Slike strani

Yet deepest mouthed against the government.
A numerous host of dreaming saints succeed,
Of the true old enthusiastic breed;

'Gainst form and order they their power employ,
Nothing to build and all things to destroy.
But far more numerous was the herd of such
Who think too little and who talk too much:
These out of mere instinct, they knew not why,
Adored their fathers' God and property,
And by the same blind benefit of Fate
The Devil and the Jebusite did hate;



Born to be saved, even in their own despite,

Because they could not help believing right.

Such were the tools; but a whole Hydra more


Remains of sprouting heads, too long to score.

Some of their chiefs were princes of the land:
In the first rank of these did Zimri stand,
A man so various that he seemed to be
Not one but all mankind's epitome;
Stiff in opinions, always in the wrong,
Was everything by starts and nothing long,
But in the course of one revolving moon


Was chemist, fiddler, statesman, and buffoon,

Then all for women, painting, rhyming, drinking,
Besides ten thousand freaks that died in thinking.
Blest madman, who could every hour employ
With something new to wish or to enjoy!
Railing and praising were his usual themes,
And both, to show his judgment, in extremes:
So over violent or over civil



That every man with him was God or Devil.
In squand'ring wealth was his peculiar art:

Nothing went unrewarded but desart;

Beggared by fools whom still he found too late,


He had his jest, and they had his estate.

He laughed himself from court; then sought relief

By forming parties, but could ne'er be chief,

For, spite of him, the weight of business fell

On Absalom and wise Achitophel;


Thus wicked but in will, of means bereft,

He left not faction, but of that was left.





Doeg, though without knowing how or why,

Made still a blund'ring kind of melody;

Spurred boldly on, and dashed through thick and thin,

Through sense and nonsense, never out nor in;

Free from all meaning, whether good or bad,

And, in one word, heroically mad.

He was too warm on picking-work to dwell,
But fagotted his notions as they fell,


And if they rhymed and rattled, all was well.
Spiteful he is not, though he wrote a satire,
For still there goes some thinking to ill-nature;
He need no more than birds and beasts to think,
All his occasions are to eat and drink.
If he call "rogue" and "rascal" from a garret,
He means you no more mischief than a parrot:
The words for friend and foe alike were made;
To fetter 'em in verse is all his trade.
Let him be gallows-free by my consent,
And nothing suffer since he nothing meant:
Hanging supposes human soul and reason;
This animal's below committing treason.
Shall he be hanged who never could rebel?
That's a preferment for Achitophel.


Now stop your noses, readers, all and some,
For here's a tun of midnight work to come,
Og from a treason-tavern rolling home.
Round as a globe, and liquored ev'ry chink,
Goodly and great he sails behind his link.
With all this bulk there's nothing lost in Og,
For ev'ry inch that is not fool is rogue:
A monstrous mass of foul corrupted matter,
As all the devils had spewed to make the batter.
When wine has given him courage to blaspheme,
He curses God, but God before cursed him;
And if man could have reason, none has more,
That made his paunch so rich and him so poor.
With wealth he was not trusted, for Heaven knew

[blocks in formation]

What 't was of old to pamper up a Jew;


To what would he on quail and pheasant swell

That ev'n on tripe and carrion could rebel?

But though Heav'n made him poor, with rev'rence speaking,

He never was a poet of God's making:

The midwife laid her hand on his thick skull,
With this prophetic blessing, "Be thou dull;"
Drink, swear, and roar, forbear no lewd delight
Fit for thy bulk, do anything but write.
Thou art of lasting make, like thoughtless men,
A strong nativity-but for the pen;
Eat opium, mingle arsenic in thy drink,
Still thou may'st live, avoiding pen and ink.
I see, I see, 't is counsel given in vain,

For treason botched in rhyme will be thy bane.
Rhyme is the rock on which thou art to wreck;
'Tis fatal to thy fame and to thy neck.
Why should thy metre good king David blast?
A psalm of his will surely be thy last.
Dar'st thou presume in verse to meet thy foes,
Thou whom the penny pamphlet foiled in prose?





Doeg, whom God for mankind's mirth has made,

O'ertops thy talent in thy very trade;

Doeg to thee, thy paintings are so coarse,
A poet is, though he's the poet's horse.


A double noose thou on thy neck dost pull,
For writing treason and for writing dull;
To die for faction is a common evil,

But to be hanged for nonsense is the Devil.
Hadst thou the glories of thy king exprest,
Thy praises had been satire at the best;

But thou, in clumsy verse, unlicked, unpointed,
Hast shamefully defied the Lord's anointed.
I will not rake the dunghill of thy crimes,

For who would read thy life that reads thy rhymes?
But of King David's foes be this the doom-

May all be like the young man Absalom;

And for my foes, may this their blessing be-
To talk like Doeg and to write like thee.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]



All human things are subject to decay,
And when Fate summons, monarchs must obey.
This Flecknoe found, who, like Augustus, young
Was called to empire and had governed long;
In prose and verse was owned, without dispute,
Through all the realms of Nonsense, absolute.
This aged prince, now flourishing in peace,
And blest with issue of a large increase,
Worn out with business, did at length debate
To settle the succession of the state;
And, pond'ring which of all his sons was fit
To reign and wage immortal war with wit,
Cried, ""T is resolved! for nature pleads that he
Should only rule who most resembles me.



Shadwell alone my perfect image bears,
Mature in dulness from his tender years;


Shadwell alone of all my sons is he

Who stands confirmed in full stupidity.

The rest to some faint meaning make pretence,

But Shadwell never deviates into sense.


Some beams of wit on other souls may fall,

[blocks in formation]

Thoughtless as monarch oaks that shade the plain,
And, spread in solemn state, supinely reign.
Heywood and Shirley were but types of thee,
Thou last great prophet of tautology.


Even I, a dunce of more renown than they,
Was sent before but to prepare thy way,
And, coarsely clad in Norwich drugget, came
To teach the nations in thy greater name.
My warbling lute, the lute I whilom strung
When to King John of Portugal I sung,
Was but the prelude to that glorious day
When thou on silver Thames didst cut thy way,


With well-timed oars, before the royal barge,
Swelled with the pride of thy celestial charge,
And big with hymn, commander of an host;
The like was ne'er in Epsom blankets tost.
Methinks I see the new Arion sail,

The lute still trembling underneath thy nail:

At thy well-sharpened thumb, from shore to shore
The treble squeaks for fear, the basses roar;
About thy boat the little fishes throng,
As at the morning toast that floats along.
Sometimes, as prince of thy harmonious band,
Thou wield'st thy papers in thy threshing hand;
St. André's feet ne'er kept more equal time,
Not ev'n the feet of thy own 'Psyche's' rhyme,
Though they in number as in sense excel;
So just, so like tautology, they fell
That, pale with envy, Singleton forswore

The lute and sword which he in triumph bore,
And vowed he ne'er would act Villerius more."
Here stopped the good old sire, and wept for joy,
In silent raptures of the hopeful boy.
All arguments, but most his plays, persuade
That for anointed dulness he was made.

Close to the walls which fair Augusta bind
(The fair Augusta much to fears inclined),
An ancient fabric, raised t'inform the sight,
There stood of yore, and Barbican it hight;
A watch-tower once, but now, so Fate ordains,
Of all the pile an empty name remains. .
Near these a Nursery erects its head,








Where queens are formed and future heroes bred,
Where unfledged actors learn to laugh and cry,
And little Maximins the gods defy.


Great Fletcher never treads in buskins here,

Nor greater Jonson dares in socks appear;


But gentle Simkin just reception finds
Amidst this monument of vanished minds;
Pure clinches the suburbian Muse affords,

And Panton waging harmless war with words.
Here Flecknoe, as a place to fame well known,
Ambitiously designed his Shadwell's throne.


« PrejšnjaNaprej »