Images de page



I'VE often wish'd that I had clear
For life, six hundred pounds a-year,
A handsome house to lodge a friend,
A river at my garden's end,
A terrace-walk, and half a rood
Of land, set out to plant a wood.
Well, now I have all this and more,

I ask not to increase my store;
But here a grievance seems to lie,

All this is mine but till I die;


I can't but think 'twould sound more clever,

To me and to my heirs for ever.

If I ne'er got or lost a groat,

By any trick, or any fault;
And if I pray by reason's rules,


And not like forty other fools:

As thus, "Vouchsafe, oh gracious Maker!

To grant me this and t'other acre:

Or, if it be thy will and pleasure,
Direct my plough to find a treasure:"
But only what my station fits,
And to be kept in my right wits;
Preserve, Almighty Providence!
Just what you gave me, competence:
And let me in these shades compose
Something in verse as true as prose;
Removed from all the ambitious scene,
Nor puff'd by pride, nor sunk by spleen.




Autumnusque gravis, Libitinæ quæstus acerbæ.
Matutine pater, seu Jane libentiùs audis,
Unde homines operum primos vitæque labores
Instituunt (sic Dîs placitum) tu carminis esto
Principium. Romæ sponsorem me rapis: Eia,
Ne prior officio quisquam respondeat, urge:
Sive Aquilo radit terras, seu bruma nivalem
Interiore diem gyro trahit, ire necesse est.
Postmodo, quod mî obsit, clarè certumque locuto,
Luctandum in turbâ; facienda injuria tardis.
Quid vis, insane? et quas res agis? improbus urget
Iratis precibus; tu pulses omne quod obstat,


Ver. 30. on this side Trent;] He was perpetually expressing his discontent at his Irish preferment, and forming schemes for exchanging it for a smaller in England; and courted Queen Caroline and Sir Robert Walpole to effect such a change. A negotiation had nearly taken place between the Dean and a Mr. Talbot for the living of Burfield, in Berkshire. Mr. Talbot himself informed me of this negotiation. Burfield is in the neighbourhood of Bucklebery, Lord Bolingbroke's seat.-Warton.

In short, I'm perfectly content,

Let me but live on this side Trent;


Nor cross the Channel twice a-year,

To spend six months with statesmen here.

I must by all means come to town,
"Tis for the service of the crown.
"Lewis, the Dean will be of use,
Send for him up, take no excuse."
The toil, the danger of the seas;
Great ministers ne'er think of these;
Or let it cost five hundred pound,
No matter where the money's found.



It is but so much more in debt,

And that they ne'er consider'd yet.

"Good Mr. Dean, go change your gown,

Let my Lord know you're come to town."
I hurry me in haste away,


Not thinking it is Levee-day;

And find his Honour in a pound,
Hemm'd by a triple circle round,

Chequer'd with ribbons blue and green :
How should I thrust myself between?
Some wag observes me thus perplex'd,
And smiling, whispers to the next,


"I thought the Dean had been too proud, To justle here among a crowd.”

Another in a surly fit,


Tells me I have more zeal than wit,
"So eager to express your love,

You ne'er consider whom you shove,
But rudely press before a Duke."
I own, I'm pleased with this rebuke,
And take it kindly meant to show
What I desire the world should know.

I get a whisper, and withdraw:

When twenty fools I never saw


Ad Mæcenatem memori si mente recurras.

Hoc juvat, et melli est; ne mentiar: at simul atras
Ventum est Esquilias, aliena negotia centum

Per caput et circa saliunt latus. Ante secundam
Roscius orabat sibi adesses ad Puteal cras.
De re communi scribæ magnâ atque novâ te
Orabant hodie meminisses, Quinte, reverti.
Imprimat his cura Mæcenas signa tabellis.
Dixeris, Experiar: Si vis, potes, addit et instat.
Septimus octavo propior jam fugerit annus,
Ex quo Mæcenas me cœpit habere suorum
In numero: duntaxat ad hoc, quem tollere rhedâ
Vellet, iter faciens, et cui concredere nugas

Hoc genus: Hora quota est? Thrax est Gallina Syro par?

Matutina parum cautos jam frigora mordent:

Et quæ rimosâ benè deponuntur in aure.


Ver. 82. And, Mr. Dean,] Very happily turned from Si vis potes.— Warton.

Ver. 85. Since HARLEY bid me] The rise and progress of Swift's intimacy with Lord Oxford is minutely detailed in his very interesting Journal to Stella. And the reasons why a man, that served a ministry so effectually, was so tardily, and so difficultly, and so poorly rewarded, are well explained in Sheridan's Life of Swift, and arose principally from the insuperable aversion the Queen had conceived to the author of a Tale of a Tub as a profane book; which aversion was kept alive, and increased by the Duchess of Somerset, against whom Swift had written a severe lampoon. It appears from this life that Lords Oxford and Bolingbroke always kept concealed from Swift their inability to serve him. With whatever secrets Swift might have been trusted, it does not appear he knew any thing of a design to bring in the Pretender. Swift was a true Whig. His political principles are amply unfolded in an excellent letter written to Pope, Jan. 20, 1721; and indeed they had been sufficiently displayed, many years before, in The Sentiments of a Church of England Man; a treatise replete with strong sense, sound principles, and clear reasoning.— Warton.

The real cause of Swift's disappointment in his hopes of preferment, is explained in Coxe's Memoirs of Walpole. Both Gay and Swift conceived every thing was to be gained by the interest of Mrs. Howard, to whom they paid incessant court. This has been before explained.—


[ocr errors]

Come with petitions fairly penn'❜d,
Desiring I would stand their friend.
This, humbly offers me his case-
That, begs my interest for a place-
A hundred other men's affairs,
Like bees, are humming in my ears.
"To-morrow my appeal comes on,
Without your help the cause is gone
"The Duke expects my Lord and you,
About some great affair, at two ”—
"Put my Lord Bolingbroke in mind,
To get my Warrant quickly sign'd:
Consider 'tis my first request."-
Be satisfied, I'll do my best :-
Then presently he falls to teaze,
"You may be certain, if you please;
I doubt not, if his Lordship knew—
And, Mr. Dean, one word from you"-





'Tis (let me see) three years and more,

[blocks in formation]

As, "What's o'clock?" And "How's the wind?"

"Who's chariot's that we left behind?"


Or gravely try to read the lines

Writ underneath the country signs;

Or, "Have you nothing new to-day

From Pope, from Parnelle, or from Gay?"

Such tattle often entertains


My Lord and me as far as Staines,

As once a week we travel down

To Windsor, and again to town,

Where all that passes, inter nos,
Might be proclaimed at Charing-cross.


« PrécédentContinuer »