1 SOME of my Friends (for Friends I must suppose
2 All, who, not daring to appear my foes,
3 Feign great good will, and, not more full of spite
4 Than full of craft, under false colours fight)
5 Some of my Friends (so lavishly I print)
6 As more in sorrow than in anger, hint
7 (Tho' that indeed will scarce admit a doubt)
8 That I shall run my stock of Genius out,
9 My no great stock, and, publishing so fast,
10 Must needs become a Bankrupt at the last.
11 "The Husbandman, to spare a thankful soil,
12 "Which, rich in disposition, pays his toil
13 "More than a hundred fold, which swells his store
14 "E'en to his wish, and makes his barns run o'er,
15 "By long Experience taught, who teaches best,
16 "Foregoes his hopes awhile, and gives it rest.
17 "The Land, allow'd its losses to repair,
18 "Refresh'd, and full in strength, delights to wear
19 "A second Youth, and to the Farmer's eyes
20 "Bids richer crops, and double harvests rise.
21 "Nor think this practice to the earth confin'd,
22 "It reaches to the culture of the Mind.
23 "The Mind of Man craves rest, and cannot bear,
24 "Tho' next in pow'r to Gods, continual care.
25 "Genius himself (nor here let Genius frown)
26 "Must, to ensure his vigour, be laid down,
27 "And fallow'd well; had CHURCHILL known but this,
28 "Which the most slight observer scarce could miss,
29 "He might have flourish'd twenty years, or more,
30 "Tho' now alas! poor Man! worn out in four.
31 Recover'd from the vanity of youth,
32 I feel, alas! this melancholly truth,[Page 3]
33 Thanks to each cordial, each advising Friend,
34 And am, if not too late, resolv'd to mend,
35 Resolv'd to give some respite to my pen,
36 Apply myself once more to Books, and Men,
37 View what is present, what is past review,
38 And my old stock exhausted lay in new.
39 For twice six moons (let winds, turn'd Porters, bear
40 This oath to Heav'n) for twice six moons I swear,
41 No Muse shall tempt me with her Siren lay,
42 Nor draw me from improvement's thorny way.
43 Verse I abjure, nor will forgive that Friend,
44 Who in my hearing shall a Rime commend.
45 It cannot be — Whether I will, or no,
46 Such as they are, my thoughts in measure flow.
47 Convinc'd, determin'd, I in prose begin,
48 But e're I write one sentence, Verse creeps in,
49 And taints me thro' and thro'; by this good light
50 In Verse I talk by day, I dream by night;
51 If now and then I curse, my curses chime,
52 Nor can I pray, unless I pray in rime.
53 E'en now I err, in spite of Common Sense,
54 And my Confession doubles my offence.
55 Rest then my Friends — spare, spare your precious breath,
56 And be your slumbers not less sound than death;
57 Perturbed Spirits rest, nor thus appear
58 To waste your counsels in a spendthrift's ear,
59 On your grave lessons I cannot subsist,
60 Nor e'en in verse become Oeconomist;
61 Rest then my Friends, nor, hateful to my eyes,
62 Let Envy, in the shape of Pity, rise
63 To blast me e'er my time; with patience wait,
64 ('Tis no long interval) propitious Fate
65 Shall glut your pride, and ev'ry Son of phlegm
66 Find ample room to censure and condemn.
67 Read some three hundred lines, (no easy task;
68 But probably the last that I shall ask)
69 And give me up for ever; wait one hour,
70 Nay not so much, Revenge is in your pow'r,
71 And Ye may cry, e'er Time hath turn'd his glass,
72 Lo! what We prophecied is come to pass.
73 Let Those, who Poetry in Poems claim,
74 Or not read this, or only read to blame;
75 Let Those, who are by fiction's charms enslav'd,
76 Return me thanks for half a crown well-sav'd;[Page 5]
77 Let Those, who love a little gall in rime,
78 Postpone their purchase now, and call next time;
79 Let Those, who, void of Nature, look for art,
80 Take up their money, and in peace depart;
81 Let Those, who energy of diction prize,
82 For BILLINGSGATE quit FLEXNEY, and be wise;
83 Here is no lie, no gall, no art, no force,
84 Mean are the words, and such as come of course,
85 The Subject not less simple than the lay;
86 A plain, unlabour'd journey of a Day.
87 Far from Me now be ev'ry tuneful Maid,
88 I neither ask, nor can receive their aid.
89 Pegasus turn'd into a common hack,
90 Alone I jog, and keep the beaten track,
91 Nor would I have the Sisters of the hill
92 Behold their Bard in such a Dishabille.
93 Absent, but only absent for a time,
94 Let Them caress some dearer son of Rime,
95 Let Them, as far as Decency permits,
96 Without suspicion, play the fool with Wits,
97 'Gainst Fools be guarded; 'tis a certain rule,
98 Wits are safe things, there's danger in a Fool.
99 Let Them, tho' modest, GRAY more modest wooe;
100 Let Them with MASON bleat, and bray, and cooe;
101 Let Them with FRANKLIN, proud of some small Greek,
102 Make Sophocles, disguis'd, in English speak;
103 Let Them with GLOVER o'er Medea doze;
104 Let Them with DODSLEY wail Cleone's woes,
105 Whilst He, fine feeling creature, all in tears,
106 Melts as they melt, and weeps with weeping Peers;
107 Let Them with simple WHITEHEAD, taught to creep
108 Silent and soft, lay FONTENELLE asleep;
109 Let Them with BROWNE contrive, no vulgar trick,
110 To cure the dead, and make the living sick;
111 Let Them in Charity to MURPHY give
112 Some old French piece, that he may steal and live;
113 Let Them with antick FOOTE subscriptions get,
114 And advertise a Summer-house of Wit.
115 Thus, or in any better way They please,
116 With these great Men, or with great Men like these,
117 Let Them their appetite for laughter feed;
118 I on my Journey all Alone proceed.
119 If fashionable grown, and fond of pow'r
120 With hum'rous SCOTS let Them disport their hour;[Page 7]
121 Let Them dance, fairy like, round OSSIAN's tomb;
122 Let Them forge lies, and histories for HUME;
123 Let Them with HOME, the very Prince of verse,
124 Make something like a Tragedy in Erse;
125 Under dark Allegory's flimsy veil
126 Let Them with OGILVIE spin out a tale
127 Of rueful length; Let Them plain things obscure,
128 Debase what's truly rich, and what is poor
129 Make poorer still by jargon most uncouth;
130 With ev'ry pert, prim Prettiness of Youth
131 Born of false Taste, with Fancy (like a Child
132 Not knowing what It cries for) running wild,
133 With bloated Stile, by Affectation taught,
134 With much false Colouring, and little Thought,
135 With Phrases strange, and Dialect decreed
136 By Reason never to have pass'd the Tweed,
137 With Words, which Nature meant each other's foe,
138 Forc'd to compound whether they will or no,
139 With such materials, Let Them, if They will,
140 To prove at once their pleasantry and skill,
141 Build up a Bard to war 'gainst Common Sense,
142 By way of Compliment to Providence;
143 Let Them with ARMSTRONG, taking leave of Sense,
144 Read musty lectures on Benevolence,[Page 8]
145 Or conn the pages of his gaping Day,
146 Where all his former Fame was thrown away,
147 Where all, but barren labour, was forgot,
148 And the vain stiffness of a Letter'd SCOT;
149 Let Them with ARMSTRONG pass the term of light,
150 But not one hour of darkness; when the Night
151 Suspends this mortal coil, when Mem'ry wakes,
152 When for our past misdoings Conscience takes
153 A deep revenge, when, by Reflexion led,
154 She draws his curtains, and looks comfort dead,
155 Let ev'ry Muse be gone; in vain He turns
156 And tries to pray for sleep; an Aetna burns,
157 A more than Aetna in his coward breast;
158 And Guilt, with vengeance arm'd, forbids him rest.
159 Tho' soft as Plumage from young Zephyr's wing,
160 His couch seems hard, and no relief can bring.
161 INGRATITUDE hath planted daggers there,
162 No Good Man can deserve, no brave Man bear.
163 Thus, or in any better way They please,
164 With these great Men, or with great Men like these,
165 Let Them their appetite for laughter feed;
166 I on my Journey all Alone proceed.