Sivut kuvina
PDF

THE SECOND EPISTLE

OF THE

SECOND BOOK OF HORACE.

DEAR Colnel, Cobham's and your country's You love a verse, take such as I can send. [Friend! A Frenchman comes, presents you with his boy, Bows and begins—« This lad, Sir, is of Blois : “ Observe his shape how clean ! his locks how curld!. “ My only son, I'd have him see the world : 6 “... His French is pure ; his voice too-you shall hear. “ Sir, he's your slave, for twenty pound a year. Mere wax as yet, you fashion him with ease, “ Your barber, cook, upholst'rer, what you please : “ A perfect genius at an op?ra-song

IL “ To say too much, might do my honour wrong. “ Take him with all his virtues, on my word ; “ His whole ambition was to serve a lord ; “ But, Sir, to you, with what would I not part? 15 “ Tho' faith, I fear, 'twill break his mother's heart.

« Once

Ver. 1. Dear Colnel,] Addressed to Colonel Cotterell of Rousham near Oxford, the descendant of Sir Charles Cotterell, who, at the desire of Charles the First, translated Davila into English.

Ver. 4. “ This lad, Sir, is of Blois :) A town in Beauce, where the French tongue is spoken in great purity,

25

“ Once (and but once) I caught him in a lie, “ And then, unwhipp'd, he had the grace to cry: “ The fault he has I fairly shall reveal, “ (Could you o'erlook but that), it is, to steal.” 20

If, after this, you took the graceless lad, Could you complain, my friend, he prov'd so bad? Faith, in such case, if you should prosecute, I think Sir Godfrey should decide the suit ; Who sent the thief that stole the cash away, And punish'd him that put it in his way.

Consider then, and judge me in this light; I told you when I went, I could not write ; You said the same ; and are you discontent With laws, to which you gave your own assent? 30 Nay worse, to ask for verse at such a time ! D'ye think me good for nothing but to rhyme ?

In Anna's wars, a soldier poor and old Had dearly earn'd a little purse of gold : Tir’d with a tedious march, one luckless night, 35 He slept, poor dog! and lost it, to a doit. This put the man in such a desp'rate mind, Between revenge, and grief, and hunger join'd . Against the foe, himself, and all mankind, i He leap'd the trenches, scal'd a castle wall, 40 Tore down a standard, took the fort and all. “ Prodigious well :” his great commander cry'd, Gave him much praise, and some reward beside.

Next VER. 24. I think Sir Godfrey] Sir Godfrey Kneller.

Next pleas'd his excellence a town to batter ;-
(Its name I know not, and 'tis no great matter) 45.
“ Go on, my friend, (he cry'd) see yonder walls !
“ Advance and conquer ! go where glory calls !
More honours, more rewards, attend the brave"
Don't you remember what reply he gave ?
“ D'ye think me, noble gen’ral, such a sot ? 50
“ Let him take castles who has ne'er a graat.”

Bred up at home, full early I begun,
To read in Greek the wrath of Peleus' son.
Besides, my father taught me from a lad,
The better art to know the good from bad :

55
(And little sure imported to remove,
To hunt for truth in Maudlin's learned grove.)
But knottier points we knew not half so well,
Depriv'd us soon of our paternal cell ;
And certain laws, by suff'rers thought unjust, ' 60
Deny'd all posts of profit or of trust :
Hopes after hopes of pious papists fail'd,
While mighty William's thund'ring arm prevail'd.
For right hereditary tax'd and fin’d,
He stuck to poverty with peace of mind;

And

[ocr errors]

Ver. 57. in Maudlin's learned grove. He had a partiality for this college in Oxford, in which he had spent many agreeable days with his friend Mr. Digby, who provided rooms for liim at that college.

Ver. 60. by suff'rers thought unjust,] By orders from govern. ment for the removal of Papists to a certain distance from the metropolis.

And me, the muses help'd to undergo it;
Convict a papist he, and I a poet.
But, (thanks to Homer,) since I live and thrive,
Indebted to no prince or peer alive,
Sure I should want the care of ten Monroes, 70,
If I would scribble, rather than repose.

Years following years, steal something evry day,
At last they steal us from ourselves away ;.
In one our frolics, one amusements end,
In one a mistress drops, in one a friend : .
This subtle thief of life, this paltry Time,
What will it leave me, if it snatch my rhyme ?
If ev'ry wheel of that unweary'd mill,
That turn’d ten thousand verses, now stands still ? .

But after all, what would you have me do?. 80
When out of twenty I can please not two;
When this heroics only deigns to praise,
Sharp satire that, and that Pindarie lays ?
One likes the pheasant's wing, and one the leg;

The vulgar boil, the learned roast an egg; 85
Hard task! to hit the palate of such guests,
When Oldfield loves, what Dartineuf detests.

But grant I may relapse, for want of grace,
Again to rhyme ; can London be the place ?
Who there his muse, or self, or soul attends, 90
In crowds, and courts, law, bus'ness, feasts, and
friends ?

My VER. 70. Monroes,] Dr. Monroe, physician to Bedlam hospital VER. 87. Oldfield-Dartineuf] Two celebrated gluttons.

My counsel sends to execute a deed :
A poet begs me I will hear him read:
In Palace-yard at nine you'll find me there
At ten for certain, Sir, in Bloomsb’ry square - 95
Before the Lords at twelve my cause comes on-
There's a rehearsal, Sir, exact at one.
“ Oh but a wit can study in the streets,
“ And raise his mind above the mob he meets."
Not quite so well however as one ought; 100
A hackney-coach may chance to spoil a thought ;
And then a nodding beam, or pig of lead,
God knows, may hurt the very ablest head.
Have you not seen, at Guildhall's narrow pass,
Two aldermen dispute it with an ass ?

105 Aud peers give way, exalted as they are, Ev'n to their own s-r-v-nce in a car?

Go, lofty Poet! and in such a crowd, Sing thy sonorous verse—but not aloud. Alas! to grottoes and to groves we run, To ease and silence, ev'ry muse's son: Blackmore himself, for any grand effort, Would drink and doze at Tooting or Earl's-Court. How shall I rhyme in this eternal roar? 114, How match the bards whom none e'er match'd before?

The man, who stretch'd in Isis' calm retreat, To books and study gives sev'n years complete.

See ! :

II

Ver. 113. Tosting-Earl's-Court] Two villages within a few miles of London.

« EdellinenJatka »