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Poets themselves must fall, like those they sung, Deaf the prais'd ear, and mute the tuneful tongue. Ev'n he, whose soul now melts in mournful lays, Shall shortly want the generous tear he pays; Then from his closing eyes thy form shall part, And the last pang shall tear thee from his heart; Life's idle business at one gasp be o'er,
The Muse forgot, and thou belov'd no more!
The first Part (to verse 132.) imitated in the Year 1714, by Dr. Swift; the latter Part added afterwards.
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 plow 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;
Remov'd from all th' ambitious scene,
Nor puff'd by pride, nor sunk by spleen."
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 perplext,
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 pleas'd 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
Come with petitions fairly penn'd,
Desiring I would stand their friend.
This, humbly offers me his case—
That, begs my int'rest 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 signed:
Consider 'tis my first request."
Be satisfy'd, I'll do my best:
Then presently he falls to tease,
"You may for 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,
(October next it will be four,)
Since Harley bid me first attend,
And chose me for an humble friend;
Would take me in his coach to chat,
My lord and me as far as Staines,
As once a week we travel down
And question me of this and that;
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 Parnell, or from Gay?"
Such tattle often entertains
To Windsor, and again to town,
Where all that passes, inter nos,
Might be proclaim'd at Charing-Cross.
Yet some I know with envy swell,
Because they see me us'd so well:
"How think you of our friend the Dean?
I wonder what some people mean;
My lord and he are grown so great,
Always together, tête-à-tête.
What, they admire him for his jokes -
See but the fortune of some folks!"
There flies about a strange report
Of some express arriv'd at court;
I'm stopt by all the fools I meet,
And catechis'd in every street.
"You, Mr. Dean, frequent the great; Inform us, will the emp'ror treat? Or do the prints and papers lie?" Faith, Sir, you know as much as I. "Ah, doctor, how you love to jest! 'Tis now no secret" I protest 'Tis one to me "Then tell us, pray, When are the troops to have their pay ?" And, tho' I solemnly declare
I know no more than my lord-mayor, They stand amaz'd, and think me grown The closest mortal ever known.
Thus in a sea of folly toss'd,
My choicest hours of life are lost;
Yet always wishing to retreat,
Oh, could I see my country seat!
There, leaning near a gentle brook,
Sleep, or peruse some ancient book,
And there in sweet oblivion drown
Those cares that haunt the court and town.
O charming noons! and nights divine!
Or when I sup, or when I dine,
My friends above, my folks below,
Chatting and laughing all-a-row,
The beans and bacon set before 'em,
The grace-cup serv'd with all decorum:
Each willing to be pleas'd, and please,
And even the very dogs at ease!
Here no man prates of idle things,
How this or that Italian sings,
A neighbour's madness, or his spouse's,
Or what's in either of the houses: