« AnteriorContinuar »
WELL; if it be my time to quit the stage,
Adieu to all the follies of the age !
I die in charity with fool and knave,
Secure of peace at least beyond the grave.
I've had my purgatory here betimes,
And paid for all my satires, all my rhymes.
The poet's hell, its tortures, fiends, and flames,
To this were trifles, toys, and empty names.
With foolish pride my heart was never fir'd, Nor the vain itch t'admire or be admir'd; 10 I hop'd for no commission from his Grace ; I bought no benefice, I begg'd no place; Had no new verses nor new suit to show, Yet went to court !....the devil would have it so.
WELL; I may now receive and die. My sin Indeed is great, but yet I have been in A purgatory, such as fear'd hell is A recreation, and scant map of this. My mind neither with pride's itch, nor yet hath been Poison'd with love to see or to be seen. I had no suit there, nor new suit to show, Yet went to court: but as Glare, which did go
But as the fool that in reforming days
15 Would go to mass in jest, (as story says) Could not but think to pay his fine was odd, Since 't was no form’d design of serving God, So was I punish'd, as if full as proud, As prone to ill, and negligent of good,
20 As deep in debt, without a thought to pay, As vain, as idle, and as false, as they Who live at court, for going once that way! Scarce was I enter'd, when, behold! there came A thing which Adam had been pos'd to name; 25 Noah had refus'd it lodging in his ark, Where all the race of reptiles might embark:
To mass in jest, catch’d, was fain to disburse
The hundred marks, which is the statute's curse,
Before he 'scap'd ; so 't pleas'd my destiny
(Guilty of my sin of going) to think me
As prone to all ill, and of good as forget-
Ful, as proud, lustful, and as much in debt,
As vain, as witless, and as false as they
Which dwell in court, for once going that way,
Therefore I suffer'd this. Towards me did run
A thing more strange than on Nile's slime the sun
E’er bred, or all which into Noah's ark came;
A thing which would have pos'd Adam to name:
A verier monster than on Afric's shore
The sun e'er got, or slimy Nilus bore,
Or Sloane or Woodward's wondrous shelves contain,
Nay, all that lying travellers can feign.
The watch would hardly let him pass at noon,
At night would swear him dropp'd out of the moon :
One whom the mob, when next we find or make
A Popish plot, shall for a Jesuit take,
35 And the wise justice, starting from his chair, Cry, by your priesthood, tell me what you are?
Such was the wight: the apparel on his back, Tho' coarse was rev'rend, and tho' bare was black: The suit, if by the fashion one might guess,
40 Was velvet in the youth of good Queen Bess,
Stranger than seven antiquaries' studies,
Than Afric's monsters, Guiana's rarities;
Stranger than strangers ; one who for a Dane
In the Danes' massacre had sure been slain,
If he had liv'd then, and without help dies
When next the 'prentices 'gainst strangers rise :
One whom the watch at noon lets scarce go by;
One ť whom th' examining justice sure would cry,
Sir, by your priesthood, tell me what you are ?
His cloaths were strange tho' coarse, and black tho'
bare ; Sleeveless his jerkin was, and it had been Velvet, but 't was now (so much ground was seen)
But mere tufftaffety what now remain'd;
So Time, that changes all things, had ordain'd!
Our sons shall see it leisurely decay,
First turn plain rash, then vanish qnite away.
This thing has travell’d, speaks each language too,
And knows what's fit for ev'ry state to do ;
Of whose best phrase and courtly accent join'd
He forms one tongue, exotic and refin'd.
Talkers I've learn'd to bear; Motteux I knew, 50
Henly himself I've heard, and Budgell too,
The Doctor's wormwood style, the hash of tongues
A pedant makes, the storm of Gonson's lungs,
The whole artill’ry of the terms of war,
And all those plagues in one) the bawling bar: 55
These I could bear; but not a rogue so civil
Whose tongue will compliment you to the devil :
Become tufftaffety; and our children shall
See it plain rash awhile, then nought at all.
The thing hath travell’d, and, faith, speaks all tongues,
And only knoweth what to all states belongs ;
Made of the accents and best phrase of all these
He speaks one language. If strange meats displease,
Art can deceive or hunger force my taste ;
But pedants' motley tongue, soldiers' bombast,
Mountebanks' drug-tongue, nor the terms of law,
Are strong enough preparatives to draw
A tongue that can cheat widows, cancel scores, Make Scots speak treason, cozen subtlest whores, With royal favourites in flatt'ry vie,
60 And Oldmixon and Burnet both outlie.
He spies me out; I whisper, gracious God! What sin of mine could merit such a rod ?
a That all the shot of Dulness now must be From this thy blunderbuss discharg'd on me ! 65 Permit, he cries, no stranger to your fame, To crave your sentiment, if * ** *'s your name. What speech esteem you most ? The King's, said I. But the best words ?.....0, Sir, the Dictionary. You miss my aim; I mean the most acute, 70 And perfect speaker.... Onslow, past dispute,
Me to hear this; yet I must be content
With his tongue, in his tongue called complement;
In which he can win widows, and pay scores,
Make men speak treason, cozen subtlest whores,
Outfatter favourites, or outlie either
Jovius or Surius, or both together.
He names me, and comes to me: I whisper, God!
How have I sinn'd, that thy wrath's furious rod,
This fellow chuseth me? He saith, Sir,
I love your judgment; whom do you prefer
For the best linguist ? and I sillily
Said, that I thought Calepine's Dictionary.