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A time there was, when glory was my guide,
Nor force nor fraud could turn my steps aside ;
Unaw'd by power, and unappall’d by fear,
With honest thrift I held my honour dear :
But this vile hour disperses all my store,
hoard of honour is no more;
For ah! too partial to my life's decline,
Cæsar persuades, submission must be mine ;
Him I obey, whom Heaven itself obeys,
Hopeless of pleasing, yet inclin'd to please.
Here then at once I welcome every shame,
And cancel at threescore a life of fame;
No more my titles shall my children tell ;
The old buffoon will fit my name as well:
This day beyond its term my fate extends,
For life is ended when our honour ends.
In imitation of Dean Swift. (1)
Logicians have but ill defin'd
As rational the human mind;
Reason, they say, belongs to man,
But let them prove it if they can.
Wise Aristotle and Smiglesius,
By ratiocinations specious,
Have strove to prove with great precision,
With definition and division,
(1) [First printed in the “ Busy Body,” 1759; 10 draw attention to which publication it was announced as the production of the Dean of St. Patrick. It was included in the Dublin edition of his works, and is continued by Sir Walter Scott, who had doubtless forgotten its position in the works of Goldsmith. See Life, ch. ix.]
Homo est ratione preditum ;
But for my soul I cannot credit 'em ;
And must in spite of them maintain,
That man and all his ways are vain ;
And that this boasted lord of nature
Is both a weak and erring creature.
That instinct is a surer guide,
Than reason, boasting mortals' pride ;
And that brute beasts are far before 'em,
Deus est anima brutorum.
Who ever knew an honest brute
At law his neighbour prosecute,
Bring action for assault and battery,
Or friend beguile with lies and flattery ?
O'er plains they ramble unconfin’d,
No politics disturb their mind;
They eat their meals and take their sport,
Nor know who's in or out at court;
They never to the levee go
To treat as dearest friend, a foe;
They never importune his Grace,
Nor ever cringe to men in place ;
Nor undertake a dirty job,
Nor draw the quill to write for Bob: (1)
Fraught with invective they ne'er go,
To folks at Paternoster Row :
No judges, fiddlers, dancing-masters,
No pickpockets or poetasters,
Are known to honest quadrupeds,
No single brute his fellow leads.
Brutes never meet in bloody fray,
Nor cut each others' throats for pay.
(1) (Sir Robert Walpole, the object of so much vituperation by Swift. ]
Of beasts, it is confess'd, the ape
Comes nearest us in human shape ;
Like man, he imitates each fashion,
And malice is his ruling passion ;
But both in malice and grimaces,
A courtier any ape surpasses.
Behold him humbly cringing wait
Upon the minister of state ;
View him soon after to inferiors
Aping the conduct of superiors :
He promises with equal air,
And to perform takes equal care.
He in his turn finds imitators,
At court, the porters, lacqueys, waiters,
Their master's manners still contract,
And footmen, lords and dukes can act.
Thus at the court, both great and small,
Behave alike, for all ape all.
ON A BEAUTIFUL YOUTH, STRUCK BLIND BY LIGHTNING. (1)
Sure 'twas by Providence design d,
Rather in pity, than in hate,
That he should be, like Cupid, blind,
To save him from Narcissus' fate. (2)
(1) [First printed in “ The Bee,” 1759. See vol. i. p. 8.]
(2) [“ The princess of Eboli, the mistress of Phillip II. of Spain, and Maugiron, the minion of Henry III. of France, had each of them lost an eye; and the famous Latin epigram, which Goldsmith has either translated or imitated, was written on them.”—Lord Byron, Works, vol. vi. p. 390.]
ON THE TAKING OF QUEBEC, AND DEATH OF GENERAL
Amidst the clamour of exulting joys,
Which triumph forces from the patriot heart, Grief dares to mingle her soul-piercing voice,
And quells the raptures which from pleasure start.
0, Wolfe! to thee a streaming flood of woe,
Sighing we pay, and think e'en conquest dear ; Quebec in vain shall teach our breast to glow,
Whilst thy sad fate extorts the heart-wrung tear.
Alive, the foe thy dreadful vigour fled,
And saw thee fall with joy-pronouncing eyes : Yet they shall know thou conquerest, though dead !
Since from thy tomb a thousand heroes rise.
Weeping, murmuring, complaining,
Lost to every gay delight ;
Myra, too sincere for feigning,
Fears th' approaching bridal night.
Yet why impair thy bright perfection ?
Or dim thy beauty with a tear ?
Had Myra follow'd my direction,
She long had wanted cause of fear.
(1) [First printed in the “ Busy Body,” 1759. The alleged relationship of the Poet with this distinguished officer, produced very naturally an effort to celebrate him, after a death so honourable.]
(2) (First printed in " The Bee.” 1759.)
TO IRIS, IN BOW-STREET, COVENT-GARDEN.
Imitated from the French. (1)
Say, cruel Iris, pretty rake,
Dear mercenary beauty,
What annual offering shall I make
Expressive of my duty ?
My heart, a victim to thine eyes,
Should I at once deliver,
Say, would the angry fair one prize
The gift, who slights the giver ?
A bill, a jewel, watch, or toy,
My rivals give-and let 'em ;
If gems, or gold, impart a joy,
I'll give them-when I get 'em.
(1) (First printed in “ The Bee,” 1759. The original is in Ménagiana, tom. iv. p. 200:
ÉTRENNE À IRIS.
“ Pour témoignage de ma flamme,
Iris, du meilleur de mon âme,
Je vous donne à ce nouvel an,
Non pas dentelle, ni ruban,
Non pas essence, non pas pommade,
Quelques boites de marmalade,
Un mouchoir, des gants, un bouquet,
Non pas fleures, ni chapelet.
Quoi donc? attendez, je vous donne,
O! fille plus belle que bonne,
Qui m'avez toujours refusé
Le point si souvent proposé,
Je vous donne.-Ah! le puis-je dire?
Qui; c'est trop souffrir le martyre,
Il est temps de m'emanciper,
Patience va m'échapper,
Fussiez-vous cent fois plus aimable,
Belle Iris, je vous donne-au diable."]