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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 Phæbus, 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.
Let Warwick's Muse with Ash--t join,
And Ozel's with Lord Hervey's, Tickel and Addison combine,
And Pope translate with Jervas.
L- himself, that lively lord,
Who bows to every lady,
And be like Tate and Brady.
Ye ladies, too, draw forth your pen;
pray, where can the hurt lie? Since you
have brains as well as men, As witness Lady Wortley.
Now, Tonson, list thy forces all,
Review them and tell noses : For to poor Ovid shall befal
A strange metamorphosis;
A metamorphosis more strange
Than all his books can vapour“ To what (quoth 'squire) shall Ovid change ?"
Quoth Sandys, “ To waste paper.”
[Curll says this character was intended to ridicule a very worthy
gentleman, probably Ambrose Philips.] Close to the best known author UMBRA sits, The constant index to old Button's wits. “ Who's here ?” cries Umbra : “Only Johnson."*
Your slave," and exit; but returns with Rowe:
Fool! 'tis in vain from wit to wit to roam ;
* Charles Johnson, a second rate dramatist, and great frequenter of Button's. Pope elsewhere classes him with Philips : “ Lean Philips and fat Johnson.” Farewell to London.
SYLVIA, A FRAGMENT.
Sylvia my heart in wondrous wise alarm’d,
for D-y at a ball : Now deep in Taylor, and the Book of Martyrs, Now drinking citron with his Grace and Chartres.
Men, some to business, some to pleasure take; But every woman's in her soul a rake. Frail, feverish sex; their fit now chills, now burns : Atheism and superstition rule by turns ; And a mere heathen in the carnal part, Is still a sad good Christian at her heart.*
* I have been informed, on good authority, that this character was designed for the then Duchess of Hamilton. Warlon.
Swift describes this lady as handsome, airy, and violent tempered, with abundance of wit and spirit. See Swift's Works, vol. iii. p. 118.
Sir W. Scott.