[Page 170]

A DIALOGUE BETWEEN A POET AND HIS SERVANT.

To enter into the beauties of this satire, it must be remem bered, that slaves, among the Romans, during the feasts of Saturn, wore their masters habits, and were allow ed to say what they pleased.

SERVANT.
1 SIR, I've long waited in my turn to have
2 A word with you but I'm your humble slave.
P.
3 What knave is that? my rascal!
[Page 171]
S.
3 Sir, 'tis I,
4 No knave nor rascal, but your trusty Guy.
P.
5 Well, as your wages still are due, I'll bear
6 Your rude impertinence this time of year.
S.
7 Some folks are drunk one day, and some for ever,
8 And some, like Wharton, but twelve years together.
9 Old Evremond, renown'd for wit and dirt,
10 Would change his living oftener than his shirt;
11 Roar with the rakes of state a month; and come
12 To starve another in his hole at home.
13 So rov'd wild Buckingham the public jest,
14 Now some innholder's, now a monarch's guest;
15 His life and politics of every shape,
16 This hour a Roman, and the next an ape.
17 The gout in every limb from every vice
18 Poor Clodio hir'd a boy to throw the dice.
19 Some wench for ever; and their sins on those,
20 By custom, sit as easy as their cloaths.
21 Some fly, like pendulums, from good to evil,
22 And in that point are madder than the devil:
23 For they
P.
23 To what will these vile maxims tend?
24 And where, sweet sir, will your reflections end?
S.
25 In you.
P.
25 In me, you knave? make out your charge.
S.
26 You praise low-living, but you live at large.
27 Perhaps you scarce believe the rules you teach,
28 Or find it hard to practise what you preach.
29 Scarce have you paid one idle journey down,
30 But, without business, you're again in town.
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31 If none invite you, sir, abroad to roam,
32 Then Lord, what pleasure 'tis to read at home;
33 And sip your two half-pints, with great delight,
34 Of beer at noon, and muddled port at night.
35 From
* The seat of John Pitt, esq. in Dorsetshire.
Encombe, John comes thundering at the door,
36 With "Sir, my master begs you to come o'er,
37 "To pass these tedious hours, these winter nights,
38 "Not that he dreads invasions, rogues, or sprites."
39 Strait for your two best wigs aloud you call,
40 This stiff in buckle, that not curl'd at all,
41 "And where, you rascal, are the spurs,"you cry;
42 "And O! what blockhead laid the buskins by?"
43 On your old batter'd mare you'll needs be gone,
44 (No matter whether on four legs or none)
45 Splash, plunge, and stumble, as you scour the heath;
46 All swear at Morden 'tis on life or death:
47 Wildly thro' Wareham streets you scamper on,
48 Raise all the dogs and voters in the town;
49 Then fly for six long dirty miles as bad,
50 That Corfe and Kingston gentry think you mad.
51 And all this furious riding is to prove
52 Your high respect, it seems, and eager love:
53 And yet, that mighty honour to obtain,
54 Banks, Shaftesbury, Doddington may send in vain.
55 Before you go, we curse the noise you make,
56 And bless the moment that you turn your back.
57 As for myself, I own it to your face,
58 I love good eating, and I take my glass:
59 But sure 'tis strange, dear sir, that this should be
60 In you amusement, but a fault in me.
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61 All this is bare refining on a name,
62 To make a difference where the fault's the same.
63 My father sold me to your service here,
64 For this fine livery, and four pounds a year.
65 A livery you should wear as well as I,
66 And this I'll prove but lay your cudgel by.
67 You serve your passions Thus, without a jest,
68 Both are but fellow-servants at the best.
69 Yourself, good Sir, are play'd by your desires,
70 A mere tall puppet dancing on the wires.
P.
71 Who, at this rate of talking, can be free?
S.
72 The brave, wise, honest man, and only he:
73 All else are slaves alike, the world around,
74 Kings on the throne, and beggars on the ground:
75 He, sir, is proof to grandeur, pride, or pelf,
76 And (greater still) is master of himself:
77 Not to-and-fro by fears and factions hurl'd,
78 But loose to all the interests of the world:
79 And while that world turns round, entire and whole,
80 He keeps the sacred tenor of his soul;
81 In every turn of fortune still the same,
82 As gold unchang'd, or brighter from the flame:
83 Collected in himself, with godlike pride,
84 He sees the darts of envy glance aside;
85 And, fix'd like Atlas, while the tempests blow,
86 Smiles at the idle storms that roar below.
87 One such you know, a layman, to your shame,
88 And yet the honour of your blood and name.
89 If you can such a character maintain,
90 You too are free, and I'm your slave again.
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91 But when in Hemskirk's pictures you delight,
92 More than myself, to see two drunkards fight;
93 "Fool, rogue, sot, blockhead,"or such names are mine:
94 "Your's are"a Connoisseur, "or"Deep Divine. "
95 I'm chid for loving a luxurious bit,
96 The sacred prize of learning, worth and wit:
97 And yet some sell their lands, these bits to buy;
98 Then, pray, who suffers most from luxury?
99 I'm chid, 'tis true; but then I pawn no plate,
100 I seal no bonds, I mortgage no estate.
101 Besides, high living, sir, must wear you out
102 With surfeits, qualms, a fever, or the gout.
103 By some new pleasures are you still engross'd,
104 And when you save an hour, you think it lost.
105 To sports, plays, races, from your books you run,
106 And like all company, except your own.
107 You hunt, drink, sleep, or (idler still) you rhyme;
108 Why? but to banish thought, and murder time.
109 And yet that thought, which you discharge in vain,
110 Like a foul-loaded piece, recoils again.
P.
111 Tom, fetch a cane, a whip, a club, a stone,
S.
112 For what?
P.
112 A sword, a pistol, or a gun:
113 I'll shoot the dog.
S.
113 Lord! who would be a wit?
114 He's in a mad, or in a rhyming fit.
P.
115 Fly, fly, you rascal, for your spade and fork;
116 For once I'll set your lazy bones to work.
117 Fly, or I'll send you back, without a groat,
118 To the bleak mountains where you first were caught.

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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): A DIALOGUE BETWEEN A POET AND HIS SERVANT.
Themes: advice; moral precepts; poetry; literature; writing
Genres: heroic couplet; dialogue; imitation; translation; paraphrase
References: DMI 22159

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Source edition

A collection of the most esteemed pieces of poetry: that have appeared for several years. With variety of originals, by the late Moses Mendez, Esq; and other contributors to Dodsley's collection. To which this is intended as a supplement. London: printed for Richardson and Urquhart, 1767, pp. 170-174. [8],320p. ; 8⁰. (ESTC T124631; DMI 1073; OTA K099398.000)

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.

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