Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

Here Reynolds is laid, and, to tell you my mind,
He has not left a wiser or better behind;

His pencil was striking, resistless, and grand,
His manners were gentle, complying, and bland:
Still born to improve us in every part,

His pencil our faces, his manners our heart.

To coxcombs averse, yet most civilly steering,

When they judg'd without skill, he was still hard of hearing When they talk'd of their Raphaels, Correggios, and stuff, He shifted his trumpet, and only took snuff.

POSTSCRIPT.

HERE Whitefoord reclines, and, deny it who can,
Though he merrily lived, he is now a grave man:
Rare compound of oddity, frolic, and fun!
Who relish'd a joke, and rejoiced in a pun;
Whose temper was generous, open, sincere;
A stranger to flatt'ry, a stranger to fear;
Who scatter'd around wit and humour at will;
Whose daily bons mots half a column might fill:
A Scotchman, from pride and from prejudice free;
A scholar, yet surely no pedant was he.

What pity, alas! that so liberal a mind

Should so long be to newspaper essays confined!
Who perhaps to the summit of science could soar,
Yet content "if the table be set in a roar:"
Whose talents to fill any station were fit,
Yet happy if Woodfall confess'd him a wit.

Ye newspaper witlings! ye pert scribbling folks!
Who copied his squibs, and re-echo'd his jokes;
Ye tame imitators, ye servile herd, come,
Still follow your master, and visit his tomb:

To deck it, bring with you festoons of the vine,
And copious libations bestow on his shrine;
Then strew all around it (you can do no less)
Cross Readings, Ship News, and Mistakes of the Press.

Merry Whitefoord, farewell! for thy sake I admit
That a Scot may have humour, I'd almost said wit.
This debt to thy mem❜ry I cannot refuse,

"Thou best humour'd man with the worst humour'd Muse."

MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.

THE CLOWN'S REPLY.

John Trott was desir'd by two witty peers
To tell them the reason why asses had ears;

"An't please you,” quoth John, “I'm not given to letters,
Nor dare I pretend to know more than my betters;
Howe'er from this time, I shall ne'er see your graces—
As I hope to be sav'd!—without thinking on asses."
Edinburgh, 1753.

PROLOGUE,

WRITTEN AND SPOKEN BY THE POET LABERIUS, A ROMAN KNIGHT, WHOM CÆSAR FORCED UPON THE STAGE.

Preserved by Macrobius.

What! no way left to shun th' inglorious stage,
And save from infamy my sinking age!
Scarce half alive, oppress'd with many a year,
What in the name of dotage drives me here?
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,
And all my 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.

THE LOGICIANS REFUTED.
In Imitation of Dean Swift.

Logicians have but ill defin'd
As rational, the human kind:
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,

Homo est ratione præditum;

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 unconfined,

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;

Goldsmith.

16

They never importune his Grace,
Nor ever cringe to men in place;
Nor undertake a dirty job,

Nor draw the quill to write for B-b.
Fraught with invective they ne'er go
To folks at Pater-Noster Row:
No judges, fiddlers, dancing-masters,
No pickpockets, or poetasters,
Are known to honest quadrupeeds;
No single brute his fellows leads.
Brutes never meet in bloody fray,
Nor cut each others' throats for pay.
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.

Sure 't was by Providence design'd,
Rather in pity, than in hate,
That he should be, like Cupid, blind,
To save him from Narcissus' fate.

« AnteriorContinua »