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IN IMITATION OF THE TENTH SATIRE OF JUVENAL
See! while he builds, the gaudy vassals come,
VANITY OF HUMAN WISHES.
LET observation, with extensive view,
Survey mankind from China Peru; Couldst thou resign the park and play content, Remark each anxious toil, each eager strife, For the fair banks of Severn or of Trent; And watch the busy scenes of crowded life; There might'st thou find some elegant retreat,
Then say how hope and fear, desire and hate, Some hireling senator's deserted seat;
O'erspread with snares the clouded maze of fate, And stretch thy prospects o'er the smiling land, Where wav'ring man, betray'd by vent'rous pride For less than rent the dungeons of the Strand;
To chase the dreary paths without a guide, There prune thy walk, support thy drooping As treach'rous phantoms in the mist delude, flowers,
Shuns fancied ills, or chases airy good ; Direct thy rivulets, and twine thy bowers; How rarely reason guides the stubborn choice, And, while thy groupds a cheap repast afford, Rules the bold hand, or prompts the suppliant voice; Despise the dainties of a venal lord :
How nations sink by darling schemes oppressid, There ev'ry bush with Nature's music rings, When vengeance listens to the fool's request. There ev'ry breeze bears health upon its wings;
Fate wings with ev'ry wish th' afflictive dart, On all thy hours security shall smile,
Each gift of nature and each grace of art;
Impeachment stops the speaker's pow'rful breath, Some fiery fop, with new commission vain,
And restless fire precipitates on death. Who sleeps on brambles till he kills his man; But, scarce observ'd, the knowing and the bold Some frolic drunkard, reeling from a feast, Fall in the gen’ral massacre of gold; Provokes a broil, and stabs you for a jest. Wide-wasting pest! that rages unconfin'd, Yet ev’n these heroes, mischievously gay ; And crowds with crimes the records of mankind. Lords of the street and terrors of the way;
For gold his sword the hireling ruffian draws, Flush'd as they are with folly, youth, and wine,
For gold the hireling judge distorts the laws; Their prudent insults to the poor confine ;
Wealth heap'd on wealth, nor truth nor safety buys, Afar they mark the flambeau's bright approach,
The dangers gather as the treasures rise. And shun the shining train, and golden coach. Let hist’ry tell where rival kings command,
In vain, these dangers past, your doors you close, And dubious title shakes the madded land, And hope the balmy blessings of repose ;
When statutes glean the refuse of the sword, Cruel with guilt, and daring with despair, How much more safe the vassal than the lord ; The midnight murd'rer bursts the faithless bar; Low skulks the hind beneath the rage of power, Invades the sacred hour of silent rest,
And leaves the wealthy traitor in the Tower, And leaves, unseen, a dagger in your breast.
Untouch'd his cottage, and his slumbers sound, Scarce can our fields, such crowds at Tyburn die, Though confiscation's vultures hover round. With hemp the gallows and the fleet supply. The needy traveller, serene and gay, Propose your schemes, ye senatorian band, Walks the wild heath and sings his toil away. Whose ways and means support the sinking land, Does envy seize thee? crush th' upbraiding joy, Lest ropes be wanting in the tempting spring, Increase his riches, and his peace destroy ; To rig another convoy for the king.
Now fears in dire vicissitude invade, A single jail, in ALFRED's golden reign,
The rustling brake alarms, and quiv’ring shade, Could half the nation's criminals contain ; Nor light nor darkness bring his pain relief, Fair Justice, then, without constraint ador’d,
One shows the plunder, and one hides the thief. Held high the steady scale, but sheath'd the sword;
Yet still one gen’ral cry the skies assails, No spies were paid, no special juries known,
And gain and grandeur load the tainted gales; Blest age! but ah! how diff'rent from our own! Few know the toiling statesman's fear or care,
Much could I add,—but see the boat at hand, Th’insidious rival and the gaping heir. The tide retiring calls me from the land :
Once more, Democritus, arise on Earth, Farewell !– When youth, and health, and fortune With cheerful wisdom and instructive mirth, spent,
See motley life in modern trappings dress'd, Thou fly’st for refuge to the wilds of Kent; And feed with varied fools th' eternal jest : And, tir'd like me with follies and with crimes, Thou who couldst laugh, where want enchain'd In angry numbers warn’st succeeding times ;
Where ne'er was known the form of mock debate,
Attentive truth and nature to descry,
What murder'd Wentworth, and what exil'd Hyde And pierce each scene with philosophic eye, By kings protected, and to kings allied ? To thee were solemn toys, or empty show,
What but their wish indulg'd in courts to shine, The robes of pleasure, and the veils of woe: And pow'r too great to keep, or to resign. All aid the farce, and all thy mirth maintain,
When first the college rolls receive his name, Whose joys are causeless, or whose griefs are vain. The young enthusiast quits his ease for fame;
Such was the scorn that fill'd the sage's mind, Resistless burns the fever of renown, Renew'd at ev'ry glance on human-kind; Caught from the strong contagion of the gown: How just that scorn ere yet thy voice declare, O'er Bodley's dome his future labors spread, Search ev'ry state, and canvass ev'ry pray'r. And Bacon's mansion* trembles o'er his head.
Unnumber'd suppliants crowd Preserment's gate, Are these thy views ? Proceed, illustrious youth, Athirst for wealth, and burning to be great; And Virtue guard thee to the throne of Truth! Delusive Fortune hears th' incessant call,
Yet should thy soul indulge the gen'rous heat They mount, they shine, evaporate, and fall. Till captive Science yields her last retreat ; On ev'ry stage the foes of peace attend,
Should reason guide thee with her brightest ray, Hate dogs their flight, and insult mocks their end. And pour on misty doubt resistless day; Love ends with hope, the sinking statesman's door Should no false kindness lure w loose delight, Pours in the morning worshipper no more ; Nor praise relax, nor difficulty fright; For growing names the weekly scribbler lies, Should tempting Novelty thy cell refrain, To growing wealth the dedicator Mies ;
And Sloth effuse her opiate fumes in vain; From ev'ry room descends the painted face, Should Beauty blunt on fops her fatal dart, That hung the bright palladium of the place ; Nor claim the triumph of a letter'd heart; And, smok'd in kitchens, or in auctions sold, Should no disease thy torpid veins invade, To better features yields the frame of gold; Nor Melancholy's phantoms haunt thy shade; For now no more we trace in ev'ry line
Yet hope not life from grief or danger free, Heroic worth, benevolence divine :
Nor think the doom of man revers’d for thee : The form distorted justifies the fall,
Deign on the passing world to turn thine eyes, And detestation rids th' indignant wall.
And pause a while from letters to be wise; But will not Britain hear the last appeal, There mark what ills the scholar's life assail, Sign her foes' doom, or guard her fav'rites' zeal ? Toil, envy, want, the patron, and the jail. Through Freedom's sons more remonstrance See nations, slowly wise and meanly just, rings,
To buried merit raise the tardy bust. Degrading nobles and controlling kings;
If dreams yet flatter, once again attend, Our supple tribes repress their patriot throats, Hear Lydiat's life, and Galileo's end. And ask no questions but the price of votes ; Nor deem, when Learning her last prize bestows, With weekly libels and septennial ale,
The glittering eminence exempt from foes ; Their wish is full to riot and to rail.
See, when the vulgar 'scapes, despis'd or aw'd, In full-blown dignity, see Wolsey stand, Rebellion's vengeful talons seize on Laud. Law in his voice, and fortune in his hand : From meaner minds, though smaller fines content, To him the church, the realm, their pow'rs con- The plunder'd palace, or sequester'd rent: sign,
Mark'd out by dang'rous parts, he meets the shock, Through him the rays of regal bounty shine ; And fatal Learning leads him to the block: Turn'd by his nod the stream of honor flows, Around his tomb let Art and Genius weep, His smile alone security bestows :
But hear his death, ye blockheads, hear and sleep. Still 10 new heights his restless wishes tow'r, The festal blazes, the triumphal show, Claim leads to claim, and pow'r advances pow'r; The ravish'd standard, and the captive foe, Till conquest unresisted ceas'd to please, The senate's thanks, the gazette's pompous tale, And rights submitted left him none to seize : With force resistless o'er the brave prevail. At length his sov'reign frowns—the train of state Such bribes the rapid Greek o'er Asia whirl'd, Mark the keen glance, and watch the sign to hate. For such the steady Roman shook the world ; Where'er he turns, he meets a stranger's eye,
For such in distant lands the Britons shine, His suppliants scorn him, and his followers Ay; And stain with blood the Danube or the Rhine ; Now drops at once the pride of awful state, This pow'r has praise, that virtue scarce can warm The golden canopy, the glitt'ring plate,
Till same supplies the universal charm. The regal palace, the luxurious board,
Yet Reason frowns on War's unequal game, The liv'ried army, and the menial lord.
Where wasted nations raise a single name ; With age, with cares, with maladies oppress'd, And mortgag'd states their grandsires' wreaths regret He seeks the refuge of monastic rest.
From age to age in everlasting debt; Grief aids disease, remember'd folly stings,
Wreaths which at last the dear-bought right convey And his last sighs reproach the faith of kings. To rust on medals, or on stones decay.
Speak thou whose thoughts at humble peace repine, On what foundation stands the warrior's pride, Shall Wolsey's wealth with Wolsey's end be thine ? How just his hopes, let Swedish Charles decide; Or liv'st thou now, with safer pride content, A frame of adamant, a soul of fire, The wisest justice on the banks of Trent? No dangers fright him, and no labors tire, For, why did Wolsey, near the steeps of fate, On weak foundations raise th' enormous weight?
* There is a tradition, that the study of Friar Bacon, Why but to sink beneath misfortune's blow,
built on an arch over the bridge, will fall when a man With louder ruin to the gulss below.
greater than Bacon shall pass under it. To prevent so What gave great Villiers to th' assassin's knife, shocking an accident, it was pulled down many years And fix'd disease on Harley's closing life?
O'er love, o'er fear, extends his wide domain, In vain their gifts the bounteous seasons pour,
With listless eyes the dotard views the store,
And Luxury with sighs her slave resigns.
No sounds, alas! would touch th' impervious ear On Moscow's walls till Gothic standards fly, Though dancing mountains witness'd Orpheus And all be mine beneath the polar sky."
Nor lute nor lyre his feeble pow'rs attend,
Nor sweeter music of a virtuous friend;
But everlasting dictates crowd his tongue,
And scarce a legacy can bribe to hear :
The watchful guests still hint the last offence;
And mould his passions till they make his will.
Unnumber'd maladies his joints invade,
But unextinguish'd av'rice still remains,
And dreaded losses aggravate his pains;
His bonds of debt, and mortgages of lands;
Unlocks his gold, and counts it till he dies.
But grant, the virtues of a temp'rate prime
Bless with an age exempt from scorn or crime;
And glides in modest innocence away ;
To press the weary minutes' fagging wings;
Year chases year, decay pursues decay.
Superfluous lags the vet'ran on the stage,
And bids afflicted worth retire to peace.
From Lydia's monarch should the search descend,
From Marlb'rough's eyes the streams of dotage flow
Begs for each birth the fortune of a face ;
" Enlarge my life with multitude of days!" Ye nymphs of rosy lips and radiant eyes,
By day the frolic, and the dance by night;
Who frown with vanity, who smile with art,
And ask the latest fashion of the heart;
What care, what rules, your heedless charms shall Vice always found a sympathetic friend; save,
They pleas'd their age, and did not aim to mend. Each nymph your rival, and each youth your slave? Yet bards like these aspir'd to lasting praise, Against your fame with fondness hate combines, And proudly hop'd to pimp in future days. The rival batters, and the lover mines.
Their cause was gen'ral, their supports were strong, With distant voice neglected Virtue calls,
Their slaves were willing, and their reign was long : Less heard and less, the faint remonstrance falls; Till Shame regain'd the post that Sense betray'd, Tir'd with contempt, she quits the slipp’ry rein, And Virtue callid Oblivion to her aid. And Pride and Prudence take her seat in vain. Then, crush'd by rules, and weaken'd as refin'd, In crowd at once, where none the pass defend, For years the pow'r of Tragedy declind; The harmless freedom, and the private friend. From bard to bard the frigid caution crept, The guardians yield, by force superior plied : Till Declamation roar'd whilst Passion slept; To Int'rest, Prudence; and to Flatt'ry, Pride. Yet still did Virtue deign the stage to tread, Here Beauty falls betray'd, despis'd, distress'a, Philosophy remain'd, though Nature fled. And hissing Infamy proclaims the rest.
But forc'd, at length, her ancient reign to quit, Where then shall Hope and Fear their objects find? She saw great Faustus lay the ghost of Wit; Must dull Suspense corrupt the stagnant mind ? Exulting Folly hail'd the joyful day, Must helpless man, in ignorance sedate,
And Pantomime and Song confirm'd her sway. Roll darkling down the torrent of his fate?
But who the coming changes can presage, Must no dislike alarm, no wishes rise,
And mark the future periods of the stage ? No cries invoke the mercies of the skies?
Perhaps, if skill could distant times explore, Inquirer, cease ; petitions yet remain
New Behns, new Durfeys, yet remain in store; Which Heav'n may hear, nor deem religion vain. Perhaps where Lear has rav'd, and Hamlet died, Still raise for good the supplicating voice,
On flying cars new sorcerers may ride : But leave to Heav'n the measure and the choice : Perhaps (for who can guess th' effects of chance ?) Safe in his pow'r, whose eyes discern afar Here Hunt may box, or Mahomet* may dance. The secret ambush of a specious pray’r;
Hard is his lot that, here by Fortune plac'd, Implore his aid, in his decisions rest,
Must watch the wild vicissitudes of taste ; Secure, whate'er he gives, he gives the best. With every meteor of caprice must play, Yet, when the sense of sacred presence fires, And chase the new-blown bubbles of the day. And strong devotion to the skies aspires,
Ab! let not Censure term our fate our choice, Pour forth thy fervors for a healthful mind, The stage but echoes back the public voice ; Obedient passions, and a will resign'd;
The drama's laws, the drama's patrons give, For love, which scarce collective man can fill; For we that live to please, must please to live. For patience, sov’reign o'er transmuted ill;
Then prompt no more the follies you decry, For faith, ihat, panting for a happier seat,
As tyrants doom their tools of guilt to die; Counts death kind Nature's signal of retreat : 'Tis yours, this night, to bid the reign commence These goods for man the laws of Heav'n ordain, Of rescued Nature and reviving Sense ; These goods he grants, who grants the pow'r to To chase the charms of sound, the pomp of show gain ;
For useful mirth and salutary woe; With these celestial Wisdom calms the mind, Bid scenic Virtue form the rising age, And makes the happiness she does not find. And Truth diffuse her radiance from the stage.
SPOKEN BY MR. GARRICK, AT THE OPENING OF THE
DEATH OF MR. ROBERT LEVET,
A PRACTISER IN PHYSIC.
CONDEMN'D to Hope's delusive mine,
As on we toil from day to day, Existence saw him spurn her bounded reign,
By sudden blasts, or slow decline,
Our social comforts drop away.
Well tried through many a varying year,
Officious, innocent, sincere,
Of ev'ry friendless name the friend.
Yet still he fills affection's eye,
Obscurely wise, and coarsely kind ; praise.
Nor, letter'd Arrogance, deny A mortal born, he met the gen'ral doom,
Thy praise to merit unrefin'd. But left, like Egypt's kings, a lasting tomb.
The wits of Charles found easier ways to fame, Nor wish'd for Jonson's art, or Shakspeare's flame. * Hunt, a famous boxer on the stage ; Mahomet, a rope. Themselves they studied, as they felt they writ; dancer, who had exhibited at Covent Garden theatre the Intrigue was plot, obscenity was wit.
winter before, said to be a Turk.
When fainting nature call'd for aid,
And hov'ring death prepar'd the blow, His vig'rous remedy display'd
The pow'r of art without the show.
His virtues walk'd their narrow round,
Nor made a pause, nor left a void; And sure th' Eternal Master found
The single talent well employ'd.
In Misery's darkest cavern known,
His useful care was ever nigh, Where hopeless Anguish pour'd his groan,
And lonely Want retir'd to die.
The busy day—the peaceful night,
Unfelt, uncounted, glided by ; His frame was firm—his powers were bright,
Though now his eightieth year was nigh. Then with no fiery throbbing pain,
No cold gradations of decay, Death broke at once the vital chain,
And freed his soul the nearest way.
No summons mock'd by chill delay,
No petty gain disdain'd by pride, The modest wants of ev'ry day
The toil of ev'ry day supplied.