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Has my good dame a wicked child ?
It takes the gentler name of wild.
If chests he breaks, if locks he picks,
'Tis nothing more than youthful tricks.
The mother's fondness stamps it merit,
For vices are a sign of spirit.
Say, do the neighbours think the same
With the good old indulgent dame?
Cries gossip Prate, “I hear with grief
“ My neighbour's son's an arrant thief.
Nay, cou'd you think it, I am told,
“ He stole five guineas, all in gold.
“ You know the youth was always wild-
“ He got his father's maid with child;
“ And robb’d his master, to defray
“ The money he had lost at play.
" All means to save him now must fail.
“ What can it end in ?- In a jail.”
Howe'er the dame. doats o'er her youth, My gossip says the very truth.
But as his vices love would hide, Or torture them to virtue's side, So friendship’s glass deceives the eye, (A glass too apt to magnify) And makes you think at least you see Some spark of genius, ev'n in me: You say I shou'd get fame. I doubt it; Perhaps I am as well without it. For what's the worth of empty praise ? What poet ever din'd on bays ? For though the Laurel, rarest wonder ! May screen us from the stroke of thunder, This mind ever was, and am in, It is no antidote to famine. And poets live on slender fare, Who, like Cameleons, feed on air, And starve, to gain an empty breath, Which only serves them after death.
Grant I succeed, like Horace rise, And strike my head against the skies; Common experience daily shews, That poets have a
world of foes; And we shall find in every town Gossips enough to cry them down; Who meet in pious conversation T'anatomize a reputation,
With flippant tongue, and empty head, Who talk of things they never read.
Their idle censures I despise: Their niggard praises won't suffice. Tempt me no more then to the crime Of dabbling in the fout of rhyme. My Muse has answer'd all her end, If her productions please a friend. The world is burthen'd with a store, Why need I add one scribbler more?
ADDRESSED TO WILLIAM HOGARTH, ESQ.
In all professionary skill,
There never was, nor ever will
Be excellence, or exhibition,
But fools are up in opposition;
Each letter'd, grave, pedantic dunce
Wakes from his lethargy at once,
Shrugs, shakes his head, and rubs his eyes,
And, being dull, looks wond'rous wise,
With solemn phiz, and critic scowl,
The wisdom of bis brother owl.
MODERNS! He hates the very name;
Your Antients have prescriptive claim :
But let a century be past,
And We have taste and wit at last;
For at that period Moderns too
Just turn the corner of Virtù.
But merit now has little claim
To any meed of present fame,
For 'tis not worth that gets you friends,
'Tis excellence that most offends.
If, Proteus-like, a GARRICK's art,
Shews taste and skill in every part;
If, ever just to nature's plan,
He is in all the very man,
E'en here shall Envy take her aim,
write, and blame,
The JEALOUS WIFE, tho'chastely writ,
With no parade of frippery wit,
Shall set a scribbling, all at once,
Both giant wit, and pigmy dunce;
While Critical Reviewers write,
Who shew their teeth before they bite,
And sacrifice each reputation
From wanton false imagination.
These observations, rather stale,
May borrow spirit from a tale.
GENIUS, a bustling lad of parts,
Who all things did by fits and starts,
Nothing above him or below him,
Who'd make a riot, or a poem,
From eccentricity of thought,
Not always do the thing he ought;
But was it once his own election,
Would bring all matters to perfection ;