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Believe him, he has known the world too long, : And seen the death of much immortal
song He says, poor poets lost, while players won, As pimps grow rich while gallants are undone. Though Tom the poet writ with ease and pleasure, The comic Tom abounds in other treasure. Fame is at best an unperforming cheat; But ’tis substantial happiness, to EAT. Let ease, his last request, be of your giving, Nor force him to be damn'd to get his living.
THREE HOURS AFTER MARRIAGE."
[This was the celebrated farce tripartite, in which Pope, Gay, and Arbuthnot engaged, in order to ridicule Dr. Woodward, and which was most meritoriously damned at the first representation. See Cibber's Letter to Pope.]
Sir Walter Scott. Authors are judged by strange capricious rules ; The great ones are thought mad, the small ones
fools : Yet sure the best are most severely fated; For fools are only laugh'd at, wits are hated. Blockheads with reason men of sense abhor; But fool 'gainst fool, is barbarous civil war, Why on all authors then should critics fall ? Since some have writ, and shown no wit at all. Condemn a play of theirs, and they evade it; Cry, “Damn not us, but damn the French, who
By running goods these graceless owlers gain;
How shall our author hope a gentler fate,
Gallants, look here! this fool's cap* has an air.
* Shows a cap with ears.
+ Flings down the cap, and exit.
OR, A PROPER NEW BALLAD ON THE NEW OVID'S
AS IT WAS INTENDED TO BE TRANSLATED BY PERSONS OF QUALITY.
[SIR SAMUEL GARTH, who published the Metamorphoses of Ovid, translated by “ Dryden, Addison, Garth, Mainwaring, Congreve, Rowe, Pope, Gay, Eusden, Croxal, and other eminent hands," had himself no other share in the undertaking, than engaging the various translators in their task, and putting their labours into some order. The work was intended to supersede the ancient translation.
George Sandys, the old translator, (whose ghost is introduced in the verses,) was a man of great accomplishment, and pronounced by Dryden to be the best versifier of his age. The curious reader will find many particulars respecting him, and his translation of Ovid, in the Censura Literaria, volumes 4th, 5th, and 6th. He died in 1643.]
Sir Walter Scott.
Ye Lords and Commons, men of wit
And pleasure about town,
Of books of high renown.
Beware of Latin authors all,
Nor think your verses sterling, Though with a golden pen you scrawl,
And scribble in a Berlin:
For not the desk with silver nails,
Nor bureau of expense,
To writing of good sense.
Hear how a ghost in dead of night,
With saucer eyes of fire,
A wit and courtly 'squire.
Rare imp of Phoebus, hopeful youth!
Like puppy tame, that uses To fetch and carry in his mouth
The works of all the Muses.
Ah! why did he write poetry,
That hereto was so civil; And sell his soul for vanity
To rhyming and the devil ?
A desk he had of curious work,
With glittering studs about ; Within the same did Sandys lurk,
Though Ovid lay without.
Now, as he scratch'd to fetch up thought,
Forth popp'd the sprite so thin, And from the keyhole bolted out,
All upright as a pin.
With whiskers, band, and pantaloon,
And ruff composed most duly,
While as the light burnt bluely.
Ho! master Sam, quoth Sandy's sprite,
Write on, nor let me scare ye; Forsooth, if rhymes fall not in right,
To Budgel seek or Carey.
I hear the beat of Jacob's * drums,
Poor Ovid finds no quarter! See first the merry P-t comes
In haste without his garter.
Then lords and lordlings, 'squires and knights,
Wits, witlings, prigs, and peers : Garth at St. James's, and at White's,
Beats up for volunteers.
What Fenton will not do, nor Gay,
Nor Congreve, Rowe, nor Stanyan, Tom Burnet, or Tom D'Urfey may,
John Dunton, Steele, or any one.
If justice Philips' costive head
Some frigid rhymes disburses : They shall like Persian tales be read,
And glad both babes and nurses.
* Old Jacob Tonson, the editor of the Metamorphoses. + Pembroke, probably.