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A pride that well suspends poor mortals' fate,
Gets between them and my resentment's weight.
Stands in the gap 'twixt me and wretched men,
Tavert_th' impending judgments of my pen.

Thus I look down with mercy on the age,
By hopes my Congreve will reform the stage:
For never did poetic mind before
Produce a richer vein, or cleaner ore;
The bullion stamp’d in your refining mind
Serves by retail to furnish half mankind.
With indignation I behold your wit
Forced on me, crack’d, and clipp’d, and counterfeit,
By vile pretenders, who a stock maintain
From broken scraps and filings of your brain.
Through native dross your share is hardly known,
And by short views mistook for all their own;
So small the gain those from your wit do reap,
Who blend it into folly's larger heap,
Like the gun's scatter'd beams which loosely pass,
When some rough hand breaks the assembling glass.

Yet want your critics no just cause to rail, Since knaves are ne'er obliged for what they steal. These pad on wit's high road, and suits maintain With those they rob, by what their trade does gain Thus censure seems that fiery froth which breeds O'er the sun's face, and from his heat proceeds, Crusts o'er the day, shadowing its partent beam, Ay ancient nature's modern masters dream ; This bids some curious praters here below Call Titan sick, because their sight is so; And well, methinks, does this allusion fit To scribblers and the god of light and wit; Those who by wild delusions entertain A lust of rhyming for a poet's vein, Raise envy's clouds to leave themselves in night, But can no more obscure my Congreve's light Than swarms of gnats, that wanton in a ray Which gave them birth, can rob the world of day.

What northern hive pour'd out these foes to wit? Whence came these Goths to overrun the pit? How would you blush the shameful birth to hear Of those you so ignobly stoop to fear; For, ill to them, long have I travell’d since, Round all the circles of impertinence, Search'd in the nest where every worm did lie Before it grew a city butterfly; I'm sure I found them other kind of things Than those with backs of silk and golden wings; A search, no doubt, as curious and as wise As virtuosoes' in dissecting flies : For, could you think? the fiercest fves you dread, And court in prologues, all are country bred; Bred in my scene, and for the poet's sins

Those beds of dung, where schoolboys sprout up beaux
Far sooner than the nobler mushroom grows:
These are the lords of the poetic schools,
Who preach the saucy pedantry of rules;
Those pow'rs the critics, who may boast the odds
Oe'r Nile, with all its wilderness of gods ;
Nor could the nations kneel to viler shapes,
Which worshipp'd cats and sacrificed to apes ;
And can you think the wise forbear to laugh
At the warm zeal that breeds this golden calf ?

Haply you judge these lines severely writ
Against the proud usurpers of the pit;
Stay while I tell my story, short and true;
To draw conclusions shall be left to you;
Nor need I ramble far to force a rule,
But lay the scene just here at Farnham school.

Last year a lad hence by his parents sent
With other cattle to the city went;
Where having cast his coat, and well pursued
The methods most in fashion to be lewd,
Return’d a finish'd spark this summer down,
Stock'd with the freshest gibberish of the town;
A jargon furm’d from the lost language, wit,
Confounded in that Babel of the pit;
Form’d by diseased conceptions, weak and wild,
Sick lust of souls, and an abortive child;
Born between whores and fops, by lewd compacts,
Before the play, or else between the acts;
Nor wonder, if from such polluted minds
Should spring such short and transitory kinds,
Or crazy rules to make us wits by rote,
Last just as long as ev'ry, cuckoo's note:
What bungling, rusty tools, are used by fate!
'Twas in an evil hour to urge my hate,
My hate, whose lash just Heaven has long decreed
Shall on a day make sin and folly bleed:
When man's ill genius to my presence sent
This wretch, to rouse my wrath, for ruin meant;
Who in his idiom vile, with Gray’s-inn grace,
Squander'd his noisy talents to my face;
Named every player on his fingers' ends,
Swore all the wits were his peculiar friends ;
Talk'd with that saucy and familiar ease
Of Wycherly, and you, and Mr. Bays;
Said, how a late report your friends had ver’d,
Who heard you meant to write heroics next;
For, tragedy, he knew, would lose you quite,
And told you so at Will's but t'other night.

Thus are the lives of fools a sort of dreams,
Rend'ring shades things, and substances of names ;
Such high companions may delusion keep,

Lords are a footboy's cronies in his sleep.

As a fresh miss, by fancy, face, and gown,
Render'd the topping beauty of the town,
Draws ev'ry rhyming, prating, dressing sot,
To boast of favors that he never got;
Of which, whoe’er lacks confidence to prate,
Brings his good parts and breeding in debate;
And not the meanest coxcomb you can find
But thanks his stars that Phillis has been kind;
Thus prostitute my Congreve's name is grown
To every lewd pretender of the town.
Troth I could pity you; but this is it,
You find, to be the fashionable wit;
These are the slaves whom reputation chains,
Whose maintenance requires no help from brains.
For, should the vilest scribbler to the pit,
Whom sin and want e'er furnish'd out a wit;
Whose name must not within my lines be shown,
Lest here it live, when perishd with his own;
Should such a wretch usurp my Congreve's place,
And choose out wits who ne'er have seen his face ;
I'll bet my life but the dull cheat would pass,
Nor need the lion's skin conceal the ass ;
Yes, that beau's look, that vice, those critic ears,
Must needs be right, so well resembling theirs.

Perish the Muse's hour thus vainly spent
In satire, to my Congreve's praises meant;
In how ill season her resentments rule,
What's that to her if mankind be a fool ?
Happy beyond a private Muse's fate,
In pleasing all that's good among the great,
Where though her elder sisters crowding throng,
She still is welcome with her inn'cent song;
Whom were my Congreve blest to see and know
What poor regards would merit all below!
How proudly would he haste the joy to meet,
And drop his laurel at Apollo's feet !

Here by a mountain's side, a reverend cave Gives murmuring passage to a lasting wave: 'Tis the world's wat'ry hour-glass streaming fast, Time is no more when th' utmost drop is past; Here, on a better day, some Druid dwelt, And the young Muse's early favor felt; Druid, a name she does with pride repeat, Confessing Albion once her darling seat; Far in this primitive cell might we pursue Our predecessors' footsteps still in view; Here would we sing-But, ah! you think I dream, And the bad world may well believe the same ; Yes: you are all malicious standers-by, While two fond lovers prate, the Muse and I.

Since thus I wander from my first intent,

Take this short lesson from the god of bays,
And let my friend apply it as he please :
Beat not the dirty paths where vulgar feet have trod,

But give the vigorous fancy room.
For when, like stupid alchemists you try

To fix this nimble god,

This volatile mercury,
The subtile spirit all flies up in fume;
Nor shall the bubbled virtuoso find
More than a fade, insipid mixture left behind.

While thus I write, vast shoals of critics come,
And on my verse pronounce their saucy doom ;
The Muse like some bright country virgin shows
Fall'n by mishap among a knot of beaux;
They, in their lewd and fashionable prate,
Rally her dress, her language, and her gait;
Spend their base coin before the bashful maid,
Current like copper, and as often paid:
She, who on shady banks has joy'd to sleep
Near better animals, her father's sheep;
Shamed and amazed, beholds the chattering throng,
To think what cattle she is got among;
But with the odious smell and sight annoy'd,
In haste she does th' offensive herd avoid.

'Tis time to bid my friend a long farewell,
The Muse retreats far in yon crystal cell ;
Faint inspiration sickens as she flies,
Like distant echo spent, the spirit dies.

In this descending sheet you'll haply find
Some short refreshment for your weary mind;
Nought it contains is common or unclean,
And, once drawn up, is ne'er let down again.

OCCASIONED BY
SIR WILLIAM TEMPLE'S ILLNESS AND RECOVERY.

Written in December, 1693.
STRANGE to conceive how the same objects strike
At distant hours the mind with forms so like!
Whether in time Deduction's broken chain
Meets and salutes her sister link again;
Or haunted Fancy, by a circling flight,
Comes back with joy to its own seat at night;
Or whether dead Imagination's ghost
Oft hovers where alive it haunted most;
Or if Thought's rolling globe, her circle run,
Turns up old objects to the soul her sun;
Or loves the Muse to walk with conscious pride

O’er the glad scene whence first she rose a bride :"Out of an ode I writ, inscribed “The Poet.” The rest of it is lost.- Original. ? Would not one imagine that Swift had at this time already conceived his idea

As a fresh miss, by fancy, face, and gown,
Render'd the topping beauty of the town,
Draws ev'ry rhyming, prating, dressing sot,
To boast of favors that he never got;
Of which, whoe'er lacks confidence to prate,
Brings his good parts and breeding in debate;
And not the meanest coxcomb you can find
But thanks his stars that Phillis has been kind;
Thus prostitute my Congreve's name is grown
To every lewd pretender of the town.
Troth I could pity you; but this is it,
You find, to be the fashionable wit;
These are the slaves whom reputation chains,
Whose maintenance requires no help from brains.
For, should the vilest scribbler to the pit,
Whom sin and want e'er furnish'd out a wit;
Whose name must not within my lines be shown,
Lest here it live, when perish'd with his own;
Should such a wretch usurp my Congreve's place,
And choose out wits who ne'er have seen his face;
I'll bet my life but the dull cheat would pass,
Nor need the lion's skin conceal the ass ;
Yes, that beau's look, that vice, those critic ears,
Must needs be right, so well resembling theirs.

Perish the Muse's hour thus vainly spent
In satire, to my Congreve's praises meant;
In how ill season her resentments rule,
What's that to her if mankind be a fool ?
Happy beyond a private Muse's fate,
In pleasing all that's good among the great,
Where though her elder sisters crowding throng,
She still is welcome with her inn'cent song;
Whom were my Congreve blest to see and know
What poor regards would merit all below!
How proudly would he haste the joy to meet,
And drop his laurel at Apollo's feet!

Here by a mountain's side, a reverend cave Gives murmuring passage to a lasting wave: 'Tis the world's wat’ry hour-glass streaming fast, Time is no more when th' utmost drop is past; Here, on a better day, some Druid dwelt, And the young Muse's early favor felt; Druid, a name she does with pride repeat, Confessing Albion once her darling seat; Far in this primitive cell might we pursue Our predecessors' footsteps still in view; Here would we sing-But, ah! you think I dream, And the bad world may well believe the same; Yes: you are all malicious standers-by, While two fond lovers prate, the Muse and I.

Since thus I wander from my first intent,

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