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Courts are too much for wits so weak as mine: Charge them with heav'n's artill’ry, bold divine ! From such alone the great rebukes endure, Whose satire's sacred and whose rage secure : 'Tis mine to wash a few light stains, but theirs To deluge sin, and drown a court in tears. 285 Howe'er, what's now apocrypha, my wit, In time to come, may pass for holy writ.
I shook like a spy'd spy. Preachers! which are
IN TWO DIALOGUES.
Written in the year 1738.
F. NOT twice a twelvemonth you appear in print, And when it comes the court see nothing in’t. You grow correct that once with rapture writ, And are, besides, too moral for a wit. Decay of parts, alas! we all must feel....
5 Why now,
this moment, don't I see you steal ? 'Tis all from Horace; Horace long before ye Said “ Tories call'd him Whig, and Whigs a Tory;" And taught his Romans, in much better metre, “To laugh at fools who put their trust in Peter.” 10
But Horace, Sir, was delicate, was nice;
His sly, polite, insinuating style
P. See Sir Robert! hum.... And never laugh....for all my life to come ? See him I have; but in his happier hour Of social pleasure, ill-exchang'd for pow'r; 30 Seen him, uncumber'd with a venal tribe, Smile without art, and win without a bribe. Would he oblige me? let me only find He does not think me what he thinks mankind. Come, come, at all I laugh he laughs, no doubt; 35 The only diff'rence is....I dare laugh out.
F. Why, yes: with Scripture still you may be free; A horse-laugh, if you please, at honesty, A joke on Jekyll, or some odd old Whig, Who never chang'd his principle or wig.
40 A patriot is a fool in ev'ry age, Whom all lord chamberlains allow the stage! These nothing hurts; they keep their passion still, And wear their strange old virtue as they will.
If any ask you,
mend not those.
60 Judicious wits spread wide the ridicule, And charitably comfort knave and fool.
P. Dear Sir, forgive the prejudice of youth : Adieu distinction, satire, warmth and truth! Come, harmless character that no one hit; 65 Come, Henley's oratory, Osborne's wit ! The honey dropping from Favouia's tongue, The flow'rs of Bubo, and the flow of Young! The gracious dew of pulpit eloquence, And all the well-whipt cream of courtly sense; 70