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1. 'Tis your belief the world was made for man ; Kings do but reason on the self same plan : Maintaining yours, you cannot theirs condemn, Who think, or seem to think, man made for them.
B. Seldom, alas ! the power of logic reigns With much sufficiency in royal brains ; Such reasoning falls like an inverted cone, Wanting its proper base to stand upon. Man made for kings ! those optics are but dim That tell you so—say, rather, they for him. That were, indeed, a king-ennobling thought, Could they, or would they, reason as they ought, The diadem, with mighty projects lin’d, To catch renown by ruining mankind, Is worth, with all its gold and glittering store, Just what the toy will sell for, and no more.
Oh! bright occasions of dispensing good,
How seldom us'd, how little understood !
To pour in virtue's lap her just reward,
Keep vice restrain'd behind a double guard ;
To quell the faction that affronts the throne,
By silent magnanimity alone :
To nurse with tender care the thriving arts,
Watch every beam philosophy imparts ;
To give religion her unbridled scope,
Nor judge by statute a believer's hope ;
With close fidelity and love unfeign'd,
To keep the matrimonial bond unstain'd;
Covetous only of a virtuous praise ;
His life a lesson to the land he sways :
To touch the sword with conscientious awe,
Nor draw it but when duty bids him draw ;
To sheath it in the peace-restoring close
With joy beyond what victory bestows ;
Blest country, where these kingly glories shine !
Blest England, if this happiness be thine !
A. Guard what you say; the patriotic tribe
Will sneer, and charge you with a bribe. --B. A bribe :
The worth of his three kingdoms I defy,
To lure me to the baseness of a lie.
And, of all lies, (be that one poet's boast)
The lie that flatters I abhor the most.
'Those arts be theirs who hate his gentle reign,
But he that loves him has no need to feign.
4. Your smooth eulogium, to one crown address'd, Seems to imply a ceasure on the rest.
B. Quevedo, as he tells his sober tale,
Ask'd, when in hell, to see the royal jail ;
Approv'd their method in all other things ;
But where, good Sir, do you confine your kings ?
There—said his guide--the groupe is full in view.
Indeed ?-replied the Don—there are but few.
His black interpreter the charge disdainid
Few, fellow !-there are all that ever reign'd.
Wit, undistinguishing, is apt to strike
The guilty and not guilty, both alike.
I grant the sarcasm is too severe,
And we can readily refute it here ;
While Alfred's name, the father of his age,
And the sixth Edward's, grace th' historic page.
1. Kings then, at last, have but the lot of all, By their own conduct they must stand or fall.
B. True. While they live the courtly laureat pays His quit-rent ode, his pepper-corn of praise ; And many a dunce, whose fingers itch to write, Adds, as he can, his tributary mite : A subject's faults a subject may proclaim, A monarch's errors are forbidden game ! Thus, free from censure, over-aw'd by fear, And prais’d for virtues that they scorn to wear, The fleeting forms of majesty engage Respect, while stalking o'er life's narrow stage ; Then leave their crimes for history to scan, And ask, with busy scorn, Was this the man ?
I pity kings, whom worship waits upon,
Obsequious, from the cradle to the throne ;
Before whose infant eyes the flatterer bows,
And binds a wreath about their baby brows !
Whom education stiffens into state,
And death awakens from that dream too late.
Oh ! if servility with supple knees,
Whose trade it is to smile, to crouch, to please ;
If smooth dissimulation, skill'd to grace
A devil's purpose with an angel's face ;
If smiling peeresses and simpering peers,
Encompassing his throne a few short years ;
If the gilt carriage and the pamper'd steed,
That wants no driving, and disdains the lead ;
If guards, mechanically form'd in ranks,
Playing, at beat of drum, their martial pranks,
Should'ring and standing as if stuck to stone,
While condescending majesty looks on ;
If monarchy consist in such base things,
Sighing, I say again, I pity kings !
To be suspected, thwarted, and withstood,
Even when he labours for his country's good ;
To see a band, call's patriot, for no cause,
But that they catch at popular applause,
Careless of all th' anxiety he feels,
Hook disappointment on the public wheels ;
With all their flippant Auency of tongue,
Most confident, when palpably most wrong ;
If this be kingly, then farewell for me
All kingship ! and may I be poor and free!
To be the Table Talk of clubs up stairs, To which th' unwash'd artificer repairs, T'indulge bis genius after long fatigue, By diving into cabinet intrigue ; (For what kings deem a toil, as well they may, To him is relaxation and mere play) To win no praise when well-wrought plans prevaila But to be rudely censur'd when they fail ; To doubt the love his favorites may pretend, And in reality to find ng friend ;
If he indulge a cultivated taste,
His galleries with the works of art well grac’d,
To hear it callid extravagance and waste ;
If these attendants, and if such as these,
Must follow royalty, then welcome ease ;
However humble and confin'd the sphere,
Happy the state that lias not these to fear.
A. Thus men, whose thoughts contemplative have
On situations that they never felt, [dwels
Start up sagacious, covered with the dust
Of dreaming study and pedantic rust,
And prate and preach about what others prove,
As if the world and they were hand and glove.
Leave kingly backs to cope with kingly cares,
They have their weight to carry--subjects theirs ;
Poets, of all men, ever least regret
Increasing taxes, and the nation's debt.
Could you contrive the payment, and rehearse
The mighty plan, oracular, in verse,
No bard, howe'er majestic, old or new,
Should claim my fix'd attention more than you.
B. Not Brindley nor Bridgewater would essay
To turn the course of Helicon that way;
Nor would the Nine consent the sacred tide
Should purl amidst the traffic of Cheapside,
Or tinkle in 'Change-Alley, to amuse
The leathern ears of stock-jobbers and Jews.
A. Vouchsafe, at least, to pitch the key of rhyme To themes more pertinent, if less sublime.