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Occasion'd by an EPISTLE Of Mr. POPE's on that Subject.

1 WHoe'er he be that to a Taste aspires,
2 Let him read this, and be what he desires.
3 In men and manners vers'd from life I write,
4 Not what was once, but what is now polite.
5 Those who of courtly France have made the tour,
6 Can scarce our English aukwardness endure.
7 But honest men who never were abroad,
8 Like England only, and its Taste applaud.
9 Strife still subsists, which yields the better goût;
10 Books or the world, the many or the few.
11 True Taste to me is by this touchstone known,
12 That's always best that's nearest to my own.
13 To shew that my pretensions are not vain,
14 My father was a play'r in Drury-lane,
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15 Pears and pistachio-nuts my mother sold,
16 He a dramatick poet, she a scold.
17 His tragic Muse could countesses affright,
18 His wit in boxes was my lord's delight.
19 No mercenary priest e'er join'd their hands,
20 Uncramp'd by wedlock's unpoetick bands.
21 Laws my Pindarick parents matter'd not,
22 So I was tragi-comically got.
23 My infant tears a sort of measure kept,
24 I squall'd in distichs, and in triplets wept.
25 No youth did I in education waste,
26 Happy in an hereditary Taste.
27 Writing ne'er cramp'd the sinews of my thumb,
28 Nor barbarous birch e'er brush'd my tender bum.
29 My guts ne'er suffer'd from a college cook,
30 My name ne'er enter'd in a buttery-book.
31 Grammar in vain the sons of Priscian teach,
32 Good parts are better than eight parts of speech:
33 Since these declin'd, those undeclin'd they call,
34 I thank my stars, that I declin'd them all.
35 To Greek or Latin tongues without pretence,
36 I trust to mother wit and father sense.
37 Nature's my guide, all sciences I scorn,
38 Pains I abhor, I was a poet born.
39 Yet is my goût for criticism such,
40 I've got some French, and know a little Dutch.
41 Huge commentators grace my learned shelves,
42 Notes upon books out-do the books themselves.
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43 Criticks indeed are valuable men,
44 But hyper-criticks are as good agen.
45 Tho' Blackmore's works my soul with raptures fill,
46 With notes by Bentley they'd be better still.
47 The Boghouse-Miscellany's well design'd.
48 To ease the body, and improve the mind.
49 Swift's whims and jokes for my resentment call,
50 For he displeases me that pleases all.
51 Verse without rhyme I never could endure,
52 Uncouth in numbers, and in sense obscure.
53 To him as nature, when he ceas'd to see,
54 Milton's an universal blank to me.
55 Confirm'd and settled by the nation's voice,
56 Rhyme is the poet's pride, and people's choice.
57 Always upheld by national support,
58 Of market, university, and court:
59 Thomson, write blank; but know that for that reason,
60 These lines shall live when thine are out of season.
61 Rhyme binds and beautifies the poet's lays,
62 As London ladies owe their shape to stays.
63 Had Cibber's self the Careless Husband wrote,
64 He for the laurel ne'er had had my vote:
65 But for his epilogues and other plays,
66 He thoroughly deserves the modern bays.
67 It pleases me, that Pope unlaurell'd goes,
68 While Cibber wears the bays for play-house prose:
69 So Britain's monarch once uncover'd sate,
70 While Bradshaw bully'd in a broad-brimm'd hat.
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71 Long live old Curl! he ne'er to publish fears
72 The speeches, verses, and last will of peers.
73 How oft has he a publick spirit shewn,
74 And pleas'd our ears, regardless of his own?
75 But to give merit due, though Curl's the fame,
76 Are not his brother book-sellers the same?
77 Can statutes keep the British press in awe,
78 While that sells best, that's most against the law?
79 Lives of dead play'rs my leisure hours beguile,
80 And Sessions-papers tragedize my stile.
81 'Tis charming reading in Ophelia's life,
82 So oft a mother, and not once a wife:
83 She could with just propriety behave,
84 Alive with peers, with monarchs in her grave:
85 Her lot how oft have envious harlots wept,
86 By prebends bury'd, and by generals kept.
87 T'improve in morals Mandevil I read,
88 And Tyndal's scruples are my settled creed.
89 I travell'd early, and I soon saw through
90 Religion all, ere I was twenty-two,
91 Shame, pain, or poverty shall I endure,
92 When ropes or opium can my ease procure?
93 When money's gone, and I no debts can pay,
94 Self-murder is an honourable way.
95 As Pasaran directs I'd end my life,
96 And kill myself, my daughter, and my wife.
97 Burn but that Bible which the parson quotes,
98 And men of spirit all shall cut their throats.
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99 But not to writings I confine my pen,
100 I have a Taste for buildings, musick, men.
101 Young travell'd coxcombs mighty knowledge boast,
102 With superficial smattering at most.
103 Not so my mind, unsatisfied with hints,
104 Knows more than Budgel writes, or Roberts prints.
105 I know the town, all houses I have seen,
106 From High-Park corner down to Bednal-Green.
107 Sure wretched Wren was taught by bungling Jones,
108 To murder mortar, and disfigure stones!
109 Who in Whitehall can symmetry discern?
110 I reckon Covent-garden church a barn.
111 Nor hate I less thy vile catheral, Paul!
112 The choir's too big, the cupola's too small:
113 Substantial walls and heavy roofs I like,
114 'Tis Vanbrug's structures that my fancy strike:
115 Such noble ruins ev'ry pile wou'd make,
116 I wish they'd tumble for the prospect sake.
117 To lofty Chelsea, or to Greenwich dome,
118 Soldiers and sailors all are welcom'd home.
119 Her poor to palaces Britannia brings,
120 St. James's hospital may serve for kings.
121 Buildings so happily I understand,
122 That for one house I'd mortgage all my land.
123 Dorick, Ionick, shall not there be found,
124 But it shall cast me threescore thousand pound.
125 From out my honest workmen, I'll select
126 A Bricklay'r, and proclaim him artichect;
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127 First bid him build me a stupendous dome,
128 Which having finish'd, we set out for Rome;
129 Take a week's view of Venice and the Brent,
130 Stare round, see nothing, and come home content.
131 I'll have my Villa too, a sweet abode,
132 Its situation shall be London road:
133 Pots o'er the door I'll place like Cits balconies,
134 Which
a Bentley's Milton, Book 9. ver. 439.
Bentley calls the Gardens of Adonis.
135 I'll have my gardens in the fashion too,
136 For what is beautiful that is not new?
137 Fair four-legg'd temples, theatres that vye
138 With all the angles of a Christmas-pye.
139 Does it not merit the beholder's praise,
140 What's high to sink? and what is low to raise?
141 Slopes shall ascend where once a green-house stood,
142 And in my horse-pond I will plant a wood.
143 Let misers dread the hoarded gold to waste,
144 Expence and alteration shews a Taste.
145 In curious paintings I'm exceeding nice,
146 And know their several beauties by their price.
147 Auctions and sales I constantly attend,
148 But chuse my pictures by a skilful friend.
149 Originals and copies much the same.
150 The picture's value is the painter's name.
151 My Taste in sculpture from my choice is seen,
152 I buy no statues that are not obscene.
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153 In spite of Addison and ancient Rome,
154 Sir Cloudesly Shovel's is my fav'rite tomb.
155 How oft have I with admiration stood,
156 To view some city-magistrate in wood!
157 I gaze with pleasure on a lord-mayor's head,
158 Cast with propriety in gilded lead.
159 Oh could I view through London as I pass,
160 Some broad Sir Balaam in Corinthian brass:
161 High on a pedestal, ye freemen, place
162 His magisterial paunch and griping face;
163 Letter'd and gilt, let him adorn Cheapside,
164 And grant the tradesman, what a king's deny'd.
165 Old coins and medals I collect, 'tis true,
166 Sir Andrew has 'em, and I'll have 'em too.
167 But among friends if I the truth might speak,
168 I like the modern, and despise th' antique.
169 Tho' in the drawers of my japan bureau,
170 To lady Gripeall I the Caesars shew,
171 'Tis equal to her ladyship or me,
172 A copper Otho, or a Scotch baubeè.
173 Without Italian, or without an ear,
174 To Bononcini's musick I adhere:
175 Musick has charms to sooth a savage breast,
176 And therefore proper at a sheriff's feast.
177 My soul has oft a secret pleasure found,
178 In the harmonious bagpipe's lofty sound.
179 Bagpipes for men, shrill German-flutes for boys,
180 I'm English born, and love a grumbling noise.
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181 The stage should yield the solemn organ's note,
182 And scripture tremble in the Eunuch's throat.
183 Let Senesino sing, what David writ,
184 And hallelujahs charm the pious pit.
185 Eager in throngs the town to Hester came,
186 And Oratorio was a lucky name.
187 Thou, Heidegger! the English Taste hast found,
188 And rul'st the mob of quality with sound.
189 In Lent, if masquerades displease the town,
190 Call e'm Ridotto's, and they still go down.
191 Go on prince Phiz! to please the British Nation,
192 Call thy next Masquerade a Convocation.
193 Bears, lions, wolves, and elephants I breed,
194 And Philosophical Transactions read.
195 Next lodge I'll be Free-mason, nothing less,
196 Unless I happen to be F. R. S.
197 I have a palate, and (as yet) two ears,
198 Fit company for porters or for peers.
199 Of ev'ry useful knowledge I've a share,
200 But my top talent is a bill of fare.
201 Sir loins and rumps of beef offend my eyes,
202 Pleas'd with frogs fricasseed, and coxcomb-pies.
203 Dishes I chuse though little, yet genteel,
204 Snails the first course, and peepers crown the meal.
205 Pigs heads with hair on, much my fancy please,
206 I love young colly-flow'rs if stew'd in cheese,
207 And give ten guineas for a pint of peas.
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208 No tattling servants to my table come,
209 My grace is silence, and my waiter dumb,
210 Queer country-puts extol queen Bess's reign,
211 And of lost hospitality complain.
212 Say thou that dost thy father's table praise,
213 Was there mahogena in former days?
214 Oh! could a British barony be sold!
215 I would bright honour buy with dazling gold.
216 Could I the privilege of peer procure,
217 The rich I'd bully, and oppress the poor.
218 To give is wrong, but it is wronger still,
219 On any terms to pay a tradesman's bill.
220 I'd make the insolent mechanicks stay,
221 And keep my ready money all for play.
222 I'd try if any pleasure could be found,
223 In tossing up for twenty-thousand pound.
224 Had I whole counties, I to White's would go,
225 And set land, woods, and rivers, at a throw.
226 But should I meet with an unlucky run,
227 And at a throw be gloriously undone;
228 My debts of honour I'd discharge the first,
229 Let all my lawful creditors be curs'd:
230 My title would preserve me from arrest,
231 And seizing hired horses is a jest.
232 I'd walk the morning with an oaken stick,
233 With gloves and hat, like my own footman, Dick.
234 A footman I wou'd be, in outward show,
235 In sense, and education, truly so.
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236 As for my head it should ambiguous wear
237 At once a perriwig and its own hair.
238 My hair I'd powder in the women's way,
239 And dress and talk of dressing more than they.
240 I'll please the maids of honour, if I can;
241 Without black velvet breeches, what is man?
242 I will my skill in button-holes display,
243 And brag how oft I shift me every day.
244 Shall I wear cloaths in aukward England made?
245 And sweat in cloth, to help the woollen trade?
246 In French embroid'ry and in Flanders lace
247 I'll spend the income of a treasurer's place.
248 Deard's bill for baubles shall to thousands mount,
249 And I'd out-di'mond even the di'mond count.
250 I would convince the world by tawdry cloaths
251 That belles are less effeminate than beaux,
252 And doctor Lamb should pare my lordship's toes.
253 To boon companions I my time would give,
254 With players, pimps, and parasites I'd live.
255 I would with jockeys from Newmarket dine,
256 And to rough-riders give my choicest wine;
257 I would caress some stableman of note,
258 And imitate his language and his coat.
259 My ev'nings all I would with sharpers spend,
260 And make the thief-catcher my bosom friend.
261 In Fig the prize-fighter by day delight,
262 And sup with Colley Cibber ev'ry night.
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263 Should I perchance be fashionably ill,
264 I'll send for Misaubin, and take his pill.
265 I should abhor, though in the utmost need,
266 Arbuthnot, Hollins, Wigan, Lee, or Mead;
267 But if I found that I grew worse and worse,
268 I'd turn off Misaubin and take a nurse,
269 How oft when eminent physicians fail,
270 Do good old women's remedies prevail?
271 When beauty's gone, and Chloe's struck with years,
272 Eyes she can touch, or she can syringe ears.
273 Of graduates I dislike the learned rout,
274 And chuse a female doctor for the gout.
275 Thus would I live, with no dull pedants curs'd,
276 Sure, of all blockheads, scholars are the worst.
277 Back to your universities, ye fools,
278 And dangle arguments on strings in schools:
279 Those schools which Universities they call,
280 'Twere well for England were there none at all.
281 With ease that loss the nation might sustain,
282 Supply'd by Goodman's fields and Drury-lane.
283 Oxford and Cambridge are not worth one farthing,
284 Compar'd to Haymarket and Covent-garden:
285 Quit those, ye British youth, and follow these,
286 Turn players all, and take your 'squires degrees.
287 Boast not your incomes now, as heretofore,
288 Ye book-learn'd seats! the theatres have more:
289 Ye stiff-rump'd heads of colleges be dumb;
290 A single Eunuch gets a larger sum.
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291 Have some of you three hundred by the year;
292 Booth, Rich, and Cibber, twice three thousand clear.
293 Should Oxford to her sister Cambridge join
294 A year's rack-rent, and arbitrary fine:
295 Thence not one winter's charge would be defray'd,
296 For play-house, opera, ball, and masquerade.
297 Glad I congratulate the judging age,
298 The players are the world, the world the stage.
299 I am a politician too, and hate
300 Of any party, ministers of state:
301 I'm for an Act, that he, who sev'n whole years
302 Has serv'd his king and country, lose his ears.
303 Thus from my birth I'm qualified you find,
304 To give the laws of Taste to human kind.
305 Mine are the gallant schemes of politesse,
306 For books, and buildings, politicks, and dress.
307 This is true Taste, and whoso likes it not,
308 Is blockhead, coxcomb, puppy, fool, and sot.


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    About this text

    Title (in Source Edition): THE MAN of TASTE. Occasion'd by an EPISTLE Of Mr. POPE's on that Subject.
    Themes: characters
    Genres: heroic couplet; satire
    References: DMI 12320

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    Source edition

    A Collection of Poems in Six Volumes. By Several Hands. Vol. I. London: printed by J. Hughs, for R. and J. Dodsley, 1763 [1st ed. 1758], pp. 286-297. 6v.: music; 8⁰. (ESTC T131163)

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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.