« ZurückWeiter »
In Imitation of the Third Satire of
This poem of Mr. Johnson's is the best imitation of
the original that has appeared in our language, being poffeffed of all the force and satyrical resentment of Juvenal. Imitation gives us a much truer idea of the ancients than even translation could do.
HO' grief and fondness in my breast rebel,
When injur'd Thales bids the town farewel, Yet ftill my calmer thoughts his choice commend, I praise the heřmit, but regret the friend; Who now resolves, from vice and London far, "To breathe in distant fields a purer air, And, fix'd on Cambria's folitary shore, Give to St. David one true Briton more. For who wou'd leave, unbrib'd, Hibernia's land, Or change the rocks of Scotland for the Strand ? There none are swept by sudden fate away, But all, whom hunger spares, with age decay: Here malice, rapine, accident, confpire ; And now a rabble rages, now a fire : *Their ambush here relentless russians lay, And here the fell attorney prowls for prey : D6
Here falling houses thunder on your head,
And here a female atheist talks
While Thales waits the wherry that contains
Of difipated wealth the small remains,
On Thames's bank in filent thought we stood,
Where Greenwich smiles upon the silver flood.
Struck with the seat that gave Eliza birth,
We kneel, and kiss the consecrated earth;
In pleasing dreams the blissful age renew,
And call Britannia's glories back to view;
Behold her cross triumphant on the main,
The guard of commerce and the dread of Spain.
Ere masquerades debauch’d, excise oppress’d,
Or English honour grew a standing jest.
A transient calni the happy scenes bestow,
And, for a moment, lull the sense of woe.
At length awaking with contemptuous frown,
Indignant Thales eyes the neighb'ring town.
Since worth, he cries, in these degen’rate days,
Wants e'en the cheap reward of empty praise;
In those curst walls, devote to vice and gain,
Since unrewarded science toils in vain ;
Since hope but sooths to double my distress,
And ev'ry moment leaves my little less ;
While yet my steady steps no staff sustains,
And life fill vig'rous revels in my veins;
Grant me, kind heaven, to find some happier place,
Where honesty and sense are no disgrace ;
Some pleasing bank, where verdant oficrs play,
Some peaceful vale, with nature's painting gay ;
Where once the harrass’d Briton found repose,
And safe, in poverty, defy'd his foes :
Some secret cell, ye pow'rs indulgent, give:
Let live here; for has learn'd to live.
Here let those reign, whom pensions can incite
To vote a patriot black, a courtier white;
Explain their country's dear-bought rights away,
And plead for pirates in the face of day;
With slavilh tenets taint our poinson’d youth,
And lend a lye the confidence of truth.
Let such raise palaces, and manors buy,
Collect a tax, or farm a lottery,
With warbling eunuchs fill a licens'd stage,
And lull to servitude a thoughtless age.
Heroes proceed! what bounds your pride shall hold?
What check restrain your thirst of pow'r and gold ?
Behold rebellious virtue quite o’erthrown,
Behold our fame, our wealth, our lives your own.
To such, a groaning nation's spoils are giv'n,
When public crimes inflame the wrath of heav'n:
But what, my friend, what hope remains for me,
Who start at theft, and blush at perjury ?
Who scarce forbear, tho' Britain's court he sing,
To pluck a titled poet's borrow'd wing;
A statesman's logic unconvinc'd can hear,
And dare to slumber o'er the Gazetteer;
Despise a fool in half his pension dress’d,
And strive in vain to laugh at Hy's jest.
Others with softer smiles, and subtler art,
Can fap the principles, or taint the heart;
With more address a lover's note convey,
Or bribe a virgin's innocence away.
Well may they rife, while I, whose rustic tongue
Ne'er knew to puzzle right, or varnish wrong,
Spurn’d as a beggar, dreaded as a spy,
Live unregarded, unlamented die.
For what but social guilt the friend endears?
Who shares Orgilio’s crimes, his fortune shares:
But thou, should tempting villainy present,
All Marlb'rough hoarded, or all Villiers spent,
Turn from the glitt'ring bribe thy fcornful eye,
Nor sell for gold, what gold could never buy,
The peaceful number, self-approving day,
Unsullied fame, and conscience ever gay.
The cheated nation's happy fav’rites fee ;
Mark whom the great caress, who frown on me.
London! the needy villain's gen'ral home,
The common sewer of Paris and of Rome,
With eager thirft, by folly or by fate,
Sucks in the dregs of each corrupted state ;
Forgive my transports on a theme like this
; I cannot bear a French metropolis.
Illuftrious Edward ! from the realms of day
The land of heroes and of faints survey;
Nor hope the British lineaments to trace,
The rustic grandeur, or the furly grace,
But, lost in thoughtless ease, and empty show,
Behold the warrior dwindled to a beau ;
Sense, freedom, piety, refin’d away,
Of France the mimic, and of Spain the prey.
All that at home no more can beg or steal,
Or like a gibbet better than a wheel ;
Hiss'd from the stage, or hooted from the court,
Their air, their dress, their politics import;
Obsequious, artful, voluble, and gay,
On Britain's fond credulity they prey.
No gainful trade their industry can 'fcape,
They fing, they dance, clean shoes, or cure a clap;
All sciences a fafting Monfieur knows,
And bid him go to hell, to hell he goes.
Ah! what avails it, that, from flav'ry far,
I drew the breath of life in English air;
Was early taught a Briton's right to prize,
And lifp the tales of Henry's victories;
If the gull'd conqueror receives the chain,
And flattery subdues when arms are vain?
Studious to please, and ready to submit,
The fapple Gaul was born a parasite:
Still to his int'reít true, where-e'er he goes,
Wit, bravery, worth, his lavish tongue belows ;
In ev'ry face a thousand graces Mine,
From ev'ry tongue flows harmony divine.
These arts in vain our rugged natives try,
Strain out with fault'ring diffidence a lye,
And gain a kick för aukward Aattery.
Besides, with justice this discerning age Admires their wondrous talents for the fage : Well may they venture on the mimic's art, Who play from morn to night a borrow'd part; Practis'd their master's notions to enbrace, Repeat his maxims, and reflect his face ;