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'Tis hence Belles game, intrigue, sip citron-drams, And hide their lovely locks with heads of rams; Hence girls, once modest, without blush appear, With legs display'd, and swan -soft bosoms bare; Hence stale, autumnal dames, still deck'd with laces,
Look like vile canker'd coins in velvet cases.
Ask you, why whores live more belov'd than wives,
Why weeping virtue exil'd, flattery thrives,
Why mad for pensions, BRITONS young and old
Adore base ministers, those calves of gold,
Why witling templars on religion joke,
Fat, rosy justices, drink, doze, and smoke,
Dull critics on best bards pour harmless spite,
As babes that mumble coral, cannot bite,
Why knaves malicious, brother-knaves embrace,
With hearts of gall, but courtly smiling face,
Why scornful FOLLY from her gaudy coach,
At starving houseless VIRTUE points reproach,
Why AV'RICE is the great all-worshipp'd God?
Methinks some DAEMON answers-"'Tis the mode!" 140
At this CORRUPTION Smiles with ghastly grin,
Presaging triumphs to her mother, SIN;
Who, as with baneful wings aloft she flies,
"This falling land be mine!"-exulting cries;
Grim TYRANNY attends her on her way,→
And frowns, and whets his sword that thirsts to slay.
Look from the frigid to the torrid zone, By custom all are led, by nature none.
The hungry TARTAR rides upon his meat,
To cook the dainty flesh with buttock's heat; 59
The CHINESE Complaisantly takes his bed
With his big wife, and is with caudle fed,
How would our tender British beauties shriek,
To see slim beaux on bulls their lances break!
Yet no LUCINDA, in heroic SPAIN,
Admits a youth, but who his beast has slain.
See, wond'rous lands, where the fell victor brings
To his glad wives, the heads of slaughter'd kings,
The mangled heads!—o'er which they sing and laugh,
And in dire banquets the warm life-blood quaff;
Where youths their grandsires, age-bent, trembling,
Pitying their weary weakness, kindly slay:
Where sainted BRACHMANS, Sick of life, retire,
To die spontaneous on the spicy pyre;
Where (stranger still!) with their wild dates content,
The simple swains no sighs for gold torment.
How fondly partial are our judgments grown, We deem all manners odious but our own!
O teach me, Friend, to know wise NATURE's rules, And laugh, like you, at FASHION's hoodwink'd fools You, who to woods remov'd from modish sin, Despise the distant world's hoarse, busy din:
As shepherds from high rocks hear far below,
Hear unconcern'd loud torrents fiercely flow;
You, though mad millions the mean taste upbraid,
Who still love VIRTUE, fair, forsaken maid;
AS BACCHUS charming ARIADNE bore,
By all abandon'd, from the lonesome shore.
BY THE REV. MR. BRAMSTON.
WHOE'ER he be that to a Taste aspires,
Let him read this, and be what he desires.
In men and manners vers'd, from life I write,
Not what was once, but what is now polite.
Those who of courtly France have made the tour,
Can scarce our English aukwardness endure.
But honest men who never were abroad,
Like England only, and its Taste applaud.
Strife still subsists, which yields the better goût;
Books or the world, the many or the few. -19
True Taste to me is by this touchstone known, That's always best that's nearest to my own. To shew that my pretensions are not vain, My father was a play'r in Drury-lane.
Pears and pistachio-nuts my mother sold,
He a dramatic poet, she a scold.
His tragic Muse could countesses affright,
His wit in boxes was my lord's delight.
No mercenary priest e'er join'd their hands,
Uncramp'd by wedlock's unpoetic bands.
Laws my Pindaric parents matter'd not,
So I was tragi-comically got.
My infant tears a sort of measure kept,
I squall'd in distichs, and in triplets wept.
No youth did I in education waste,
Happy in an hereditary Taste.
Writing, ne'er cramp'd the sinews of my thumb,
Nor barbarous birch e'er brush'd my tender bum.
My guts ne'er suffer'd from a college cook,
My name ne'er enter'd in a buttery-book.
Grammar in vain the sons of Priscian teach,
Good parts are better than eight parts of speech:
Since these declin'd, those undeclin'd they call,
I thank my stars, that I declin'd them all.
To Greek or Latin tongues without pretence,
I trust to mother wit and father sense.
Nature's my guide, all sciences I scorn,
Pains I abhor, I was a poet born.
Yet is my goût for criticism such,
I've got some French, and know a little Dutch. 40 Huge commentators grace my learned shelves,
Notes upon books out-do the books themselves.