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It gives me such a jealous fit,
I cry, "Pox take him and his wit!"
I grieve to be outdone by Gay
In my own humorous biting way.
Arbuthnot is no more my friend,
Who dares to irony pretend,
Which I was born to introduce,
Refin'd it first, and show'd its use.
St. John, as well as Pulteney, knows
That I had some repute for prose;
And, till they drove me out of date,
Could maul a minister of state.
If they have mortified my pride,
And made me throw my pen aside;
If with such talents heaven hath bless'd 'em,
Have I not reason to detest 'em?
To all my foes, dear fortune, send
Thy gifts; but never to my friend:
I tamely can endure the first;
But this with envy makes me burst.
Thus much may serve by way of proem;
Proceed we therefore to our poem.
The time is not remote when I Must by the course of nature die; When, I foresee, my special friends Will try to find their private ends: And, though 'tis hardly understood Which way my death can do them good, Yet thus, methinks, I hear them speak: "See how the Dean begins to break! Poor gentleman, he droops apace! You plainly find it in his face. That old vertigo in his head Will never leave him, till he's dead. Besides, his memory decays: He recollects not what he says;
He cannot call his friends to mind;
Forgets the place where last he din'd;
Plies you with stories o'er and o'er;
He told them fifty times before.
How does he fancy we can sit
To hear his out-of-fashion wit?
But he takes up with younger folks,
Who for his wine will bear his jokes.
Faith! he must make his stories shorter,
Or change his comrades once a quarter:
In half the time he talks them round,
There must another set be found.
"For poetry, he's past his prime: He takes an hour to find a rhyme; His fire is out, his wit decay'd, His fancy sunk, his Muse a jade. I'd have him throw away his pen ;But there's no talking to some men !"
And then their tenderness appears By adding largely to my years: "He's older than he would be reckon'd, And well remembers Charles the Second. He hardly drinks a pint of wine; And that, I doubt, is no good sign. His stomach too begins to fail: Last year we thought him strong and hale;
But now he's quite another thing:
I wish he may hold out till spring!"
They hug themselves, and reason thus:
"It is not yet so bad with us!"
In such a case, they talk in tropes,
And by their fears express their hopes.
Some great misfortune to portend,
No enemy can match a friend.
With all the kindness they profess,
The merit of a lucky guess
(When daily how-d'ye's come of course,
And servants answer, "Worse and worse!")
Would please them better, than to tell,
That, "God be prais'd, the Dean is well.”
Then he who prophesy'd the best,
Approves his foresight to the rest:
"You know I always fear'd the worst,
And often told you so at first."
He'd rather choose that I should die,
Than his predictions prove a lie.
Not one foretells I shall recover;
But all agree to give me over.
Yet, should some neighbour feel a pain
Just in the parts where I complain;
How many a message would he send!
What hearty prayers that I should mend!
Inquire what regimen I kept;
What gave me ease, and how I slept?
And more lament when I was dead,
Than all the snivellers round my bed.
My good companions, never fear; For, though you may mistake a year, Though your prognostics run too fast, They must be verify'd at last.
Behold the fatal day arrive! "How is the Dean?"-" He's just alive." Now the departing prayer is read; He hardly breathes-The Dean is dead. Before the passing-bell begun, The news through half the town is run. "Oh! may we all for death prepare! What has he left? and who's his heir ?" "I know no more than what the news is; 'Tis all bequeath'd to public uses." "To public uses! there's a whim! What had the public done for him? Mere envy, avarice, and pride: He gave it all-but first he dy'd. And had the Dean, in all the nation, No worthy friend, no poor relation? So ready to do strangers good, Forgetting his own flesh and blood!"
Now Grub-street wits are all employ'd; With elegies the town is cloy'd: Some paragraph in every paper, To curse the Dean, or bless the Drapier. The doctors, tender of their fame, Wisely on me lay all the blame. "We must confess, his case was nice; But he would never take advice. Had he been rul'd, for aught appears, He might have liv'd these twenty years:
For, when we open'd him, we found
That all his vital parts were sound.”
From Dublin soon to London spread,
"Tis told at court, "The Dean is dead."
And Lady Suffolk, in the spleen,
Runs laughing up to tell the queen.
The queen, so gracious, mild, and good,
Cries, "Is he gone! 'tis time he shou'd.
He's dead, you say; then let him rot.
I'm glad the medals were forgot.
I promis'd him, I own; but when?
I only was the princess then :
But now, as consort of the king,
You know, 'tis quite another thing."
Now Chartres, at Sir Robert's levee,
Tells with a sneer the tidings heavy:
"Why, if he dy'd without his shoes,"
Cries Bob," I'm sorry for the news:
Oh, were the wretch but living still,
And in his place my good friend Will!
Or had a mitre on his head,
Provided Bolingbroke were dead!"
Now Curll his shop from rubbish drains:
Three genuine tomes of Swift's remains!
And then, to make them pass the glibber,
Revis'd by Tibbalds, Moore, and Cibber.
He'll treat me as he does my betters,
Publish my will, my life, my letters;
Revive the libels born to die:
Which Pope must bear, as well as I.
Here shift the scene, to represent
How those I love my death lament.
Poor Pope will grieve a month, and Gay
A week, and Arbuthnot a day.
St. John himself will scarce forbear
To bite his pen, and drop a tear.
The rest will give a shrug, and cry,
"I'm sorry-but we all must die!"
Indifference, clad in wisdom's guise,
All fortitude of mind supplies:
For how can stony bowels melt
In those who never pity felt!
When we are lash'd they kiss the rod,
Resigning to the will of God.
The fools, my juniors by a year,
Are tortur'd with suspense and fear;
Who wisely thought my age a screen,
When death approach'd, to stand between:
The screen remov'd, their hearts are trembling;
They mourn for me without dissembling.
My female friends, whose tender hearts
Have better learn'd to act their parts,
Receive the news in doleful dumps :
"The Dean is dead: (Pray what is trumps?)
Then, Lord have mercy on his soul!
(Ladies, I'll venture for the vole.)
Six Deans, they say, must bear the pall:
(I wish I knew what king to call.)
Madam, your husband will attend
The funeral of so good a friend.”
“No, madam, 'tis a shocking sight;
And he's engag'd to-morrow night:
My Lady Club will take it ill,
If he should fail her at quadrille.
He lov'd the Dean-(I lead a heart.)
But dearest friends, they say, must part.
His time was come; he ran his race;
We hope he's in a better place."
Why do we grieve that friends should die? No loss more easy to supply.
One year is past; a different scene!
No farther mention of the Dean,
Who now, alas! no more is miss'd,
Than if he never did exist.
Where's now the favourite of Apollo?
Departed:-and his works must follow;
Must undergo the common fate;
His kind of wit is out of date.
Some country squire to Lintot goes,
Inquires for Swift in verse and prose.
Says Lintot, "I have heard the name ;
He dy'd a year ago."-" The same.”
He searches all the shop in vain.
Sir, you may find them in Duck-lane:
I sent them, with a load of books,
Last Monday, to the pastry-cook's.
To fancy they could live a year!
I find you're but a stranger here.
The Dean was famous in his time,
And had a kind of knack at rhyme.
His way of writing now is past:-
The town has got a better taste.
I keep no antiquated stuff;
But spick and span I have enough.
Pray, do but give me leave to show 'em:
Here's Colley Cibber's birth-day poem.
This ode you never yet have seen,
By Stephen Duck, upon the queen.
Then here's a letter finely penn'd
Against the Craftsman and his friend:
It clearly shows that all reflection
On ministers is disaffection.
Next, here's Sir Robert's vindication,
And Mr. Henley's last oration.
The hawkers have not got them yet,
Your honour please to buy a set?
"Here's Woolston's tracts, the twelfth edition; 'Tis read by every politician:
The country-members, when in town,
To all their boroughs send them down:
You never met a thing so smart ;
The courtiers have them all by heart:
Those maids of honour who can read,
Are taught to use them for their creed.
The reverend author's good intention
Hath been rewarded with a pension:
He doth an honour to his gown,
By bravely running priestcraft down:
He shows, as sure as God's in Gloster,
That Moses was a grand impostor;
That all his miracles were cheats,
Perform'd as jugglers do their feats:
The church had never such a writer;
A shame he hath not got a mitre !"
Suppose me dead; and then suppose
A club assembled at the Rose;
Where, from discourse of this and that,
I grow the subject of their chat.
And while they toss my name about,
With favour some, and some without;
One, quite indifferent in the cause,
My character impartial draws.
"The Dean, if we believe report, Was never ill-receiv'd at court, Although, ironically grave,
He sham'd the fool, and lash'd the knave;
To steal a hint was never known,
But what he writ was all his own."
"Sir, I have heard another story;
He was a most confounded Tory,
And grew, or he is much bely'd,
Extremely dull, before he dy'd."
"Can we the Drapier then forget? Is not our nation in his debt?
"Twas he that writ the Drapier's letters!"— "He should have left them for his betters; We had a hundred abler men,
Nor need depend upon his pen.
you will about his reading,
You never can defend his breeding;
Who, in his satires running riot,
Could never leave the world in quiet;
Attacking when he took the whim,
Court, city, camp-all one to him.-
But why would he, except he slobber'd,
Offend our patriot great Sir Robert,
Whose counsels aid the sovereign power
To save the nation every hour!
What scenes of evil he unravels
In satires, libels, lying travels,
Not sparing his own clergy cloth,
But eats into it, like a moth!"
"Perhaps I may allow the Dean
Had too much satire in his vein,
And seem'd determin'd not to starve it,
Because no age could more deserve it.
Yet malice never was his aim;
He lash'd the vice, but spar'd the name.
No individual could resent,
Where thousands equally were meant:
His satire points at no defect,
But what all mortals may correct;
For he abhor'd the senseless tribe
Who call it humour when they gibe :
He spar'd a hump or crooked nose,
Whose owners set not up for beaux.
True genuine dulness mov'd his pity,
Unless it offer'd to be witty.
Those who their ignorance confest,
He ne'er offended with a jest;
But laugh'd to hear an ideot quote
A verse from Horace learn'd by rote.
Vice, if it e'er can be abash'd,
Must be or ridicul'd, or lash'd.
If you resent it, who's to blame?
He neither knows you, nor your name.
Should vice expect to 'scape rebuke,
Because its owner is a duke?
His friendships, still to few confin'd,
Were always of the middling kind;
No fools of rank, or mongrel breed,
Who fain would pass for lords indeed:
Where titles give no right or power,
And peerage is a wither'd flower;
He would have deem'd it a disgrace,
If such a wretch had known his face.
On rural squires, that kingdom's bane,
He vented oft his wrath in vain:
******* squires to market brought,
Who sell their souls and **** for nought:
The ******** go joyful back,
To rob the church, their tenants rack;
Go snacks with ***** justices,
And keep the peace to pick up fees;
In every job to have a share,
A gaol or turnpike to repair;
A turn ******* to public roads
Commodious to their own abodes.
"He never thought an honour done him,
Because a peer was proud to own him;
Would rather slip aside, and choose
To talk with wits in dirty shoes;
And scorn the tools with stars and garters,
So often seen caressing Chartres.
He never courted men in station,
Nor persons held in admiration;
Of no man's greatness was afraid,
Because he sought for no man's aid.
Though trusted long in great affairs,
He gave himself no haughty airs:
Without regarding private ends,
Spent all his credit for his friends;
And only chose the wise and good;
No flatterers; no allies in blood:
But succour'd virtue in distress,
And seldom fail'd of good success ;
As numbers in their hearts must own,
Who, but for him, had been unknown.
"He kept with princes due decorum;
Yet never stood in awe before 'em.
He follow'd David's lesson just;
In princes never put his trust:
And, would you make him truly sour,
Provoke him with a slave in power.
The Irish senate if you nam'd,
With what impatience he declaim'd!
Fair Liberty was all his cry;
For her he stood prepar'd to die;
For her he boldly stood alone;
For her he oft expos'd his own.
Two kingdoms, just as faction led,
Had set a price upon his head;
But not a traitor could be found
To sell him for six hundred pound.
"Had he but spar'd his tongue and pen,
He might have rose like other men:
But power was never in his thought,
And wealth he valued not a groat:
Ingratitude he often found,
And pity'd those who meant the wound;
But kept the tenor of his mind,
To merit well of human-kind;
Nor made a sacrifice of those
Who still were true, to please his foes.
He labour'd many a fruitless hour,
To reconcile his friends in power;
Saw mischief by a faction brewing,
While they pursued each other's ruin.
But, finding vain was all his care,
He left the court in mere despair.
"And, oh! how short are human schemes!
Here ended all our golden dreams.
What St. John's skill in state affairs,
What Ormond's valour, Oxford's cares,
To save their sinking country lent,
Was all destroy'd by one event.
Too soon that precious life was ended,
On which alone our weal depended.
When up a dangerous faction starts,
With wrath and vengeance in their hearts;
By solemn league and covenant bound,
To ruin, slaughter, and confound;
To turn religion to a fable,
And make the government a Babel;
Pervert the laws, disgrace the gown,
Corrupt the senate, rob the crown;
To sacrifice old England's glory,
And make her infamous in story:
When such a tempest shook the land,
How could unguarded virtue stand!
"With horror, grief, despair, the Dean
Beheld the dire destructive scene:
His friends in exile, or the tower,
Himself within the frown of power;
Pursued by base envenom'd pens,
Far to the land of s—— and fens;
A servile race in folly nurs'd,
Who truckle most, when treated worst.
By innocence and resolution,
He bore continual persecution;
While numbers to preferment rose,
Whose merit was to be his foes;
When ev❜n his own familiar friends,
Intent upon their private ends,
Like renegadoes now he feels,
Against him lifting up their heels.
"The Dean did, by his pen, defeat
An infamous destructive cheat;
Taught fools their interest how to know,
And gave them arms to ward the blow.
Envy hath own'd it was his doing,
To save that hapless land from ruin;
While they who at the steerage stood,
And reap'd the profit, sought his blood.
"To save them from their evil fate,
In him was held a crime of state.
A wicked monster on the bench,
Whose fury blood could never quench:
As vile and profligate a villain
As modern Scroggs, or old Tressilian;
Who long all justice had discarded,
Nor fear'd he God, nor man regarded;
Vow'd on the Dean his rage to vent,
And make him of his zeal repent:
But Heaven his innocence defends,
The grateful people stand his friends;
Not strains of law, nor judges' frown,
Nor topics brought to please the crown,
Nor witness hir'd, nor jury pick'd,
Prevail to bring him in convict.
"In exile, with a steady heart,
He spent his life's declining part,
Where folly, pride, and faction sway;
Remote from St. John, Pope, and Gay."
"Alas, poor Dean! his only scope
Was to be held a misanthrope.
This into general odium drew him,
Which if he lik'd, much good may't do him.
His zeal was not to lash our crimes,
But discontent against the times:
For, had we made him timely offers
To raise his post, or fill his coffers,
Perhaps he might have truckled down,
Like other brethren of his gown;
For party he would scarce have bled :—
I say no more-because he's dead.-
What writings has he left behind ?”
"I hear they're of a different kind: A few in verse; but most in prose-" "Some high-flown pamphlets, I suppose :— All scribbled in the worst of times, To palliate his friend Oxford's crimes; To praise Queen Anne, nay more, defend her, As never favouring the Pretender: Or libels yet conceal'd from sight, Against the court to show his spite: Perhaps his travels, part the third; A lie at every second wordOffensive to a loyal ear :
But not one sermon, you may swear."
"He knew an hundred pleasing stories, With all the turns of Whigs and Tories: Was cheerful to his dying-day;
And friends would let him have his way.
"As for his works in verse or prose,
I own myself no judge of those.
Nor can I tell what critics thought them;
But this I know, all people bought them,
As with a moral view design'd,
To please and to reform mankind:
And, if he often miss'd his aim,
The world must own it to their shame,
The praise is his, and theirs the blame.
He gave the little wealth he had
To build a house for fools and mad;
To show, by one satiric touch,
No nation wanted it so much.
That kingdom he hath left his debtor,
I wish it soon may have a better.
And, since you dread no further lashes,
Methinks you may forgive his ashes."
A CHARACTER, PANEGYRIC, AND DESCRIPTION OF THE LEGION-CLUB.
As I stroll the city, oft I
See a building large and lofty,
Not a bow-shot from the college;
Half the globe from sense and knowledge:
By the prudent architect,
Plac'd against the church direct,
Making good thy grandame's jest,
"Near the church"-you know the rest.
Tell us, what the pile contains?
Many a head that holds no brains.
These demoniacs let me dub
With the name of Legion-club.
Such assemblies, you might swear,
Meet when butchers bait a bear;
Such a noise, and such haranguing,
When a brother thief is hanging:
Such a rout and such a rabble
Run to hear Jack-pudding gabble;
Such a crowd their ordure throws
On a far less villain's nose.
Could I from the building's top
Hear the rattling thunder drop,
While the devil upon the roof
(If the devil be thunder-proof)
Should with poker fiery red
Crack the stones, and melt the lead;
Drive them down on every skull,
While the den of thieves is full;
Quite destroy the harpies' nest:
How might then our isle be blest!
For divines allow that God
Sometimes makes the devil his rod;
And the gospel will inform us,
He can punish sins enormous.
Yet should Swift endow the schools,
For his lunatics and fools,
With a rood or two of land,
I allow the pile may stand.
You perhaps will ask me, Why so?
But it is with this proviso:
Since the house is like to last,
Let the royal grant be pass'd,
That the club have right to dwell
Each within his proper cell,
With a passage left to creep in,
And a hole above for peeping.
Let them when they once get in,
Sell the nation for a pin;
While they sit a-picking straws,
Let them rave at making laws;
While they never hold their tongue,
Let them dabble in their dung:
Let them form a grand committee,
How to plague and starve the city:
Let them stare, and storm, and frown,
When they see a clergy gown;
Let them, ere they crack a louse,
Call for th' orders of the house
Let them, with their gosling quills,
Scribble senseless heads of bills.
We may, while they strain their throats,
Wipe our as with their votes.
Let Sir Tom, that rampant ass,
Stuff his guts with flax and grass;
But, before the priest he fleeces,
Tear the bible all to pieces:
At the parsons, Tom, halloo, boy,
Worthy offspring of a shoe-boy,
Footman, traitor, vile seducer,
Perjur'd rebel, brib'd accuser,
Lay thy paltry privilege aside,
Sprung from papists, and a regicide;
Fall a-working like a mole,
Raise the dirt about your hole.
Come, assist me, Muse obedient!
Let us try some new expedient;
Shift the scene for half an hour,
Time and place are in thy power.
Thither, gentle Muse, conduct me;
I shall ask, and you instruct me.
See, the Muse unbars the gate!
Hark, the monkeys, how they prate!
All ye gods who rule the soul!
Styx, through hell whose waters roll!
Let me be allow'd to tell
What I heard in yonder hell.
Near the door an entrance gapes,
Crowded round with antic shapes,
Poverty, and grief, and care,
Causeless joy, and true despair;
Discord, periwigg'd with snakes,
See the dreadful strides she takes!
By this odious crew beset,
I began to rage and fret,
And resolv'd to break their pates,
Ere we enter'd at the gates;
Had not Clio in the nick
Whisper'd me," Lay down your stick."
What, said I, is this the mad-house?
These, she answer'd, are but shadows,
Phantoms bodiless and vain,
Empty visions of the brain.
In the porch Briareus stands,
Shows a bribe in all his hands;
Briareus the secretary,
But we mortals call him Carey.
When the rogues their country fleece,
They may hope for pence a-piece.
Clio, who had been so wise
To put on a fool's disguise,
To bespeak some approbation,
And be thought a near relation,
When she saw three hundred brutes
All involv'd in wild disputes,
Roaring till their lungs were spent,
Privilege of Parliament:
Now a new misfortune feels,
Dreading to be laid by th' heels.
Never durst the Muse before
Enter that infernal door.