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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 theirs, who hate his gentle reign, But he that loves him has no need to feign. A. Your smooth eulogium to one crown ad
dress’d, Seems to imply a censure on the rest.
B. Quevedo, as he tells his sober tale, Ask’d, when in Hell, to see the royal jail; Approv'd their method in all other things: But where, good sir, do you confine your kings? There—said his guide-the group is full in view. Indeed ?-replied the don—there are but few. His black interpreter the charge disdain'dFew, 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,
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 quitrent ode, his peppercorn 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, overaw'd by fear, And prais’d for virtues, that they scorn to wear, The fleeting 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 flatt'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, Whose trade it is to smile, to crouch, to pleas
Ysworth Disimulation, skill'd to grace
pirpose with an angel's face;
sales, mechanically form'd in ranks,
Wibe suspected, thwarted, and withstood,
List a band, call'd patriot for no cause,
But that they catch at popular applause, landes of all th’ anxiety he feels, Husk disappointment on the public wheels; Tith all their flippant fluency of tongue, Yosh sahident, when palpably nuost wrong
Hifis 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' wawash'd artificer repairs,
smooth Dissimulation, skill'd to grace devil's purpose with an angel's face; 'smiling peeresses, and simp’ring peers, ncompassing his throne a few short years; 'the gilt carriage and the pamper'd steed, hat wants no driving, and disdains the lead; guards, mechanically form'd in ranks, laying, at beat of drum, their martial pranks, hould'ring and standing as if stuck to stone, Vhile condescending majesty looks on; f monarchy consistin such base things, ighing, I say again, I pity kings!
To be suspected, thwarted, and withstood, 'v'n when he labours for his country's good; o see a band, call'd patriot for no cause, But that they catch at popular applause, 'areless of all th' anxiety he feels, look disappointment on the public wheels; Vith all their Aippant fluency of tongue, Most confident, when palpably most wrong f 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,
prove, As if the world and they were hand and glove. Leave kingly backs to cope with kingly cares; They have their weight to carry, subjects theirs;
Poets, of all men, ever least regret
fix'd attention more than you. B. Not Brindley nor Bridgewater would essay To turn the course of Helicon that way; Nor would the Nine consent the sacred tide Should purl amidst the traffic of Cheapside, Or tinkle in 'Change Alley, to amuse The leathern ears of stock-jobbers and Jews.
A. Vouchsafe, at least, to pitch the key of rhyme To things more pertinent, if less sublime. When ministers and ministerial arts; Patriots, who love good places at their hearts; When admirals, extoll'd for standing still, Or doing nothing with a deal of skill; Gen’rals, who will not conquer when they may, Firm friends to peace, to pleasure, and good pay; When Freedom, wounded almost to despair, Though Discontent alone can find out where; When themes like these employ the poet's tongue, I hear as mute as if a syren sung.