray,
All low disguise I scorn'd to try,
And dared to sin, but not to lie;
Hither, oh! hither condescend,
Eternal Truth! thy steps to bend,
And favour him, who, every hour,
Confesses and obeys thy power.
But come not with that easy mien
By which you won the lively Dean;
Nor yet assume that strumpet air
Which Rabelais taught thee first to wear;
Nor yet that arch ambiguous face
Which with Cervantes gave thee grace;
But come in sacred vesture clad,
Solemnly dull, and truly sad!
Far from thy seemly matron train
Be idiot Mirth, and Laughter vain!
For Wit and Humour, which pretend
At once to please us and amend,
They are not for my present turn;
Let them remain in France with Sterne.
Of noblest City parents born,
Whom wealth and dignities adorn,
Who still one constant tenor keep,
Not quite awake, nor quite asleep;
With thee let formal Dulness come,
And deep Attention, ever dumb,
Who on her lips her finger lays,
Whilst every circumstance she weighs,
Whose downcast eye is often found
Bent without motion to the ground,
Or, to some outward thing confined,
Remits no image to the mind,
No pregnant mark of meaning bears,
But, stupid, without vision stares;
Thy steps let Gravity attend,
Wisdom's and Truth's unerring friend;
For one may see with half an eye,
That Gravity can never lie,
And his arch'd brow, pull'd o'er his eyes,
With solemn proof proclaims him wise.
Free from all waggeries and sports,
The produce of luxurious courts,
Where sloth and lust enervate youth,
Come thou, a downright City-Truth:
The City, which we ever find
A sober pattern for mankind;
Where man, in equilibrio hung,
Is seldom old, and never young,
And, from the cradle to the grave,
Not Virtue's friend nor Vice's slave;
As dancers on the wire we spy,
Hanging between the earth and sky.
She comes—I see her from afar
Bending her course to Temple-Bar;
All sage and silent is her train,
Deportment grave, and garments plain,
Such as may suit a parson's wear,
And fit the headpiece of a mayor.
By Truth inspired, our Bacon's force
Open'd the way to Learning's source;
Boyle through the works of Nature ran;
And Newton, something more than man,
Dived into nature's hidden springs,
Laid bare the principles of things,
Above the earth our spirits bore,
And gave us worlds unknown before.
By Truth inspired, when Lauder's spite
O'er Milton cast the veil of night,
Douglas arose, and through the maze
Of intricate and winding ways,
Came where the subtle traitor lay,
And dragg'd him, trembling, to the day;
Whilst he, (oh, shame to noblest parts,
Dishonour to the liberal arts,
To traffic in so vile a scheme!)
Whilst he, our letter'd Polypheme,
Who had confederate forces join'd,
Like a base coward skulk'd behind.
By Truth inspired, our critics go
To track Fingal in Highland snow,
To form their own and others' creed
From manuscripts they cannot read.
By Truth inspired, we numbers see
Of each profession and degree,
Gentle and simple, lord and cit,
Wit without wealth, wealth without wit,
When Punch and Sheridan have done,
To Fanny's ghostly lectures run.
By Truth and Fanny now inspired,
I feel my glowing bosom fired;
Desire beats high in every vein
To sing the spirit of Cock-lane;
To tell (just as the measure flows
In halting rhyme, half verse, half prose)
With more than mortal arts endued,
How she united force withstood,
And proudly gave a brave defiance
To Wit and Dulness in alliance.
This apparition (with relation
To ancient modes of derivation,
This we may properly so call,
Although it ne'er appears at all,
As by the way of inuendo,
Lucus is made à non lucendo)
Superior to the vulgar mode,
Nobly disdains that servile road
Which coward ghosts, as it appears,
Have walk'd in full five thousand years,
And, for restraint too mighty grown,
Strikes out a method of her own.
Others may meanly start away,
Awed by the herald of the day;
With faculties too weak to bear
The freshness of the morning air,
May vanish with the melting gloom,
And glide in silence to the tomb;
She dares the sun's most piercing light,
And knocks by day as well as night.
Others, with mean and partial view,
Their visits pay to one or two;
She, in great reputation grown,
Keeps the best company in town.
Our active enterprising ghost
As large and splendid routs can boast
As those which, raised by Pride's command,
Block up the passage through the Strand.
Great adepts in the fighting trade,
Who served their time on the parade;
She-saints, who, true to Pleasure's plan,
Talk about God, and lust for man;
Wits, who believe nor God, nor ghost,
And fools who worship every post;
Cowards, whose lips with war are hung;
Men truly brave, who hold their tongue;
Courtiers, who laugh they know not why,
And cits, who for the same cause cry;
The canting tabernacle-brother,
(For one rogue still suspects another);
Ladies, who to a spirit fly,
Rather than with their husbands lie;
Lords, who as chastely pass their lives
With other women as their wives;
Proud of their intellects and clothes,
Physicians, lawyers, parsons, beaux,
And, truant from their desks and shops,
Spruce Temple clerks and 'prentice fops,
To Fanny come, with the same view,
To find her false, or find her true.
Hark! something creeps about the house!
Is it a spirit, or a mouse?
Hark! something scratches round the room!
A cat, a rat, a stubb'd birch-broom.
Hark! on the wainscot now it knocks!
'If thou 'rt a ghost,' cried Orthodox,
With that affected solemn air
Which hypocrites delight to wear,
And all those forms of consequence
Which fools adopt instead of sense;
'If thou 'rt a ghost, who from the tomb
Stalk'st sadly silent through this gloom,
In breach of Nature's stated laws,
For good, or bad, or for no cause,
Give now nine knocks; like priests of old,
Nine we a sacred number hold.'
''Psha,' cried Profound, (a man of parts,
Deep read in all the curious arts,
Who to their hidden springs had traced
The force of numbers, rightly placed)
'As to the number, you are right;
As to the form, mistaken quite.
What's nine? Your adepts all agree
The virtue lies in three times three.'
He said; no need to say it twice,
For thrice she knock'd, and thrice, and thrice.
The crowd, confounded and amazed,
In silence at each other gazed.
From Cælia's hand the snuff-box fell;
Tinsel, who ogled with the belle,
To pick it up attempts in vain,
He stoops, but cannot rise again.
Immane Pomposo was not heard
T' import one crabbed foreign word.
Fear seizes heroes, fools, and wits,
And Plausible his prayers forgets.
At length, as people just awake,
Into wild dissonance they break;
All talk'd at once, but not a word
Was understood or plainly heard.
Such is the noise of chattering geese,
Slow sailing on the summer breeze;
Such is the language Discord speaks
In Welsh women o'er beds of leeks;
Such the confused and horrid sounds
Of Irish in potatoe-grounds.
But tired, for even C_____'s tongue
Is not on iron hinges hung,
Fear and Confusion sound retreat,
Reason and Order take their seat.
The fact, confirm'd beyond all doubt,
They now would find the causes out.
For this a sacred rule we find
Among the nicest of mankind,
Which never might exception brook
From Hobbes even down to Bolingbroke,
To doubt of facts, however true,
Unless they know the causes too.
Trifle, of whom 'twas hard to tell
When he intended ill or well;
Who, to prevent all further pother,
Probably meant nor one, nor t' other;
Who to be silent always loth,
Would speak on either side, or both;
Who, led away by love of fame,
If any new idea came,
Whate'er it made for, always said it,
Not with an eye to truth, but credit;
For orators profess'd, 'tis known,
Talk not for our sake, but their own;
Who always show'd his talents best
When serious things were turn'd to jest,
And, under much impertinence,
Possess'd no common share of sense;
Who could deceive the flying hours
With chat on butterflies and flowers;
Could talk of powder, patches, paint,
With the same zeal as of a saint;
Could prove a Sibyl brighter far
Than Venus or the Morning Star;
Whilst something still so gay, so new,
The smile of approbation drew,
And females eyed the charming man,
Whilst their hearts flutter'd with their fan;
Trifle, who would by no means miss
An opportunity like this,
Proceeding on his usual plan,
Smiled, stroked his chin, and thus began:
'With shears or scissors, sword or knife,
When the Fates cut the thread of life,
(For if we to the grave are sent,
No matter with what instrument)
The body in some lonely spot,
On dunghill vile, is laid to rot,
Or sleep among more holy dead
With prayers irreverently read;
The soul is sent where Fate ordains,
To reap rewards, to suffer pains.
The virtuous to those mansions go
Where pleasures unembitter'd flow,
Where, leading up a jocund band,
Vigour and Youth dance hand in hand,
Whilst Zephyr, with harmonious gales,
Pipes softest music through the vales,
And Spring and Flora, gaily crown'd,
With velvet carpet spread the ground;
With livelier blush where roses bloom,
And every shrub expires perfume;
Where crystal streams meandering glide,
Where warbling flows the amber tide;
Where other suns dart brighter beams,
And light through purer ether streams.
Far other seats, far different state,
The sons of Wickedness await.
Justice (not that old hag I mean
Who's nightly in the Garden seen,
Who lets no spark of mercy rise,
For crimes, by which men lose their eyes;
Nor her who, with an equal hand,
Weighs tea and sugar in the Strand;
Nor her who, by the world deem'd wise,
Deaf to the widow's piercing cries,
Steel'd 'gainst the starving orphan's tears,
On pawns her base tribunal rears;
But her who after death presides,
Whom sacred Truth unerring guides;
Who, free from partial influence,
Nor sinks nor raises evidence,
Before whom nothing's in the dark,
Who takes no bribe, and keeps no clerk)
Justice, with equal scale below,
In due proportion weighs out woe,
And always with such lucky aim
Knows punishments so fit to frame,
That she augments their grief and pain,
Leaving no reason to complain.
Old maids and rakes are join'd together,
Coquettes and prudes, like April weather.
Wit's forced to chum with Common-Sense,
And Lust is yoked to Impotence.
Professors (Justice so decreed)
Unpaid, must constant lectures read;
On earth it often doth befall,
They're paid, and never read at all.
Parsons must practise what they teach,
And bishops are compell'd to preach.
She who on earth was nice and prim,
Of delicacy full, and whim;
Whose tender nature could not bear
The rudeness of the churlish air,
Is doom'd, to mortify her pride,
The change of weather to abide,
And sells, whilst tears with liquor mix,
Burnt brandy on the shore of Styx.
Avaro, by long use grown bold
In every ill which brings him gold,
Who his Reedemer would pull down,
And sell his God for half-a-crown;
Who, if some blockhead should be willing
To lend him on his soul a shilling,
A well-made bargain would esteem it,
And have more sense than to redeem it,
Justice shall in those shades confine,
To drudge for Plutus in the mine,
All the day long to toil and roar,
And, cursing, work the stubborn ore,
For coxcombs here, who have no brains,
Without a sixpence for his pains:
Thence, with each due return of night,
Compell'd, the tall, thin, half-starved sprite
Shall earth revisit, and survey
The place where once his treasure lay,
Shall view the stall where holy Pride,
With letter'd Ignorance allied,
Once hail'd him mighty and adored,
Descended to another lord:
Then shall he, screaming, pierce the air,
Hang his lank jaws, and scowl despair;
Then shall he ban at Heaven's decrees,
And, howling, sink to Hell for ease.
Those who on earth through life have pass'd
With equal pace from first to last,
Nor vex'd with passions nor with spleen,
Insipid, easy, and serene;
Whose heads were made too weak to bear
The weight of business, or of care;
Who, without merit, without crime,
Contrive to while away their time;
Nor good nor bad, nor fools nor wits,
Mild Justice, with a smile, permits
Still to pursue their darling plan,
And find amusement how they can.
The beau, in gaudiest plumage dress'd,
With lucky fancy o'er the rest
Of air a curious mantle throws,
And chats among his brother beaux;
Or, if the weather's fine and clear,
No sign of rain or tempest near,
Encouraged by the cloudless day,
Like gilded butterflies at play,
So lively all, so gay, so brisk,
In air they flutter, float, and frisk.
The belle (what mortal doth not know
Belles after death admire a beau?)
With happy grace renews her art
To trap the coxcomb's wandering heart;
And, after death as whilst they live,
A heart is all which beaux can give.
In some still, solemn, sacred shade,
Behold a group of authors laid,
Newspaper wits, and sonneteers,
Gentleman bards, and rhyming peers,
Biographers, whose wondrous worth
Is scarce remember'd now on earth,
Whom Fielding's humour led astray,
And plaintive fops, debauch'd by Gray,
All sit together in a ring,
And laugh and prattle, write and sing.
On his own works, with laurel crown'd,
Neatly and elegantly bound,
(For this is one of many rules,
With writing lords, and laureate fools,
And which for ever must succeed
With other lords who cannot read,
However destitute of wit,
To make their works for bookcase fit)
Acknowledged master of those seats,
Cibber his Birth-day Odes repeats.
With triumph now possess that seat,
With triumph now thy Odes repeat;
Unrivall'd vigils proudly keep,
Whilst every hearer's lull'd to sleep;
But know, illustrious bard! when Fate,
Which still pursues thy name with hate,
The regal laurel blasts, which now
Blooms on the placid Whitehead's brow,
Low must descend thy pride and fame,
And Cibber's be the second name.'—
Here Trifle cough'd, (for coughing still
Bears witness of the speaker's skill,
A necessary piece of art,
Of rhetoric an essential part,
And adepts in the speaking trade
Keep a cough by them ready made,
Which they successfully dispense
When at a loss for words or sense)
Here Trifle cough'd, here paused—but while
He strove to recollect his smile,
That happy engine of his art,
Which triumph'd o'er the female heart,
Credulity, the child of Folly,
Begot on cloister'd Melancholy,
Who heard, with grief, the florid fool
Turn sacred things to ridicule,
And saw him, led by Whim away,
Still further from the subject stray,
Just in the happy nick, aloud,
In shape of Moore, address'd the crowd:
'Were we with patience here to sit,
Dupes to the impertinence of Wit,
Till Trifle his harangue should end,
A Greenland night we might attend,
Whilst he, with fluency of speech,
Would various mighty nothings teach'—
(Here Trifle, sternly looking down,
Gravely endeavour'd at a frown,
But Nature unawares stept in,
And, mocking, turn'd it to a grin)—
'And when, in Fancy's chariot hurl'd,
We had been carried round the world,
Involved in error still and doubt,
He'd leave us where we first set out.
Thus soldiers (in whose exercise
Material use with grandeur vies)
Lift up their legs with mighty pain,
Only to set them down again.
Believe ye not (yes, all, I see,
In sound belief concur with me)
That Providence, for worthy ends,
To us unknown, this spirit sends?
Though speechless lay the trembling tongue,
Your faith was on your features hung;
Your faith I in your eyes could see,
When all were pale and stared like me.
But scruples to prevent, and root
Out every shadow of dispute,
Pomposo, Plausible, and I,
With Fanny, have agreed to try
A deep concerted scheme—this night
To fix or to destroy her quite.
If it be true, before we've done,
We'll make it glaring as the sun;
If it be false, admit no doubt
Ere morning's dawn we'll find it out.
Into the vaulted womb of Death,
Where Fanny now, deprived of breath,
Lies festering, whilst her troubled sprite
Adds horror to the gloom of night,
Will we descend, and bring from thence
Proofs of such force to Common-Sense,
Vain triflers shall no more deceive,
And atheists tremble and believe.'
He said, and ceased; the chamber rung
With due applause from every tongue:
The mingled sound (now let me see—
Something by way of simile)
Was it more like Strymonian cranes,
Or winds, low murmuring, when it rains,
Or drowsy hum of clustering bees,
Or the hoarse roar of angry seas?
Or (still to heighten and explain,
For else our simile is vain)
Shall we declare it like all four,
A scream, a murmur, hum, and roar?
Let Fancy now, in awful state,
Present this great triumvirate,
(A method which received we find,
In other cases, by mankind)
Elected with a joint consent,
All fools in town to represent.
The clock strikes twelve—Moore starts and swears.
In oaths, we know, as well as prayers,
Religion lies, and a church-brother
May use at will, or one, or t' other;
Plausible from his cassock drew
A holy manual, seeming new;
A book it was of private prayer,
But not a pin the worse for wear:
For, as we by-the-bye may say,
None but small saints in private pray.
Religion, fairest maid on earth!
As meek as good, who drew her birth
From that bless'd union, when in heaven
Pleasure was bride to Virtue given;
Religion, ever pleased to pray,
Possess'd the precious gift one day;
Hypocrisy, of Cunning born,
Crept in and stole it ere the morn;
Whitefield, that greatest of all saints,
Who always prays and never faints,
(Whom she to her own brothers bore,
Rapine and Lust, on Severn's shore)
Received it from the squinting dame;
From him to Plausible it came,
Who, with unusual care oppress'd,
Now, trembling, pull'd it from his breast;
Doubts in his boding heart arise,
And fancied spectres blast his eyes,
Devotion springs from abject fear,
And stamps his prayers for once sincere.
Pomposo, (insolent and loud,
Vain idol of a scribbling crowd,
Whose very name inspires an awe,
Whose every word is sense and law,
For what his greatness hath decreed,
Like laws of Persia and of Mede,
Sacred through all the realm of Wit,
Must never of repeal admit;
Who, cursing flattery, is the tool
Of every fawning, flattering fool;
Who wit with jealous eye surveys,
And sickens at another's praise;
Who, proudly seized of Learning's throne,
Now damns all learning but his own;
Who scorns those common wares to trade in,
Reasoning, convincing, and persuading,
But makes each sentence current pass
With puppy, coxcomb, scoundrel, ass;
For 'tis with him a certain rule,
The folly's proved when he calls fool;
Who, to increase his native strength,
Draws words six syllables in length,
With which, assisted with a frown
By way of club, he knocks us down;
Who 'bove the vulgar dares to rise,
And sense of decency defies;
For this same decency is made
Only for bunglers in the trade,
And, like the cobweb laws, is still
Broke through by great ones when they will)—
Pomposo, with strong sense supplied,
Supported, and confirm'd by Pride,
His comrades' terrors to beguile
'Grinn'd horribly a ghastly smile:'
Features so horrid, were it light,
Would put the Devil himself to flight.
Such were the three in name and worth
Whom Zeal and Judgment singled forth
To try the sprite on Reason's plan,
Whether it was of God or man.
Dark was the night; it was that hour
When Terror reigns in fullest power,
When, as the learn'd of old have said,
The yawning Grave gives up her dead;
When Murder, Rapine by her side,
Stalks o'er the earth with giant stride;
Our Quixotes (for that knight of old
Was not in truth by half so bold,
Though Reason at the same time cries,
'Our Quixotes are not half so wise,'
Since they, with other follies, boast
An expedition 'gainst a ghost)
Through the dull deep surrounding gloom,
In close array, towards Fanny's tomb
Adventured forth; Caution before,
With heedful step, the lantern bore,
Pointing at graves; and in the rear,
Trembling, and talking loud, went Fear.
The churchyard teem'd—the unsettled ground,
As in an ague, shook around;
While, in some dreary vault confined,
Or riding on the hollow wind,
Horror, which turns the heart to stone,
In dreadful sounds was heard to groan.
All staring, wild, and out of breath,
At length they reach the place of Death.
A vault it was, long time applied
To hold the last remains of Pride:
No beggar there, of humble race,
And humble fortunes, finds a place;
To rest in pomp as well as ease,
The only way's to pay the fees.
Fools, rogues, and whores, if rich and great,
Proud even in death, here rot in state.
No thieves disrobe the well-dress'd dead;
No plumbers steal the sacred lead;
Quiet and safe the bodies lie;
No sextons sell, no surgeons buy.
Thrice, each the ponderous key applied,
And thrice to turn it vainly tried,
Till taught by Prudence to unite,
And straining with collected might,
The stubborn wards resist no more,
But open flies the growling door.
Three paces back they fell amazed,
Like statues stood, like madmen gazed;
The frighted blood forsakes the face,
And seeks the heart with quicker pace;
The throbbing heart its fear declares,
And upright stand the bristled hairs;
The head in wild distraction swims,
Cold sweats bedew the trembling limbs;
Nature, whilst fears her bosom chill,
Suspends her powers, and life stands still.
Thus had they stood till now; but Shame
(An useful, though neglected dame,
By Heaven design'd the friend of man,
Though we degrade her all we can,
And strive, as our first proof of wit,
Her name and nature to forget)
Came to their aid in happy hour,
And with a wand of mighty power
Struck on their hearts; vain fears subside,
And, baffled, leave the field to Pride.
Shall they, (forbid it, Fame!) shall they
The dictates of vile Fear obey?
Shall they, the idols of the Town,
To bugbears, fancy-form'd, bow down?
Shall they, who greatest zeal express'd,
And undertook for all the rest,
Whose matchless courage all admire,
Inglorious from the task retire?
How would the wicked ones rejoice,
And infidels exalt their voice,
If Moore and Plausible were found,
By shadows awed, to quit their ground?
How would fools laugh, should it appear
Pomposo was the slave of fear?
'Perish the thought! Though to our eyes,
In all its terrors, Hell should rise;
Though thousand ghosts, in dread array,
With glaring eyeballs, cross our way;
Though Caution, trembling, stands aloof,
Still we will on, and dare the proof.'
They said; and, without further halt,
Dauntless march'd onward to the vault.
What mortal men, who e'er drew breath,
Shall break into the house of Death,
With foot unhallow'd, and from thence
The mysteries of that state dispense,
Unless they, with due rites, prepare
Their weaker sense such sights to bear,
And gain permission from the state,
On earth their journal to relate?
Poets themselves, without a crime,
Cannot attempt it e'en in rhyme,
But always, on such grand occasion,
Prepare a solemn invocation,
A posy for grim Pluto weave,
And in smooth numbers ask his leave.
But why this caution? why prepare
Rites, needless now? for thrice in air
The Spirit of the Night hath sneezed,
And thrice hath clapp'd his wings, well-pleased.
Descend then, Truth, and guard thy side,
My Muse, my patroness, and guide!
Let others at invention aim,
And seek by falsities for fame;
Our story wants not, at this time,
Flounces and furbelows in rhyme;
Relate plain facts; be brief and bold;
And let the poets, famed of old,
Seek, whilst our artless tale we tell,
In vain to find a parallel:
Silent all three went in; about
All three turn'd, silent, and came out.

BOOK III.

It was the hour, when housewife Morn
With pearl and linen hangs each thorn;
When happy bards, who can regale
Their Muse with country air and ale,
Ramble afield to brooks and bowers,
To pick up sentiments and flowers;
When dogs and squires from kennel fly,
And hogs and farmers quit their sty;
When my lord rises to the chase,
And brawny chaplain takes his place.
These images, or bad, or good,
If they are rightly understood,
Sagacious readers must allow
Proclaim us in the country now;
For observations mostly rise
From objects just before our eyes,
And every lord, in critic wit,
Can tell you where the piece was writ;
Can point out, as he goes along,
(And who shall dare to say he's wrong?)
Whether the warmth (for bards, we know,
At present never more than glow)
Was in the town or country caught,
By the peculiar turn of thought.
It was the hour,—though critics frown,
We now declare ourselves in Town,
Nor will a moment's pause allow
For finding when we came, or how
The man who deals in humble prose,
Tied down by rule and method goes;
But they who court the vigorous Muse
Their carriage have a right to choose.
Free as the air, and unconfined,
Swift as the motions of the mind,
The poet darts from place to place,
And instant bounds o'er time and space;
Nature (whilst blended fire and skill
Inflame our passions to his will)
Smiles at her violated laws,
And crowns his daring with applause.
Should there be still some rigid few,
Who keep propriety in view,
Whose heads turn round, and cannot bear
This whirling passage through the air,
Free leave have such at home to sit,
And write a regimen for wit;
To clip our pinions let them try,
Not having heart themselves to fly.
It was the hour when devotees
Breathe pious curses on their knees;
When they with prayers the day begin
To sanctify a night of sin;
When rogues of modesty, who roam
Under the veil of night, sneak home,
That, free from all restraint and awe,
Just to the windward of the law,
Less modest rogues their tricks may play,
And plunder in the face of day.
But hold,—whilst thus we play the fool,
In bold contempt of every rule,
Things of no consequence expressing,
Describing now, and now digressing,
To the discredit of our skill,
The main concern is standing still.
In plays, indeed, when storms of rage
Tempestuous in the soul engage,
Or when the spirits, weak and low,
Are sunk in deep distress and woe,
With strict propriety we hear
Description stealing on the ear,
And put off feeling half an hour
To thatch a cot, or paint a flower;
But in these serious works, design'd
To mend the morals of mankind,
We must for ever be disgraced
With all the nicer sons of Taste,
If once, the shadow to pursue,
We let the substance out of view.
Our means must uniformly tend
In due proportion to their end,
And every passage aptly join
To bring about the one design.
Our friends themselves cannot admit
This rambling, wild, digressive wit;
No—not those very friends, who found
Their credit on the self-same ground.
Peace, my good grumbling sir—for once,
Sunk in the solemn, formal dunce,
This coxcomb shall your fears beguile—
We will be dull—that you may smile.
Come, Method, come in all thy pride,
Dulness and Whitehead by thy side;
Dulness and Method still are one,
And Whitehead is their darling son:
Not he, whose pen, above control,
Struck terror to the guilty soul,
Made Folly tremble through her state,
And villains blush at being great;
Whilst he himself, with steady face,
Disdaining modesty and grace,
Could blunder on through thick and thin,
Through every mean and servile sin,
Yet swear by Philip and by Paul,
He nobly scorn'd to blush at all;
But he who in the Laureate chair,
By grace, not merit, planted there,
In awkward pomp is seen to sit,
And by his patent proves his wit;
For favours of the great, we know,
Can wit as well as rank bestow;
And they who, without one pretension,
Can get for fools a place or pension,
Must able be supposed, of course,
(If reason is allow'd due force)
To give such qualities and grace
As may equip them for the place.
But he—who measures as he goes
A mongrel kind of tinkling prose,
And is too frugal to dispense,
At once, both poetry and sense;
Who, from amidst his slumbering guards,
Deals out a charge to subject bards,
Where couplets after couplets creep
Propitious to the reign of sleep;
Yet every word imprints an awe,
And all his dictates pass for law
With beaux, who simper all around,
And belles, who die in every sound:
For in all things of this relation,
Men mostly judge from situation,
Nor in a thousand find we one
Who really weighs what's said or done;
They deal out censure, or give credit,
Merely from him who did or said it.
But he—who, happily serene,
Means nothing, yet would seem to mean;
Who rules and cautions can dispense
With all that humble insolence
Which Impudence in vain would teach,
And none but modest men can reach;
Who adds to sentiments the grace
Of always being out of place,
And drawls out morals with an air
A gentleman would blush to wear;
Who, on the chastest, simplest plan,
As chaste, as simple, as the man
Without or character, or plot,
Nature unknown, and Art forgot,
Can, with much raking of the brains,
And years consumed in letter'd pains,
A heap of words together lay,
And, smirking, call the thing a play;
Who, champion sworn in Virtue's cause,
'Gainst Vice his tiny bodkin draws,
But to no part of prudence stranger,
First blunts the point for fear of danger.
So nurses sage, as caution works,
When children first use knives and forks,
For fear of mischief, it is known,
To other's fingers or their own,
To take the edge off wisely choose,
Though the same stroke takes off the use.
Thee, Whitehead, thee I now invoke,
Sworn foe to Satire's generous stroke,
Which makes unwilling Conscience feel,
And wounds, but only wounds to heal.
Good-natured, easy creature, mild
And gentle as a new-born child,
Thy heart would never once admit
E'en wholesome rigour to thy wit;
Thy head, if Conscience should comply,
Its kind assistance would deny,
And lend thee neither force nor art
To drive it onward to the heart.
Oh, may thy sacred power control
Each fiercer working of my soul,
Damp every spark of genuine fire,
And languors, like thine own, inspire!
Trite be each thought, and every line
As moral and as dull as thine!
Poised in mid-air—(it matters not
To ascertain the very spot,
Nor yet to give you a relation
How it eluded gravitation)—
Hung a watch-tower, by Vulcan plann'd
With such rare skill, by Jove's command,
That every word which, whisper'd here,
Scarce vibrates to the neighbour ear,
On the still bosom of the air
Is borne and heard distinctly there—
The palace of an ancient dame
Whom men as well as gods call Fame.
A prattling gossip, on whose tongue
Proof of perpetual motion hung,
Whose lungs in strength all lungs surpass,
Like her own trumpet made of brass;
Who with an hundred pair of eyes
The vain attacks of sleep defies;
Who with an hundred pair of wings
News from the furthest quarters brings,
Sees, hears, and tells, untold before,
All that she knows and ten times more.
Not all the virtues which we find
Concenter'd in a Hunter's mind,
Can make her spare the rancorous tale,
If in one point she chance to fail;
Or if, once in a thousand years,
A perfect character appears,
Such as of late with joy and pride
My soul possess'd, ere Arrow died;
Or such as, Envy must allow,
The world enjoys in Hunter now;
This hag, who aims at all alike,
At virtues e'en like theirs will strike,
And make faults in the way of trade,
When she can't find them ready made.
All things she takes in, small and great,
Talks of a toy-shop and a state;
Of wits and fools, of saints and kings,
Of garters, stars, and leading strings;
Of old lords fumbling for a clap,
And young ones full of prayer and pap;
Of courts, of morals, and tye-wigs,
Of bears and serjeants dancing jigs;
Of grave professors at the bar
Learning to thrum on the guitar,
Whilst laws are slubber'd o'er in haste,
And Judgment sacrificed to Taste;
Of whited sepulchres, lawn sleeves,
And God's house made a den of thieves:
Of funeral pomps, where clamours hung,
And fix'd disgrace on every tongue,
Whilst Sense and Order blush'd to see
Nobles without humanity;
Of coronations, where each heart,
With honest raptures, bore a part;
Of city feasts, where Elegance
Was proud her colours to advance,
And Gluttony, uncommon case,
Could only get the second place;
Of new-raised pillars in the state,
Who must be good, as being great;
Of shoulders, on which honours sit
Almost as clumsily as wit;
Of doughty knights, whom titles please,
But not the payment of the fees;
Of lectures, whither every fool,
In second childhood, goes to school;
Of graybeards, deaf to Reason's call,
From Inn of Court, or City Hall,
Whom youthful appetites enslave,
With one foot fairly in the grave,
By help of crutch, a needful brother,
Learning of Hart to dance with t' other;
Of doctors regularly bred
To fill the mansions of the dead;
Of quacks, (for quacks they must be still,
Who save when forms require to kill)
Who life, and health, and vigour give
To him, not one would wish to live;
Of artists who, with noblest view,
Disinterested plans pursue,
For trembling worth the ladder raise,
And mark out the ascent to praise;
Of arts and sciences, where meet,
Sublime, profound, and all complete,
A set (whom at some fitter time
The Muse shall consecrate in rhyme)
Who, humble artists to out-do,
A far more liberal plan pursue,
And let their well-judged premiums fall
On those who have no worth at all;
Of sign-post exhibitions, raised
For laughter more than to be praised,
(Though, by the way, we cannot see
Why Praise and Laughter mayn't agree)
Where genuine humour runs to waste,
And justly chides our want of taste,
Censured, like other things, though good,
Because they are not understood.
To higher subjects now she soars,
And talks of politics and whores;
(If to your nice and chaster ears
That term indelicate appears,
Scripture politely shall refine,
And melt it into concubine)
In the same breath spreads Bourbon's league;
And publishes the grand intrigue;
In Brussels or our own Gazette^1^
Makes armies fight which never met,
And circulates the pox or plague
To London, by the way of Hague;
For all the lies which there appear
Stamp'd with authority come here;
Borrows as freely from the gabble
Of some rude leader of a rabble,
Or from the quaint harangues of those
Who lead a nation by the nose,
As from those storms which, void of art,
Burst from our honest patriot's heart,^2^
When Eloquence and Virtue, (late
Remark'd to live in mutual hate)
Fond of each other's friendship grown,
Claim every sentence for their own;
And with an equal joy recites
Parade amours and half-pay fights,
Perform'd by heroes of fair weather,
Merely by dint of lace and feather,
As those rare acts which Honour taught
Our daring sons where Granby^3^ fought,
Or those which, with superior skill,
Sackville achieved by standing still.
This hag, (the curious, if they please,
May search, from earliest times to these,
And poets they will always see
With gods and goddesses make free,
Treating them all, except the Muse,
As scarcely fit to wipe their shoes)
Who had beheld, from first to last,
How our triumvirate had pass'd
Night's dreadful interval, and heard,
With strict attention, every word,
Soon as she saw return of light,
On sounding pinions took her flight.
Swift through the regions of the sky,
Above the reach of human eye,
Onward she drove the furious blast,
And rapid as a whirlwind pass'd,
O'er countries, once the seats of Taste,
By Time and Ignorance laid waste;
O'er lands, where former ages saw
Reason and Truth the only law;
Where Arts and Arms, and Public Love,
In generous emulation strove;
Where kings were proud of legal sway,
And subjects happy to obey,
Though now in slavery sunk, and broke
To Superstition's galling yoke;
Of Arts, of Arms, no more they tell,
Or Freedom, which with Science fell,
By tyrants awed, who never find
The passage to their people's mind;
To whom the joy was never known
Of planting in the heart their throne;
Far from all prospect of relief,
Their hours in fruitless prayers and grief,
For loss of blessings, they employ,
Which we unthankfully enjoy.
Now is the time (had we the will)
To amaze the reader with our skill,
To pour out such a flood of knowledge
As might suffice for a whole college,
Whilst with a true poetic force,
We traced the goddess in her course,
Sweetly describing, in our flight,
Each common and uncommon sight,
Making our journal gay and pleasant,
With things long past, and things now present.
Rivers—once nymphs—(a transformation
Is mighty pretty in relation)
From great authorities we know
Will matter for a tale bestow:
To make the observation clear,
We give our friends an instance here
The day (that never is forgot)
Was very fine, but very hot;
The nymph (another general rule)
Inflamed with heat, laid down to cool;
Her hair (we no exceptions find)
Waved careless, floating in the wind;
Her heaving breasts, like summer seas,
Seem'd amorous of the playful breeze:
Should fond Description tune our lays
In choicest accents to her praise,
Description we at last should find,
Baffled and weak, would halt behind.
Nature had form'd her to inspire
In every bosom soft desire;
Passions to raise, she could not feel,
Wounds to inflict, she would not heal.
A god, (his name is no great matter,
Perhaps a Jove, perhaps a Satyr)
Raging with lust, a godlike flame,
By chance, as usual, thither came;
With gloating eye the fair one view'd,
Desired her first, and then pursued:
She (for what other can she do?)
Must fly—or how can he pursue?
The Muse (so custom hath decreed)
Now proves her spirit by her speed,
Nor must one limping line disgrace
The life and vigour of the race;
She runs, and he runs, till at length,
Quite destitute of breath and strength,
To Heaven (for there we all apply
For help, when there's no other nigh)
She offers up her virgin prayer,
(Can virgins pray unpitied there?)
And when the god thinks he has caught her,
Slips through his hands and runs to water,
Becomes a stream, in which the poet,
If he has any wit, may show it.
A city once for power renown'd
Now levell'd even to the ground,
Beyond all doubt is a direction
To introduce some fine reflection.
Ah, woeful me! ah, woeful man!
Ah, woeful all, do all we can!
Who can on earthly things depend
From one to t' other moment's end?
Honour, wit, genius, wealth, and glory,
Good lack! good lack! are transitory;
Nothing is sure and stable found,
The very earth itself turns round:
Monarchs, nay ministers, must die,
Must rot, must stink—ah, me! ah, why!
Cities themselves in time decay;
If cities thus—ah, well-a-day!
If brick and mortar have an end,
On what can flesh and blood depend!
Ah, woeful me! ah, woeful man!
Ah, woeful all, do all we can!
England, (for that's at last the scene,
Though worlds on worlds should rise between,
Whither we must our course pursue)
England should call into review
Times long since past indeed, but not
By Englishmen to be forgot,
Though England, once so dear to Fame,
Sinks in Great Britain's dearer name.
Here could we mention chiefs of old,
In plain and rugged honour bold,
To Virtue kind, to Vice severe,
Strangers to bribery and fear,
Who kept no wretched clans in awe,
Who never broke or warp'd the law;
Patriots, whom, in her better days,
Old Rome might have been proud to raise;
Who, steady to their country's claim,
Boldly stood up in Freedom's name,
E'en to the teeth of tyrant Pride,
And when they could no more, they died.
There (striking contrast!) might we place
A servile, mean, degenerate race;
Hirelings, who valued nought but gold,
By the best bidder bought and sold;
Truants from Honour's sacred laws,
Betrayers of their country's cause;
The dupes of party, tools of power,
Slaves to the minion of an hour;
Lackies, who watch'd a favourite's nod,
And took a puppet for their god.
Sincere and honest in our rhymes,
How might we praise these happier times!
How might the Muse exalt her lays,
And wanton in a monarch's praise!
Tell of a prince, in England born,
Whose virtues England's crown adorn,
In youth a pattern unto age,
So chaste, so pious, and so sage;
Who, true to all those sacred bands,
Which private happiness demands,
Yet never lets them rise above
The stronger ties of public love.
With conscious pride see England stand,
Our holy Charter in her hand;
She waves it round, and o'er the isle
See Liberty and Courage smile.
No more she mourns her treasures hurl'd
In subsidies to all the world;
No more by foreign threats dismay'd,
No more deceived with foreign aid,
She deals out sums to petty states,
Whom Honour scorns and Reason hates,
But, wiser by experience grown,
Finds safety in herself alone.
'Whilst thus,' she cries, 'my children stand
An honest, valiant, native band,
A train'd militia, brave and free,
True to their king, and true to me,
No foreign hirelings shall be known,
Nor need we hirelings of our own:
Under a just and pious reign
The statesman's sophistry is vain;
Vain is each vile, corrupt pretence,
These are my natural defence;
Their faith I know, and they shall prove
The bulwark of the king they love.'
These, and a thousand things beside,
Did we consult a poet's pride,
Some gay, some serious, might be said,
But ten to one they'd not be read;
Or were they by some curious few,
Not even those would think them true;
For, from the time that Jubal first
Sweet ditties to the harp rehearsed,
Poets have always been suspected
Of having truth in rhyme neglected,
That bard except, who from his youth
Equally famed for faith and truth,
By Prudence taught, in courtly chime
To courtly ears brought truth in rhyme.
But though to poets we allow,
No matter when acquired or how,
From truth unbounded deviation,
Which custom calls Imagination,
Yet can't they be supposed to lie
One half so fast as Fame can fly;
Therefore (to solve this Gordian knot,
A point we almost had forgot)
To courteous readers be it known,
That, fond of verse and falsehood grown,
Whilst we in sweet digression sung,
Fame check'd her flight, and held her tongue,
And now pursues, with double force
And double speed, her destined course,
Nor stops till she the place arrives
Where Genius starves and Dulness thrives;
Where riches virtue are esteem'd
And craft is truest wisdom deem'd,
Where Commerce proudly rears her throne,
In state to other lands unknown:
Where, to be cheated and to cheat,
Strangers from every quarter meet;
Where Christians, Jews, and Turks shake hands,
United in commercial bands:
All of one faith, and that to own
No god but Interest alone.
When gods and goddesses come down
To look about them here in Town,
(For change of air is understood
By sons of Physic to be good,
In due proportions, now and then,
For these same gods as well as men)
By custom ruled, and not a poet
So very dull but he must know it,
In order to remain incog.
They always travel in a fog;
For if we majesty expose
To vulgar eyes, too cheap it grows;
The force is lost, and free from awe,
We spy and censure every flaw;
But well preserved from public view,
It always breaks forth fresh and new;
Fierce as the sun in all his pride
It shines, and not a spot 's descried.
Was Jove to lay his thunder by,
And with his brethren of the sky
Descend to earth, and frisk about,
Like chattering N_____ from rout to rout,
He would be found, with all his host,
A nine days' wonder at the most.
Would we in trim our honours wear,
We must preserve them from the air;
What is familiar men neglect,
However worthy of respect.
Did they not find a certain friend
In Novelty to recommend,
(Such we, by sad experience, find
The wretched folly of mankind)
Venus might unattractive shine,
And Hunter fix no eyes but mine.
But Fame, who never cared a jot
Whether she was admired or not,
And never blush'd to show her face
At any time in any place,
In her own shape, without disguise,
And visible to mortal eyes,
On 'Change exact at seven o'clock
Alighted on the weathercock,
Which, planted there time out of mind
To note the changes of the wind,
Might no improper emblem be
Of her own mutability.
Thrice did she sound her trump, (the same
Which from the first belong'd to Fame,
An old ill-favour'd instrument,
With which the goddess was content,
Though under a politer race
Bagpipes might well supply its place)
And thrice, awaken'd by the sound,
A general din prevail'd around;
Confusion through the city pass'd,
And Fear bestrode the dreadful blast.
Those fragrant currents, which we meet
Distilling soft through every street,
Affrighted from the usual course,
Ran murmuring upwards to their source;
Statues wept tears of blood, as fast
As when a Cæsar breathed his last;
Horses, which always used to go
A foot-pace in my Lord Mayor's show,
Impetuous from their stable broke,
And aldermen and oxen spoke.
Halls felt the force, towers shook around,
And steeples nodded to the ground;
St Paul himself (strange sight!) was seen
To bow as humbly as the Dean;
The Mansion House, for ever placed
A monument of City taste,
Trembled, and seem'd aloud to groan
Through all that hideous weight of stone.
To still the sound, or stop her ears,
Remove the cause or sense of fears,
Physic, in college seated high,
Would anything but medicine try.
No more in Pewterer's Hall^4^ was heard
The proper force of every word;
Those seats were desolate become,
A hapless Elocution dumb.
Form, city-born and city-bred,
By strict Decorum ever led,
Who threescore years had known the grace
Of one dull, stiff, unvaried pace,
Terror prevailing over Pride,
Was seen to take a larger stride;
Worn to the bone, and clothed in rags,
See Avarice closer hug his bags;
With her own weight unwieldy grown,
See Credit totter on her throne;
Virtue alone, had she been there,
The mighty sound, unmoved, could bear.
Up from the gorgeous bed, where Fate
Dooms annual fools to sleep in state,
To sleep so sound that not one gleam
Of Fancy can provoke a dream,
Great Dulman started at the sound,
Gaped, rubb'd his eyes, and stared around.
Much did he wish to know, much fear,
Whence sounds so horrid struck his ear,
So much unlike those peaceful notes,
That equal harmony, which floats
On the dull wing of City air,
Grave prelude to a feast or fair:
Much did he inly ruminate
Concerning the decrees of Fate,
Revolving, though to little end,
What this same trumpet might portend.
Could the French—no—that could not be,
Under Bute's active ministry,
Too watchful to be so deceived—
Have stolen hither unperceived?
To Newfoundland, indeed, we know
Fleets of war unobserved may go;
Or, if observed, may be supposed,
At intervals when Reason dozed,
No other point in view to bear
But pleasure, health, and change of air;
But Reason ne'er could sleep so sound
To let an enemy be found
In our land's heart, ere it was known
They had departed from their own.
Or could his successor, (Ambition
Is ever haunted with suspicion)
His daring successor elect,
All customs, rules, and forms reject,
And aim, regardless of the crime,
To seize the chair before his time?
Or (deeming this the lucky hour,
Seeing his countrymen in power,
Those countrymen, who, from the first,
In tumults and rebellion nursed,
Howe'er they wear the mask of art,
Still love a Stuart in their heart)
Could Scottish Charles_____
Conjecture thus,
That mental ignis fatuus,
Led his poor brains a weary dance
From France to England, hence to France,
Till Information (in the shape
Of chaplain learned, good Sir Crape,
A lazy, lounging, pamper'd priest,
Well known at every city feast,
For he was seen much oftener there
Than in the house of God at prayer;
Who, always ready in his place,
Ne'er let God's creatures wait for grace,
Though, as the best historians write,
Less famed for faith than appetite;
His disposition to reveal,
The grace was short, and long the meal;
Who always would excess admit,
If haunch or turtle came with it,
And ne'er engaged in the defence
Of self-denying Abstinence,
When he could fortunately meet
With anything he liked to eat;
Who knew that wine, on Scripture plan,
Was made to cheer the heart of man;
Knew too, by long experience taught,
That cheerfulness was kill'd by thought;
And from those premises collected,
(Which few perhaps would have suspected)
That none who, with due share of sense,
Observed the ways of Providence,
Could with safe conscience leave off drinking
Till they had lost the power of thinking;
With eyes half-closed came waddling in,
And, having stroked his double chin,
(That chin, whose credit to maintain
Against the scoffs of the profane,
Had cost him more than ever state
Paid for a poor electorate,
Which, after all the cost and rout
It had been better much without)
Briefly (for breakfast, you must know,
Was waiting all the while below)
Related, bowing to the ground,
The cause of that uncommon sound;
Related, too, that at the door
Pomposo, Plausible, and Moore,
Begg'd that Fame might not be allow'd
Their shame to publish to the crowd;
That some new laws he would provide,
(If old could not be misapplied
With as much ease and safety there
As they are misapplied elsewhere)
By which it might be construed treason
In man to exercise his reason;
Which might ingeniously devise
One punishment for truth and lies,
And fairly prove, when they had done,
That truth and falsehood were but one;
Which juries must indeed retain,
But their effects should render vain,
Making all real power to rest
In one corrupted rotten breast,
By whose false gloss the very Bible
Might be interpreted a libel.
Moore (who, his reverence to save,
Pleaded the fool to screen the knave,
Though all who witness'd on his part
Swore for his head against his heart)
Had taken down, from first to last,
A just account of all that pass'd;
But, since the gracious will of Fate,
Who mark'd the child for wealth and state
E'en in the cradle, had decreed
The mighty Dulman ne'er should read,
That office of disgrace to bear
The smooth-lipp'd Plausible was there;
From Holborn e'en to Clerkenwell,
Who knows not smooth-lipp'd Plausible?
A preacher, deem'd of greatest note
For preaching that which others wrote.
Had Dulman now, (and fools, we see,
Seldom want curiosity)
Consented (but the mourning shade
Of Gascoyne hasten'd to his aid,
And in his hand—what could he more?—
Triumphant Canning's picture bore)
That our three heroes should advance
And read their comical romance,
How rich a feast, what royal fare,
We for our readers might prepare!
So rich and yet so safe a feast,
That no one foreign blatant beast,
Within the purlieus of the law,
Should dare thereon to lay his paw,
And, growling, cry, with surly tone,
'Keep off—this feast is all my own.'
Bending to earth the downcast eye,
Or planting it against the sky,
As one immersed in deepest thought,
Or with some holy vision caught,
His hands, to aid the traitor's art,
Devoutly folded o'er his heart;
Here Moore, in fraud well skill'd, should go,
All saint, with solemn step and slow.
Oh, that Religion's sacred name,
Meant to inspire the purest flame,
A prostitute should ever be
To that arch-fiend Hypocrisy,
Where we find every other vice
Crown'd with damn'd sneaking cowardice!
Bold sin reclaim'd is often seen;
Past hope that man, who dares be mean.
There, full of flesh, and full of grace,
With that fine round unmeaning face
Which Nature gives to sons of earth
Whom she designs for ease and mirth,
Should the prim Plausible be seen,
Observe his stiff, affected mien;
'Gainst Nature, arm'd by Gravity,
His features too in buckle see;
See with what sanctity he reads,
With what devotion tells his beads!
Now, prophet, show me, by thine art,
What's the religion of his heart:
Show there, if truth thou canst unfold,
Religion centred all in gold;
Show him, nor fear Correction's rod,
As false to friendship, as to God.
Horrid, unwieldy, without form.
Savage as ocean in a storm,
Of size prodigious, in the rear,
That post of honour, should appear
Pomposo; fame around should tell
How he a slave to Interest fell;
How, for integrity renown'd,
Which booksellers have often found,
He for subscribers baits his hook,
And takes their cash—but where's the book?
No matter where—wise fear, we know,
Forbids the robbing of a foe;
But what, to serve our private ends,
Forbids the cheating of our friends?
No man alive, who would not swear
All's safe, and therefore honest there;
For, spite of all the learned say,
If we to truth attention pay,
The word dishonesty is meant
For nothing else but punishment.
Fame, too, should tell, nor heed the threat
Of rogues, who brother rogues abet,
Nor tremble at the terrors hung
Aloft, to make her hold her tongue,
How to all principles untrue,
Not fix'd to old friends nor to new,
He damns the pension which he takes
And loves the Stuart he forsakes.
Nature (who, justly regular,
Is very seldom known to err,
But now and then, in sportive mood,
As some rude wits have understood,
Or through much work required in haste,
Is with a random stroke disgraced)
Pomposo, form'd on doubtful plan,
Not quite a beast, nor quite a man;
Like—God knows what—for never yet
Could the most subtle human wit
Find out a monster which might be
The shadow of a simile.
These three, these great, these mighty three,—
Nor can the poet's truth agree,
Howe'er report hath done him wrong,
And warp'd the purpose of his song,
Amongst the refuse of their race,
The sons of Infamy, to place
That open, generous, manly mind,
Which we, with joy, in Aldrich find—
These three, who now are faintly shown,
Just sketch'd, and scarcely to be known,
If Dulman their request had heard,
In stronger colours had appear'd,
And friends, though partial, at first view,
Shuddering, had own'd the picture true.
But had their journal been display'd,
And their whole process open laid,
What a vast unexhausted field
For mirth must such a journal yield!
In her own anger strongly charm'd,
'Gainst Hope, 'gainst Fear, by Conscience arm'd,
Then had bold Satire made her way,
Knights, lords, and dukes, her destined prey.
But Prudence—ever sacred name
To those who feel not Virtue's flame,
Or only feel it, at the best,
As the dull dupe of Interest!—
Whisper'd aloud (for this we find
A custom current with mankind,
So loud to whisper, that each word
May all around be plainly heard;
And Prudence, sure, would never miss
A custom so contrived as this
Her candour to secure, yet aim
Sure death against another's fame):
'Knights, lords, and dukes!—mad wretch, forbear,
Dangers unthought of ambush there;
Confine thy rage to weaker slaves,
Laugh at small fools, and lash small knaves;
But never, helpless, mean, and poor,
Rush on, where laws cannot secure;
Nor think thyself, mistaken youth!
Secure in principles of truth:
Truth! why shall every wretch of letters
Dare to speak truth against his betters!
Let ragged Virtue stand aloof,
Nor mutter accents of reproof;
Let ragged Wit a mute become,
When Wealth and Power would have her dumb;
For who the devil doth not know
That titles and estates bestow
An ample stock, where'er they fall,
Of graces which we mental call?
Beggars, in every age and nation,
Are rogues and fools by situation;
The rich and great are understood
To be of course both wise and good.
Consult, then, Interest more than Pride,
Discreetly take the stronger side;
Desert, in time, the simple few
Who Virtue's barren path pursue;
Adopt my maxims—follow me—
To Baal bow the prudent knee;
Deny thy God, betray thy friend,
At Baal's altars hourly bend,
So shalt thou rich and great be seen;
To be great now, you must be mean.'
Hence, Tempter, to some weaker soul,
Which fear and interest control;
Vainly thy precepts are address'd
Where Virtue steels the steady breast;
Through meanness wade to boasted power,
Through guilt repeated every hour;
What is thy gain, when all is done,
What mighty laurels hast thou won?
Dull crowds, to whom the heart's unknown,
Praise thee for virtues not thine own:
But will, at once man's scourge and friend,
Impartial Conscience too commend?
From her reproaches canst thou fly?
Canst thou with worlds her silence buy?
Believe it not—her stings shall find
A passage to thy coward mind:
There shall she fix her sharpest dart;
There show thee truly as thou art,
Unknown to those by whom thou 'rt prized,
Known to thyself to be despised.
The man who weds the sacred Muse,
Disdains all mercenary views,
And he, who Virtue's throne would rear
Laughs at the phantoms raised by Fear.
Though Folly, robed in purple, shines,
Though Vice exhausts Peruvian mines,
Yet shall they tremble, and turn pale,
When Satire wields her mighty flail;
Or should they, of rebuke afraid,
With Melcombe seek hell's deepest shade,
Satire, still mindful of her aim,
Shall bring the cowards back to shame.
Hated by many, loved by few,
Above each little private view,
Honest, though poor, (and who shall dare
To disappoint my boasting there?)
Hardy and resolute, though weak,
The dictates of my heart to speak,
Willing I bend at Satire's throne;
What power I have be all her own.
Nor shall yon lawyer's specious art,
Conscious of a corrupted heart,
Create imaginary fear
To damp us in our bold career.
Why should we fear? and what? The laws?
They all are arm'd in Virtue's cause;
And aiming at the self-same end,
Satire is always Virtue's friend.
Nor shall that Muse, whose honest rage,
In a corrupt degenerate age,
(When, dead to every nicer sense,
Deep sunk in vice and indolence,
The spirit of old Rome was broke
Beneath the tyrant fiddler's yoke)
Banish'd the rose from Nero's cheek,
Under a Brunswick fear to speak.
Drawn by Conceit from Reason's plan,
How vain is that poor creature, Man!
How pleased is every paltry elf
To prate about that thing, himself!
After my promise made in rhyme,
And meant in earnest at that time,
To jog, according to the mode,
In one dull pace, in one dull road,
What but that curse of heart and head
To this digression could have led?
Where plunged, in vain I look about,
And can't stay in, nor well get out.
Could I, whilst Humour held the quill,
Could I digress with half that skill;
Could I with half that skill return,
Which we so much admire in Sterne,
Where each digression, seeming vain,
And only fit to entertain,
Is found, on better recollection,
To have a just and nice connexion,
To help the whole with wondrous art,
Whence it seems idly to depart;
Then should our readers ne'er accuse
These wild excursions of the Muse;
Ne'er backward turn dull pages o'er
To recollect what went before;
Deeply impress'd, and ever new,
Each image past should start to view,
And we to Dulman now come in,
As if we ne'er had absent been.
Have you not seen, when danger's near,
The coward cheek turn white with fear?
Have you not seen, when danger's fled,
The self-same cheek with joy turn red?
These are low symptoms which we find,
Fit only for a vulgar mind,
Where honest features, void of art,
Betray the feelings of the heart;
Our Dulman with a face was bless'd,
Where no one passion was express'd;
His eye, in a fine stupor caught,
Implied a plenteous lack of thought;
Nor was one line that whole face seen in
Which could be justly charged with meaning.
To Avarice by birth allied,
Debauch'd by marriage into Pride,
In age grown fond of youthful sports,
Of pomps, of vanities, and courts,
And by success too mighty made
To love his country or his trade;
Stiff in opinion, (no rare case
With blockheads in or out of place)
Too weak, and insolent of soul
To suffer Reason's just control,
But bending, of his own accord,
To that trim transient toy, my lord;
The dupe of Scots, (a fatal race,
Whom God in wrath contrived to place
To scourge our crimes, and gall our pride,
A constant thorn in England's side;
Whom first, our greatness to oppose,
He in his vengeance mark'd for foes;
Then, more to serve his wrathful ends,
And more to curse us, mark'd for friends)
Deep in the state, if we give credit
To him, for no one else e'er said it,
Sworn friend of great ones not a few,
Though he their titles only knew,
And those (which, envious of his breeding,
Book-worms have charged to want of reading)
Merely to show himself polite
He never would pronounce aright;
An orator with whom a host
Of those which Rome and Athens boast,
In all their pride might not contend;
Who, with no powers to recommend,
Whilst Jackey Hume, and Billy Whitehead,
And Dicky Glover, sat delighted,
Could speak whole days in Nature's spite,
Just as those able versemen write;
Great Dulman from his bed arose—
Thrice did he spit—thrice wiped his nose—
Thrice strove to smile—thrice strove to frown—
And thrice look'd up—and thrice look'd down—
Then silence broke—'Crape, who am I?'
Crape bow'd, and smiled an arch reply.
'Am I not, Crape? I am, you know,
Above all those who are below.
Have I not knowledge? and for wit,
Money will always purchase it:
Nor, if it needful should be found,
Will I grudge ten or twenty pound,
For which the whole stock may be bought
Of scoundrel wits, not worth a groat.
But lest I should proceed too far,
I'll feel my friend the Minister,
(Great men, Crape, must not be neglected)
How he in this point is affected;
For, as I stand a magistrate,
To serve him first, and next the state,
Perhaps he may not think it fit
To let his magistrates have wit.
Boast I not, at this very hour,
Those large effects which troop with power?
Am I not mighty in the land?
Do not I sit whilst others stand?
Am I not with rich garments graced,
In seat of honour always placed?
And do not cits of chief degree,
Though proud to others, bend to me?
Have I not, as a Justice ought,
The laws such wholesome rigour taught,
That Fornication, in disgrace,
Is now afraid to show her face,
And not one whore these walls approaches
Unless they ride in their own coaches?
And shall this Fame, an old poor strumpet,
Without our licence sound her trumpet,
And, envious of our city's quiet,
In broad daylight blow up a riot?
If insolence like this we bear,
Where is our state? our office where?
Farewell, all honours of our reign;
Farewell, the neck-ennobling chain,
Freedom's known badge o'er all the globe;
Farewell, the solemn-spreading robe;
Farewell, the sword; farewell, the mace;
Farewell, all title, pomp, and place;
Removed from men of high degree,
(A loss to them, Crape, not to me)
Banish'd to Chippenham or to Frome,
Dulman once more shall ply the loom.'
Crape, lifting up his hands and eyes,
'Dulman!—the loom!—at Chippenham!'—cries;
'If there be powers which greatness love,
Which rule below, but dwell above,
Those powers united all shall join
To contradict the rash design.
Sooner shall stubborn Will lay down
His opposition with his gown;
Sooner shall Temple leave the road
Which leads to Virtue's mean abode;
Sooner shall Scots this country quit,
And England's foes be friends to Pitt,
Than Dulman, from his grandeur thrown,
Shall wander outcast and unknown.
Sure as that cane,' (a cane there stood
Near to a table made of wood,
Of dry fine wood a table made,
By some rare artist in the trade,
Who had enjoy'd immortal praise
If he had lived in Homer's days)
'Sure as that cane, which once was seen
In pride of life all fresh and green,
The banks of Indus to adorn,
Then, of its leafy honours shorn,
According to exactest rule,
Was fashion'd by the workman's tool,
And which at present we behold
Curiously polish'd, crown'd with gold,
With gold well wrought; sure as that cane
Shall never on its native plain
Strike root afresh, shall never more
Flourish in tawny India's shore,
So sure shall Dulman and his race
To latest times this station grace.'
Dulman, who all this while had kept
His eyelids closed as if he slept,
Now looking steadfastly on Crape,
As at some god in human shape:
'Crape, I protest, you seem to me
To have discharged a prophecy:
Yes—from the first it doth appear
Planted by Fate, the Dulmans here
Have always held a quiet reign,
And here shall to the last remain.
'Crape, they 're all wrong about this ghost—
Quite on the wrong side of the post—
Blockheads! to take it in their head
To be a message from the dead,
For that by mission they design,
A word not half so good as mine.
Crape—here it is—start not one doubt—
A plot—a plot—I've found it out.'
'O God!' cries Crape, 'how bless'd the nation,
Where one son boasts such penetration!'
'Crape, I've not time to tell you now
When I discover'd this, or how;
To Stentor go—if he's not there,
His place let Bully Norton bear—
Our citizens to council call—
Let all meet—'tis the cause of all:
Let the three witnesses attend,
With allegations to befriend,
To swear just so much, and no more,
As we instruct them in before.
'Stay, Crape, come back—what! don't you see
The effects of this discovery?
Dulman all care and toil endures—
The profit, Crape, will all be yours.
A mitre, (for, this arduous task
Perform'd, they'll grant whate'er I ask)
A mitre (and perhaps the best)
Shall, through my interest, make thee blest:
And at this time, when gracious Fate
Dooms to the Scot the reins of state,
Who is more fit (and for your use
We could some instances produce)
Of England's Church to be the head,
Than you, a Presbyterian bred?
But when thus mighty you are made,
Unlike the brethren of thy trade,
Be grateful, Crape, and let me not,
Like old Newcastle, be forgot.
But an affair, Crape, of this size
Will ask from Conduct vast supplies;
It must not, as the vulgar say,
Be done in hugger-mugger way:
Traitors, indeed (and that's discreet)
Who hatch the plot, in private meet;
They should in public go, no doubt,
Whose business is to find it out.
To-morrow—if the day appear
Likely to turn out fair and clear—
Proclaim a grand processionade—
Be all the city-pomp display'd;
Let the Train-bands'—Crape shook his head—
They heard the trumpet, and were fled—
'Well,' cries the Knight, 'if that's the case,
My servants shall supply their place—
My servants—mine alone—no more
Than what my servants did before—
Dost not remember, Crape, that day,
When, Dulman's grandeur to display,
As all too simple and too low,
Our city friends were thrust below,
Whilst, as more worthy of our love,
Courtiers were entertain'd above?
Tell me, who waited then? and how?
My servants—mine: and why not now?
In haste then, Crape, to Stentor go—
But send up Hart, who waits below;
With him, till you return again,
(Reach me my spectacles and cane)
I'll make a proof how I advance in
My new accomplishment of dancing.'
Not quite so fast as lightning flies,
Wing'd with red anger, through the skies;
Not quite so fast as, sent by Jove,
Iris descends on wings of love;
Not quite so fast as Terror rides
When he the chasing winds bestrides,
Crape hobbled; but his mind was good—
Could he go faster than he could?
Near to that tower, which, as we're told,
The mighty Julius raised of old,
Where, to the block by Justice led,
The rebel Scot hath often bled;
Where arms are kept so clean, so bright,
'Twere sin they should be soil'd in fight;
Where brutes of foreign race are shown
By brutes much greater of our own;
Fast by the crowded Thames, is found
An ample square of sacred ground,
Where artless Eloquence presides,
And Nature every sentence guides,
Here female parliaments debate
About religion, trade, and state;
Here every Naïad's patriot soul,
Disdaining foreign base control,
Despising French, despising Erse,
Pours forth the plain old English curse,
And bears aloft, with terrors hung,
The honours of the vulgar tongue.
Here Stentor, always heard with awe,
In thundering accents deals out law:
Twelve furlongs off each dreadful word
Was plainly and distinctly heard,
And every neighbour hill around
Return'd and swell'd the mighty sound;
The loudest virgin of the stream,
Compared with him would silent seem;
Thames, (who, enraged to find his course
Opposed, rolls down with double force,
Against the bridge indignant roars,
And lashes the resounding shores)
Compared with him, at lowest tide,
In softest whispers seems to glide.
Hither, directed by the noise,
Swell'd with the hope of future joys,
Through too much zeal and haste made lame,
The reverend slave of Dulman came.
'Stentor'—with such a serious air,
With such a face of solemn care,
As might import him to contain
A nation's welfare in his brain—
'Stentor,' cries Crape, 'I 'm hither sent
On business of most high intent,
Great Dulman's orders to convey;
Dulman commands, and I obey;
Big with those throes which patriots feel,
And labouring for the commonweal,
Some secret, which forbids him rest,
Tumbles and tosses in his breast;
Tumbles and tosses to get free,
And thus the Chief commands by me:
'To-morrow, if the day appear
Likely to turn out fair and clear,
Proclaim a grand processionade—
Be all the city pomp display'd—
Our citizens to council call—
Let all meet—'tis the cause of all!'

BOOK IV.

Coxcombs, who vainly make pretence
To something of exalted sense
'Bove other men, and, gravely wise,
Affect those pleasures to despise,
Which, merely to the eye confined,
Bring no improvement to the mind,
Rail at all pomp; they would not go
For millions to a puppet-show,
Nor can forgive the mighty crime
Of countenancing pantomime;
No, not at Covent Garden, where,
Without a head for play or player,
Or, could a head be found most fit,
Without one player to second it,
They must, obeying Folly's call,
Thrive by mere show, or not at all.
With these grave fops, who, (bless their brains!)
Most cruel to themselves, take pains
For wretchedness, and would be thought
Much wiser than a wise man ought,
For his own happiness, to be;
Who what they hear, and what they see,
And what they smell, and taste, and feel,
Distrust, till Reason sets her seal,
And, by long trains of consequences
Insured, gives sanction to the senses;
Who would not (Heaven forbid it!) waste
One hour in what the world calls Taste,
Nor fondly deign to laugh or cry,
Unless they know some reason why;
With these grave fops, whose system seems
To give up certainty for dreams,
The eye of man is understood
As for no other purpose good
Than as a door, through which, of course,
Their passage crowding, objects force;
A downright usher, to admit
New-comers to the court of Wit:
(Good Gravity! forbear thy spleen;
When I say Wit, I Wisdom mean)
Where (such the practice of the court,
Which legal precedents support)
Not one idea is allow'd
To pass unquestion'd in the crowd,
But ere it can obtain the grace
Of holding in the brain a place,
Before the chief in congregation
Must stand a strict examination.
Not such as those, who physic twirl,
Full fraught with death, from every curl;
Who prove, with all becoming state,
Their voice to be the voice of Fate;
Prepared with essence, drop, and pill,
To be another Ward or Hill,
Before they can obtain their ends,
To sign death-warrants for their friends,
And talents vast as theirs employ,
Secundum artem to destroy,
Must pass (or laws their rage restrain)
Before the chiefs of Warwick Lane:
Thrice happy Lane! where, uncontroll'd,
In power and lethargy grown old,
Most fit to take, in this bless'd land,
The reins which fell from Wyndham's hand,
Her lawful throne great Dulness rears,
Still more herself, as more in years;
Where she, (and who shall dare deny
Her right, when Reeves and Chauncy's by?)
Calling to mind, in ancient time,
One Garth, who err'd in wit and rhyme,
Ordains, from henceforth, to admit
None of the rebel sons of Wit,
And makes it her peculiar care
That Schomberg never shall be there.
Not such as those, whom Folly trains
To letters, though unbless'd with brains,
Who, destitute of power and will
To learn, are kept to learning still;
Whose heads, when other methods fail,
Receive instruction from the tail,
Because their sires,—a common case
Which brings the children to disgrace,—
Imagine it a certain rule
They never could beget a fool,
Must pass, or must compound for, ere
The chaplain, full of beef and prayer,
Will give his reverend permit,
Announcing them for orders fit;
So that the prelate (what's a name?
All prelates now are much the same)
May, with a conscience safe and quiet,
With holy hands lay on that fiat
Which doth all faculties dispense,
All sanctity, all faith, all sense;
Makes Madan quite a saint appear,
And makes an oracle of Cheere.
Not such as in that solemn seat,
Where the Nine Ladies hold retreat,—
The Ladies Nine, who, as we 're told,
Scorning those haunts they loved of old,
The banks of Isis now prefer,
Nor will one hour from Oxford stir,—
Are held for form, which Balaam's ass
As well as Balaam's self might pass,
And with his master take degrees,
Could he contrive to pay the fees.
Men of sound parts, who, deeply read,
O'erload the storehouse of the head
With furniture they ne'er can use,
Cannot forgive our rambling Muse
This wild excursion; cannot see
Why Physic and Divinity,
To the surprise of all beholders,
Are lugg'd in by the head and shoulders;
Or how, in any point of view,
Oxford hath any thing to do.
But men of nice and subtle learning,
Remarkable for quick discerning,
Through spectacles of critic mould,
Without instruction, will behold
That we a method here have got
To show what is, by what is not;
And that our drift (parenthesis
For once apart) is briefly this:
Within the brain's most secret cells
A certain Lord Chief-Justice dwells,
Of sovereign power, whom, one and all,
With common voice, we Reason call;
Though, for the purposes of satire,
A name, in truth, is no great matter;
Jefferies or Mansfield, which you will—
It means a Lord Chief-Justice still.
Here, so our great projectors say,
The Senses all must homage pay;
Hither they all must tribute bring,
And prostrate fall before their king;
Whatever unto them is brought,
Is carried on the wings of Thought
Before his throne, where, in full state,
He on their merits holds debate,
Examines, cross-examines, weighs
Their right to censure or to praise:
Nor doth his equal voice depend
On narrow views of foe and friend,
Nor can, or flattery, or force
Divert him from his steady course;
The channel of Inquiry's clear,
No sham examination's here.
He, upright justicer, no doubt,
Ad libitum puts in and out,
Adjusts and settles in a trice
What virtue is, and what is vice;
What is perfection, what defect;
What we must choose, and what reject;
He takes upon him to explain
What pleasure is, and what is pain;
Whilst we, obedient to the whim,
And resting all our faith on him,
True members of the Stoic Weal,
Must learn to think, and cease to feel.
This glorious system, form'd for man
To practise when and how he can,
If the five Senses, in alliance,
To Reason hurl a proud defiance,
And, though oft conquer'd, yet unbroke,
Endeavour to throw off that yoke,
Which they a greater slavery hold
Than Jewish bondage was of old;
Or if they, something touch'd with shame,
Allow him to retain the name
Of Royalty, and, as in sport,
To hold a mimic formal court;
Permitted—no uncommon thing—
To be a kind of puppet king,
And suffer'd, by the way of toy,
To hold a globe, but not employ;
Our system-mongers, struck with fear,
Prognosticate destruction near;
All things to anarchy must run;
The little world of man 's undone.
Nay, should the Eye, that nicest sense,
Neglect to send intelligence
Unto the Brain, distinct and clear,
Of all that passes in her sphere;
Should she, presumptuous, joy receive
Without the Understanding's leave,
They deem it rank and daring treason
Against the monarchy of Reason,
Not thinking, though they're wondrous wise,
That few have reason, most have eyes;
So that the pleasures of the mind
To a small circle are confined,
Whilst those which to the senses fall
Become the property of all.
Besides, (and this is sure a case
Not much at present out of place)
Where Nature reason doth deny,
No art can that defect supply;
But if (for it is our intent
Fairly to state the argument)
A man should want an eye or two,
The remedy is sure, though new:
The cure's at hand—no need of fear—
For proof—behold the Chevalier!—
As well prepared, beyond all doubt,
To put eyes in, as put them out.
But, argument apart, which tends
To embitter foes and separate friends,
(Nor, turn'd apostate from the Nine,
Would I, though bred up a divine,
And foe, of course, to Reason's Weal,
Widen that breach I cannot heal)
By his own sense and feelings taught,
In speech as liberal as in thought,
Let every man enjoy his whim;
What's he to me, or I to him?
Might I, though never robed in ermine,
A matter of this weight determine,
No penalties should settled be
To force men to hypocrisy,
To make them ape an awkward zeal,
And, feeling not, pretend to feel.
I would not have, might sentence rest
Finally fix'd within my breast,
E'en Annet censured and confined,
Because we 're of a different mind.
Nature, who, in her act most free,
Herself delights in liberty,
Profuse in love, and without bound,
Pours joy on every creature round;
Whom yet, was every bounty shed
In double portions on our head,
We could not truly bounteous call,
If Freedom did not crown them all.
By Providence forbid to stray,
Brutes never can mistake their way;
Determined still, they plod along
By instinct, neither right nor wrong;
But man, had he the heart to use
His freedom, hath a right to choose;
Whether he acts, or well, or ill,
Depends entirely on his will.
To her last work, her favourite Man,
Is given, on Nature's better plan,
A privilege in power to err.
Nor let this phrase resentment stir
Amongst the grave ones, since indeed
The little merit man can plead
In doing well, dependeth still
Upon his power of doing ill.
Opinions should be free as air;
No man, whate'er his rank, whate'er
His qualities, a claim can found
That my opinion must be bound,
And square with his; such slavish chains
From foes the liberal soul disdains;
Nor can, though true to friendship, bend
To wear them even from a friend.
Let those, who rigid judgment own,
Submissive bow at Judgment's throne,
And if they of no value hold
Pleasure, till pleasure is grown cold,
Pall'd and insipid, forced to wait
For Judgment's regular debate
To give it warrant, let them find
Dull subjects suited to their mind.
Theirs be slow wisdom; be my plan,
To live as merry as I can,
Regardless, as the fashions go,
Whether there's reason for't or no:
Be my employment here on earth
To give a liberal scope to mirth,
Life's barren vale with flowers to adorn,
And pluck a rose from every thorn.
But if, by Error led astray,
I chance to wander from my way,
Let no blind guide observe, in spite,
I'm wrong, who cannot set me right.
That doctor could I ne'er endure
Who found disease, and not a cure;
Nor can I hold that man a friend
Whose zeal a helping hand shall lend
To open happy Folly's eyes,
And, making wretched, make me wise:
For next (a truth which can't admit
Reproof from Wisdom or from Wit)
To being happy here below,
Is to believe that we are so.
Some few in knowledge find relief;
I place my comfort in belief.
Some for reality may call;
Fancy to me is all in all.
Imagination, through the trick
Of doctors, often makes us sick;
And why, let any sophist tell,
May it not likewise make us well?
This I am sure, whate'er our view,
Whatever shadows we pursue,
For our pursuits, be what they will,
Are little more than shadows still;
Too swift they fly, too swift and strong,
For man to catch or hold them long;
But joys which in the fancy live,
Each moment to each man may give:
True to himself, and true to ease,
He softens Fate's severe decrees,
And (can a mortal wish for more?)
Creates, and makes himself new o'er,
Mocks boasted vain reality,
And is, whate'er he wants to be.
Hail, Fancy!—to thy power I owe
Deliverance from the gripe of Woe;
To thee I owe a mighty debt,
Which Gratitude shall ne'er forget,
Whilst Memory can her force employ,
A large increase of every joy.
When at my doors, too strongly barr'd,
Authority had placed a guard,
A knavish guard, ordain'd by law
To keep poor Honesty in awe;
Authority, severe and stern,
To intercept my wish'd return;
When foes grew proud, and friends grew cool,
And laughter seized each sober fool;
When Candour started in amaze,
And, meaning censure, hinted praise;
When Prudence, lifting up her eyes
And hands, thank'd Heaven that she was wise;
When all around me, with an air
Of hopeless sorrow, look'd despair;
When they, or said, or seem'd to say,
There is but one, one only way
Better, and be advised by us,
Not be at all, than to be thus;
When Virtue shunn'd the shock, and Pride,
Disabled, lay by Virtue's side,
Too weak my ruffled soul to cheer,
Which could not hope, yet would not fear;
Health in her motion, the wild grace
Of pleasure speaking in her face,
Dull regularity thrown by,
And comfort beaming from her eye,
Fancy, in richest robes array'd,
Came smiling forth, and brought me aid;
Came smiling o'er that dreadful time,
And, more to bless me, came in rhyme.
Nor is her power to me confined;
It spreads, it comprehends mankind.
When (to the spirit-stirring sound
Of trumpets breathing courage round,
And fifes well-mingled, to restrain
And bring that courage down again;
Or to the melancholy knell
Of the dull, deep, and doleful bell,
Such as of late the good Saint Bride
Muffled, to mortify the pride
Of those who, England quite forgot,
Paid their vile homage to the Scot;
Where Asgill held the foremost place,
Whilst my lord figured at a race)
Processions ('tis not worth debate
Whether they are of stage or state)
Move on, so very, very slow,
'Tis doubtful if they move, or no;
When the performers all the while
Mechanically frown or smile,
Or, with a dull and stupid stare,
A vacancy of sense declare,
Or, with down-bending eye, seem wrought
Into a labyrinth of thought,
Where Reason wanders still in doubt,
And, once got in, cannot get out;
What cause sufficient can we find,
To satisfy a thinking mind,
Why, duped by such vain farces, man
Descends to act on such a plan?
Why they, who hold themselves divine,
Can in such wretched follies join,
Strutting like peacocks, or like crows,
Themselves and Nature to expose?
What cause, but that (you'll understand
We have our remedy at hand,
That if perchance we start a doubt,
Ere it is fix'd, we wipe it out;
As surgeons, when they lop a limb,
Whether for profit, fame, or whim,
Or mere experiment to try,
Must always have a styptic by)
Fancy steps in, and stamps that real,
Which, ipso facto, is ideal.
Can none remember?—yes, I know,
All must remember that rare show
When to the country Sense went down,
And fools came flocking up to town;
When knights (a work which all admit
To be for knighthood much unfit)
Built booths for hire; when parsons play'd,
In robes canonical array'd,
And, fiddling, join'd the Smithfield dance,
The price of tickets to advance:
Or, unto tapsters turn'd, dealt out,
Running from booth to booth about,
To every scoundrel, by retail,
True pennyworths of beef and ale,
Then first prepared, by bringing beer in,
For present grand electioneering;
When heralds, running all about
To bring in Order, turn'd it out;
When, by the prudent Marshal's care,
Lest the rude populace should stare,
And with unhallow'd eyes profane
Gay puppets of Patrician strain,
The whole procession, as in spite,
Unheard, unseen, stole off by night;
When our loved monarch, nothing loth,
Solemnly took that sacred oath,
Whence mutual firm agreements spring
Betwixt the subject and the king,
By which, in usual manner crown'd,
His head, his heart, his hands, he bound,
Against himself, should passion stir
The least propensity to err,
Against all slaves, who might prepare,
Or open force, or hidden snare,
That glorious Charter to maintain,
By which we serve, and he must reign;
Then Fancy, with unbounded sway,
Revell'd sole mistress of the day,
And wrought such wonders, as might make
Egyptian sorcerers forsake
Their baffled mockeries, and own
The palm of magic hers alone.
A knight, (who, in the silken lap
Of lazy Peace, had lived on pap;
Who never yet had dared to roam
'Bove ten or twenty miles from home,
Nor even that, unless a guide
Was placed to amble by his side,
And troops of slaves were spread around
To keep his Honour safe and sound;
Who could not suffer, for his life,
A point to sword, or edge to knife;
And always fainted at the sight
Of blood, though 'twas not shed in fight;
Who disinherited one son
For firing off an alder gun,
And whipt another, six years old,
Because the boy, presumptuous, bold
To madness, likely to become
A very Swiss, had beat a drum,
Though it appear'd an instrument
Most peaceable and innocent,
Having, from first, been in the hands
And service of the City bands)
Graced with those ensigns, which were meant
To further Honour's dread intent,
The minds of warriors to inflame,
And spur them on to deeds of fame;
With little sword, large spurs, high feather,
Fearless of every thing but weather,
(And all must own, who pay regard
To charity, it had been hard
That in his very first campaign
His honours should be soil'd with rain)
A hero all at once became,
And (seeing others much the same
In point of valour as himself,
Who leave their courage on a shelf
From year to year, till some such rout
In proper season calls it out)
Strutted, look'd big, and swagger'd more
Than ever hero did before;
Look'd up, look'd down, look'd all around,
Like Mavors, grimly smiled and frown'd;
Seem'd Heaven, and Earth, and Hell to call
To fight, that he might rout them all,
And personated Valour's style
So long, spectators to beguile,
That, passing strange, and wondrous true,
Himself at last believed it too;
Nor for a time could he discern,
Till Truth and Darkness took their turn,
So well did Fancy play her part,
That coward still was at the heart.
Whiffle (who knows not Whiffle's name,
By the impartial voice of Fame
Recorded first through all this land
In Vanity's illustrious band?)
Who, by all-bounteous Nature meant
For offices of hardiment,
A modern Hercules at least,
To rid the world of each wild beast,
Of each wild beast which came in view,
Whether on four legs or on two,
Degenerate, delights to prove
His force on the parade of Love,
Disclaims the joys which camps afford,
And for the distaff quits the sword;
Who fond of women would appear
To public eye and public ear,
But, when in private, lets them know
How little they can trust to show;
Who sports a woman, as of course,
Just as a jockey shows a horse,
And then returns her to the stable,
Or vainly plants her at his table,
Where he would rather Venus find
(So pall'd, and so depraved his mind)
Than, by some great occasion led,
To seize her panting in her bed,
Burning with more than mortal fires,
And melting in her own desires;
Who, ripe in years, is yet a child,
Through fashion, not through feeling, wild;
Whate'er in others, who proceed
As Sense and Nature have decreed,
From real passion flows, in him
Is mere effect of mode and whim;
Who laughs, a very common way,
Because he nothing has to say,
As your choice spirits oaths dispense
To fill up vacancies of sense;
Who, having some small sense, defies it,
Or, using, always misapplies it;
Who now and then brings something forth
Which seems indeed of sterling worth;
Something, by sudden start and fit,
Which at a distance looks like wit,
But, on examination near,
To his confusion will appear,
By Truth's fair glass, to be at best
A threadbare jester's threadbare jest;
Who frisks and dances through the street,
Sings without voice, rides without seat,
Plays o'er his tricks, like Æsop's ass,
A gratis fool to all who pass;
Who riots, though he loves not waste,
Whores without lust, drinks without taste,
Acts without sense, talks without thought,
Does every thing but what he ought;
Who, led by forms, without the power
Of vice, is vicious; who one hour,
Proud without pride, the next will be
Humble without humility:
Whose vanity we all discern,
The spring on which his actions turn;
Whose aim in erring, is to err,
So that he may be singular,
And all his utmost wishes mean
Is, though he's laugh'd at, to be seen:
Such, (for when Flattery's soothing strain
Had robb'd the Muse of her disdain,
And found a method to persuade
Her art to soften every shade,
Justice, enraged, the pencil snatch'd
From her degenerate hand, and scratch'd
Out every trace; then, quick as thought,
From life this striking likeness caught)
In mind, in manners, and in mien,
Such Whiffle came, and such was seen
In the world's eye; but (strange to tell!)
Misled by Fancy's magic spell,
Deceived, not dreaming of deceit,
Cheated, but happy in the cheat,
Was more than human in his own.
Oh, bow, bow all at Fancy's throne,
Whose power could make so vile an elf
With patience bear that thing, himself.
But, mistress of each art to please,
Creative Fancy, what are these,
These pageants of a trifler's pen,
To what thy power effected then?
Familiar with the human mind,
And swift and subtle as the wind,
Which we all feel, yet no one knows,
Or whence it comes, or where it goes,
Fancy at once in every part
Possess'd the eye, the head, the heart,
And in a thousand forms array'd,
A thousand various gambols play'd.
Here, in a face which well might ask
The privilege to wear a mask
In spite of law, and Justice teach
For public good to excuse the breach,
Within the furrow of a wrinkle
'Twixt eyes, which could not shine but twinkle,
Like sentinels i' th' starry way,
Who wait for the return of day,
Almost burnt out, and seem to keep
Their watch, like soldiers, in their sleep;
Or like those lamps, which, by the power
Of law, must burn from hour to hour,
(Else they, without redemption, fall
Under the terrors of that Hall,
Which, once notorious for a hop,
Is now become a justice shop)
Which are so managed, to go out
Just when the time comes round about,
Which yet, through emulation, strive
To keep their dying light alive,
And (not uncommon, as we find,
Amongst the children of mankind)
As they grow weaker, would seem stronger,
And burn a little, little longer:
Fancy, betwixt such eyes enshrined,
No brush to daub, no mill to grind,
Thrice waved her wand around, whose force
Changed in an instant Nature's course,
And, hardly credible in rhyme,
Not only stopp'd, but call'd back Time;
The face of every wrinkle clear'd,
Smooth as the floating stream appear'd,
Down the neck ringlets spread their flame,
The neck admiring whence they came;
On the arch'd brow the Graces play'd;
On the full bosom Cupid laid;
Suns, from their proper orbits sent,
Became for eyes a supplement;
Teeth, white as ever teeth were seen,
Deliver'd from the hand of Green,
Started, in regular array,
Like train-bands on a grand field day,
Into the gums, which would have fled,
But, wondering, turn'd from white to red;
Quite alter'd was the whole machine,
And Lady _____ _____ was fifteen.
Here she made lordly temples rise
Before the pious Dashwood's eyes,
Temples which, built aloft in air,
May serve for show, if not for prayer;
In solemn form herself, before,
Array'd like Faith, the Bible bore.
There over Melcombe's feather'd head—
Who, quite a man of gingerbread,
Savour'd in talk, in dress, and phiz,
More of another world than this,
To a dwarf Muse a giant page,
The last grave fop of the last age—
In a superb and feather'd hearse,
Bescutcheon'd and betagg'd with verse,
Which, to beholders from afar,
Appear'd like a triumphal car,
She rode, in a cast rainbow clad;
There, throwing off the hallow'd plaid,
Naked, as when (in those drear cells
Where, self-bless'd, self-cursed, Madness dwells)
Pleasure, on whom, in Laughter's shape,
Frenzy had perfected a rape,
First brought her forth, before her time,
Wild witness of her shame and crime,
Driving before an idol band
Of drivelling Stuarts, hand in hand;
Some who, to curse mankind, had wore
A crown they ne'er must think of more;
Others, whose baby brows were graced
With paper crowns, and toys of paste,
She jigg'd, and, playing on the flute,
Spread raptures o'er the soul of Bute.
Big with vast hopes, some mighty plan,
Which wrought the busy soul of man
To her full bent; the Civil Law,
Fit code to keep a world in awe,
Bound o'er his brows, fair to behold,
As Jewish frontlets were of old;
The famous Charter of our land
Defaced, and mangled in his hand;
As one whom deepest thoughts employ,
But deepest thoughts of truest joy,
Serious and slow he strode, he stalk'd;
Before him troops of heroes walk'd,
Whom best he loved, of heroes crown'd,
By Tories guarded all around;
Dull solemn pleasure in his face,
He saw the honours of his race,
He saw their lineal glories rise,
And touch'd, or seem'd to touch, the skies;
Not the most distant mark of fear,
No sign of axe or scaffold near,
Not one cursed thought to cross his will
Of such a place as Tower Hill.
Curse on this Muse, a flippant jade,
A shrew, like every other maid
Who turns the corner of nineteen,
Devour'd with peevishness and spleen;
Her tongue (for as, when bound for life,
The husband suffers for the wife,
So if in any works of rhyme
Perchance there blunders out a crime,
Poor culprit bards must always rue it,
Although 'tis plain the Muses do it)
Sooner or later cannot fail
To send me headlong to a jail.
Whate'er my theme, (our themes we choose,
In modern days, without a Muse;
Just as a father will provide
To join a bridegroom and a bride,
As if, though they must be the players,
The game was wholly his, not theirs)
Whate'er my theme, the Muse, who still
Owns no direction but her will,
Flies off, and ere I could expect,
By ways oblique and indirect,
At once quite over head and ears
In fatal politics appears.
Time was, and, if I aught discern
Of fate, that time shall soon return,
When, decent and demure at least,
As grave and dull as any priest,
I could see Vice in robes array'd,
Could see the game of Folly play'd
Successfully in Fortune's school,
Without exclaiming rogue or fool.
Time was, when, nothing loth or proud,
I lackey'd with the fawning crowd,
Scoundrels in office, and would bow
To cyphers great in place; but now
Upright I stand, as if wise Fate,
To compliment a shatter'd state,
Had me, like Atlas, hither sent
To shoulder up the firmament,
And if I stoop'd, with general crack,
The heavens would tumble from my back.
Time was, when rank and situation
Secured the great ones of the nation
From all control; satire and law
Kept only little knaves in awe;
But now, Decorum lost, I stand
Bemused, a pencil in my hand,
And, dead to every sense of shame,
Careless of safety and of fame,
The names of scoundrels minute down,
And libel more than half the town.
How can a statesman be secure
In all his villanies, if poor
And dirty authors thus shall dare
To lay his rotten bosom bare?
Muses should pass away their time
In dressing out the poet's rhyme
With bills, and ribands, and array
Each line in harmless taste, though gay;
When the hot burning fit is on,
They should regale their restless son
With something to allay his rage,
Some cool Castalian beverage,
Or some such draught (though they, 'tis plain,
Taking the Muse's name in vain,
Know nothing of their real court,
And only fable from report)
As makes a Whitehead's Ode go down,
Or slakes the Feverette of Brown:
But who would in his senses think,
Of Muses giving gall to drink,
Or that their folly should afford
To raving poets gun or sword?
Poets were ne'er design'd by Fate
To meddle with affairs of state,
Nor should (if we may speak our thought
Truly as men of honour ought)
Sound policy their rage admit,
To launch the thunderbolts of Wit
About those heads, which, when they're shot,
Can't tell if 'twas by Wit or not.
These things well known, what devil, in spite,
Can have seduced me thus to write
Out of that road, which must have led
To riches, without heart or head,
Into that road, which, had I more
Than ever poet had before
Of wit and virtue, in disgrace
Would keep me still, and out of place;
Which, if some judge (you 'll understand
One famous, famous through the land
For making law) should stand my friend,
At last may in a pillory end;
And all this, I myself admit,
Without one cause to lead to it?
For instance, now—this book—the Ghost—
Methinks I hear some critic Post
Remark most gravely—'The first word
Which we about the Ghost have heard.'
Peace, my good sir!—not quite so fast—
What is the first, may be the last,
Which is a point, all must agree,
Cannot depend on you or me.
Fanny, no ghost of common mould,
Is not by forms to be controll'd;
To keep her state, and show her skill,
She never comes but when she will.
I wrote and wrote, (perhaps you doubt,
And shrewdly, what I wrote about;
Believe me, much to my disgrace,
I, too, am in the self-same case;)
But still I wrote, till Fanny came
Impatient, nor could any shame
On me with equal justice fall
If she had never come at all.
An underling, I could not stir
Without the cue thrown out by her,
Nor from the subject aid receive
Until she came and gave me leave.
So that, (ye sons of Erudition
Mark, this is but a supposition,
Nor would I to so wise a nation
Suggest it as a revelation)
If henceforth, dully turning o'er
Page after page, ye read no more
Of Fanny, who, in sea or air,
May be departed God knows where,
Rail at jilt Fortune; but agree
No censure can be laid on me;
For sure (the cause let Mansfield try)
Fanny is in the fault, not I.
But, to return—and this I hold
A secret worth its weight in gold
To those who write, as I write now,
Not to mind where they go, or how,
Through ditch, through bog, o'er hedge and stile,
Make it but worth the reader's while,
And keep a passage fair and plain
Always to bring him back again.
Through dirt, who scruples to approach,
At Pleasure's call, to take a coach?
But we should think the man a clown,
Who in the dirt should set us down.
But to return—if Wit, who ne'er
The shackles of restraint could bear,
In wayward humour should refuse
Her timely succour to the Muse,
And, to no rules and orders tied,
Roughly deny to be her guide,
She must renounce Decorum's plan,
And get back when, and how she can;
As parsons, who, without pretext,
As soon as mention'd, quit their text,
And, to promote sleep's genial power,
Grope in the dark for half an hour,
Give no more reason (for we know
Reason is vulgar, mean, and low)
Why they come back (should it befall
That ever they come back at all)
Into the road, to end their rout,
Than they can give why they went out.
But to return—this book—the Ghost—
A mere amusement at the most;
A trifle, fit to wear away
The horrors of a rainy day;
A slight shot-silk, for summer wear,
Just as our modern statesmen are,
If rigid honesty permit
That I for once purloin the wit
Of him, who, were we all to steal,
Is much too rich the theft to feel:
Yet in this book, where Ease should join
With Mirth to sugar every line;
Where it should all be mere chit-chat,
Lively, good-humour'd, and all that;
Where honest Satire, in disgrace,
Should not so much as show her face,
The shrew, o'erleaping all due bounds,
Breaks into Laughter's sacred grounds,
And, in contempt, plays o'er her tricks
In science, trade, and politics.
By why should the distemper'd scold
Attempt to blacken men enroll'd
In Power's dread book, whose mighty skill
Can twist an empire to their will;
Whose voice is fate, and on their tongue
Law, liberty, and life are hung;
Whom, on inquiry, Truth shall find
With Stuarts link'd, time out of mind,
Superior to their country's laws,
Defenders of a tyrant's cause;
Men, who the same damn'd maxims hold
Darkly, which they avow'd of old;
Who, though by different means, pursue
The end which they had first in view,
And, force found vain, now play their part
With much less honour, much more art?
Why, at the corners of the streets,
To every patriot drudge she meets,
Known or unknown, with furious cry
Should she wild clamours vent? or why,
The minds of groundlings to inflame,
A Dashwood, Bute, and Wyndham name?
Why, having not, to our surprise,
The fear of death before her eyes,
Bearing, and that but now and then,
No other weapon but her pen,
Should she an argument afford
For blood to men who wear a sword?
Men, who can nicely trim and pare
A point of honour to a hair—
(Honour!—a word of nice import,
A pretty trinket in a court,
Which my lord, quite in rapture, feels
Dangling and rattling with his seals—
Honour!—a word which all the Nine
Would be much puzzled to define—
Honour!—a word which torture mocks,
And might confound a thousand Lockes—
Which—for I leave to wiser heads,
Who fields of death prefer to beds
Of down, to find out, if they can,
What honour is, on their wild plan—
Is not, to take it in their way,
And this we sure may dare to say
Without incurring an offence,
Courage, law, honesty, or sense):
Men, who, all spirit, life, and soul,
Neat butchers of a button-hole,
Having more skill, believe it true
That they must have more courage too:
Men who, without a place or name,
Their fortunes speechless as their fame,
Would by the sword new fortunes carve,
And rather die in fight than starve
At coronations, a vast field,
Which food of every kind might yield;
Of good sound food, at once most fit
For purposes of health and wit,
Could not ambitious Satire rest,
Content with what she might digest?
Could she not feast on things of course,
A champion, or a champion's horse?
A champion's horse—no, better say,
Though better figured on that day,
A horse, which might appear to us,
Who deal in rhyme, a Pegasus;
A rider, who, when once got on,
Might pass for a Bellerophon,
Dropt on a sudden from the skies,
To catch and fix our wondering eyes,
To witch, with wand instead of whip,
The world with noble horsemanship,
To twist and twine, both horse and man,
On such a well-concerted plan,
That, Centaur-like, when all was done,
We scarce could think they were not one?
Could she not to our itching ears
Bring the new names of new-coin'd peers,
Who walk'd, nobility forgot,
With shoulders fitter for a knot
Than robes of honour; for whose sake
Heralds in form were forced to make,
To make, because they could not find,
Great predecessors to their mind?
Could she not (though 'tis doubtful since
Whether he plumber is, or prince)
Tell of a simple knight's advance
To be a doughty peer of France?
Tell how he did a dukedom gain,
And Robinson was Aquitain?
Tell how her city chiefs, disgraced,
Were at an empty table placed,—
A gross neglect, which, whilst they live,
They can't forget, and won't forgive;
A gross neglect of all those rights
Which march with city appetites,
Of all those canons, which we find
By Gluttony, time out of mind,
Established, which they ever hold
Dearer than any thing but gold?
Thanks to my stars—I now see shore—
Of courtiers, and of courts no more—
Thus stumbling on my city friends,
Blind Chance my guide, my purpose bends
In line direct, and shall pursue
The point which I had first in view,
Nor more shall with the reader sport
Till I have seen him safe in port.
Hush'd be each fear—no more I bear
Through the wide regions of the air
The reader terrified, no more
Wild ocean's horrid paths explore.
Be the plain track from henceforth mine—
Cross roads to Allen I resign;
Allen, the honor of this nation;
Allen, himself a corporation;
Allen, of late notorious grown
For writings, none, or all, his own;
Allen, the first of letter'd men,
Since the good Bishop holds his pen,
And at his elbow takes his stand,
To mend his head, and guide his hand.
But hold—once more, Digression hence—
Let us return to Common Sense;
The car of Phœbus I discharge,
My carriage now a Lord Mayor's barge.
Suppose we now—we may suppose
In verse, what would be sin in prose—
The sky with darkness overspread,
And every star retired to bed;
The gewgaw robes of Pomp and Pride
In some dark corner thrown aside;
Great lords aud ladies giving way
To what they seem to scorn by day,
The real feelings of the heart,
And Nature taking place of Art;
Desire triumphant through the night,
And Beauty panting with delight;
Chastity, woman's fairest crown,
Till the return of morn laid down,
Then to be worn again as bright
As if not sullied in the night;
Dull Ceremony, business o'er,
Dreaming in form at Cottrell's door;
Precaution trudging all about
To see the candles safely out,
Bearing a mighty master-key,
Habited like Economy,
Stamping each lock with triple seals;
Mean Avarice creeping at her heels.
Suppose we too, like sheep in pen,
The Mayor and Court of Aldermen
Within their barge, which through the deep,
The rowers more than half asleep,
Moved slow, as overcharged with state;
Thames groan'd beneath the mighty weight,
And felt that bauble heavier far
Than a whole fleet of men of war.
Sleep o'er each well-known faithful head
With liberal hand his poppies shed;
Each head, by Dulness render'd fit
Sleep and his empire to admit.
Through the whole passage not a word,
Not one faint, weak half-sound was heard;
Sleep had prevail'd to overwhelm
The steersman nodding o'er the helm;
The rowers, without force or skill,
Left the dull barge to drive at will;
The sluggish oars suspended hung,
And even Beardmore held his tongue.
Commerce, regardful of a freight
On which depended half her state,
Stepp'd to the helm; with ready hand
She safely clear'd that bank of sand,
Where, stranded, our west-country fleet
Delay and danger often meet,
Till Neptune, anxious for the trade,
Comes in full tides, and brings them aid.
Next (for the Muses can survey
Objects by night as well as day;
Nothing prevents their taking aim,
Darkness and light to them the same)
They pass'd that building which of old
Queen-mothers was design'd to hold;
At present a mere lodging-pen,
A palace turn'd into a den;
To barracks turn'd, and soldiers tread
Where dowagers have laid their head.
Why should we mention Surrey Street,
Where every week grave judges meet
All fitted out with hum and ha,
In proper form to drawl out law,
To see all causes duly tried
'Twixt knaves who drive, and fools who ride?
Why at the Temple should we stay?
What of the Temple dare we say?
A dangerous ground we tread on there,
And words perhaps may actions bear;
Where, as the brethren of the seas
For fares, the lawyers ply for fees.
What of that Bridge, most wisely made
To serve the purposes of trade,
In the great mart of all this nation,
By stopping up the navigation,
And to that sand bank adding weight,
Which is already much too great?
What of that Bridge, which, void of sense
But well supplied with impudence,
Englishmen, knowing not the Guild,
Thought they might have a claim to build,
Till Paterson, as white as milk,
As smooth as oil, as soft as silk,
In solemn manner had decreed
That on the other side the Tweed
Art, born and bred, and fully grown,
Was with one Mylne, a man unknown,
But grace, preferment, and renown
Deserving, just arrived in town:
One Mylne, an artist perfect quite
Both in his own and country's right,
As fit to make a bridge as he,
With glorious Patavinity,
To build inscriptions worthy found
To lie for ever under ground.
Much more worth observation too,
Was this a season to pursue
The theme, our Muse might tell in rhyme:
The will she hath, but not the time;
For, swift as shaft from Indian bow,
(And when a goddess comes, we know,
Surpassing Nature acts prevail.
And boats want neither oar nor sail)
The vessel pass'd, and reach'd the shore
So quick, that Thought was scarce before.
Suppose we now our City court
Safely deliver'd at the port.
And, of their state regardless quite,
Landed, like smuggled goods, by night.
The solemn magistrate laid down,
The dignity of robe and gown,
With every other ensign gone,
Suppose the woollen nightcap on;
The flesh-brush used, with decent state,
To make the spirits circulate,
(A form which, to the senses true,
The lickerish chaplain uses too,
Though, something to improve the plan,
He takes the maid instead of man)
Swathed, and with flannel cover'd o'er,
To show the vigour of threescore,
The vigour of threescore and ten,
Above the proof of younger men,
Suppose, the mighty Dulman led
Betwixt two slaves, and put to bed;
Suppose, the moment he lies down,
No miracle in this great town,
The drone as fast asleep as he
Must in the course of nature be,
Who, truth for our foundation take,
When up, is never half awake.
There let him sleep, whilst we survey
The preparations for the day;
That day on which was to be shown
Court pride by City pride outdone.
The jealous mother sends away,
As only fit for childish play,
That daughter who, to gall her pride,
Shoots up too forward by her side.
The wretch, of God and man accursed,
Of all Hell's instruments the worst,
Draws forth his pawns, and for the day
Struts in some spendthrift's vain array;
Around his awkward doxy shine
The treasures of Golconda's mine;
Each neighbour, with a jealous glare,
Beholds her folly publish'd there.
Garments well saved, (an anecdote
Which we can prove, or would not quote)
Garments well saved, which first were made
When tailors, to promote their trade,
Against the Picts in arms arose,
And drove them out, or made them clothes;
Garments immortal, without end,
Like names and titles, which descend
Successively from sire to son;
Garments, unless some work is done
Of note, not suffer'd to appear
'Bove once at most in every year,
Were now, in solemn form, laid bare,
To take the benefit of air,
And, ere they came to be employ'd
On this solemnity, to void
That scent which Russia's leather gave,
From vile and impious moth to save.
Each head was busy, and each heart
In preparation bore a part;
Running together all about
The servants put each other out,
Till the grave master had decreed,
The more haste ever the worse speed.
Miss, with her little eyes half-closed,
Over a smuggled toilette dosed;
The waiting-maid, whom story notes
A very Scrub in petticoats,
Hired for one work, but doing all,
In slumbers lean'd against the wall.
Milliners, summon'd from afar,
Arrived in shoals at Temple Bar,
Strictly commanded to import
Cart loads of foppery from Court;
With labour'd visible design,
Art strove to be superbly fine;
Nature, more pleasing, though more wild,
Taught otherwise her darling child,
And cried, with spirited disdain,
Be Hunter elegant and plain!
Lo! from the chambers of the East,
A welcome prelude to the feast,
In saffron-colour'd robe array'd,
High in a car, by Vulcan made,
Who work'd for Jove himself, each steed,
High-mettled, of celestial breed,
Pawing and pacing all the way,
Aurora brought the wish'd-for day,
And held her empire, till out-run
By that brave jolly groom, the Sun.
The trumpet—hark! it speaks—it swells
The loud full harmony; it tells
The time at hand when Dulman, led
By Form, his citizens must head,
And march those troops, which at his call
Were now assembled, to Guildhall,
On matters of importance great,
To court and city, church and state.
From end to end the sound makes way,
All hear the signal and obey;
But Dulman, who, his charge forgot,
By Morpheus fetter'd, heard it not;
Nor could, so sound he slept and fast,
Hear any trumpet, but the last.
Crape, ever true and trusty known,
Stole from the maid's bed to his own,
Then in the spirituals of pride,
Planted himself at Dulman's side.
Thrice did the ever-faithful slave,
With voice which might have reach'd the grave,
And broke Death's adamantine chain,
On Dulman call, but call'd in vain.
Thrice with an arm, which might have made
The Theban boxer curse his trade,
The drone he shook, who rear'd the head,
And thrice fell backward on his bed.
What could be done? Where force hath fail'd,
Policy often hath prevail'd;
And what—an inference most plain—
Had been, Crape thought might be again.
Under his pillow (still in mind
The proverb kept, 'fast bind, fast find')
Each blessed night the keys were laid,
Which Crape to draw away assay'd.
What not the power of voice or arm
Could do, this did, and broke the charm;
Quick started he with stupid stare,
For all his little soul was there.
Behold him, taken up, rubb'd down,
In elbow-chair, and morning-gown;
Behold him, in his latter bloom,
Stripp'd, wash'd, and sprinkled with perfume;
Behold him bending with the weight
Of robes, and trumpery of state;
Behold him (for the maxim's true,
Whate'er we by another do,
We do ourselves; and chaplain paid,
Like slaves in every other trade,
Had mutter'd over God knows what,
Something which he by heart had got)
Having, as usual, said his prayers,
Go titter, totter to the stairs:
Behold him for descent prepare,
With one foot trembling in the air;
He starts, he pauses on the brink,
And, hard to credit, seems to think;
Through his whole train (the chaplain gave
The proper cue to every slave)
At once, as with infection caught,
Each started, paused, and aim'd at thought;
He turns, and they turn; big with care,
He waddles to his elbow-chair,
Squats down, and, silent for a season,
At last with Crape begins to reason:
But first of all he made a sign,
That every soul, but the divine,
Should quit the room; in him, he knows,
He may all confidence repose.
'Crape—though I'm yet not quite awake—
Before this awful step I take,
On which my future all depends,
I ought to know my foes and friends.
My foes and friends—observe me still—
I mean not those who well or ill
Perhaps may wish me, but those who
Have't in their power to do it too.
Now if, attentive to the state,
In too much hurry to be great,
Or through much zeal,—a motive, Crape,
Deserving praise,—into a scrape
I, like a fool, am got, no doubt
I, like a wise man, should get out:
Note that remark without replies;
I say that to get out is wise,
Or, by the very self-same rule,
That to get in was like a fool.
The marrow of this argument
Must wholly rest on the event,
And therefore, which is really hard,
Against events too I must guard.
Should things continue as they stand,
And Bute prevail through all the land
Without a rival, by his aid
My fortunes in a trice are made;
Nay, honours on my zeal may smile,
And stamp me Earl of some great Isle:
But if, a matter of much doubt,
The present minister goes out,
Fain would I know on what pretext
I can stand fairly with the next?
For as my aim, at every hour,
Is to be well with those in power,
And my material point of view,
Whoever's in, to be in too,
I should not, like a blockhead, choose
To gain these, so as those to lose:
'Tis good in every case, you know,
To have two strings unto our bow.'
As one in wonder lost, Crape view'd
His lord, who thus his speech pursued:
'This, my good Crape, is my grand point;
And as the times are out of joint,
The greater caution is required
To bring about the point desired.
What I would wish to bring about
Cannot admit a moment's doubt;
The matter in dispute, you know,
Is what we call the Quomodo.
That be thy task.'—The reverend slave,
Becoming in a moment grave,
Fix'd to the ground and rooted stood,
Just like a man cut out out of wood,
Such as we see (without the least
Reflection glancing on the priest)
One or more, planted up and down,
Almost in every church in town;
He stood some minutes, then, like one
Who wish'd the matter might be done,
But could not do it, shook his head,
And thus the man of sorrow said:
'Hard is this task, too hard I swear,
By much too hard for me to bear;
Beyond expression hard my part,
Could mighty Dulman see my heart,
When he, alas! makes known a will
Which Crape's not able to fulfil.
Was ever my obedience barr'd
By any trifling nice regard
To sense and honour? Could I reach
Thy meaning without help of speech,
At the first motion of thy eye
Did not thy faithful creature fly?
Have I not said, not what I ought,
But what my earthly master taught?
Did I e'er weigh, through duty strong,
In thy great biddings, right and wrong?
Did ever Interest, to whom thou
Canst not with more devotion bow,
Warp my sound faith, or will of mine
In contradiction run to thine?
Have I not, at thy table placed,
When business call'd aloud for haste,
Torn myself thence, yet never heard
To utter one complaining word,
And had, till thy great work was done,
All appetites, as having none?
Hard is it, this great plan pursued
Of voluntary servitude;
Pursued without or shame, or fear,
Through the great circle of the year,
Now to receive, in this grand hour,
Commands which lie beyond my power,
Commands which baffle all my skill,
And leave me nothing but my will:
Be that accepted; let my lord
Indulgence to his slave afford:
This task, for my poor strength unfit,
Will yield to none but Dulman's wit.'
With such gross incense gratified,
And turning up the lip of pride,
'Poor Crape'—and shook his empty head—
'Poor puzzled Crape!' wise Dulman said,
'Of judgment weak, of sense confined,
For things of lower note design'd;
For things within the vulgar reach,
To run of errands, and to preach;
Well hast thou judged, that heads like mine
Cannot want help from heads like thine;
Well hast thou judged thyself unmeet
Of such high argument to treat;
'Twas but to try thee that I spoke,
And all I said was but a joke.
Nor think a joke, Crape, a disgrace,
Or to my person, or my place;
The wisest of the sons of men
Have deign'd to use them now and then.
The only caution, do you see,
Demanded by our dignity,
From common use and men exempt,
Is that they may not breed contempt.
Great use they have, when in the hands
Of one like me, who understands,
Who understands the time and place,
The person, manner, and the grace,
Which fools neglect; so that we find,
If all the requisites are join'd,
From whence a perfect joke must spring,
A joke's a very serious thing.
But to our business—my design,
Which gave so rough a shock to thine,
To my capacity is made
As ready as a fraud in trade;
Which, like broad-cloth, I can, with ease,
Cut out in any shape I please.
Some, in my circumstance, some few,
Aye, and those men of genius too,
Good men, who, without love or hate,
Whether they early rise or late,
With names uncrack'd, and credit sound,
Rise worth a hundred thousand pound,
By threadbare ways and means would try
To bear their point—so will not I.
New methods shall my wisdom find
To suit these matters to my mind;
So that the infidels at court,
Who make our city wits their sport,
Shall hail the honours of my reign,
And own that Dulman bears a brain.
Some, in my place, to gain their ends,
Would give relations up, and friends;
Would lend a wife, who, they might swear
Safely, was none the worse for wear;
Would see a daughter, yet a maid,
Into a statesman's arms betray'd;
Nay, should the girl prove coy, nor know
What daughters to a father owe,
Sooner than schemes so nobly plann'd
Should fail, themselves would lend a hand;
Would vote on one side, whilst a brother,
Properly taught, would vote on t' other;
Would every petty band forget;
To public eye be with one set,
In private with a second herd,
And be by proxy with a third;
Would, (like a queen, of whom I read,
The other day—her name is fled—
In a book,—where, together bound,
'Whittington and his Cat' I found—
A tale most true, and free from art,
Which all Lord Mayors should have by heart;
A queen oh!—might those days begin
Afresh, when queens would learn to spin—
Who wrought, and wrought, but for some plot,
The cause of which I've now forgot,
During the absence of the sun
Undid what she by day had done)
Whilst they a double visage wear,
What's sworn by day, by night unswear.
Such be their arts, and such, perchance,
May happily their ends advance;
From a new system mine shall spring,
A locum tenens is the thing.
That's your true plan. To obligate
The present ministers of state,
My shadow shall our court approach,
And bear my power, and have my coach;
My fine state-coach, superb to view,
A fine state-coach, and paid for too.
To curry favour, and the grace
Obtain of those who 're out of place;
In the mean time I—that's to say,
I proper, I myself—here stay.
But hold—perhaps unto the nation,
Who hate the Scot's administration,
To lend my coach may seem to be
Declaring for the ministry,
For where the city-coach is, there
Is the true essence of the Mayor:
Therefore (for wise men are intent
Evils at distance to prevent,
Whilst fools the evils first endure,
And then are plagued to seek a cure)
No coach—a horse—and free from fear,
To make our Deputy appear,
Fast on his back shall he be tied,
With two grooms marching by his side;
Then for a horse—through all the land,
To head our solemn city-band,
Can any one so fit be found
As he who in Artillery-ground,
Without a rider, (noble sight!)
Led on our bravest troops to fight?
But first, Crape, for my honour's sake—
A tender point—inquiry make
About that horse, if the dispute
Is ended, or is still in suit:
For whilst a cause, (observe this plan
Of justice) whether horse or man
The parties be, remains in doubt,
Till 'tis determined out and out,
That power must tyranny appear
Which should, prejudging, interfere,
And weak, faint judges overawe,
To bias the free course of law.
You have my will—now quickly run,
And take care that my will be done.
In public, Crape, you must appear,
Whilst I in privacy sit here;
Here shall great Dulman sit alone,
Making this elbow-chair my throne,
And you, performing what I bid,
Do all, as if I nothing did.'
Crape heard, and speeded on his way;
With him to hear was to obey;
Not without trouble, be assured,
A proper proxy was procured
To serve such infamous intent,
And such a lord to represent;
Nor could one have been found at all
On t' other side of London Wall.
The trumpet sounds—solemn and slow
Behold the grand procession go,
All moving on, cat after kind,
As if for motion ne'er design'd.
Constables, whom the laws admit
To keep the peace by breaking it;
Beadles, who hold the second place
By virtue of a silver mace,
Which every Saturday is drawn,
For use of Sunday, out of pawn;
Treasurers, who with empty key
Secure an empty treasury;
Churchwardens, who their course pursue
In the same state, as to their pew
Churchwardens of St Margaret's go,
Since Peirson taught them pride and show,
Who in short transient pomp appear,
Like almanacs changed every year;
Behind whom, with unbroken locks,
Charity carries the poor's box,
Not knowing that with private keys
They ope and shut it when they please:
Overseers, who by frauds ensure
The heavy curses of the poor;
Unclean came flocking, bulls and bears,
Like beasts into the ark, by pairs.
Portentous, flaming in the van,
Stalk'd the professor, Sheridan,
A man of wire, a mere pantine,
A downright animal machine;
He knows alone, in proper mode,
How to take vengeance on an ode,
And how to butcher Ammon's son
And poor Jack Dryden both in one:
On all occasions next the chair
He stands, for service of the Mayor,
And to instruct him how to use
His A's and B's, and P's and Q's:
O'er letters, into tatters worn,
O'er syllables, defaced and torn,
O'er words disjointed, and o'er sense,
Left destitute of all defence,
He strides, and all the way he goes
Wades, deep in blood, o'er Criss-cross-rows:
Before him every consonant
In agonies is seen to pant;
Behind, in forms not to be known,
The ghosts of tortured vowels groan.
Next Hart and Duke, well worthy grace
And city favour, came in place;
No children can their toils engage,
Their toils are turn'd to reverend age;
When a court dame, to grace his brows
Resolved, is wed to city-spouse,
Their aid with madam's aid must join,
The awkward dotard to refine,
And teach, whence truest glory flows,
Grave sixty to turn out his toes.
Each bore in hand a kit; and each
To show how fit he was to teach
A cit, an alderman, a mayor,
Led in a string a dancing bear.
Since the revival of Fingal,
Custom, and custom's all in all,
Commands that we should have regard,
On all high seasons, to the bard.
Great acts like these, by vulgar tongue
Profaned, should not be said, but sung.
This place to fill, renown'd in fame,
The high and mighty Lockman came,
And, ne'er forgot in Dulman's reign,
With proper order to maintain
The uniformity of pride,
Brought Brother Whitehead by his side.
On horse, who proudly paw'd the ground,
And cast his fiery eyeballs round,
Snorting, and champing the rude bit,
As if, for warlike purpose fit,
His high and generous blood disdain'd,
To be for sports and pastimes rein'd,
Great Dymock, in his glorious station,
Paraded at the coronation.
Not so our city Dymock came,
Heavy, dispirited, and tame;
No mark of sense, his eyes half-closed,
He on a mighty dray-horse dozed:
Fate never could a horse provide
So fit for such a man to ride,
Nor find a man with strictest care,
So fit for such a horse to bear.
Hung round with instruments of death,
The sight of him would stop the breath
Of braggart Cowardice, and make
The very court Drawcansir quake;
With dirks, which, in the hands of Spite,
Do their damn'd business in the night,
From Scotland sent, but here display'd
Only to fill up the parade;
With swords, unflesh'd, of maiden hue,
Which rage or valour never drew;
With blunderbusses, taught to ride
Like pocket-pistols, by his side,
In girdle stuck, he seem'd to be
A little moving armoury.
One thing much wanting to complete
The sight, and make a perfect treat,
Was, that the horse, (a courtesy
In horses found of high degree)
Instead of going forward on,
All the way backward should have gone.
Horses, unless they breeding lack,
Some scruple make to turn their back,
Though riders, which plain truth declares,
No scruple make of turning theirs.
Far, far apart from all the rest,
Fit only for a standing jest,
The independent, (can you get
A better suited epithet?)
The independent Amyand came,
All burning with the sacred flame
Of Liberty, which well he knows
On the great stock of Slavery grows;
Like sparrow, who, deprived of mate,
Snatch'd by the cruel hand of Fate,
From spray to spray no more will hop,
But sits alone on the house-top;
Or like himself, when all alone
At Croydon he was heard to groan,
Lifting both hands in the defence
Of interest, and common sense;
Both hands, for as no other man
Adopted and pursued his plan,
The left hand had been lonesome quite,
If he had not held up the right;
Apart he came, and fix'd his eyes
With rapture on a distant prize,
On which, in letters worthy note,
There 'twenty thousand pounds' was wrote.
False trap, for credit sapp'd is found
By getting twenty thousand pound:
Nay, look not thus on me, and stare,
Doubting the certainty—to swear
In such a case I should be loth—
But Perry Cust may take his oath.
In plain and decent garb array'd,
With the prim Quaker, Fraud, came Trade;
Connivance, to improve the plan,
Habited like a juryman,
Judging as interest prevails,
Came next, with measures, weights, and scales;
Extortion next, of hellish race
A cub most damn'd, to show his face
Forbid by fear, but not by shame,
Turn'd to a Jew, like Gideon came;
Corruption, Midas-like, behold
Turning whate'er she touch'd to gold;
Impotence, led by Lust, and Pride,
Strutting with Ponton by her side;
Hypocrisy, demure and sad,
In garments of the priesthood clad,
So well disguised, that you might swear,
Deceived, a very priest was there;
Bankruptcy, full of ease and health,
And wallowing in well-saved wealth,
Came sneering through a ruin'd band,
And bringing B_____in her hand;
Victory, hanging down her head,
Was by a Highland stallion led;
Peace, clothed in sables, with a face
Which witness'd sense of huge disgrace,
Which spake a deep and rooted shame
Both of herself and of her name,
Mourning creeps on, and, blushing, feels
War, grim War, treading on her heels;
Pale Credit, shaken by the arts
Of men with bad heads and worse hearts,
Taking no notice of a band
Which near her were ordain'd to stand,
Well-nigh destroy'd by sickly fit,
Look'd wistful all around for Pitt;
Freedom—at that most hallow'd name
My spirits mount into a flame,
Each pulse beats high, and each nerve strains,
Even to the cracking; through my veins
The tides of life more rapid run,
And tell me I am Freedom's son—
Freedom came next, but scarce was seen,
When the sky, which appear'd serene
And gay before, was overcast;
Horror bestrode a foreign blast,
And from the prison of the North,
To Freedom deadly, storms burst forth.
A car like those, in which, we're told,
Our wild forefathers warr'd of old,
Loaded with death, six horses bear
Through the blank region of the air.
Too fierce for time or art to tame,
They pour'd forth mingled smoke and flame
From their wide nostrils; every steed
Was of that ancient savage breed
Which fell Geryon nursed; their food
The flesh of man, their drink his blood.
On the first horses, ill-match'd pair,
This fat and sleek, that lean and bare,
Came ill-match'd riders side by side,
And Poverty was yoked with Pride;
Union most strange it must appear,
Till other unions make it clear.
Next, in the gall of bitterness,
With rage which words can ill express,
With unforgiving rage, which springs
From a false zeal for holy things,
Wearing such robes as prophets wear,
False prophets placed in Peter's chair,
On which, in characters of fire,
Shapes antic, horrible, and dire
Inwoven flamed, where, to the view,
In groups appear'd a rabble crew
Of sainted devils; where, all round,
Vile relics of vile men were found,
Who, worse than devils, from the birth
Perform'd the work of hell on earth,
Jugglers, Inquisitors, and Popes,
Pointing at axes, wheels, and ropes,
And engines, framed on horrid plan,
Which none but the destroyer, Man,
Could, to promote his selfish views,
Have head to make or heart to use,
Bearing, to consecrate her tricks,
In her left hand a crucifix,
'Remembrance of our dying Lord,'
And in her right a two-edged sword,
Having her brows, in impious sport,
Adorn'd with words of high import,
'On earth peace, amongst men good will,
Love bearing and forbearing still,'
All wrote in the hearts' blood of those
Who rather death than falsehood chose:
On her breast, (where, in days of yore,
When God loved Jews, the High Priest wore
Those oracles which were decreed
To instruct and guide the chosen seed)
Having with glory clad and strength,
The Virgin pictured at full length,
Whilst at her feet, in small pourtray'd,
As scarce worth notice, Christ was laid,—
Came Superstition, fierce and fell,
An imp detested, e'en in hell;
Her eye inflamed, her face all o'er
Foully besmear'd with human gore,
O'er heaps of mangled saints she rode;
Fast at her heels Death proudly strode,
And grimly smiled, well pleased to see
Such havoc of mortality;
Close by her side, on mischief bent,
And urging on each bad intent
To its full bearing, savage, wild,
The mother fit of such a child,
Striving the empire to advance
Of Sin and Death, came Ignorance.
With looks, where dread command was placed,
And sovereign power by pride disgraced,
Where, loudly witnessing a mind
Of savage, more than human kind,
Not choosing to be loved, but fear'd,
Mocking at right, Misrule appear'd.
With eyeballs glaring fiery red,
Enough to strike beholders dead,
Gnashing his teeth, and in a flood
Pouring corruption forth and blood
From his chafed jaws; without remorse
Whipping and spurring on his horse,
Whose sides, in their own blood embay'd,
E'en to the bone were open laid,
Came Tyranny, disdaining awe,
And trampling over Sense and Law;
One thing, and only one, he knew,
One object only would pursue;
Though less (so low doth passion bring)
Than man, he would be more than king.
With every argument and art
Which might corrupt the head and heart,
Soothing the frenzy of his mind,
Companion meet, was Flattery join'd;
Winning his carriage, every look
Employed, whilst it conceal'd a hook;
When simple most, most to be fear'd;
Most crafty, when no craft appear'd;
His tales, no man like him could tell;
His words, which melted as they fell,
Might even a hypocrite deceive,
And make an infidel believe,
Wantonly cheating o'er and o'er
Those who had cheated been before:—
Such Flattery came, in evil hour,
Poisoning the royal ear of Power,
And, grown by prostitution great,
Would be first minister of state.
Within the chariot, all alone,
High seated on a kind of throne,
With pebbles graced, a figure came,
Whom Justice would, but dare not name.
Hard times when Justice, without fear,
Dare not bring forth to public ear
The names of those who dare offend
'Gainst Justice, and pervert her end!
But, if the Muse afford me grace,
Description shall supply the place.
In foreign garments he was clad;
Sage ermine o'er the glossy plaid
Cast reverend honour; on his heart,
Wrought by the curious hand of Art,
In silver wrought, and brighter far
Than heavenly or than earthly star,
Shone a White Rose, the emblem dear
Of him he ever must revere;
Of that dread lord, who, with his host
Of faithful native rebels lost,
Like those black spirits doom'd to hell,
At once from power and virtue fell:
Around his clouded brows was placed
A bonnet, most superbly graced
With mighty thistles, nor forgot
The sacred motto—'Touch me not.'
In the right hand a sword he bore
Harder than adamant, and more
Fatal than winds, which from the mouth
Of the rough North invade the South;
The reeking blade to view presents
The blood of helpless innocents,
And on the hilt, as meek become
As lamb before the shearers dumb,
With downcast eye, and solemn show
Of deep, unutterable woe,
Mourning the time when Freedom reign'd,
Fast to a rock was Justice chain'd.
In his left hand, in wax impress'd,
With bells and gewgaws idly dress'd,
An image, cast in baby mould,
He held, and seem'd o'erjoy'd to hold:
On this he fix'd his eyes; to this,
Bowing, he gave the loyal kiss,
And, for rebellion fully ripe,
Seem'd to desire the antitype.
What if to that Pretender's foes
His greatness, nay, his life, he owes;
Shall common obligations bind,
And shake his constancy of mind?
Scorning such weak and petty chains,
Faithful to James he still remains,
Though he the friend of George appear:
Dissimulation's virtue here.
Jealous and mean, he with a frown
Would awe, and keep all merit down,
Nor would to Truth and Justice bend,
Unless out-bullied by his friend:
Brave with the coward, with the brave
He is himself a coward slave:
Awed by his fears, he has no heart
To take a great and open part:
Mines in a subtle train he springs,
And, secret, saps the ears of kings;
But not e'en there continues firm
'Gainst the resistance of a worm:
Born in a country, where the will
Of one is law to all, he still
Retain'd the infection, with full aim
To spread it wheresoe'er he came;
Freedom he hated, Law defied,
The prostitute of Power and Pride;
Law he with ease explains away,
And leads bewilder'd Sense astray;
Much to the credit of his brain,
Puzzles the cause he can't maintain;
Proceeds on most familiar grounds,
And where he can't convince, confounds;
Talents of rarest stamp and size,
To Nature false, he misapplies,
And turns to poison what was sent
For purposes of nourishment.
Paleness, not such as on his wings
The messenger of Sickness brings,
But such as takes its coward rise
From conscious baseness, conscious vice,
O'erspread his cheeks; Disdain and Pride,
To upstart fortunes ever tied,
Scowl'd on his brow; within his eye,
Insidious, lurking like a spy,
To Caution principled by Fear,
Not daring open to appear,
Lodged covert Mischief; Passion hung
On his lip quivering; on his tongue
Fraud dwelt at large; within his breast
All that makes villain found a nest;
All that, on Hell's completest plan,
E'er join'd to damn the heart of man.
Soon as the car reach'd land, he rose,
And, with a look which might have froze
The heart's best blood, which was enough
Had hearts been made of sterner stuff
In cities than elsewhere, to make
The very stoutest quail and quake,
He cast his baleful eyes around:
Fix'd without motion to the ground,
Fear waiting on Surprise, all stood,
And horror chill'd their curdled blood;
No more they thought of pomp, no more
(For they had seen his face before)
Of law they thought; the cause forgot,
Whether it was or ghost, or plot,
Which drew them there: they all stood more
Like statues than they were before.
What could be done? Could Art, could Force,
Or both, direct a proper course
To make this savage monster tame,
Or send him back the way he came?
What neither art, nor force, nor both,
Could do, a Lord of foreign growth,
A Lord to that base wretch allied
In country, not in vice and pride,
Effected; from the self-same land,
(Bad news for our blaspheming band
Of scribblers, but deserving note)
The poison came and antidote.
Abash'd, the monster hung his head,
And like an empty vision fled;
His train, like virgin snows, which run,
Kiss'd by the burning bawdy sun,
To love-sick streams, dissolved in air;
Joy, who from absence seem'd more fair,
Came smiling, freed from slavish Awe;
Loyalty, Liberty, and Law,
Impatient of the galling chain,
And yoke of Power, resumed their reign;
And, burning with the glorious flame
Of public virtue, Mansfield came.

^FOOTNOTES^

^1^ 'Gazette:' the Brussels Gazette, a notorious paper of that
time.—

^2^ 'Patriot's heart:' Mr Pitt, afterwards Lord Chatham.—

^3^ 'Granby:' the Marquis of Granby, distinguished in a conspicuous manner
during the seven years' war, under Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick. See Junius.

^4^ 'Pewterers' Hall:' Macklin's recitations and his lectures on elocution
were delivered at Pewterers' Hall, in Lime Street.





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