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For ever will be found confest,
And printed on the amorous breast.
"O Abelard! ill-fated youth,
Thy tale will justify this truth:
But well I weet, thy cruel wrong
Adorns a nobler poet's song.
Dan Pope, for thy misfortune griev'd,
With kind concern and skill has weav'd
A silken web; and ne'er shall fade
Its colors; gently has he laid
The mantle o'er thy sad distress,
And Venus shall the texture bless.
He o'er the weeping nun has drawn
Such artful folds of sacred lawn,
That Love, with equal grief and pride,
Shall see the crime he strives to hide,
And, softly drawing back the veil,
The god shall to his votaries tell
Each conscious tear, each blushing grace,
That deck'd dear Eloisa's face.
Happy the poet, blest the lays,
Which Buckingham has deign'd to praise!
Next, Dick, as youth and habit sways,
A hundred gambols Alma plays.
If, whilst a boy, Jack ran from school,
Fond of his hunting-horn and pole;
Though gout and age his speed detain,
Old John halloos his hounds again;
By his fire-side he starts the hare,
And turns her in his wicker-chair;
His feet, however lame, you find,
Have got the better of his Mind.
"If, while the Mind was in her leg, The dance affected nimble Peg; Old Madge, bewitch'd at sixty-one, Calls for Green Sleeves, and Jumping Joan. In public mask, or private ball, From Lincoln's-inn to Goldsmiths'-hall, All Christmas long away she trudges, Trips it with prentices and judges. In vain her children urge her stay, And age or palsy bar the way. But, if those images prevail Which whilom did affect the tail, She still renews the ancient scene, Forgets the forty years between: Awkwardly gay, and oddly merry, Her scarf pale pink, her head-knot cherry; O'er-heated with ideal rage, She cheats her son, to wed her page.
"If Alma, whilst the man was young,
Slipp'd up too soon into his tongue,
Pleas'd with his own fantastic skill,
He lets that weapon ne'er lie still.
On any point if you dispute,
Depend upon it, he'll confute:
Change sides, and you increase your pain,
For he'll confute you back again.
For one may speak with Tully's tongue,
Yet all the while be in the wrong.
And 'tis remarkable, that they
Talk most, who have the least to say.
Your dainty speakers have the curse,
To plead bad causes down to worse:
As dames, who native beauty want,
Still uglier look, the more they paint.
"Again: if in the female sex Alma should on this member fix, (A cruel and a desperate case, From which Heaven shield my lovely lass!)
For evermore all care is vain,
That would bring Alma down again.
As, in habitual gout or stone,
The only thing that can be done,
Is to correct your drink and diet,
And keep the inward foe in quiet;
So, if for any sins of ours,
Or our forefathers', higher powers,
Severe, though just, afflict our life
With that prime ill, a talking wife;
Till Death shall bring the kind relief,
We must be patient, or be deaf.
"You know a certain lady, Dick,
Who saw me when I last was sick :
She kindly talk'd, at least three hours,
Of plastic forms, and mental powers;
Describ'd our pre-existing station,
Before this vile terrene creation;
And, lest I should be wearied, madam,
To cut things short, came down to Adam;
From whence, as fast as she was able,
She drowns the world, and builds up Babel
Through Syria, Persia, Greece, she goes,
And takes the Romans in the close.
"But we'll descant on general nature: This is a system, not a satire.
"Turn we this globe, and let us see
How different nations disagree
In what we wear, or eat and drink;
Nay, Dick, perhaps in what we think.
In water as you smell and taste
The soils through which it rose and past,
In Alma's manners you may read
The place where she was born and bred.
"One people from their swaddling-bands Releas'd their infants' feet and hands; Here Alma to these limbs was brought, And Sparta's offspring kick'd and fought.
"Another taught their babes to talk,
Ere they could yet in go-carts walk:
There Alma settled in the tongue,
And orators from Athens sprung.
"Observe but in these neighboring lands
The different use of mouths and hands;
As men repos'd their various hopes,
In battles these, and those in tropes.
"In Britain's isles, as Heylin notes,
The ladies trip in petticoats;
Which, for the honor of their nation,
They quit but on some great occasion.
Men there in breeches clad you view:
They claim that garment as their due.
In Turkey the reverse appears;
Long coats the haughty husband wears,
And greets his wife with angry speeches
If she be seen without her breeches.
"In our fantastic climes, the fair With cleanly powder dry their hair: And round their lovely breast and head Fresh flowers their mingled odors shed. Your nicer Hottentots think meet With guts and tripe to deck their feet: With downcast looks on Totta's legs The ogling youth most humbly begs She would not from his hopes remove At once his breakfast and his love: And, if the skittish nymph should fly, He in a double sense must die.
"We simple toasters take delight To see our women's teeth look white,
"Now turn we to the farthest east, And there observe the gentry drest. Prince Giolo, and his royal sisters, Scarr'd with ten thousand comely blisters; The marks remaining on the skin, To tell the quality within. Distinguish'd slashes deck the great: As each excels in birth or state, His oylet-holes are more and ampler: The king's own body was a sampler. Happy the climate, where the beau Wears the same suit for use and show: And at a small expense, your wife, If once well pink'd, is cloth'd for life. "Westward again, the Indian fair Is nicely smear'd with fat of bear: Before you see, you smell your toast; And sweetest she who stinks the most. The finest sparks and cleanest beaux Drip from the shoulders to the toes: How sleek their skins! their joints how easy! Their slovens only are not greasy!
"I mention'd different ways of breeding: Begin we in our children's reading. To master John the English maid A horn-book gives of gingerbread; And, that the child may learn the better, As he can name, he eats the letter. Proceeding thus with vast delight, He spells, and gnaws, from left to right. But, show a Hebrew's hopeful son Where we suppose the book begun, The child would thank you for your kindness, And read quite backward from our finis. Devour he learning ne'er so fast, Great A would be reserv'd the last.
"An equal instance of this matter
Is in the manners of a daughter.
In Europe, if a harmless maid,
By Nature and by Love betray'd,
Should, ere a wife, become a nurse,
Her friends would look on her the worse.
In China, Dampier's Travels tell ye,
(Look in his Index for Pagelli,)
Soon as the British ships unmoor,
And jolly long-boat rows to shore,
Down come the nobles of the land:
Each brings his daughter in his hand,
Beseeching the imperious tar
To make her but one hour his care.
The tender mother stands affrighted,
Lest her dear daughter should be slighted:
And poor miss Yaya dreads the shame
Of going back the maid she came.
"Observe how custom, Dick, compels The lady that in Europe dwells:
After her tea, she slips away,
And what to do, one need not say.
Now see how great Pomonque's queen
Behav'd herself amongst the men :
Pleas'd with her punch, the gallant soul
First drank, then water'd in the bowl;
And sprinkled in the captain's face
The marks of her peculiar grace.-
"To close this point, we need not roam
For instances so far from home.
What parts gay France from sober Spain?
A little rising rocky chain.
Of men born south or north o' th' hill,
Those seldom move, these ne'er stand still.
Dick, you love maps, and may perceive
Rome not far distant from Geneve.
If the good pope remains at home,
He's the first prince in Christendom.
Choose then, good pope, at home to stay,
Nor westward curious take thy way:
Thy way unhappy should'st thou take
From Tyber's bank to Leman lake,
Thou art an aged priest no more,
But a young flaring painted whore:
Thy sex is lost, thy town is gone;
No longer Rome, but Babylon.
That some few leagues should make this change,
To men unlearn'd seems mighty strange.
"But need we, friend, insist on this?
Since, in the very Canton Swiss,
All your philosophers agree,
And prove it plain, that one may be
A heretic, or true believer,
On this, or t'other side a river."
"Here," with an artful smile, quoth Dick, "Your proofs come mighty full and thick." The bard, on this extensive chapter Wound up into poetic rapture, Continued: "Richard, cast your eye, By night, upon a winter-sky: Cast it by day-light on the strand, Which compasses fair Albion's land: If you can count the stars that glow Above, or sands that lie below, Into those commonplaces look, Which from great authors I have took, And count the proofs I have collected, To have my writings well protected. These I lay by for time of need, And thou may'st at thy leisure read. For, standing every critic's rage, I safely will to future age My system, as a gift, bequeath, Victorious over Spite and Death."
RICHARD, who now was half asleep,
Rous'd, nor would longer silence keep;
And sense like this, in vocal breath,
Broke from his two-fold hedge of teeth.
Now, if this phrase too harsh be thought,
Pope, tell the world, 'tis not my fault.
Old Homer taught us thus to speak;
If 'tis not sense, at least 'tis Greek.
"As folks," quoth Richard, "prone to leasing
Say things at first, because they're pleasing,
Then prove what they have once asserted,
Nor care to have their lie deserted,
Till their own dreams at length deceive 'em,
And, oft repeating, they believe 'em :
Or as, again, those amorous blades,
Who trifle with their mothers' maids,
Though at the first their wild desire
Was but to quench a present fire;
Yet if the object of their love
Chance by Lucina's aid to prove,
They seldom let the bantling roar
In basket at a neighbor's door;
But, by the flattering glass of Nature
Viewing themselves in cake-bread's feature,
With serious thought and care support
What only was begun in sport:
"Just so with you, my friend, it fares,
Who deal in philosophic wares.
Atoms you cut, and forms you measure,
To gratify your private pleasure;
Till airy seeds of casual wit
Do some fantastic birth beget;
And, pleas'd to find your system mended
Beyond what you at first intended,
The happy whimsey you pursue,
Till you at length believe it true.
Caught by your own delusive art,
You fancy first, and then assert."
Quoth Matthew: "Friend, as far as I Through Art or Nature cast my eye, This axiom clearly I discern, That one must teach, and t' other learn. No fool Pythagoras was thought; Whilst he his weighty doctrines taught, He made his listening scholars stand, Their mouth still cover'd with their hand: Else, may be, some odd-thinking youth, Less friend to doctrine than to truth, Might have refus'd to let his ears Attend the music of the spheres; Denied all transmigrating scenes, And introduced the use of beans. From great Lucretius take his void, And all the world is quite destroy'd. Deny Des-cart his subtil matter, You leave him neither fire nor water. How oddly would Sir Isaac look, If you, in answer to his book, Say in the front of your discourse, That things have no elastic force! How could our chymic friends go on, To find the philosophic stone, If you more powerful reasons bring, To prove that there is no such thing? Your chiefs in sciences and arts Have great contempt of Alma's parts. They find she giddy is, or dull: She doubts if things are void, or full: And who should be presum'd to tell What she herself should see, or feel? She doubts if two and two make four, Though she has told them ten times o'er. It can't it may be-and it must; To which of these must Alma trust? Nay further yet they make her go In doubting, if she doubts, or no. Can syllogism set things right? No: majors soon with minors fight; Or, both in friendly consort join'd, The consequence limps false behind. So to some cunning man she goes, And asks of him, how much she knows.
With patience grave he hears her speak,
And from his short notes gives her back
What from her tale he comprehended;
Thus the dispute is wisely ended.
From the account the loser brings, The conjurer knows who stole the things."
"Squire," interrupted Dick, "since when Were you amongst these cunning men?"
"Dear Dick," quoth Mat, "let not thy forc Of eloquence spoil my discourse. I tell thee, this is Alma's case,
Still asking what some wise man says,
Who does his mind in words reveal,
Which all must grant, though few can spell.
You tell your doctor that y're ill :
And what does he, but write a bill?
In philosophic matters so
Your judgment must with others go: For as in senates, so in schools, Majority of voices rules.
Poor Alma, like a lonely deer,
O'er hills and dales does doubtful err;
With panting haste, and quick surprise,
From every leaf that stirs, she flies;
Till, mingled with the neighboring herd,
She slights what erst she singly fear'd:
And now, exempt from doubt and dread,
She dares pursue, if they dare lead;
As their example still prevails,
She tempts the stream, or leaps the pales."
"He then," quoth Dick, "who by your rule
Thinks for himself, becomes a fool;
As party man, who leaves the rest,
Is call'd but whimsical* at best.
"Now, by your favor, master Mat, Like Ralpho, here I smell a rat. I must be listed in your sect,
Who, though they teach not, can protect."
"Right, Richard," Mat in triumph cried :
"So put off all mistrust and pride.
And, while my principles I beg,
Pray answer only with your leg.
Believe what friendly I advise :
Be first secure, and then be wise.
The man within the coach that sits,
And to another's skill submits,
Is safer much, (whate'er arrives,)
And warmer too, than he that drives.
"So Dick Adept, tuck back thy hair,
And I will pour into thy ear
Remarks, which none did e'er disclose
In smooth-pac'd verse, or hobbling prose.
Attend, dear Dick; but don't reply:
And thou may'st prove as wise as I.
"When Alma now, in different ages, Has finish'd her ascending stages,
*Some of the Tories, in the queen's reign, were distinguished by that appellation.
Into the head at length she gets,
And there in public grandeur sits,
To judge of things, and censure wits.
"Here, Richard, how could I explain
The various labyrinths of the brain!
Surprise my readers, whilst I tell 'em
Of cerebrum, and cerebellum!
How could I play the commentator
On dura and on pia mater!
Where hot and cold, and dry and wet,
Strive each the other's place to get;
And, with incessant toil and strife,
Would keep possession during life.
I could demonstrate every pore,
Where memory lays up all her store;
And to an inch compute the station
"Twixt judgment and imagination.
O friend! I could display much learning,
At least to men of small discerning.
The brain contains ten thousand cells:
In each some active fancy dwells;
Which always is at work, and framing
The several follies I was naming.
As in a hive's vimineous dome
Ten thousand bees enjoy their home,
Each does her studious actions vary,
To go and come, to fetch and carry ;
Each still renews her little labor,
Nor justles her assiduous neighbor:
Each whilst this thesis I maintain,
I fancy, Dick, I know thy brain.
O, with the mighty theme affected,
Could I but see thy head dissected!"
My head!" quoth Dick, "to serve your
Spare that, and take some other limb.
Sir, in your nice affairs of system,
Wise men propose; but fools assist 'em."
Says Matthew, “Richard, keep thy head, And hold thy peace; and I'll proceed."
"Proceed!" quoth Dick: "Sir, I aver,
You have already gone too far.
When people once are in the wrong,
Each line they add is much too long.
Who fastest walks, but walks astray,
Is only farthest from his way.
Bless your conceits! must I believe,
Howe'er absurd, what you conceive;
And, for your friendship, live and die
A Papist in philosophy?
I say, whatever you maintain
Of Alma in the heart or brain,
The plainest man alive may tell ye,
Her seat of empire is the belly:
From hence she sends out those supplies,
Which make us either stout or wise;
The strength of every other member
Is founded on your belly-timber;
The qualms or raptures of your blood
Rise in proportion to your food;
And, if you would improve your thought,
You must be fed as well as taught.
Your stomach makes your fabric roll,
Just as the bias rules the bowl.
The great Achilles might employ
The strength design'd to ruin Troy;
He din'd on lion's marrow, spread
On toasts of ammunition bread :
But, by his mother sent away,
Amongst the Thracian girls to play,
Effeminate he sat, and quiet:
Strange product of a cheese-cake diet'
Now give my argument fair play,
And take the thing the other way:
The youngster, who at nine and three
Drinks with his sisters milk and tea,
From breakfast reads till twelve o'clock,
Burnet and Heylin, Hobbes, and Locke:
He pays due visits after noon
To cousin Alice and uncle John.
At ten from coffee-house or play
Returning, finishes the day.
But, give him port and potent sack,
From milksop he starts up Mohack;
Holds that the happy know no hours;
So through the street at midnight scours,
Breaks watchmen's heads and chairmen's glasses
And thence proceeds to nicking sashes;
Till, by some tougher hand o'ercome,
And first knock'd down, and then led home,
He damns the footman, strikes the maid,
And decently reels up to bed.
"Observe the various operations
Of food and drink in several nations.
Was ever Tartar fierce or cruel
Upon the strength of water-gruel?
But who shall stand his rage and force,
If first he rides, then eats his horse?
Salads, and eggs, and lighter fare,
Tune the Italian spark's guitar.
And, if I take Dan Congreve right,
Pudding and beef make Britons fight.
Tokay and coffee cause this work
Between the German and the Turk;
And both, as they provisions want,
Chicane avoid, retire and faint.
Hunger and thirst, or guns and swords, Give the same death in different words. To push this argument no further; To starve a man, in law is murther.
"As in a watch's fine machine,
Though many artful springs are seen;
The added movements, which declare
How full the Moon, how old the year,
Derive their secondary power
From that which simply points the hour.
For, though those gimcracks were away,
(Quare would not swear, but Quare would say)
However more reduc'd and plain,
The watch would still a watch remain :
But, if the horal-orbit ceases,
The whole stands still, or breaks to pieces;
Is now no longer what it was,
And you may e'en go sell the case.
So, if unprejudic'd you scan
The goings of this clock-work man,
You find a hundred movements made
By fine devices in his head;
But 'tis the stomach's solid stroke
That tells his being what's o'clock.
If you take off this rhetoric trigger,
He talks no more in mode and figure;
Or, clog his mathematic-wheel,
His buildings fall, his ship stands still;
Or, lastly, break his politic-weight,
His voice no longer rules the state.
Yet, if these finer whims are gone,
Your clock, though plain, would still go on;
But spoil the engine of digestion,
And you entirely change the question.
Alma's affairs no power can mend ;
The jest, alas! is at an end:
Soon ceases all the worldly bustle,
And you consign the corpse to Russel.
"Now make your Alma come or go
From leg to hand, from top to toe,
Your system, without my addition,
Is in a very sad condition.
So Harlequin extoll'd his horse,
Fit for the war, or road, or course!
His mouth was soft, his eye was good,
His foot was sure as ever trod :
One fault he had (a fault indeed!)
And what was that? the horse was dead."
'Dick, from these instances and fetches, Thou mak'st of horses, clocks, and watches," Quoth Mat, "to me thou seem'st to mean, That Alma is a mere machine: That, telling others what's o'clock, She knows not what herself has struck; But leaves to standers-by the trial
Of what is mark'd upon her dial."
'Here hold a blow, good friend," quoth Dick,
And rais'd his voice exceeding quick.
Fight fair, sir: what I never meant
Don't you infer. In argument
Similies are like songs in love:
They much describe; they nothing prove."
Mat, who was here a little gravell'd,
Tost up his nose, and would have cavill'd;
But, calling Hermes to his aid,
Half pleas'd, half angry, thus he said:
(Where mind ('tis for the author's fame)
That Matthew call'd, and Hermes came.
In danger heroes, and in doubt
Poets find gods to help them out.)
"Friend Richard, I begin to see,
That you and I shall scarce agree.
Observe how oddly you behave:
The more I grant, the more you crave.
But, comrade, as I said just now,
I should affirm, and you allow.
We system-makers can sustain
The thesis, which you grant was plain;
And with remarks and comments tease ye,
In case the thing before was easy.
But, in a point obscure and dark,
We fight as Leibnitz did with Clarke;
And, when no reason we can show,
Why matters this or that way go,
The shortest way the thing we try,
And what we know not, we deny ;
True to our own o'erbearing pride,
And false to all the world beside.
"That old philosopher grew cross, Who could not tell what motion was: Because he walk'd against his will, He fac'd men down, that he stood still. And he who, reading on the heart, (When all his quodlibets of art Could not expound its pulse and heat) Swore he had never felt it beat. Chrysippus, foil'd by Epicurus, Makes bold (Jove bless him!) to assure us,
That all things, which our mind can view,
May be at once both false and true.
And Malebranche has an odd conceit,
As ever enter'd Frenchman's pate:
Says he, So little can our mind
Of matter or of spirit find,
That we by guess at least may gather
Something, which may be both, or neither.'
Faith, Dick, I must confess, 'tis true,
(But this is only entre nous)
That many knotty points there are,
Which all discuss, but few can clear;
As Nature slily had thought fit,
For some by-ends, to cross-bite wit:
Circles to square, and cubes to double,
Would give a man excessive trouble;
The longitude uncertain roams,
In spite of Whiston and his bombs.
What system, Dick, has right averr'd
The cause why woman has no beard?
Or why, as years our frame attack,
Our hairs grow white, our teeth grow black!
In points like these we must agree,
Our barbers know as much as we.
Yet still, unable to explain,
We must persist the best we can; With care our system still renew,
And prove things likely, though not true.
"I could, thou seest, in quaint dispute,
By dint of logic, strike thee mute;
With learned skill, now push, now parry,
From Darii to Bocardo vary,
"I find," quoth Mat, "reproof is vain: Who first offend, will first complain. Thou wishest I should make to shore; Yet still putt'st in thy thwarting oar. What I have told thee fifty times In prose, receive for once in rhymes: A huge fat man in country-fair, Or city-church, (no matter where,) Labor'd and push'd amidst the crowd, Still bawling out extremely loud, 'Lord save us! why do people press!" Another, marking his distress, Friendly replied, Plump gentleman, Get out as fast as e'er you can; Or cease to push, or to exclaim: You make the very crowd you blame.'"
Says Dick, "Your moral does not need The least return; so e'en proceed: Your tale, howe'er applied, was short: So far, at least, I thank you for 't."
Mat took his thanks; and, in a tone More magisterial, thus went on.
"Now Alma settles in the head, As has before been sung or said: