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To quell the faction that affronts the throne,
By filent magnanimity alone ;
Tonurse with tender care the thriving arts,
every beam philosophy imparts ;
To give religion her unbridld scope,
Nor judge by statute a believer's hope ;
With close fidelity and love unfeign'd,
To keep the matrimonial bond unstain'd;
Covetous only of a virtuous praise,
His life a lesson to the land he sways;
To touch the sword with conscientious awe,
Nor draw it but when duty bids him draw,
To sheath it in the peace-restoring close,
With joy, beyond what victory bestows,
Blest country! where these kingly glories shine,
Bleft England ! if this happiness be thine.
A. Guard what you say, the patriotic tribe
Will sneer and charge you with a bribe.-B. A bribe ?
The worth of his three kingdoms I defy,
To lure me to the baseness of a lie.
And of all lies (be that one poet's boast)
The lie that flatters I abhor the most.
Those arts be their's that hate his gentle reign,
But he that loves him has no need to feign.
A. Your smooth eulogium to one crown address’d, Seems to imply a censure on the rest.
B. Quevedo, as he tells his sober tale,
Alk'd, when in hell, to see the royal jail,
Approv'd their method in all other things,
But where, good Sir, do you confine
There – said his guide, the groupe is full in view.
Indeed? Replied the Don---there are but few.
His black interpreter the charge disdain'd-
Few, fellow ? There are all that ever reign'd.
Wit undistinguishing is apt to strike
The guilty and not guilty, both alike.
I grant the sarcasm is too severe,
And we can readily refute it here,
While Alfred's name, the father of his age,
And the Sixth Edward's grace th' historic page.
A. Kings then at last have but the lot of all, By their own conduct they must stand or fall.
B. True. While they live, the courtly laureat pays
His quit-rent ode, his pepper-corn of praise,
And many a dunce whose fingers itch to write,
Adds, as he can, his tributary mite;
A subject's faults, a subject may proclaim,
A monarch's errors are forbidden game.
Thus free from censure, over-aw'd by fear,
And prais'd for virtues that they scorn to wear,
The fieeting forms of majesty engage
Respect, while stalking o'er life's narrow stage,
Then leave their crimes for history to scan,
And ask with busy scorn, Was this the man ?
I pity kings whom worship waits upon
Obsequious, from the cradle to the throne,
Before whose infant eyes the Natt'rer bows,
And binds a wreath about their baby brows.
Whom education stiffens into state,
And death awakens from that dream too late.
Oh! if servility with supple knees,
Whofe trade it is to smile, to crouch, to please;
If smooth disimulation, ikill'd to grace
A devil's purpose with an angel's face ;
If smiling peeresses and fimp’ring peers,
Incompassing his throne a few short years ;
If the gilt carriage and the pamper'd steed,
That wants no driving and disdains the lead;
If guards, mechanically form'd in ranks,
Playing, at beat of drum, their martial pranks ;
Should'ring and standing as if struck to stone,
While condescending majesty looks on;
If monarchy consist in such base things,
Sighing, I say again, I pity kings!
To be suspected, thwarted, and with stood,
Ev’n when he labours for his country's good,
To see a band call'd patriotic for no cause,
But that they catch at popular applause,
Careless of all th' anxiety he feels,
Hook disappointment on the public wheels,
With all their flippant fluency of tongue,
Most confident, when palpably most wrong,
If this be kingly, then farewell for me
All kingship, and may I be poor and free.
To be the Table Talk of clubs up stairs,
To which th' unwash'd artificer repairs,
T'indulge his genius after long fatigue,
By diving into cabinet intrigue,
(For what kings deem a toil, as well they may,
To him is relaxation and mere play)
To win no praise when well-wrought plans prevail,
But to be rudely censur'd when they fail,
To doubt the love his fav’rites may pretend,
And in reality to find no friend,
If he indulge a cultivated taste
His gall’ries with the works of art well grac'd,
To hear it calld extravagance and waste,
If these attendants, and if such as these,
Must follow royalty, then welcome ease;
However humble and confin'd the sphere,
Happy the state that has not these to fear.