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Some fiery fop, with new commission vain, Who sleeps on brambles till he kills his man; Some frolic drunkard, reeling from a feast, Provokes a broil, and stabs you for a jest.
“Yet e'en these heroes, mischievously gay, Lords of the street, and terrors of the way; Flush'd as they are with folly, youth, and
wine, Their prudent insults to the poor confine ; Afar they mark the flambeau's bright ap
proach, And shun the shining train and golden coach. "In vain, these dangers pass'd, your doors
you close, And hope the balmy blessings of repose : Cruel with guilt, and daring with despair, The midnight murderer bursts the faithless
Where wav'ring man, betray'd by vent'rous
pride, To chase the dreary paths, without a guide, As treach’rous phantoms in the mist delude, Shuns fancied ills, or chases airy good ; How rarely reason guides the stubborn choice, Rules the bold hand, or prompts the suppliant
voice; How nations sink by darling schemes op
press’d, When vengeance listens to the fool's request. Fate wings with ev'ry wish th' afflictive dart, Each gift of nature and each grace of art: With fatal heat impetuous courage glows, With fatal sweetness elocution flows, Impeachment stops the speaker's powerful
breath, And restless fire precipitates on death. But, scarce observed, the knowing and the
bold Fall in the general massacre of gold; Wide wasting pest! that rages unconfined, And crowds with crimes the records of man
Invades the sacred hour of silent rest, And plants, unseen, a dagger in your breast. "Scarce can our fields, such crowds at Tyburn
die, With hemp the gallows and the fleet supply. Propose your schemes, ye senatorian band, Whose ways and means support the sinking
Lest ropes be wanting in the tempting spring,
"A single jail, in Alfred's golden reign,
own! "Much could I add,—but see the boat at The tide retiring, calls me from the land : Farewell ! —When youth, and health, and for
tune spent, Thou fliest for refuge to the wilds of Kent; And, tired like me with follies and with crimes, In angry numbers warn'st succeeding times ; Then shall thy friend, nor thou refuse his
aid, Still foe to vice, forsake his Cambrian shade ; In virtue's cause once more exert his rage, Thy satire point, and animate thy page.'
Samuel Johnson.—Born 1709, Died 1784.
For gold his sword the hireling ruffian draws, For gold the hireling judge distorts the laws; Wealth heap'd on wealth, nor truth nor safety
buys, The dangers gather as the treasures rise. Let history tell where rival kings com
mand, And dubious title shakes the madded land, When statntes glean the refuse of the sword, How much more safe the vassal than the
lord ; Low skulks the hind beneath the rage of
power, And leaves the wealthy traitor in the Tower, Untouch'd his cottage, and his slumbers
sound, Though confiscation's vultures hover round.
The needy traveller, serene and gay, Walks the wild heath and sings his toil
away. Does envy seize thee? crush th' upbraiding
joy, Increase his riches, and his peace destroy. Now fears in dire vicissitude invade, The rustling brake alarms, and quiv'ring
shade, Nor light nor darkness bring his pain relief, One shows the plunder, and one hides the
thief. Yet still one gen'ral cry the skies assails, And gain and grandeur load the tainted
gales; Few know the toiling statesman's fear or
care, The insidious rival and the gaping heir.
Once more, Democritus, arise on earth, With cheerful wisdom and instructive mirth, See motley life in modern trappings dress’d, And feed with varied fools the eternal jest: Thou who couldst laugh, where want en
chain'd caprice, Toil crush'd conceit, and man was of a piece ;
Still to new heights his restless wishes tower, Claim leads to claim, and power advances
power : Till conquest unresisted ceased to please, And rights submitted left him none to seize : At length his soy’reign frowns—the train of
state Mark the keen glance, and watch the sign to
hate. Where'er he turns, he meets a stranger's eye, His suppliants scorn him, and his followers
Where wealth unloved without a mourner
died ; And scarce a sycophant was fed by pride ; Where ne'er was known the form of mock
debate, Or seen a new-made mayor's unwieldy state ; Where change of fav’rites made no change of
laws, And senates heard before they judged a
cause ; How wouldst thou shake at Britain's modish
tribe, Dart the quick taunt, and edge the piercing
gibe ! Attentive truth and nature to descry, And pierce each scene with philosophic eye. To thee were solemn toys, or empty show, The robes of pleasure, and the veils of woe : All aid the farce, and all thy mirth maintain, Whose joys are causeless, or whose griefs are
vain. Such was the scorn that fill'd the sage's
mind, Renew'd at ev'ry glance on human kind ; How just that scorn ere yet thy voice declare, Search ev'ry state, and canvass ev'ry prayer. Unnumber'd suppliants crowd Preferment's
gate, Athirst for wealth, and burning to be great; Delusive Fortune hears th' incessant call, They mount, they shine, evaporate, and fall. On ev'ry stage the foes of peace attend, Hate dogs their flight, and insult mocks their
end. Love ends with hope, the sinking statesman's
door Pours in the morning worshipper no more; For growing names the weekly scribbler lies, To growing wealth the dedicator flies ; From ev'ry room descends the painted face, That hung the bright pallalium of the place; And, smoked in kitchens, or in auctions sold, To better features yields the frame of gold ; For now no more we trace in ev'ry line Horoic worth, benevolence divine : The form distorted justifies the fall, And detestation rids the indignant wall.
But will not Britain hear the last appeal, Sign her foe's doom, or guard her favourite's
zeal ? Through Freedom's sons no more remon.
strance rings, Degrading nobles and controlling kings ; Our supple tribes repress their patriot
throats, And ask no questions but the price of votes; With weekly libels and septennial ale, Their wish is full to riot and to rail.
In full-blown dignity, see Wolsey stand, Law in his voice, and fortune in his hand : To him the church, the realm, their powers
consign, Through him the rays of regal bounty shine, Turn'd by his nod the stream of honour
flows, His sinile alone security bestows :
Now drops at once the pride of awful state,
kings. Speak thon whose thoughts at humble
peace repine, Shall Wolsey's wealth with Wolsey's end be
thine ? Or livest thou now, with safer pride content, The wisest justice on the banks of Trent? For, why did Wolsey, near the steeps of fate, On weak foundations raise the enormous
weight ? Why, but to sink beneath misfortune's blow, With louder ruin to the gulfs below ? What gave great Villiers to the assassin's
knife, And fix'd disease on Harley's closing life? What murder'd Wentworth, and what exiled
Hyde, By kings protected, and to kings allied ? What but their wish indulged in courts to
shine, And power too great to keep or to resign ? When first the college rolls receive his
name, The young enthusiast quits his ease for
fame; Resistless burns the fever of renown, Caught from the strong contagion of the
gown : O’er Bodley's dome his future labours spread, And Bacon's mansion trembles o'er his
head. Are these thy views ? Proceed, illustrious
youth, And Virtue guard thee to the throne of
the gen'rous heat Till captive Science yields her last retreat ; Should reason guide thee with her brightest
ray And pour on misty doubt resistless day; Should no false kindness lure to loose delight, Nor praise relax, nor difficulty fright; Should tempting Novelty thy cell refrain, And Sloth effuse her opiate fumes in vain;
Should Beanty blunt on fops her fatal dart,
thee: Deign on the passing world to turn thine
eyes, And pause awhile from letters to be wise ; There mark what ills the scholar's life assail, Toil, envy, want, the patron, and the jail. See nations, slowly wise and meanly just, To buried merit raise the tardy bust. If dreams yet flatter, once again attend, Hear Lydiat's life, and Galileo's end. Nor deem, when Learning her last prize
bestows, The glitt'ring eminence exempt from foes ; See, when the vulgar 'scapes, despised or
awed, Rebellion's vengeful talons seize on Laud. From meaner minds though smaller fines
content, The plunder'd palace, or sequester'd rent, Mark'd out by dangerous parts, he meets the
Peace courts his hand, but spreads her charms
in vain; “ Think nothing gain'd," he cries, “till
nought remain, On Moscow's walls till Gothic standards fly, And all be mine beneath the polar sky.” The march begins in military state, And nations on his eye suspended wait ; Stern Famine guards the solitary coast, And Winter barricades the realms of Frost; He comes, nor want nor cold his course
delay; Hide, blushing glory, hide Pultowa's day: The vanquish'd hero leaves his broken bands, And shows his miseries in distant lands; Condemn’d a needy supplicant to wait, While ladies interpose, and slaves debate. But did not chance at length her error mend ? Did no subverted empire mark his end ? Did rival monarchs give the fatal wound ? Or hostile millions press him to the ground ? His fall was destined to a barren strand, A petty fortress, and a dubious hand ; He left the name, at which the world grew
pale, To point a moral, or adorn a tale. All times their scenes of pompous woes
afford, From Persia's tyrant to Bavaria's lord. In gay hostility and barb'rous pride, With half mankind embattled at his side, Great Xerxes comes to seize the certain prey, And starves exhausted regions in his way ; Attendant Flatt'ry counts his myriads o'er, Till counted myriads soothe his pride no
This power has praise, that virtue scarce can
Till fame supplies the universal charm.
wreaths regret, From age to age in everlasting debt ; Wreaths which at last the dear-bought right
convey To rust on medals, or on stones decay. On what foundation stands the warrior's
pride, How just his hores, le Swedish Charles
Fresh praise is tried till madness fires his
mind, The waves he lashes, and enchains the wind ; New powers are claim'd, new powers are still
bestow'd, Till rude resistance lops the spreading god; The daring Greeks deride the martial show, And heap their valleys with the gaudy foe; Thinsulted sea with humbler thought he
gains, A single skiff to speed his flight remains ; Th' encumber'd oar scarce leaves the dreaded
coast Through purple billows and a floating host.
The bo: H Bavarian, in a luckless hour, Tries the dread summits of Cæsarean power, With unexpected legions bursts away, And sees defenceless realms receive his sway : Short sway! fair Austria spreads her mournful The queen, the beauty, sets the world in
arms; From hill to hill the beacon's rousing blaze Spreads wide the hope of plunder and of
praise ; The fierce Croatian, and the wild Hussar, With all the sons of ravage, crowd the war ; The battled prince, in honour's fatt'ring
bloom Of hasty greatness, finds the fatal doom ;
His foes' derision and his subjects' blame, And steals to death from anguish and from
shame. “Enlarge my life with multitude of days !” In health, in sickness, thus the suppliant
prays : Hides from himself its state, and shuns to
know, That life protracted is protracted woe. Time hovers o'er, impatient to destroy, And shuts up all the passages of joy: In vain their gifts the bounteous seasons
pour, The fruit autumnal, and the vernal flower ; With listless eyes the dotard views the store, He views, and wonders that they please no
more; Now pall the tasteless meats, and joyless
wines, And Luxury with sighs her slave resigns. Approach, ye minstrels, try the soothing
strain, Diffuse the tuneful lenitives of pain : No sounds, alas ! would touch the impervious
New sorrow rises as the day returns,
await, Who set unclouded in the gulfs of Fate. From Lydia's monarch should the search
descend, By Solon caution'd to regard his end, In life's last scene what prodigies surprise, Fears of the brave, and follies of the wise ! From Marlb'rough's eyes the streams of
dotage flow, And Swift expires a driv'ler and a show.
The teeming mother, anxious for her race, Begs for each birth the fortune of a face; Yet Vane could tell what ills from beauty
spring; And Sedley cursed the form that pleased a
king. Ye nymphs of rosy lips and radiant eyes, Whom pleasure keeps too busy to be wise ; Whom joys with soft varieties invite, By day the frolic, and the dance by night; Who frown with vanity, who smile with art, And ask the latest fashion of the heart; What care, what rules, your heedless charms
Though dancing mountains witness'd Orpheus
near ; Nor lute nor lyre his feeble powers attend, Nor sweeter music of a virtuons friend; But everlasting dictates crowd his tongue, Perversely grave, or positively wrong. The still returning tale, and ling'ring jest, Perplex the fawning niece and pamper'd
guest, While growing hopes scarce awe the gath'ring
sneer, And scarce a legacy can bribe to hear : The watchful guests still hint the last
offence; The daughter's petulance, the son's expense, Improve his heady rage with treach'rous
skill, And mould his passions till they make his
will. Unnumber:d maladies his joints invade, Lay siege to life, and press the dire blockade ; But unextinguish'd av'rice still remains, And dreaded losses aggravate his pains ; He turns, with anxious heart and crippled
hands, His bonds of debt, and mortgages of lands; Or views his coffers with suspicious eyes, Unlocks his gold, and counts it till he dies.
But grant, the virtues of a temp'rate prime Bless with an age exempt from scorn
crime ; An age that melts with unperceived decay, And glides in modest innocence away ; Whose peaceful day benevolence endears, Whose night congratulating conscience cheers; The general fav’rite as the general friend : Such age there is, and who shall wish its
end ? Yet ev'n on this her load Misfortune
flings, To press the weary minutes' flagging wings;
Each nymph your rival, and each youth your
slave ? Against your fame with fondness hate com.
bines, The rival batters, and the lover mines. With distant voice neglected Virtue calls, Less heard and less, the faint remonstrance
falls; Tired with contempt, she quits the slipp'ry
reign, And Pride and Prudence take her seat in
vain. In crowd at once, where none the pass
defend, The harmless freedom, and the private
friend. The guardians yield, by force superior plied : To Int’rest, Prudence; and to Flatt’ry,
Pride. Here beauty falls, betray'd, despised, dis
tress'd, And hissing Infamy proclaims the rest. Where then shall Hope and Fear their
objects find ? Must dull suspense corrupt the stagnant
His virtues walk'd their narrow round,
Nor made a pause, nor left a void ; And sure th' Eternal Master found
The single talent well employ'd. The busy day, the peaceful night,
Unfelt, uncounted, glided by ; His frame was firm, his powers were bright,
Though now his eightieth year was nigh.
No cold gradations of decay,
Samuel Johnson.—Born 1709, Died 1784.
There first the wren thy myrtles shed
To him thy cell was shown ;
Thy turtles mix'd their own.
Come, Pity, come, by Fancy's aid,
Thy temple's pride design :
In all who view the shrine.
Yet still he fills affection's eye,
Obscurely wise and coarsely kind;
Thy praise to merit unrefined.
And hovering Death prepared the blow. His vigorous remedy display'd
The power of art without the show. In Misery's darkest cavern known,
His useful care was ever nigh,
And lonely want retired to die.
No petty gain disdain'd by pride ;
The toil of every day supplied.
There Picture's toil shall well relate
O'er mortal bliss prevail :
With each disastrous tale.
There let me oft, retired by day, In dreams of passion melt away,