To the Reverend Mr. Mabell, of Cambridge, who has publish'd Proposals for a Translation of Longinus.
Bath, Dec. 20. 1731.
1 Tho' great Longinus claims thy aiding Hand,
2 And hopes, thro' thee, t'instruct a barb'rous Land,
3 Where vile Conceits the Pow'r of Wit confound,
4 And true Sublimity is lost in Sound;
5 Where Folly, dress'd ten thousand various Ways,
6 The Bar, the Play-house, and the Pulpit sways;
7 Yet to my Verse thy kind Attention lend;
8 Pardon the Poet, and indulge the Friend.
9 From Noise, and Nonsense, and vain Laughter free,
10 I steal a thoughtful Hour, and give to thee;[Page 199]
11 To thee, Conductor of my heedless Youth,
12 Who taught me first to rev'rence Sense, and Truth;
13 Virtue to praise; and boldly Vice deride,
14 With all the Pomp of Fashion on her Side.
15 Behold the Scene a motley Tribe compose,
16 Wives, Widows, Maids, and intermingled Beaux,
17 All Orders, Ages, in one League unite,
18 And to dear Passage consecrate the Night!
19 Now the Dice rattle in the sounding Box;
20 Now groans the Table with repeated Knocks;
21 (Delightful Musick to the Gamester's Ear!)
22 While ev'ry Bosom beats with Hope or Fear.
23 A Pass resounds — What wond'rous Transports rise
24 In Celia's Breast, and lighten in her Eyes!
25 She sweeps the Board — The Fop, with ardent Gaze,
26 Admires the Beauty that her Arm displays.
27 But who, unmov'd, can bear the piteous Sight,
28 While Cynthia frets and raves at Fortune's Spite? [Page 200]
29 Fled from her Cheek are ev'ry Love and Grace,
30 And all the Fury threatens in her Face:
31 Distracted, lost, with Grief and Rage o'ercome,
32 She quits the Dice, and flies to storm at home.
33 When I a Curse implore, may courteous Fate
34 With such a Consort curse the Man I hate!
35 But is there One amongst the Many found,
36 Adorn'd with Modesty, with Reason crown'd;
37 Who treads the slipp'ry Paths of Youth with Care,
38 And uninfected breathes in tainted Air?
39 If such there be, kind Heav'n, afford thy Aid,
40 And soften to my Wish the virtuous Maid!
41 See the Belle flutter with the sprightly Beau!
42 They trip it on the light, fantastic Toe:
43 Nor Words, nor Sighs, their am'rous Thoughts impart;
44 They dance, and glitter at each other's Heart!
45 With honest Scorn survey yon various Croud,
46 Of supple Slaves, or Lords of Titles proud! [Page 201]
47 Stiff-nodding Fools! a Mob in Masquerade!
48 Whom Honours brand, and Dignities upbraid.
49 Yet some there are, with Worth and Wisdom blest.
50 A noble Few! who satirize the rest;
51 Who scorn to boast their great Fore-father's Rays,
52 Shine of themselves, and mingle Blaze with Blaze.
53 And such is Orrery; whose gen'rous Mind,
54 Still prone to Pity, feels for human Kind.
55 A Zeal for Piety inflames his Breast,
56 Temper'd with Charity, in Meekness dress'd:
57 Grandeur and Ease his ev'ry Action guide;
58 He nor assumes, nor condescends in Pride:
59 Add sprightly Wit, by prudent Laws confin'd,
60 A Judgment sober, and by Books refin'd:
61 Add that the Muses ev'ry Charm dispense,
62 To tune his Voice, and beautify the Sense.
63 This to my Friend: And, O! may this inspite
64 Love of fair Fame, and fan the sacred Fire!
65 Dare to have Taste, and urge thy glorious Toil,
66 To teach th' Unknowing, and to please a Boyle.