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Till they have clear'd this weighty doubt,
Which they'll be centuries about,
As a plain nag, in homely phrase,
I'll use the language of our days ;
And, for this first and only time,
Just make a trot in easy rhyme.
Nor let it shock your thought or sight,
That thus a quadruped should write;
Read but the papers, and you'll see
More prodigies of wit than me;
Grown men and Sparrows taught to dance,
By Monsieur Passerat from France;
The learned dog, the learned mare,
The learned bird, the learned hare;
And all are fashionable too,
And play at cards as well as yoụ.
Of paper, pen, and ink possess'd, With faculties of writing blest, 'Why should not I then, Hownnyhwm bred (A word that must be seen, not said)
of all that anxious care,
Which good folks feel for good and fair,
And which your looks betray'd indeed,
To more discerning eyes of steed;
When in the shape of useful hack,
I bore a Poet on my back? ..
Know, safely rode my master's bride, The bard before her for my guide. Yet think not, sir, his awkward care Ensur'd protection to the fair. No-conscious of the prize I bore, My wayward footsteps slipt no more. For though I scorn the Poet's skill, My mistress guides me where she will.
Abstract in wond'rous speculation,
Lost in laborious meditation,
As whether 'twould promote Sublime
If Silver could be pair'd in rhyme ;
Or, as the word of sweeter Tune,
Month might be clink'd instead of moon:
No wonder Poets hardly know
Or what they do, or where they go.
Whether they ride or walk the street,
Their heads are always on their feet ;
They now and then may get astride
Th' ideal Pegasus, and ride
Prodigious journeys-round a room,
As boys ride cock-horse on a broom.
Whether Acrostics teize the brain,
Which goes a hunting words in vain,
(For words most capitally sin,
Unless their letters right begin.)
Since how to man or woman's name,
Could you or I Acrostic frame.
Or make the staring letters join,
To form the word, that tells us thine,
Unless we'ad right initials got,
S, C, O, T, and so made Scot?
Or whether Rebus, Riddle's brother
(Both which had Dullness for their mother)
Employ the gentle Poet's care,
To celebrate some town or fair,
Which all ad libitum he slits
For you to pick it up by bits,
Which bits together plac'd, will frame
Some city's or some lady's name;
As when a worm is cut in twain,
It joins and is a worm again;
When thoughts so weighty, so intense,
Above the reach of common sense,
Distract and twirl the mind about,
Which fain would hammer something out ;
A kind discharge relieves the mind,
As folks are eas'd by breaking wind;
Whatever whims or maggots bred
Take place of sense in Poet's head,
They fix themselves without controul,
Where'er it's seat is on the soul.
Then, like your heathen idols, we
Have eyes indeed, but cannot see,
(We, for I take the Poet's part,
And for my blood, am Bard at heart)
For in reflection deep immerst,
The man muse-bitten and be-verst,
Neglectful of externals all,
Will run his head against a wall,
Walk thro' a river as it flows,
Nor see the bridge before his nose.
Are things like these equestrians fit
To mount the back of mettled tit?
Are but farewell, for here comes Bob,
And I must serve some hackney job ;
Fetch letters, or, for recreation,
Transport the bard to our Plantation.
Robert joins compts with Burnam Black,
Your humble servant Hanbury's hack.
OF CHURCH-LANGTON, LEICESTERSHIRE,
ON HIS PLANTATIONS.
While vain pursuits a trifling race engage,
And Virtue slumbers in a thriftless age,
Thy glorious plan*, on deep foundations laid,
Which aiding Nature, Nature's bound to aid,
The wise man's study, tho' the blockhead's scorn,
Shall speak for ages to a world unborn.
Though fools deride, for Censure's still at hand
To damn the work she cannot understand,
Pursue thy, project with an ardour fit;
Fools are but whetstones to a man of wit.
Like puling infants seem'd thy rising plan, Now knit in strength, it speaks an active man. So the broad oak, which from thy grand design Shall spread aloft, and tell the world'twas thine, A strip’ling first, just peep'd above the ground, Which, ages hence, shall Aling it's shade around.
* See Mr. Hanbury's Essay on Planting.