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As Rochefoucauld his maxims drew From nature

As Rochefoucauld his maxims drew
From nature I believe ""em true
They argue no corrupted mind
In him the fault is in mankind.
This maxim more than all the rest
Is thought too base for human breast
"In all distresses of our friends
We first consult our private ends
While nature kindly bent to ease us
Points out some circumstance to please us."
If this perhaps your patience move
Let reason and experience prove.
We all behold with envious eyes
Our equal raised above our size.
Who would not at a crowded show
Stand high himself keep others low?
I love my friend as well as you
But why should he obstruct my view?
Then let me have the higher post
Suppose it but an inch at most.
If in battle you should find
One whom you love of all mankind
Had some heroic action done
A champion killed or trophy won
Rather than thus be overtopped
Would you not wish his laurels cropped?
Dear honest Ned is in the gout
Lies racked with pain and you without
How patiently you hear him groan!
How glad the case is not your own!
What poet would not grieve to see
His breth""ren write as well as he?
But rather than they should excel
He wished his rivals all in hell.
Her end when Emulation misses
She turns to Envy stings and hisses
The strongest friendship yields to pride
Unless the odds be on our side.
Vain human kind! fantastic race!
Thy various follies who can trace?
Self love ambition envy pride
Their empire in our hearts divide.
Give others riches power and station
""Tis all on me an usurpation.
I have no title to aspire
Yet when you sink I seem the higher.
In Pope I cannot read a line
But with a sigh I wish it mine
When he can in one couplet fix
More sense than I can do in six
It gives me such a jealous fit
I cry "Pox take him and his wit!"
I grieve to be outdone by Gay
In my own hum""rous biting way.
Arbuthnot is no more my friend
Who dares to irony pretend
Which I was born to introduce
Refined it first and shewed its use.
St. John as well as Pultney knows
That I had some repute for prose
And till they drove me out of date
Could maul a minister of state.
If they have mortified my pride
And made me throw my pen aside
If with such talents Heav""n has blest ""em
Have I not reason to detest ""em?
To all my foes dear Fortune send
Thy gifts but never to my friend
I tamely can endure the first
But this with envy makes me burst.
Thus much may serve by way of proem
Proceed we therefore to our poem.
The time is not remote when I
Must by the course of nature die
When I foresee my special friends
Will try to find their private ends
Tho"" it is hardly understood
Which way my death can do them good
Yet thus methinks I hear ""em speak
"See how the Dean begins to break!
Poor gentleman he droops apace!
You plainly find it in his face.
That old vertigo in his head
Will never leave him till he""s dead.
Besides his memory decays
He recollects not what he says
He cannot call his friends to mind
Forgets the place where last he dined
Plyes you with stories o""er and o""er
He told them fifty times before.
How does he fancy we can sit
To hear his out of fashioned wit?
But he takes up with younger folks
Who for his wine will bear his jokes.
Faith! he must make his stories shorter
Or change his comrades once a quarter
In half the time he talks them round
There must another set be found.
"For poetry he""s past his prime
He takes an hour to find a rhyme
His fire is out his wit decayed
His fancy sunk his Muse a jade.
I""d have him throw away his pen
But there""s no talking to some men!"
And then their tenderness appears
By adding largely to my years
"He""s older than he would be reckoned
And well remembers Charles the Second.
He hardly drinks a pint of wine
And that I doubt is no good sign.
His stomach too begins to fail
Last year we thought him strong and hale
But now he""s quite another thing
I wish he may hold out till spring."
Then hug themselves and reason thus
"It is not yet so bad with us!"
In such a case they talk in tropes
And by their fears express their hopes
Some great misfortune to portend
No enemy can match a friend.
With all the kindness they profess
The merit of a lucky guess
When daily how d""ye""s come of course
And servants answer Worse and worse!
Would please ""em better than to tell
That "God be praised the Dean is well."
Then he who prophecied the best
Approves his foresight to the rest
"You know I always feared the worst
And often told you so at first."
He""d rather choose that I should die
Than his prediction prove a lie.
Not one foretells I shall recover
But all agree to give me over.
Yet should some neighbour feel a pain
Just in the parts where I complain
How many a message would he send?
What hearty prayers that I should mend?
Inquire what regimen I kept
What gave me ease and how I slept?
And more lament when I was dead
Than all the sniv""llers round my bed.
My good companions never fear
For though you may mistake a year
Though your prognostics run too fast
They must be verified at last.
Behold the fatal day arrive!
"How is the Dean?" "He""s just alive."
Now the departing prayer is read
"He hardly breathes." "The Dean is dead."
Before the Passing bell begun
The news thro"" half the town has run.
"O may we all for death prepare!
What has he left? and who""s his heir?"
"I know no more that what the news is
""Tis all bequeathed to public uses."
"To public use! A perfect whim!
What had the public done for him?
Mere envy avarice and pride
He gave it all but first he died.
And had the Dean in all the nation
No worthy friend no poor relation?
So ready to do strangers good
Forgetting his own flesh and blood!"
Now Grub Street wits are all employed
With elegies the town is cloyed
Some paragraph in ev""ry paper
To curse the Dean or bless the Drapier.
The doctors tender of their fame
Wisely on me lay all the blame
"We must confess his case was nice
But he would never take advice.
Had he been ruled for aught appears
He might have lived these twenty years
For when we opened him we found
That all his vital parts were sound."
From Dublin soon to London spread
""Tis told at court "the Dean is dead."
Kind Lady Suffolk in the spleen
Runs laughing up to tell the queen.
The queen so gracious mild and good
Cries "Is he gone? ""tis time he should.
He""s dead you say why let him rot
I""m glad the medals were forgot.
I promised him I own but when?
I only was a princess then
But now as consort of a king
You know ""tis quite a diff""rent thing."
Now Chartres at Sir Robert""s levee
Tells with a sneer the tidings heavy
"Why is he dead without his shoes?"
Cries Bob "I""m sorry for the news
O were the wretch but living still
And in his place my good friend Will!
Or had a mitre on his head
Provided Bolinbroke were dead!"
Now Curll his shop from rubbish drains
Three genuine tomes of Swift""s remains!
And then to make them pass the glibber
Revised by Tibbalds Moore and Cibber.
He""ll treat me as he does my betters
Publish my will my life my letters
Revive the libels born to die
Which Pope must bear as well as I.
Here shift the scene to represent
How those I love my death lament.
Poor Pope will grieve a month and Gay
A week and Arbuthnot a day.
St. John himself will scarce forbear
To bite his pen and drop a tear.
The rest will give a shrug and cry
"I""m sorry but we all must die."
Indifference clad in Wisdom""s guise
All fortitude of mind supplies
For how can stony bowels melt
In those who never pity felt?
When we are lashed they kiss the rod
Resigning to the will of God.
The fools my juniors by a year
Are tortured with suspense and fear
Who wisely thought my age a screen
When death approached to stand between
The screen removed their hearts are trembling
They mourn for me without dissembling.
My female friends whose tender hearts
Have better learned to act their parts
Receive the news in doleful dumps
"The Dean is dead and what is trumps?
Then Lord have mercy on his soul!
Ladies I""ll venture for the vole.
Six deans they say must bear the pall.
I wish I knew what king to call.
Madam your husband will attend
The funeral of so good a friend?
No madam ""tis a shocking sight
And he""s engaged tomorrow night
My Lady Club would take it ill
If he should fail her at quadrille.
He loved the Dean I lead a heart
But dearest friends they say must part.
His time was come he ran his race
We hope he""s in a better place."
Why do we grieve that friends should die?
No loss more easy to supply.
One year is past a different scene
No further mention of the Dean
Who now alas no more is missed
Than if he never did exist.
Where""s now this fav""rite of Apollo?
Departed and his works must follow
Must undergo the common fate
His kind of wit is out of date.
Some country squire to Lintot goes
Inquires for "Swift in Verse and Prose".
Says Lintot "I have heard the name
He died a year ago." "The same."
He searches all the shop in vain.
"Sir you may find them in Duck Lane
I sent them with a load of books
Last Monday to the pastry cook""s.
To fancy they could live a year!
I find you""re but a stranger here.
The Dean was famous in his time
And had a kind of knack at rhyme.
His way of writing now is past
The town has got a better taste.
I keep no antiquated stuff
But spick and span I have enough.
Pray do but give me leave to show ""em
Here""s Colley Cibber""s birthday poem.
This ode you never yet have seen
By Stephen Duck upon the queen.
Then here""s a letter finely penned
Against the Craftsman and his friend
It clearly shows that all reflection
On ministers is disaffection.
Next here""s Sir Robert""s vindication
And Mr Henley""s last oration.
The hawkers have not got ""em yet
Your honour please to buy a set?
Here""s Woolston""s tracts the twelfth edition
""Tis read by ev""ry politician
The country members when in town
To all their boroughs send them down
You never met a thing so smart!
The courtiers have them all by heart
Those maids of honour who can read
Are taught to use them for their creed.
The rev""rend author""s good intention
Has been rewarded with a pension.
He does an honour to his gown
By bravely running priestcraft down
He shows as sure as God""s in Gloucester
That Moses was a grand imposter
That all his miracles were cheats
Performed as jugglers do their feats.
The church had never such a writer
A shame he has not got a mitre!"
Suppose me dead and then suppose
A club assembled at the Rose
Where from discourse of this and that
I grow the subject of their chat.
And while they toss my name about
With favour some and some without
One quite indiff""rent in the cause
My character impartial draws
"The Dean if we believe report
Was never ill received at court.
As for his works in verse and prose
I own myself no judge of those
Nor can I tell what critics thought ""em
But this I know all people bought ""em
As with a moral view designed
To cure the vices of mankind
And if he often missed his aim
The world must own it to their shame
The praise is his and theirs the blame."
"Sir I have heard another story
He was a most confounded Tory
And grew or he is much belied
Extremely dull before he died."
"Can we the Drapier then forget?
Is not our nation in his debt?
""Twas he that writ the Drapier""s letters!"
"He should have left them for his betters
We had a hundred abler men
Nor need depend upon his pen.
Say what you will about his reading
You never can defend his breeding
Who in his satires running riot
Could never leave the world in quiet
Attacking when he took the whim
Court city camp all one to him!
But why should he except he slobber""t
Offend our patriot great Sir Robert
Whose counsels aid the sov""reign power
To save the nation every hour?
What scenes of evil he unravels
In satires libels lying travels!
Not sparing his own clergy cloth
But eats into it like a moth!"
"His vein ironically grave
Exposed the fool and lashed the knave.
To steal a hint was never known
But what he writ was all his own.
He never thought an honour done him
Because a duke was proud to own him
Would rather slip aside and choose
To talk with wits in dirty shoes
Despised the fools with stars and garters
So often seen caressing Chartres.
He never courted men in station
Nor persons held in admiration.
Of no man""s greatness was afraid
Because he sought for no man""s aid.
Though trusted long in great affairs
He gave himself no haughty airs.
Without regarding private ends
Spent all his credit for his friends
And only chose the wise and good
No flatterers no allies in blood
But succoured virtue in distress
And seldom failed of good success
As numbers in their hearts must own
Who but for him had been unknown.
With princes kept a due decorum
But never stood in awe before ""em.
He followed David""s lesson just
In princes never put thy trust.
And would you make him truly sour
Provoke him with a slave in power.
The Irish senate if you named
With what impatience he declaimed!
Fair LIBERTY was all his cry
For her he stood prepared to die
For her he boldly stood alone
For her he oft exposed his own.
Two kingdoms just as faction led
Had set a price upon his head
But not a traitor could be found
To sell him for six hundred pound.
Had he but spared his tongue and pen
He might have rose like other men
But power was never in his thought
And wealth he valued not a groat.
Ingratitude he often found
And pitied those who meant the wound
But kept the tenor of his mind
To merit well of human kind
Nor made a sacrifice of those
Who still were true to please his foes.
He laboured many a fruitless hour
To reconcile his friends in power
Saw mischief by a faction brewing
While they pursued each other""s ruin.
But finding vain was all his care
He left the court in mere despair.
And oh! how short are human schemes!
Here ended all our golden dreams.
What St John""s skill in state affairs
What Ormond""s valour Oxford""s cares
To save their sinking country lent
Was all destroyed by one event.
Too soon that precious life was ended
On which alone our weal depended.
When up a dangerous faction starts
With wrath and vengeance in their hearts
By solemn League and Cov""nant bound
To ruin slaughter and confound
To turn religion to a fable
And make the government a Babel
Pervert the laws disgrace the gown
Corrupt the senate rob the crown
To sacrifice old England""s glory
And make her infamous in story
When such a tempest shook the land
How could unguarded Virtue stand!
With horror grief despair the Dean
Beheld the dire destructive scene
His friends in exile or the tower
Himself within the frown of power
Pursued by base envenomed pens
Far to the land of slaves and fens
A servile race in folly nursed
Who truckle most when treated worst.
By innocence and resolution
He bore continual persecution
While numbers to preferment rose
Whose merits were to be his foes
When ev""n his own familiar friends
Intent upon their private ends
Like renegadoes now he feels
Against him lifting up their heels.
The Dean did by his pen defeat
An infamous destructive cheat
Taught fools their int""rest how to know
And gave them arms to ward the blow.
Envy has owned it was his doing
To save that hapless land from ruin
While they who at the steerage stood
And reaped the profit sought his blood.
To save them from their evil fate
In him was held a crime of state.
A wicked monster on the bench
Whose fury blood could never quench
As vile and profligate a villain
As modern Scroggs or old Tresilian
Who long all justice had discarded
Nor feared he God nor man regarded
Vowed on the Dean his rage to vent
And make him of his zeal repent.
But Heaven his innocence defends
The grateful people stand his friends
Not strains of law nor judge""s frown
Nor topics brought to please the crown
Nor witness hired nor jury picked
Prevail to bring him in convict.
In exile with a steady heart
He spent his life""s declining part
Where folly pride and faction sway
Remote from St John Pope and Gay.
Alas poor Dean! his only scope
Was to be held a misanthrope.
This into gen""ral odium drew him
Which if he liked much good may""t do him.
His zeal was not to lash our crimes
But discontent against the times
For had we made him timely offers
To raise his post or fill his coffers
Perhaps he might have truckled down
Like other brethren of his gown.
For party he would scarce have bled
I say no more because he""s dead.
What writings has he left behind?
I hear they""re of a different kind
A few in verse but most in prose
Some high flown pamphlets I suppose
All scribbled in the worst of times
To palliate his friend Oxford""s crimes
To praise Queen Anne nay more defend her
As never fav""ring the Pretender
Or libels yet concealed from sight
Against the court to show his spite
Perhaps his Travels part the third
A lie at every second word
Offensive to a loyal ear
But not one sermon you may swear."
"His friendships there to few confined
Were always of the middling kind
No fools of rank a mongrel breed
Who fain would pass for lords indeed.
Where titles give no right or power
And peerage is a withered flower
He would have held it a disgrace
If such a wretch had known his face.
On rural squires that kingdom""s bane
He vented oft his wrath in vain
[Biennial] squires to market brought
Who sell their souls and [votes] for nought
The [nation stripped ] go joyful back
To [rob the] church their tenants rack
Go snacks with [rogues and rapparees ]
And keep the peace to pick up fees
In every job to have a share
A goal or barrack to repair
And turn the tax for public roads
Commodious to their own abodes."
"Perhaps I may allow the Dean
Had too much satire in his vein
And seemed determined not to starve it
Because no age could more deserve it.
Yet malice never was his aim
He lashed the vice but spared the name
No individual could resent
Where thousands equally were meant.
His satire points at no defect
But what all mortals may correct
For he abhorred that senseless tribe
Who call it humour when they gibe.
He spared a hump or crooked nose
Whose owners set not up for beaux.
True genuine dulness moved his pity
Unless it offered to be witty.
Those who their ignornace confessed
He ne""er offended with a jest
But laughed to hear an idiot quote
A verse from Horace learned by rote.
Vice if it e""er can be abashed
Must be or ridiculed or lashed.
If you resent it who""s to blame?
He neither knew you nor your name.
Should vice expect to ""scape rebuke
Because its owner is a duke?"
"He knew an hundred pleasant stories
With all the turns of Whigs and Tories
Was cheerful to his dying day
And friends would let him have his way."
"He gave what little wealth he had
To build a house for fools and mad
And showed by one satiric touch
No nation wanted it so much.
That kingdom he hath left his debtor
I wish it soon may have a better."
And since you dread no further lashes
Methinks you may forgive his ashes..

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