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Matter and figure they produce;
For garnish this, and that for use ;
And in the structure of their feasts,
They seek to feed and please their guests :
But one may balk this good intent,
And take things otherwise than meant.
Thus, if you dine with my lord-mayor,
Roast-beef and venison is your fare ;
Thence you proceed to swan and bustard,
And persevere in tart and custard :
But tulip-leaves and lemon-peel
Help only to adorn the meal ;
And painted flags, superb and neat,
Proclaim you welcome to the treat.
The man of sense his meat devours,
But only smells the peel and flowers ;
And he must be an idle dreamer,
Who leaves the pie, and gnaws the streamer.
“ That Cupid goes with bow and arrows,
And Venus keeps her coach and sparrows,
Is all but emblem, to acquaint one,
The son is sharp, the mother wanton.
Such images have sometimes shown
A mystic sense, but oftener none.
For who conceives, what bards devise,
That Heaven is plac'd in Celia's eyes ;
Or where's the sense, direct and moral,
That teeth are pearl, or lips are coral ?
“ Your Horace owns, he various writ,
As wild or sober maggots bit :
And, where too much the poet ranted,
The sage philosopher recanted.
His gravc Epistles may disprove
The wanton Odes he inade to love.
“ Lucretius keeps a mighty pother With Cupid and his fancy'd mother ; Calls her great queen of Earth and Air, Declares that winds and seas obey her ; And, while her honour he rehearses, Implores her to inspire his verses.
“ Yet, free from this poetic madness, Next page
he says, in sober sadness, That she and all her fellow-gods Sit idling in their high abodes, Regardless of this world below, Our health or hanging, weal or woe; Nor once disturb their heavenly spirits With Scapin's cheats, or Cæsar's merits.
“ Nor e'er can Latin poets prove Where lies the real seat of Love. Jecur they burn, and cor they pierce, As either best supplies their verse; And, if folks ask the reason for't, Say, one was long, and t'other short. Thus, I presume, the British Muse May take the freedom strangers use. In prose our property is greater : Why should it then be less in metre ? If Cupid throws a single dart, We make him wound the lover's heart : But, if he takes his bow and quiver ; 'Tis sure he must transfix the liver : For rhyme with reason may dispense, And sound has right to govern sense.
“ But let your friends in verse suppose,
What ne'er shall be allow'd in prose;
Anatomists can make it clear,
The Liver minds his own affair ;
Kindly supplies our public uses,
And parts and strains the vital juices;
Still lays some useful bile aside,
To tinge the chyle's insipid tide :
Else we should want both gibe and satire ;
And all be burst with pure good-nature.
Now gall is bitter with a witness,
And love is all delight and sweetness.
My logic then has lost its aim,
If sweet and bitter be the same:
And he, methinks, is no great scholar,
Who can mistake desire for choler.,
“ The like may of the heart be said ;
Courage and terrour there are bred.
All those, whose hearts are loose and low,
Start, if they hear but the tattoo :
And mighty physical their fear is;
For, soon as noise of combat near is,
Their heart, descending to their breeches,
Must give their stomach cruel twitches.
But heroes, who o'ercome or die,
Have their hearts hung extremely high ;
The strings of which, in battle's heat,
Against their very corslets beat;
Keep time with their own trumpet's measure,
And yield them most excessive pleasure.
“ Now, if 'tis chiefly in the heart That Courage does itself exert,
'Twill be prodigious hard to prove
That this is eke the throne of Love.
Would Nature make one place the seat
Of fond desire, and fell debate ?
Must people only take delight in
Those hours, when they are tir’d of fighting?
And has no man, but who has kill'd
A father, right to get a child ?
These notions then I think but idle;
And Love shall still possess the middle.
“ This truth more plainly to discover,
Suppose your hero were a lover.
Though he before had gall and rage,
Which death or conquest must assuage,
He grows dispirited and low;
He hates the fight, and shuns the foe.
“ In scornful sloth Achilles slept,
And for his wench, like Tall-boy, wept :
Nor would return to war and slaughter,
Till they brought back the parson's daughter.
« Antonius fled from Actium's coast, Augustus pressing, Asia lost : His sails by Cupid's hands unfurld, To keep the fair, he gave the world. Edward our Fourth, rever'd and crown'd, Vigorous in youth, in arms renown'd, While England's voice, and Warwick's care, Design'd him Gallia's beauteous heir, Chang'd peace
When, quitting Coutras' prosperous field,
And Fortune taught at length to yield,
He from his guards and midnight tent
Disguis'd o'er hills and vallies went,
To wanton with the sprightly dame,
And in his pleasure lost his fame.
6 Bold is the critic who dares prove
These heroes were no friends to love;
And bolder he, who dares aver
That they were enemies to war.
Yet, when their thought should, now or never,
Have rais'd their heart, or fir'd their liver,
Fond Alma to those parts was gone,
Which Love more justly calls his own.
“ Examples I could cite you more ; But be contented with these four : For, when one's proofs are aptly chosen, Four are as valid as four dozen. One came from Greece, and one from Rome; The other two grew nearer home. For some in ancient books delight ; Others prefer what moderns write : Now I should be extremely loth, Not to be thought expert in both.”
“ But shall we take the Muse abroad,
To drop her idly on the road ?
And leave our subject in the middle,
As Butler did his Bear and Fiddle ?
Yet he, consummate master, knew,
When to recede, and where pursue :