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A Carlton House fête, or a squeeze at Vauxhall,
The play-house, the park, and occasional news,
Shall furnish right popular themes for his Muse.
How like you the thought?
Why, the subject is witty,
"Tis a novel idea, and exceedingly pretty!
For Virgil to sing, when he travels from home,
The fashions of London as well as of Rome.-
The grave with the gay, you must skilfully blend;
If dull, you will tire; if severe, you'll offend;
Be cautious, and take the advice of a friend.
Author. Ye Critics! before whose tribunal severe, As a dutiful bard, I am bound to appear; To a poet be merciful once in your lives, And
spare him the smarts of your critical knives ! If sometimes, a truant from classical rules, His muse take a license unknown to the schools, Reflect, Alma-mater is nothing to him, A laughing disciple of frolic and whim; Nor scalp a poor author for trifles like these, Who strives to amuse, and whose aim is to please.
Fortunate Senex, hic inter flumina nota,
Et fontes sacros, frigus captabis opacum.
VIRGIL, ECLOGA I.
M, fond of noise and strife,
Endure the bustle of a city life,
Content with Mopsa, your enamour'd bride,
To breathe the smoky vapours of Cheapside ;
I, far remov'd from busy scenes like these,
Enjoy the morning sun, the evening breeze,
To rural prospects unrepining go,
While life has yet some pleasures to bestow..
Let sordid misers ev'ry art employ
In heaping gold for others to enjoy ;
Ket sober cits, resolv'd to take a trip,
Give once a year their customers the slip,
And rashly dare (anticipating joy)
The ten-fold horrors of a Margate hoy;
Let them, good folks ! forsake the town in droves,
And idly stray through Dandelion's groves,
Or, proud to show a daughter's clumsy air,
Half-stifled in a ball-room, strut and stare;
Let them, in shuffling cards and throwing dice,
Expend a twelvemonth's profits in a trice,
And, cursing inwardly their journey down,
With empty pockets travel back to town;-
Beneath a shade I take my cheerful glass,
Nor let the precious moments idly pass;
Those blissful moments, which, in age we learn
Too swiftly vanish’d, never to return.
For wealth, the most desir'd of earthly things,
Is only useful for the joys it brings;
And let me never tauntingly be told
I simply barter'd happiness for gold.
Let me, ere gouty ills, a direful train,
Disturb my rest, and rack my joints with pain,
Or cough consumptive, when I mount the stairs,
With hollow sound, delight my greedy heirs,
Improve by mirth this remnant of my span,
And gaily cut a caper
while I can;
For age is not a time for roguish tricks,
And few can dance a reel at sixty-six.
Our neighbour Gripus left his shop and till,
To breathe the purer air of Greenwich-hill,
To taste the soft delights of rural bow'rs,
But not till age had frozen all his pow'rs :
Scarce to these scenes of pleasure did he go,
Ere gout, relentless, fasten'd on his toe;
Although, to shorten his declining life,
He lack'd no better torment than his wife.
Old Discount, who, in forty years' retreat,
Had snuff'd the wholesome air of Lombard-street,
First felt his sudden passion to retire,
When Farmer Gubbins, o'er a Christmas fire,
Declar'd what sterling joy the country yields,
And prais'd his dogs, his horses, and his fields.
To leave the town, and rusticate dispos'd,
His books are balanc’d, his accounts are clos’d;
In landed sureties he invests his gains,
And not one debt unsatisfied remains :
He builds, he plants, and counts his future years,
When Death, a ruthless creditor, appears :
Enough, that Discount did his life employ
In hoarding riches-let his heirs enjoy.
While yet my limbs are sound, and health remains, While yet the blood runs freely through my veins, Ere watchful Time, with slow and silent pace, Engraves a thousand wrinkles on my face; Ere yet my eyes grow dim, my hearing fail, I'll climb the hill, and wander through the vale; Hear the sweet Lark salute the rising day, And Philomela pour her evening lay;
Or with some chosen friend, in woodbine bow'r,
In social converse pass the cheerful hour,
Talk of our youthful days in merry vein,
And act our sports and gambols o'er again ;
For many a sport had I, at many a time,
In youth's gay spring, when life was in its prime!
On Sabbath-days some visitor comes down, And brings me all the latest news from town; How many Frenchmen we have put to flight, And who is made a bankrupt, who a knight. Proud of my snug retirement, ere we dine I show my guest my cattle and my kine, My well-stor'd greenhouse, warm and trimly neat, Where social plants from ev'ry climate meet; My young plantation, full of vernal shoots, My summer blossoms and autumnal fruits. Happy old Man! my house and grounds my own,* 1
envy not the monarch on his throne. What though the dust in summer blind my eyes, And bleak and cold the wint'ry tempests rise, No noisy fish-wife bellows me to death, No rank unwholesome vapours stop my
breath. Happy old Man! here, in my country box,
* Fortunate Senex, ergo tua rura manebunt:
Et tibi magna satis ; quamvis lapis omnia nudus, &c.