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And imitates you ill (which most he fears),
Or else his writing is not worse than theirs.
Yet, though you judge (as sure the critics will)
That somě before him writ with greater skill,
In this one praise he has their fame surpass'd,
To please an age more gallant than the last.
A POET once the Spartans led to fight,
And made them conquer in the muse's right;
So would our poet lead you on this day,
Showing your tortured fathers in this play.
To one well-born the affront is worse, and more,
When he's abused, and baffled by a boor :
With an ill grace the Dutch their mischiefs do,
They've both ill-nature and ill-manners too.
Well may they boast themselves an ancient nation,
For they were bred ere manners were in fashion ;
And their new commonwealth has set them free,
Only from honour and civility.
Venetians do not more uncouthly ride,
Than did their lubber-state mankind bestride ;
Their sway became them with as ill a mien,
As their own paunches swell above their chin :
Yet is their empire no true growth, but humour,
And only two kings' touch can cure the tumour.
As Cato did his Afric fruits display,
So we before your eyes their Indies lay:
All loyal English will, like him, conclude,
Let Cæsar live, and Carthage be subdued !
INTENDED TO HAVE BEEN SPOKEN BY THE
LADY HEN. MAR. WENTWORTH,
WHEN CALISTO WAS ACTED AT COURT.
As Jupiter I made my court in vain ;
I'll now assume my native shape again.
weary to be so unkindly used,
And would not be a god, to be refused.
State grows uneasy when it hinders love;
A glorious burden, which the wise remove.
Now, as a nymph, I need not sue, nor try
The force of any lightning but the eye.
Beauty and youth more than a god command ;
No Jove could e'er the force of these withstand.
'Tis here that sovereign power admits dispute ;
Beauty sometimes is justly absolute.
Our sullen Catos, whatsoe'er they say,
Even while they frown and dictate laws, obey.
You, mighty sir, our bonds more easy make,
And gracefully, what all must suffer, take;
Above those forms the grave affect to wear ;
For 'tis not to be wise to be severe.
True wisdom may some gallantry admit,
And soften business with the charms of wit.
These peaceful triumphs with your cares you hought,
And from the midst of fighting nations brought.
You only hear it thunder from afar,
And sit in peace the arbiter of war:
Peace, the loathed manna, which hot brains despise,
You knew its worth, and made it early prize ;
And in its happy leisure sit and see
The promises of more felicity;
Two glorious nymphs of your own godlike line,
Whose morning rays like noontide strike and shine :
Whom you to suppliant monarchs shall dispose,
To bind your friends, and to disarm your foes.
TO “ THE MAN OF MODE; OR, SIR FOPLING
[BY SIR GEORGE ETHEREGE, 1676.] Most modern wits such monstrous fools have shown, They seem not of Heaven's making, but their own. Those nauseous harlequins in farce may pass ; But there goes more to a substantial ass : Something of man must be exposed to view, That, gallants, they may more resemble you. Sir Fopling is a fool so nicely writ, The ladies would mistake him for a wit;
And, when he sings, talks loud, and cocks, would cry,
I vow, methinks, he's pretty company:
So brisk, so gay, so travell’d, so refined,
As he took pains to graff upon his kind.
True fops help nature's work, and go to school,
To file and finish God Almighty's fool.
Yet none Sir Fopling him, or him can call ;
He's knight o' the shire, and represents ye all.
From each he meets he culls whate'er he can ;
Legion 's his name, a people in a man.
His bulky folly gathers as it goes,
And, rolling o'er you, like a snow-ball grows.
His various modes from various fathers follow;
One taught the toss, and one the new French wallow :
His sword-knot this, his cravat that design’d;
And this, the yard-long snake he twirls behind.
From one the sacred periwig he gain'd,
Which wind ne'er blew, nor touch of hat profaned.
Another's diving bow he did adore,
Which with a shog casts all the hair before,
Till he with full decorum brings it back,
And rises with a water-spaniel shake.
As for his songs, the ladies' dear delight,
These sure he took from most of you who write.
Yet every man is safe from what he fear'd;
For no one fool is hunted from the herd.
TO “ ALL FOR LOVE.”
POETS, like disputants, when reasons fail,
Have one sure refuge left—and that's tó rail.
Fop, coxcomb, fool, are thunder'd through the pit;
And this is all their equipage of wit.
We wonder how the devil this difference grows,
Betwixt our fools in verse, and yours in prose ;
For, 'faith, the quarrel rightly understood,
'Tis civil war with their own flesh and blood.
The thread-bare author hates the gaudy coat;
And swears at the gilt coach, but swears a-foot:
For 'tis observed of every scribbling man,
He grows a fop as fast as e'er he can ;
Prunes up, and asks his oracle, the glass,
If pink and purple best become his face.
For our poor wretch, he neither rails nor prays;
Nor likes your wit just as you like his plays;
He has not yet so much of Mr. Bayes.
He does his best; and if he cannot please,
Would quietly sue out his writ of ease.
Yet, if he might his own grand jury call
By the fair sex he begs to stand or fall.
Let Cæsar's power the men's ambition move,
But grace you him who lost the world for love!
Yet if some antiquated lady say,
The last age is not copied in his play;
Heaven help the man who for that face must drudge,
Which only has the wrinkles of a judge.
Let not the young and beauteous join with those ;
For should you raise such numerous hosts of foes,
Young wits and sparks he to his aid must call ;
'Tis more than one man's work to please you all.
TO “MITHRIDATES, KING OF PONTUS."
[BY MR. N. LEE, 1678.] You've seen a pair of faithful lovers die : And much you care ; for most of you will
'Twas a just judgment on their constancy.
For, Heaven be thank’d, we live in such an age,
When no man dies for love, but on the stage :
And e'en those martyrs are but rare in plays;
A cursed sign how much true faith decays.
Love is no more a violent desire ;
'Tis a mere metaphor, a painted fire.
In all our sex, the name examined well,
'Tis pride to gain, and vanity to tell.
In woman, 'tis of subtle interest made :
Curse on the punk that made it first a trade!
She first did wit's prerogative remove,
And made a fool presume to prate of love.
Let honour and preferment go for gold ;
But glorious beauty is not to be sold :
Or, if it be, 'tis at a rate so high,
That nothing but adoring it should buy.
Yet the rich cullies may their boasting spare ;
They purchase but sophisticated ware.
'Tis prodigality that buys deceit,
Where both the giver and the taker cheat.
Men but refine on the old half-crown way;
And women fight, like Swissers, for their pay.
WHAT Sophocles could undertake alone,
Our poets found a work for more than one;
And therefore two lay tugging at the piece,
With all their force, to draw the ponderous mass from
A weight that bent even Seneca's strong muse,
And which Corneille's shoulders did refuse.
So hard it is the Athenian harp to string!
So much two consuls yield to one just king.
Terror and pity this whole poem sway;
The mightiest machines that can mount a play.
How heavy will those vulgar souls be found,
Whom two such engines cannot move from ground !
When Greece and Rome have smiled upon this birth,
You can but damn for one poor spot of earth,
And when your children find your judgment such,
They'll scorn their sires, and wish themselves born Dutch;
Each haughty poet will infer with ease,
How much his wit must under-write to please.
As some strong churl would, brandishing, advance
The monumental sword that conquer'd France ;
So you, by judging this, your judgment teach,
Thus far you like, that is, thus far you reach.
Since then the vote of full two thousand years
Has crown'd this plot, and all the dead are theirs,
Think it a debt you pay, not alms you give,
And, in your own defence, let this Play live.
Think them not vain, when Sophocles is shown
To praise his worth they humbly doubt their own.
Yet as weak states each other's power assure,
Weak poets by conjunction are secure.