In Three Cantos.

[...]Incert. ap. Stobum.


1 Matthew met Richard; when or where
2 From Story is not mighty clear:
3 Of many knotty Points They spoke;
4 And Pro and Con by turns They took.
5 Ratts half the Manuscript have eat:
6 Dire Hunger! which We still regret:
7 O! may they ne'er again digest
8 The Horrors of so sad a Feast.
9 Yet less our Grief, if what remains,
10 Dear Jacob, by thy Care and Pains
11 Shall be to future Times convey'd.
12 It thus begins:
12 Here Matthew said:
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13 Alma in Verse; in Prose, the Mind,
14 By Aristotle's Pen defin'd,
15 Throughout the Body squat or tall,
16 Is, bonâ fide, All in All.
17 And yet, slap dash, is All again
18 In every Sinew, Nerve, and Vein.
19 Runs here and there, like Hamlet's Ghost;
20 While every where She rules the roast.
21 This System, Richard, We are told,
22 The Men of Oxford firmly hold.
23 The Cambridge Wits, You know, deny
24 With Ipse dixit to comply.
25 They say (for in good truth They speak
26 With small Respect of that old Greek)
27 That, putting all his Words together,
28 'Tis Three blew Beans in One blew Bladder.
29 Alma, They strenuously maintain,
30 Sits Cock-horse on Her Throne, the Brain;
31 And from that Seat of Thought dispenses
32 Her Sov'reign Pleasure to the Senses.
33 Two Optic Nerves, They say, She tyes,
34 Like Spectacles, a-cross the Eyes;
35 By which the Spirits bring her Word,
36 Whene'er the Balls are fix'd, or stirr'd;
37 How quick at Park and Play they strike;
38 The Duke they court; the Toast they like;
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39 And at St James's turn their Grace
40 From former Friends, now out of Place.
41 Without these Aids, to be more serious,
42 Her Pow'r, They hold, had been precarious:
43 The Eyes might have conspir'd her Ruin;
44 And She not known, what They were doing.
45 Foolish it had been, and unkind,
46 That They shou'd see, and She be blind.
47 Wise Nature likewise, They suppose,
48 Has drawn two Conduits down our Nose:
49 Cou'd Alma else with Judgment tell,
50 When Cabbage stinks, or Roses smell?
51 Or who wou'd ask for her Opinion
52 Between an Oyster, and an Onion?
53 For from most Bodies, Dick, You know,
54 Some little Bits ask Leave to flow;
55 And, as thro' these Canals They roll,
56 Bring up a Sample of the Whole.
57 Like Footmen running before Coaches,
58 To tell the Inn, what Lord approaches.
59 By Nerves about our Palate plac'd,
60 She likewise judges of the Taste.
61 Else (dismal Thought!) our Warlike Men
62 Might drink thick Port for fine Champagne;
63 And our ill-judging Wives and Daughters
64 Mistake Small-beer for Citron-Waters.
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65 Hence too, that She might better hear,
66 She sets a Drum at either Ear;
67 And Loud or Gentle, Harsh or Sweet,
68 Are but th' Alarums which They beat.
69 Last, to enjoy her Sense of Feeling
70 (A thing She much delights to deal in)
71 A thousand little Nerves She sends
72 Quite to our Toes, and Fingers Ends;
73 And These in Gratitude again
74 Return their Spirits to the Brain;
75 In which their Figure being printed
76 (As just before, I think, I hinted)
77 Alma inform'd can try the Case,
78 As She had been upon the Place.
79 Thus, while the Judge gives diff'rent Journeys
80 To Country Counsel, and Attornies;
81 He on the Bench in quiet sits,
82 Deciding, as They bring the Writs.
83 The Pope thus prays and sleeps at Rome,
84 And very seldom stirs from Home:
85 Yet sending forth his Holy Spies,
86 And having heard what They advise,
87 He rules the Church's blest Dominions;
88 And sets Men's Faith by His Opinions.
89 The Scholars of the Stagyrite,
90 Who for the Old Opinion fight,
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91 Would make their Modern Friends confess,
92 The diff'rence but from More to Less.
93 The Mind, say They, while You sustain
94 To hold her Station in the Brain;
95 You grant, at least, She is extended:
96 Ergo the whole Dispute is ended.
97 For, 'till To-morrow shou'd You plead
98 From Form and Structure of the Head;
99 The Mind as visibly is seen
100 Extended thro' the whole Machine.
101 Why shou'd all Honor then be ta'en
102 From Lower Parts to load the Brain;
103 When other Limbs we plainly see,
104 Each in his way, as brisk as He?
105 For Music, grant the Head receives it;
106 It is the Artist's Hand that gives it.
107 And tho' the Scull may wear the Laurel;
108 The Soldier's Arm sustains the Quarrel.
109 Besides, the Nostrils, Ears, and Eyes
110 Are not his Parts, but his Allies.
111 Ev'n what You hear the Tongue proclaim,
112 Comes ab Origine from them.
113 What could the Head perform Alone,
114 If all Their friendly Aids were gone?
115 A foolish figure He must make;
116 Do nothing else, but sleep and ake.
117 Nor matters it, that You can show,
118 How to the Head that Spirits go.
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119 Those Spirits started from some Goal,
120 Before they thro' the Veins cou'd roll.
121 Now We shou'd hold Them much to blame,
122 If They went back, before They came.
123 If therefore, as We must suppose,
124 They came from Fingers, and from Toes;
125 Or Toes, or Fingers, in this Case,
126 Of Num-scull's Self shou'd take the Place.
127 Disputing fair, You grant thus much,
128 That all Sensation is but Touch.
129 Dip but your Toes into cold Water;
130 Their Correspondent Teeth will chatter:
131 And strike the Bottom of your Feet;
132 You set your Head into a Heat.
133 The Bully beat, and happy Lover
134 Confess, that Feeling lies all over.
135 Note here, Lucretius dares to teach
136 (As all our Youth may learn from Creech)
137 That Eyes were made, but cou'd not view;
138 Nor Hands embrace, nor Feet pursue:
139 But heedless Nature did produce
140 The Members first, and then the Use.
141 What Each must act, was yet unknown,
142 'Till All is mov'd by Chance alone.
143 A Man first builds a Country Seat;
144 Then finds the Walls not good to eat.
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145 Another plants, and wond'ring sees
146 Nor Books, nor Medals on his Trees.
147 Yet Poet and Philosopher
148 Was He, who durst such Whims aver.
149 Blest, for his Sake, be human Reason,
150 That came at all, tho' late, in Season.
151 But no Man sure e'er left his House,
152 And saddl'd Ball, with Thoughts so wild,
153 To bring a Midwife to his Spouse,
154 Before He knew She was with Child.
155 And no Man ever reapt his Corn,
156 Or from the Oven drew his Bread,
157 E'er Hinds and Bakers yet were born,
158 That taught him both to Sow, and Knead.
159 Before They're ask'd, can Maids refuse?
160 Can Pray, says Dick, hold in your Muse.
161 While You Pindaric Truths rehearse;
162 She hobbles in Alternate Verse.
163 Verse? MAT. reply'd: is that my Care?
164 Go on, quoth Richard, soft and fair.
165 This looks, friend Dick, as Nature had
166 But exercis'd the Salesman's Trade:
167 As if She haply had sat down,
168 And cut out Cloaths for all the Town;
169 Then sent them out to Monmouth-Street,
170 To try, what Persons they wou'd fit.
171 But ev'ry Free and Licenc'd Taylor
172 Would in this Thesis find a Failure.
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173 Should Whims like these his Head perplex,
174 How could he work for either Sex?
175 His Cloaths, as Atomes might prevail,
176 Might fit a Pismire, or a Whale.
177 No, no: He views with studious Pleasure
178 Your Shape, before He takes your Measure.
179 For real Kate He made the Boddice,
180 And not for an Ideal Goddess.
181 No Error near his Shop-board lurk'd:
182 He knew the Folks for whom He work'd.
183 Still to Their Size He aim'd his Skill:
184 Else, pr'ythee, who wou'd pay his Bill?
185 Next, Dick, if Chance her self shou'd vary;
186 Observe, how Matters would miscarry:
187 Across your Eyes, Friend, place your Shoes;
188 Your Spectacles upon your Toes:
189 Then You and Memmius shall agree,
190 How nicely Men would walk, or see.
191 But Wisdom, peevish and cross-grain'd,
192 Must be oppos'd, to be sustain'd.
193 And still your Knowledge will increase,
194 As You make other People's less.
195 In Arms and Science 'tis the same:
196 Our Rival's Hurts create our Fame.
197 At Faubert's if Disputes arise
198 Among the Champions for the Prize;
199 To prove, who gave the fairer Butt,
200 John shows the Chalk on Robert's Coat.
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201 So, for the Honor of your Book,
202 It tells, where other Folks mistook:
203 And, as their Notions You confound,
204 Those You invent get farther Ground.
205 The Commentators on old Ari-
206 stotle ('tis urg'd) in Judgment vary:
207 They to their own Conceits have brought
208 The Image of his general Thought.
209 Just as the Melancholic Eye
210 Sees Fleets and Armies in the Sky;
211 And to the poor Apprentice Ear
212 The Bells sound Whittington Lord May'r.
213 The Conj'rer thus explains his Scheme
214 Thus Spirits walk, and Prophets dream:
215 North Britons thus have Second Sight;
216 And Germans free from Gunshot fight.
217 Theodoret, and Origen,
218 And fifty other Learned Men
219 Attest, that if their Comments find
220 The Traces of their Master's Mind;
221 Alma can ne'er decay nor dye:
222 This flatly t'other Sect deny,
223 Simplicius, Theophrast, Durand;
224 Great Names, but hard in Verse to stand.
225 They wonder Men should have mistook
226 The Tenets of their Master's Book;
227 And hold, that Alma yields her Breath,
228 O'ercome by Age, and seiz'd by Death.
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229 Now which were Wise? and which were Fools?
230 Poor Alma sits between two Stools:
231 The more She reads, the more perplext;
232 The Comment ruining the Text:
233 Now fears, now hopes her doubtful Fate:
234 But, Richard, let her look to That
235 Whilst We our own Affairs pursue.
236 These diff'rent Systems, Old or New,
237 A Man with half an Eye may see,
238 Were only form'd to disagree.
239 Now to bring Things to fair Conclusion,
240 And save much Christian Ink's Effusion;
241 Let me propose an Healing Scheme,
242 And sail along the Middle Stream:
243 For, Dick, if We could reconcile
244 Old Aristotle with Gassendus;
245 How many would admire our Toil;
246 And yet how few would comprehend us?
247 Here, Richard, let my Scheme commence.
248 Oh! may my Words be lost in Sense;
249 While pleas'd Thalia deigns to write
250 The Slips and Bounds of Alma's Flight.
251 My simple System shall suppose,
252 That Alma enters at the Toes;
253 That then She mounts by just Degrees
254 Up to the Ancles, Legs, and Knees:
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255 Next, as the Sap of Life does rise,
256 She lends her Vigor to the Thighs:
257 And, all these under-Regions past,
258 She nestles somewhere near the Waste:
259 Gives Pain or Pleasure, Grief or Laughter;
260 As We shall show at large hereafter.
261 Mature, if not improv'd, by Time
262 Up to the Heart She loves to climb:
263 From thence, compell'd by Craft and Age,
264 She makes the Head her latest Stage.
265 From the Feet upward to the Head;
266 Pithy, and short, says Dick: proceed.
267 Dick, this is not an idle Notion:
268 Observe the Progress of the Motion.
269 First I demonstratively prove,
270 That Feet were only made to move;
271 And Legs desire to come and go:
272 For they have nothing else to do.
273 Hence, long before the Child can crawl,
274 He learns to kick, and wince, and sprawl:
275 To hinder which, your Midwife knows
276 To bind Those Parts extremely close;
277 Lest Alma newly enter'd in,
278 And stunn'd at her own Christ'ning's Din,
279 Fearful of future Grief and Pain,
280 Should silently sneak out again.
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281 Full piteous seems young Alma's Case:
282 As in a luckless Gamester's Place,
283 She would not play, yet must not pass.
284 Again as She grows something stronger,
285 And Master's Feet are swath'd no longer,
286 If in the Night too oft He kicks,
287 Or shows his Loco-motive Tricks;
288 These first Assaults fat Kate repays Him,
289 When half asleep She overlays Him.
290 Now mark, Dear Richard, from the Age
291 That Children tread this Worldly Stage,
292 Broom-staff or Poaker they bestride,
293 And round the Parlor love to ride;
294 'Till thoughtful Father's pious Care
295 Provides his Brood, next Smithfield Fair,
296 With Supplemental Hobby-Horses:
297 And happy be their Infant Courses!
298 Hence for some Years they ne'er stand still:
299 Their Legs, You see, direct their Will.
300 From opening Morn 'till setting Sun,
301 A-round the Fields and Woods They run:
302 They frisk, and dance, and leap, and play;
303 Nor heed, what Friend or Snape can say.
304 To Her next Stage as Alma flies,
305 And likes, as I have said, the Thighs:
306 With Sympathetic Pow'r She warms,
307 Their good Allies and Friends, the Arms.
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308 While Betty dances on the Green;
309 And Susan is at Stool-ball seen:
310 While John for Nine-pins does declare;
311 And Roger loves to pitch the Bar;
312 Both Legs and Arms spontaneous move:
313 Which was the Thing I meant to prove.
314 Another Motion now She makes:
315 O need I name the Seat She takes?
316 His Thought quite chang'd the Stripling finds;
317 The Sport and Race no more He minds:
318 Neglected Tray and Pointer lye;
319 And Covies unmolested fly.
320 Sudden the jocund Plain He leaves;
321 And for the Nymph in Secret grieves.
322 In dying Accents He complains
323 Of cruel Fires, and raging Pains.
324 The Nymph too longs to be alone;
325 Leaves all the Swains; and sighs for One.
326 The Nymph is warm'd with young Desire;
327 And feels, and dies to quench His Fire.
328 They meet each Evening in the Grove:
329 Their Parley but augments their Love.
330 So to the Priest their Case They tell:
331 He ties the Knot; and all goes well.
332 But, O my Muse, just Distance keep:
333 Thou art a Maid, and must not peep.
334 In nine Months Time the Boddice loose,
335 And Petticoats too short, disclose,
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336 That at This Age the active Mind
337 About the Waste lies most confin'd;
338 And that young Life, and quick'ning Sense
339 Spring from His Influence darted thence.
340 So from the Middle of the World
341 The Sun's prolifick Rays are hurl'd:
342 'Tis from That Seat He darts those Beams,
343 Which quicken Earth with genial Flames.
344 Dick, who thus long had passive sat,
345 Here stroak'd his Chin, and cock'd his Hat;
346 Then slapp'd his Hand upon the Board;
347 And thus the Youth put in his Word.
348 Love's Advocates, sweet Sir, would find Him
349 A higher Place, than You assign'd Him.
350 Love's Advocates, Dick, who are those?
351 The Poets, You may well suppose.
352 I'm sorry, Sir, You have discarded
353 The Men, with whom 'till now You herded.
354 Prose-Men alone, for private Ends,
355 I thought, forsook their ancient Friends.
356 In cor stillavit, crys Lucretius;
357 If He may be allow'd to teach Us.
358 The self-same Thing soft Ovid says
359 (A proper Judge in such a Case.)
360 Horace his Phrase is torret Jecur;
361 And happy was that curious Speaker.
362 Here Virgil too has plac'd this Passion:
363 What signifies too long Quotation?
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364 In Ode and Epic plain the Case is,
365 That Love holds One of these Two Places.
366 Dick, without Passion or Reflection,
367 I'll strait demolish this Objection.
368 First Poets, all the World agrees,
369 Write half to profit, half to please.
370 Matter and Figure They produce;
371 For Garnish This, and That for Use;
372 And, in the Structure of their Feasts,
373 They seek to feed, and please their Guests:
374 But One may balk this good Intent,
375 And take Things otherwise than meant.
376 Thus, if You Dine with my Lord May'r,
377 Roast-Beef, and Ven'son is your Fare;
378 Thence You proceed to Swan, and Bustard,
379 And persevere in Tart, and Custard:
380 But Tulip-leaves, and Limon-peel
381 Help only to adorn the Meal;
382 And painted Flags, superb and neat,
383 Proclaim You welcome to the Treat.
384 The Man of Sense his Meat devours;
385 But only smells the Peel, and Flow'rs:
386 And He must be an idle Dreamer,
387 Who leaves the Pie, and gnaws the Streamer.
388 That Cupid goes with Bow and Arrows,
389 And Venus keeps her Coach and Sparrows,
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390 Is all but Emblem, to acquaint One,
391 The Son is sharp, the Mother wanton.
392 Such Images have sometimes shown
393 A Mystic Sense, but oft'ner None.
394 For who conceives, what Bards devise,
395 That Heav'n is plac'd in Celia's Eyes?
396 Or where's the Sense, direct or moral,
397 That Teeth are Pearl, or Lips are Coral?
398 Your Horace owns, He various writ,
399 As wild, or sober Maggots bit:
400 And, where too much the Poet ranted,
401 The Sage Philosopher recanted.
402 His grave Epistles may disprove
403 The wanton Odes He made to Love.
404 Lucretius keeps a mighty Pother
405 With Cupid, and his fancy'd Mother:
406 Calls her great Queen of Earth and Air;
407 Declares, that Winds and Seas obey Her;
408 And, while Her Honor he rehearses,
409 Implores Her to inspire his Verses.
410 Yet, free from this Poetic Madness;
411 Next Page, He says in sober Sadness,
412 That She and all her fellow-Gods
413 Sit idling in their high Abodes,
414 Regardless of this World below,
415 Our Health or Hanging, Weal or Woe;
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416 Nor once disturb their Heav'nly Spirits
417 With Scapin's Cheats, or Cæsar's Merits.
418 Nor e'er can Latin Poets prove,
419 Where lies the real Seat of Love.
420 Jecur they burn, and Cor they pierce,
421 As either best supplies their Verse:
422 And, if Folks ask the Reason for't,
423 Say, one was long, and t'other short.
424 Thus, I presume, the British Muse,
425 May take the Freedom Strangers use.
426 In Prose our Property is greater:
427 Why should it then be less in Metre?
428 If Cupid throws a single Dart;
429 We make him wound the Lover's Heart:
430 But if He takes his Bow, and Quiver;
431 'Tis sure, He must transfix the Liver:
432 For Rhime with Reason may dispense;
433 And Sound has Right to govern Sense.
434 But let your Friends in Verse suppose,
435 What ne'er shall be allow'd in Prose:
436 Anatomists can make it clear,
437 The Liver minds his own Affair:
438 Kindly supplies our publick Uses;
439 And parts, and strains the Vital Juices:
440 Still lays some useful Bile aside,
441 To tinge the Chyle's insipid Tide:
442 Else We should want both Gibe and Satyr;
443 And all be burst with pure Good-nature.
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444 Now Gall is bitter with a Witness;
445 And Love is all Delight and Sweetness.
446 My Logic then has lost it's Aim,
447 If Sweet and Bitter be the same:
448 And He, methinks, is no great Scholar,
449 Who can mistake Desire for Choler.
450 The like may of the Heart be said:
451 Courage and Terror there are bred.
452 All those, whose Hearts are loose and low,
453 Start, if they hear but the Tattoo:
454 And mighty Physical their Fear is:
455 For, soon as Noise of Combat near is,
456 Their Heart, descending to their Breeches,
457 Must give their Stomach cruel twitches.
458 But Heroes who o'ercome or dye,
459 Have their Hearts hung extremely high;
460 The Strings of which, in Battel's Heat,
461 Against their very Corslets beat;
462 Keep Time with their own Trumpet's Measure;
463 And yield 'em most excessive Pleasure.
464 Now if 'tis chiefly in the Heart,
465 That Courage does it self exert;
466 'Twill be prodigious hard to prove,
467 That This is eke the Throne of Love.
468 Would Nature make One Place the Seat
469 Of fond Desire, and fell Debate?
470 Must People only take Delight in
471 Those Hours, when They are tir'd with Fighting?
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472 And has no Man, but who has kill'd
473 A Father, right to get a Child?
474 These Notions then I think but idle:
475 And Love shall still possess the Middle.
476 This Truth more plainly to discover,
477 Suppose your Hero were a Lover.
478 Tho' He before had Gall and Rage,
479 Which Death, or Conquest must asswage;
480 He grows dispirited and low:
481 He hates the Fight, and shuns the Foe.
482 In scornful Sloth Achilles slept;
483 And for his Wench, like Tall-boy, wept:
484 Nor would return to War and Slaughter;
485 'Till They brought back the Parson's Daughter.
486 Antonius fled from Actium's Coast,
487 Augustus pressing, Asia lost:
488 His Sails by Cupid's Hand unfurl'd,
489 To keep the Fair, he gave the World.
490 Edward our Fourth, rever'd and crown'd,
491 Vig'rous in Youth, in Arms renown'd;
492 While England's Voice, and Warwick's Care
493 Design'd him Gallia's beauteous Heir;
494 Chang'd Peace and Pow'r for Rage and Wars,
495 Only to dry One Widow's Tears.
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496 France's fourth Henry we may see,
497 A Servant to the fair d'Estree;
498 When quitting Coutras prosp'rous Field,
499 And Fortune taught at length to yield,
500 He from his Guards and Mid-night Tent,
501 Disguis'd o'er Hills and Vallies went,
502 To wanton with the sprightly Dame;
503 And in his Pleasure lost his Fame.
504 Bold is the Critic, who dares prove,
505 These Heroes were no Friends to Love;
506 And bolder He, who dares aver,
507 That they were Enemies to War.
508 Yet, when their Thought should, now or never,
509 Have rais'd their Heart, or fir'd their Liver;
510 Fond Alma to those Parts was gone,
511 Which Love more justly calls his own.
512 Examples I could cite You more;
513 But be contented with these Four:
514 For when One's Proofs are aptly chosen;
515 Four are as valid as four Dozen.
516 One came from Greece, and one from Rome;
517 The other Two grew nearer Home.
518 For some in Antient Books delight:
519 Others prefer what Moderns write:
520 Now I should be extremely loath,
521 Not to be thought expert in Both.
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1 But shall we take the Muse abroad,
2 To drop her idly on the Road?
3 And leave our Subject in the middle;
4 As Butler did his Bear and Fiddle?
5 Yet He, consummate Master, knew
6 When to recede, and where pursue:
7 His noble Negligences teach,
8 What Others Toils despair to reach.
9 He, perfect Dancer, climbs the Rope,
10 And balances your Fear and Hope:
11 If after some distinguish'd Leap,
12 He drops his Pole, and seems to slip;
13 Straight gath'ring all his active Strength,
14 He rises higher half his Length.
15 With Wonder You approve his Slight;
16 And owe your Pleasure to your Fright.
17 But, like poor Andrew, I advance,
18 False Mimic of my Master's Dance:
19 A-round the Cord a while I sprawl;
20 And thence, tho' low, in earnest fall.
21 My Preface tells You, I digress'd:
22 He's half absolv'd who has confess'd.
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23 I like, quoth Dick, your Simile:
24 And in Return, take Two from Me.
25 As Masters in the Clare-obscure,
26 With various Light your Eyes allure:
27 A flaming Yellow here They spread;
28 Draw off in Blew, or charge in Red:
29 Yet from these Colors odly mix'd,
30 Your Sight upon the Whole is fix'd.
31 Or as, again, your Courtly Dames,
32 (Whose Cloaths returning Birth-Day claims,)
33 By Arts improve the Stuffs they vary;
34 And Things are best, as most contrary.
35 The Gown with stiff Embroid'ry shining,
36 Looks charming with a slighter Lining:
37 The Out-, if Indian Figures stain;
38 The In-side must be rich and plain.
39 So You, great Authors, have thought fit,
40 To make Digression temper Wit:
41 When Arguments too fiercely glare;
42 You calm 'em with a milder Air:
43 To break their Points, You turn their Force;
44 And Furbelow the plain Discourse.
45 Richard, quoth Mat, these Words of Thine,
46 Speak something sly, and something fine:
47 But I shall e'en resume my Theme;
48 However Thou may'st praise, or blame.
49 As People marry now, and settle;
50 Fierce Love abates his usual Mettle:
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51 Worldly Desires, and Household Cares
52 Disturb the Godhead's soft Affairs:
53 So now, as Health or Temper changes,
54 In larger Compass Alma ranges,
55 This Day below, the next above;
56 As light, or solid Whimsies move.
57 So Merchant has his House in Town,
58 And Country-Seat near Bansted Down:
59 From One he dates his Foreign Letters,
60 Sends out his Goods, and duns his Debtors:
61 In t'other, at his Hours of Leisure,
62 He smokes his Pipe, and takes his Pleasure.
63 And now your Matrimonial Cupid,
64 Lash'd on by Time, grows tir'd and stupid.
65 For Story and Experience tell Us,
66 That Man grows cold, and Woman jealous.
67 Both would their little Ends secure:
68 He sighs for Freedom, She for Pow'r.
69 His Wishes tend abroad to roam;
70 And Her's, to domineer at Home.
71 Thus Passion flags by slow Degrees;
72 And ruffl'd more, delighted less,
73 The busy Mind does seldom go
74 To those once charming Seats below:
75 But, in the Breast incamp'd, prepares
76 For well-bred Feints, and future Wars.
77 The Man suspects his Lady's crying
78 (When he last Autumn lay a-dying)
79 Was but to gain him to appoint Her
80 By Codicil a larger Jointure.
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81 The Woman finds it all a Trick,
82 That He could swoon, when She was sick;
83 And knows, that in That Grief he reckon'd
84 On black-ey'd Susan for his Second.
85 Thus having strove some tedious Years
86 With feign'd Desires, and real Fears;
87 And tir'd with Answers, and Replies,
88 Of John affirms, and Martha lies;
89 Leaving this endless Altercation,
90 The Mind affects a higher Station.
91 Poltis, that gen'rous King of Thrace,
92 I think, was in this very Case.
93 All Asia now was by the Ears:
94 And Gods beat up for Voluntiers
95 To Greece, and Troy; while Poltis sat
96 In Quiet, governing his State.
97 And whence, said the Pacific King,
98 Does all this Noise, and Discord spring?
99 Why, Paris took Atrides' Wife
100 With Ease I could compose this Strife:
101 The injur'd Hero should not lose,
102 Nor the young Lover want a Spouse:
103 But Helen chang'd her first Condition,
104 Without her Husband's just Permission.
105 What from the Dame can Paris hope?
106 She may as well from Him elope.
107 Again, how can her old Good-man
108 With Honor take Her back again?
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109 From hence I logically gather,
110 The Woman cannot live with Either.
111 Now I have Two right honest Wives,
112 For whose Possession No Man strives:
113 One to Atrides I will send;
114 And t'other to my Trojan Friend.
115 Each Prince shall thus with Honor have,
116 What Both so warmly seem to crave:
117 The Wrath of Gods and Man shall cease;
118 And Poltis live and die in Peace.
119 Dick, if this Story pleaseth Thee,
120 Pray thank Dan Pope, who told it Me.
121 Howe'er swift Alma's Flight may vary;
122 (Take this by way of Corollary:)
123 Some Limbs She finds the very same,
124 In Place, and Dignity, and Name:
125 These dwell at such convenient Distance,
126 That each may give his Friend Assistance.
127 Thus He who runs or dances, begs
128 The equal Vigor of Two Legs:
129 So much to both does Alma trust,
130 She ne'er regards, which goes the first.
131 Teague could make neither of them stay,
132 When with Himself he ran away.
133 The Man who struggles in the Fight,
134 Fatigues left Arm, as well as right:
135 For whilst one Hand exalts the Blow,
136 And on the Earth extends the Foe;
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137 T'other would take it wond'rous ill,
138 If in your Pocket He lay still.
139 And when you shoot, and shut one Eye,
140 You cannot think, He would deny
141 To lend the t'other friendly Aid,
142 Or wink, as Coward, and affraid.
143 No, Sir; whilst He withdraws his Flame,
144 His Comrade takes the surer Aim.
145 One Moment if his Beams recede;
146 As soon as e'er the Bird is dead,
147 Opening again, He lays his Claim,
148 To half the Profit, half the Fame,
149 And helps to Pocket up the Game.
150 'Tis thus, One Tradesman slips away,
151 To give his Part'ner fairer Play.
152 Some Limbs again in Bulk or Stature
153 Unlike, and not a-kin by Nature,
154 In Concert act, like modern Friends;
155 Because one serves the t'other's Ends.
156 The Arm thus waits upon the Heart,
157 So quick to take the Bully's Part,
158 That one, tho' warm, decides more slow,
159 Than t'other executes the Blow.
160 A Stander-by may chance to have it,
161 E'er Hack himself perceives, He gave it.
162 The am'rous Eyes thus always go
163 A-stroling for their Friends below:
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164 For long before the 'Squire and Dame
165 Have tête à tête reliev'd their Flame;
166 E'er Visits yet are brought about,
167 The Eye by Sympathy looks out;
168 Knows Florimel, and longs to meet Her;
169 And, if He sees, is sure to greet Her,
170 Tho' at Sash-Window, on the Stairs,
171 At Court, nay (Authors say) at Pray'rs.
172 The Funeral of some valiant Knight
173 May give this Thing it's proper Light.
174 View his Two Gantlets: these declare,
175 That Both his Hands were us'd to War.
176 And from his Two gilt Spurs 'tis learn'd,
177 His Feet were equally concern'd.
178 But have You not with Thought beheld
179 The Sword hang dangling o'er the Shield?
180 Which shows the Breast, That Plate was us'd to,
181 Had an Ally right Arm to trust to.
182 And by the Peep-holes in his Crest,
183 Is it not virtually confest,
184 That there his Eye took distant Aim,
185 And glanc'd Respect to that bright Dame,
186 In whose Delight his Hope was center'd,
187 And for whose Glove his Life he ventur'd?
188 Objections to my general System
189 May 'rise, perhaps, and I have mist them:
190 But I can call to my Assistance
191 Proximity (mark that!) and Distance:
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192 Can prove, that all Things, on Occasion,
193 Love Union, and desire Adhesion;
194 That Alma merely is a Scale;
195 And Motives, like the Weights, prevail.
196 If neither Side turn down or up,
197 With Loss or Gain, with Fear or Hope;
198 The Balance always would hang ev'n,
199 Like Mah'met's Tomb, 'twixt Earth and Heav'n.
200 This, Richard, is a curious Case:
201 Suppose your Eyes sent equal Rays
202 Upon two distant Pots of Ale,
203 Not knowing, which was Mild or Stale:
204 In this sad State your doubtful Choice
205 Would never have the casting Voice:
206 Which Best, or Worst, You could not think;
207 And die You must, for want of Drink:
208 Unless some Chance inclines your Sight,
209 Setting one Pot in fairer Light;
210 Then You prefer or A, or B,
211 As Lines and Angles best agree:
212 Your Sense resolv'd impells your Will;
213 She guides your Hand, So drink your Fill.
214 Have you not seen a Baker's Maid
215 Between two equal Panniers sway'd?
216 Her Tallies useless lie, and idle,
217 If plac'd exactly in the Middle:
218 But forc'd from this unactive State,
219 By virtue of some casual Weight;
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220 On either Side You hear 'em clatter,
221 And judge of right and left-hand Matter.
222 Now, Richard, this coercive Force,
223 Without your Choice, must take it's Course.
224 Great Kings to Wars are pointed forth,
225 Like loaded Needles to the North.
226 And Thou and I, by Pow'r unseen,
227 Are barely Passive, and suck'd in
228 To Henault's Vaults, or Celia's Chamber,
229 As Straw and Paper are by Amber.
230 If we sit down to play or set
231 (Suppose at Ombre or Basset)
232 Let People call us Cheats, or Fools;
233 Our Cards and We are equal Tools.
234 We sure in vain the Cards condemn:
235 Our selves both cut and shuffl'd them.
236 In vain on Fortune's Aid rely:
237 She only is a Stander-by.
238 Poor Men! poor Papers! We and They
239 Do some impulsive Force obey;
240 And are but play'd with: Do not play.
241 But Space and Matter we should blame:
242 They palm'd the Trick that lost the Game.
243 Thus to save further Contradiction,
244 Against what You may think but Fiction;
245 I for Attraction, Dick, declare:
246 Deny it those bold Men that dare.
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247 As well your Motion, as your Thought
248 Is all by hidden Impulse wrought:
249 Ev'n saying, that You Think or Walk,
250 How like a Country 'Squire you talk?
251 Mark then; Where Fancy or Desire
252 Collects the Beams of Vital Fire;
253 Into that Limb fair Alma slides,
254 And there, pro tempore, resides.
255 She dwells in Nicholini's Tongue,
256 When Pyrrhus chants the Heav'nly Song.
257 When Pedro does the Lute command,
258 She guides the cunning Artist's Hand.
259 Thro' Macer's Gullet she runs down,
260 When the vile Glutton dines alone.
261 And void of Modesty and Thought,
262 She follows Bibo's endless Draught.
263 Thro' the soft Sex again She ranges;
264 As Youth, Caprice, or Fashion changes.
265 Fair Alma careless and serene,
266 In Fanny's sprightly Eyes is seen;
267 While they diffuse their Infant Beams,
268 Themselves not conscious of their Flames.
269 Again fair Alma sits confest,
270 On Florimel's experter Breast;
271 When She the rising Sigh constrains,
272 And by concealing speaks her Pains.
273 In Cynthia's Neck fair Alma glows;
274 When the vain Thing her Jewels shows:
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275 When Jenny's Stays are newly lac'd,
276 Fair Alma plays about her Waste;
277 And when the swelling Hoop sustains
278 The rich Brocard, fair Alma deigns
279 Into that lower Space to enter,
280 Of the large Round, Her self the Center.
281 Again: That Single Limb or Feature
282 (Such is the cogent Force of Nature)
283 Which most did Alma's Passion move,
284 In the first Object of her Love,
285 For ever will be found confest,
286 And printed on the am'rous Breast.
287 O Abelard, ill-fated Youth,
288 Thy Tale will justify this Truth:
289 But well I weet, thy cruel Wrong
290 Adorns a nobler Poet's Song.
291 Dan Pope for thy Misfortune griev'd,
292 With kind Concern, and Skill has weav'd
293 A silken Web; and ne'er shall fade
294 It's Colors: gently has He laid
295 The Mantle o'er thy sad Distress:
296 And Venus shall the Texture bless.
297 He o'er the weeping Nun has drawn,
298 Such artful Folds of Sacred Lawn,
299 That Love with equal Grief and Pride,
300 Shall see the Crime, He strives to hide:
301 And softly drawing back the Veil,
302 The God shall to his Vot'ries tell
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303 Each conscious Tear, each blushing Grace,
304 That deck'd Dear Eloisa's Face.
305 Happy the Poet, blest the Lays,
306 Which Buckingham has deign'd to praise.
307 Next, Dick, as Youth and Habit sways,
308 A hundred Gambols Alma plays.
309 If, whilst a Boy, Jack run from Schole,
310 Fond of his Hunting-horn, and Pole;
311 Tho' Gout and Age his Speed detain,
312 Old John halloo's his Hounds again.
313 By his Fire-side he starts the Hare;
314 And turns Her in his Wicker-Chair:
315 His Feet, however lame, You find,
316 Have got the better of his Mind.
317 If while the Mind was in her Leg,
318 The Dance affected nimble Peg;
319 Old Madge, bewitch'd at Sixty one,
320 Calls for Green Sleeves, and Jumping Joan.
321 In public Mask, or private Ball,
322 From Lincoln's Inn, to Goldsmith's Hall,
323 All Christmas long away She trudges;
324 Trips it with Prentices and Judges:
325 In vain her Children urge her Stay;
326 And Age or Palsey bar the Way.
327 But if those Images prevail,
328 Which whilom did affect the Tail;
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329 She still reviews the ancient Scene;
330 Forgets the forty Years between:
331 Awkwardly gay, and odly merry,
332 Her Scarf pale Pink, her Head-Knot Cherry;
333 O'er heated with Ideal Rage,
334 She cheats her Son, to wed her Page.
335 If Alma, whilst the Man was young,
336 Slip'd up too soon into his Tongue:
337 Pleas'd with his own fantastic Skill,
338 He lets that Weapon ne'er lie still.
339 On any Point if You dispute;
340 Depend upon it, He'll confute:
341 Change Sides; and You increase your Pain:
342 For He'll confute You back again.
343 For One may speak with Tully's Tongue;
344 Yet all the while be in the wrong.
345 And 'tis remarkable, that They
346 Talk most, who have the least to say.
347 Your dainty Speakers have the Curse,
348 To plead bad Causes down to worse:
349 As Dames, who Native Beauty want,
350 Still uglier look, the more They paint.
351 Again: If in the Female Sex
352 Alma should on this Member fix;
353 (A cruel and a desp'rate Case,
354 From which Heav'n shield my lovely Lass!)
355 For evermore all Care is vain,
356 That would bring Alma down again.
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357 As in habitual Gout, or Stone,
358 The only Thing that can be done,
359 Is to correct your Drink and Diet,
360 And keep the inward Foe in Quiet:
361 So, if for any Sins of Our's,
362 Or our Forefathers, Higher Pow'rs,
363 Severe tho' just, afflict our Life
364 With that Prime Ill, a talking Wife;
365 'Till Death shall bring the kind Relief,
366 We must be Patient, or be Deaf.
367 You know, a certain Lady, Dick,
368 Who saw Me, when I last was sick:
369 She kindly talk'd, at least three Hours,
370 Of Plastic Forms, and Mental Pow'rs:
371 Describ'd our pre-existing Station,
372 Before this vile Terrene Creation:
373 And lest I should be weary'd, Madam,
374 To cut Things short, came down to Adam;
375 From whence, as fast as She was able,
376 She drowns the World, and builds up Babel;
377 Thro' Syria, Persia, Greece She goes;
378 And takes the Romans in the Close.
379 But We'll descant on gen'ral Nature:
380 This is a System, not a Satyr.
381 Turn We this Globe; and let Us see,
382 How diff'rent Nations disagree,
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383 In what We wear, or eat and drink;
384 Nay, Dick, perhaps in what We think.
385 In Water as You smell and tast
386 The Soyls, thro' which it rose and past:
387 In Alma's Manners You may read
388 The Place, where She was born and bred.
389 One People from their swadling Bands
390 Releas'd their Infants Feet and Hands:
391 Here Alma to these Limbs was brought;
392 And Sparta's Offspring kick'd and fought.
393 Another taught their Babes to talk,
394 E'er they could yet in Goe-carts walk:
395 There Alma settl'd in the Tongue;
396 And Orators from Athens sprung.
397 Observe but in these Neighb'ring Lands,
398 The diff'rent Use of Mouths and Hands:
399 As Men repos'd their various Hopes,
400 In Battles These, and Those in Tropes.
401 In Britain's Isles, as Heylyn notes,
402 The Ladies trip in Petticoats;
403 Which, for the Honor of their Nation,
404 They quit but on some great Occasion.
405 Men there in Breeches clad You view:
406 They claim that Garment, as their due.
407 In Turkey the Reverse appears;
408 Long Coats the haughty Husband wears,
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409 And greets His Wife with angry Speeches;
410 If She be seen without her Breeches.
411 In our Fantastic Climes the Fair
412 With cleanly Powder dry their Hair:
413 And round their lovely Breast and Head
414 Fresh Flow'rs their mingl'd Odors shed.
415 Your nicer Hottentotes think meet
416 With Guts and Tripe to deck their Feet:
417 With down-cast Looks on Totta's Legs,
418 The ogling Youth most humbly begs,
419 She would not from his Hopes remove
420 At once his Breakfast, and his Love:
421 And if the skittish Nymph should fly;
422 He in a double Sense must die.
423 We simple Toasters take Delight
424 To see our Women's Teeth look white.
425 And ev'ry saucy ill-bred Fellow
426 Sneers at a Mouth profoundly yellow.
427 In China none hold Women sweet,
428 Except their Snags are black as Jett.
429 King Chihu put Nine Queens to Death,
430 Convict on Statute, Iv'ry Teeth.
431 At Tonquin if a Prince should die;
432 (As Jesuits write, who never lye)
433 The Wife, and Counsellor, and Priest,
434 Who serv'd Him most, and lov'd Him best;
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435 Prepare, and light his Fun'ral Fire,
436 And chearful on the Pile expire.
437 In Europe 'twould be hard to find
438 In each Degree One half so kind.
439 Now turn We to the farthest East,
440 And there observe the Gentry Drest.
441 Prince Giolo, and his Royal Sisters,
442 Scarr'd with ten thousand comely Blisters;
443 The Marks remaining on the Skin,
444 To tell the Quality within.
445 Distinguish'd Slashes deck the Great:
446 As each excells in Birth, or State;
447 His Oylet-holes are more, and ampler:
448 The King's own Body was a Samplar.
449 Happy the Climate, where the Beau
450 Wears the same Suit for Use, and Show:
451 And at a small Expence your Wife,
452 If once well pink'd, is cloth'd for Life.
453 Westward again the Indian Fair,
454 Is nicely smear'd with Fat of Bear.
455 Before You see, You smell your Toast,
456 And sweetest She, who stinks the most.
457 The finest Sparks, and cleanest Beaux
458 Drip from the Shoulders to the Toes.
459 How sleek their Skins! their Joints how easy!
460 There Slovens only are not greasy.
461 I mention'd diff'rent Ways of Breeding:
462 Begin We in our Children's Reading.
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463 To Master John the English Maid
464 A Horn-book gives of Ginger-bread:
465 And that the Child may learn the better,
466 As He can name, He eats the Letter:
467 Proceeding thus with vast Delight,
468 He spells, and gnaws, from Left to Right.
469 But shew a Hebrew's hopeful Son,
470 Where We suppose the Book begun;
471 The Child would thank You for your Kindness,
472 And read quite backward from our Finis:
473 Devour He Learning ne'er so fast;
474 Great A would be reserv'd the last.
475 An equal Instance of this Matter,
476 Is in the Manners of a Daughter.
477 In Europe, if a harmless Maid,
478 By Nature and by Love betray'd,
479 Should e'er a Wife become a Nurse;
480 Her Friends would look on Her the Worse.
481 In China, Dampier's Travels tell Ye;
482 (Look in his Index for Pagelli:)
483 Soon as the British Ships unmoore,
484 And jolly Long-boat rows to Shore;
485 Down come the Nobles of the Land:
486 Each brings his Daughter in his Hand,
487 Beseeching the Imperious Tar
488 To make Her but One Hour his Care.
489 The tender Mother stands affrighted,
490 Lest her dear Daughter should be slighted:
491 And poor Miss Yaya dreads the Shame
492 Of going back the Maid She came.
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493 Observe how Custom, Dick, compells
494 The Lady that in Europe dwells:
495 After her Tea She slips away;
496 And what to do, One need not say.
497 Now see how great Pomonque's Queen
498 Behav'd Herself amongst the Men:
499 Pleas'd with her Punch, the Gallant Soul
500 First drank, then water'd in the Bowl;
501 And sprinkl'd in the Captain's Face
502 The Marks of Her Peculiar Grace
503 To close this Point, We need not roam
504 For Instances so far from Home.
505 What parts gay France from sober Spain?
506 A little rising Rocky Chain.
507 Of Men born South or North o'th' Hill,
508 Those seldom move; These ne'er stand still.
509 Dick, You love Maps, and may perceive
510 Rome not far distant from Geneve.
511 If the good Pope remains at Home,
512 He's the First Prince in Christendome.
513 Choose then, good Pope, at Home to stay;
514 Nor Westward curious take Thy Way.
515 Thy Way unhappy should'st Thou take
516 From Tiber's Bank to Leman-Lake;
517 Thou art an Aged Priest no more,
518 But a Young flaring Painted Whore:
519 Thy Sex is lost: Thy Town is gone,
520 No longer Rome, but Babylon.
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521 That some few Leagues should make this Change,
522 To Men unlearn'd seems mighty strange.
523 But need We, Friend, insist on This?
524 Since in the very Cantons Swiss,
525 All Your Philosophers agree,
526 And prove it plain, that One may be
527 A Heretic, or True Believer,
528 On this, or t'other Side a River.
529 Here with an artful Smile, quoth Dick,
530 Your Proofs come mighty full, and thick
531 The Bard on this extensive Chapter,
532 Wound up into Poetic Rapture,
533 Continu'd: Richard, cast your Eye
534 By Night upon a Winter-Sky:
535 Cast it by Day-light on the Strand,
536 Which compasses fair Albion's Land:
537 If You can count the Stars that glow
538 Above, or Sands that lie below;
539 Into those Common-places look,
540 Which from great Authors I have took;
541 And count the Proofs I have collected,
542 To have my Writings well protected.
543 These I lay by for Time of Need;
544 And Thou may'st at thy Leisure read.
545 For standing every Critic's Rage,
546 I safely will to future Age
547 My System, as a Gift, bequeath,
548 Victorious over Spight, and Death.
[Page 359]


1 Richard, who now was half a-sleep,
2 Rous'd; nor would longer Silence keep:
3 And Sense like this, in vocal Breath
4 Broke from his twofold Hedge of Teeth.
5 Now if this Phrase too harsh be thought;
6 Pope, tell the World, 'tis not my Fault.
7 Old Homer taught us thus to speak:
8 If 'tis not Sense; at least 'tis Greek.
9 As Folks, quoth Richard, prone to Leasing,
10 Say Things at first because they're pleasing;
11 Then prove what they have once asserted,
12 Nor care to have their Lie deserted;
13 'Till their own Dreams at length deceive 'em;
14 And oft repeating, they believe 'em.
15 Or as again those am'rous Blades,
16 Who trifle with their Mother's Maids;
17 Tho' at the first their wild Desire,
18 Was but to quench a present Fire;
19 Yet if the object of their Love
20 Chance by Lucina's Aid to prove;
21 They seldom let the Bantling roar
22 In Basket, at a Neighbour's Door:
23 But by the flatt'ring Glass of Nature,
24 Viewing themselves in Cake-bread's Feature;
[Page 360]
25 With serious Thought and Care support,
26 What only was begun in Sport.
27 Just so with You, my Friend, it fares,
28 Who deal in Philosophic Wares:
29 Atoms You cut; and Forms You measure,
30 To gratifie your private Pleasure;
31 'Till airy Seeds of casual Wit
32 Do some fantastic Birth beget:
33 And pleas'd to find your System mended,
34 Beyond what You at first intended,
35 The happy Whimsey You pursue;
36 'Till You at length believe it true.
37 Caught by your own delusive Art,
38 You fancy first, and then assert.
39 Quoth Matthew: Friend, as far as I
40 Thro' Art or Nature cast my Eye,
41 This Axiom clearly I discern,
42 That One must Teach, and t'Other Learn.
43 No Fool Pythagoras was thought:
44 Whilst He his weighty Doctrines taught;
45 He made his list'ning Scholars stand,
46 Their Mouth still cover'd with their Hand:
47 Else, may be, some odd-thinking Youth,
48 Less Friend to Doctrine than to Truth,
49 Might have refus'd to let his Ears
50 Attend the Musick of the Spheres;
51 Deny'd all transmigrating Scenes,
52 And introduc'd the Use of Beans.
[Page 361]
53 From great Lucretius take His Void;
54 And all the World is quite destroy'd.
55 Deny Des-cart His subtil Matter;
56 You leave Him neither Fire, nor Water.
57 How odly would Sir Isaac look,
58 If You, in Answer to his Book,
59 Say in the Front of your Discourse,
60 That Things have no Elastic Force?
61 How could our Chymic Friends go on,
62 To find the Philosophic Stone;
63 If You more pow'rful Reasons bring,
64 To prove, that there is no such Thing?
65 Your Chiefs in Sciences and Arts,
66 Have great Contempt of Alma's Parts.
67 They find, She giddy is, or dull;
68 She doubts, if Things are void, or full:
69 And who should be presum'd to tell,
70 What She Her self should see, or feel?
71 She doubts, if two and two make four;
72 Tho' She has told them ten times o'er.
73 It can't it may be and it must:
74 To which of these must Alma trust?
75 Nay, further yet They make Her go,
76 In doubting, if She doubts, or no.
77 Can Syllogysm set Things right?
78 No: Majors soon with Minors fight:
79 Or, Both in friendly Consort join'd;
80 The Consequence limps false behind.
[Page 362]
81 So to some Cunning-Man She goes,
82 And asks of Him, how much She knows.
83 With Patience grave He hears Her speak;
84 And from his short Notes, gives Her back
85 What from her Tale He comprehended:
86 Thus the Dispute is wisely ended.
87 From the Account the Loser brings,
88 The Conj'ror knows, who stole the Things.
89 'squire (interrupted Dick) since when
90 Were You amongst these Cunning-Men?
91 Dear Dick, quoth Mat, let not Thy Force
92 Of Eloquence spoil my Discourse.
93 I tell Thee, this is Alma's Case,
94 Still asking, what some Wise-man says,
95 Who does his Mind in Words reveal,
96 Which All must grant; tho' Few can spell.
97 You tell Your Doctor, that Y'are ill:
98 And what does He, but write a Bill,
99 Of which You need not read one Letter?
100 The worse the Scrawl, the Dose the better.
101 For if You knew but what You take;
102 Tho' You recover, He must break.
103 Ideas, Forms, and Intellects,
104 Have furnish'd out three diff'rent Sects.
105 Substance, or Accident divides
106 All Europe into adverse Sides.
[Page 363]
107 Now, as engag'd in Arms or Laws,
108 You must have Friends to back your Cause:
109 In Philosophic Matters so
110 Your Judgment must with others go.
111 For as in Senates, so in Scholes,
112 Majority of Voices rules.
113 Poor Alma, like a lonely Deer,
114 O'er Hills and Dales does doubtful err:
115 With panting Haste, and quick Surprise,
116 From ev'ry Leaf that stirs, She flies;
117 'Till mingl'd with the neighb'ring Herd,
118 She slights what erst She singly fear'd:
119 And now, exempt from Doubt and Dread,
120 She dares pursue; if They dare lead:
121 As Their Example still prevails;
122 She tempts the Stream, or leaps the Pales.
123 He then, quoth Dick, who by Your Rule
124 Thinks for Himself, becomes a Fool.
125 As Party-Man who leaves the rest,
126 Is call'd but Whimsical at Best.
127 Now, by Your Favour, Master Mat,
128 Like Ralpho, here I smell a Rat.
129 I must be listed in Your Sect;
130 Who, tho' They teach not, can protect.
131 Right, Richard, MAT. in Triumph cri'd;
132 So put off all Mistrust and Pride.
[Page 364]
133 And while My Principles I beg;
134 Pray answer only with Your Leg.
135 Believe what friendly I advise:
136 Be first secure; and then be wise.
137 The Man within the Coach that sits,
138 And to another's Skill submits,
139 Is safer much (whate'er arrives)
140 And warmer too, than He that drives.
141 So, Dick Adept, tuck back Thy Hair;
142 And I will pour into Thy Ear
143 Remarks, which None did e'er disclose,
144 In smooth-pac'd Verse, or hobling Prose.
145 Attend, Dear Dick; but don't reply:
146 And Thou may'st prove as Wise as I.
147 When Alma now in diff'rent Ages,
148 Has finish'd Her ascending Stages;
149 Into the Head at length She gets,
150 And There in Public Grandeur sits,
151 To judge of Things, and censure Wits.
152 Here, Richard, how could I explain,
153 The various Lab'rinths of the Brain?
154 Surprise My Readers, whilst I tell 'em
155 Of Cerebrum, and Cerebellum?
156 How could I play the Commentator
157 On Dura, and on Pia Mater?
158 Where Hot and Cold, and Dry and Wet,
159 Strive each the t'other's Place to get;
[Page 365]
160 And with incessant Toil and Strife,
161 Would keep Possession during Life.
162 I could demonstrate every Pore,
163 Where Mem'ry lays up all her Store;
164 And to an Inch compute the Station,
165 'Twixt Judgment, and Imagination.
166 O Friend! I could display much Learning,
167 At least to Men of small Discerning.
168 The Brain contains ten thousand Cells:
169 In each some active Fancy dwells;
170 Which always is at Work, and framing
171 The several Follies I was naming.
172 As in a Hive's vimineous Dome,
173 Ten thousand Bees enjoy their Home;
174 Each does her studious Action vary,
175 To go and come, to fetch and carry:
176 Each still renews her little Labor;
177 Nor justles her assiduous Neighbour:
178 Each whilst this Thesis I maintain;
179 I fancy, Dick, I know thy Brain.
180 O with the mighty Theme affected,
181 Could I but see thy Head dissected!
182 My Head, quoth Dick, to serve your Whim?
183 Spare That, and take some other Limb.
184 Sir, in your nice Affairs of System,
185 Wise Men propose; but Fools assist 'em.
186 Says Matthew: Richard, keep thy Head,
187 And hold thy Peace; and I'll proceed.
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188 Proceed? quoth Dick: Sir, I aver,
189 You have already gone too far.
190 When People once are in the Wrong;
191 Each Line they add, is much too long.
192 Who fastest walks, but walks astray,
193 Is only furthest from his Way.
194 Bless your Conceits! must I believe,
195 Howe'er absurd, what You conceive;
196 And, for your Friendship, live and dye
197 A Papist in Philosophy?
198 I say, whatever You maintain
199 Of Alma in the Heart, or Brain;
200 The plainest Man alive may tell Ye,
201 Her Seat of Empire is the Belly:
202 From hence She sends out those Supplies,
203 Which make Us either stout, or wise:
204 The Strength of ev'ry other Member,
205 Is founded on your Belly-Timber:
206 The Qualms or Raptures of your Blood
207 Rise in Proportion to your Food:
208 And if you would improve your Thought;
209 You must be fed, as well as taught.
210 Your Stomach makes your Fabric roll;
211 Just as the Biass rules the Bowl.
212 That great Achilles might imploy
213 The Strength, design'd to ruin Troy;
214 He Din'd on Lion's Marrow, spread
215 On Toasts of Ammunition-Bread:
[Page 367]
216 But by His Mother sent away,
217 Amongst the Thracian Girls to play,
218 Effeminate He sat, and quiet:
219 Strange Product of a Cheese-cake Diet!
220 Now give my Argument fair Play;
221 And take the Thing the t'other Way:
222 The Youngster, who at Nine and Three
223 Drinks with his Sisters Milk and Tea,
224 From Break-fast reads, 'till twelve a Clock,
225 Burnet and Heylyn, Hobbes and Lock:
226 He pays due Visits after Noon
227 To Cousin Alice, and Uncle John:
228 At Ten from Coffee-House or Play
229 Returning, finishes the Day.
230 But give him Port, and potent Sack;
231 From Milk-sop He starts up Moback:
232 Holds that the Happy know no Hours;
233 So thro' the Street at Midnight scow'rs:
234 Breaks Watch-men's Heads, and Chair-men's Glasses;
235 And thence proceeds to nicking Sashes:
236 Till by some tougher Hand o'ercome,
237 And first knock'd down, and then led Home;
238 He damns the Foot-man, strikes the Maid,
239 And decently reels up to Bed.
240 Observe the various Operations
241 Of Food, and Drink in several Nations.
242 Was ever Tartar fierce or cruel,
243 Upon the Strength of Water-Gruel?
[Page 368]
244 But who shall stand His Rage and Force;
245 If first he rides, then eats his Horse?
246 Sallads, and Eggs, and lighter Fare
247 Tune the Italian Spark's Guitar.
248 And, if I take Dan Congreve right;
249 Pudding and Beef make Britons fight.
250 Tokay and Coffee cause this Work,
251 Between the German and the Turk:
252 And Both, as They Provisions want,
253 Chicane, avoid, retire, and faint.
254 Hunger and Thirst, or Guns and Swords,
255 Give the same Death in diff'rent Words.
256 To push this Argument no further;
257 To starve a Man, in Law, is Murther.
258 As in a Watche's fine Machine,
259 Tho' many artful Springs are seen;
260 The added Movements, which declare,
261 How full the Moon, how old the Year,
262 Derive their secondary Pow'r
263 From that, which simply points the Hour.
264 For, tho' these Gim-cracks were away;
265 (Quare would not swear; but Quare would say)
266 However more reduc'd and plain,
267 The Watch would still a Watch remain:
268 But if the Horal Orbite ceases;
269 The whole stands still, or breaks to pieces;
270 Is now no longer what it was;
271 And You may e'en go sell the Case.
[Page 369]
272 So if unprejudic'd you scan
273 The Goings of this Clock-work, Man;
274 You find a hundred Movements made
275 By fine Devices in his Head:
276 But 'tis the Stomach's solid Stroke,
277 That tells his Being, what's a Clock.
278 If You take off his Rhet'ric-Trigger;
279 He talks no more in Mood and Figure:
280 Or clog his Mathematic-Wheel;
281 His Buildings fall; his Ship stands still.
282 Or lastly, break his Politic-Weight;
283 His Voice no longer rules the State.
284 Yet if these finer Whims were gone;
285 Your Clock, tho' plain, would still go on:
286 But spoil the Engine of Digestion;
287 And You entirely change the Question.
288 Alma's Affairs no Pow'r can mend;
289 The Jest, alas! is at an End:
290 Soon ceases all this worldly Bustle;
291 And you consign the Corps to Russel.
292 Now make your Alma come or go,
293 From Leg to Hand, from Top to Toe;
294 Your System, without My Addition,
295 Is in a very sad Condition.
296 So Harlequin extoll'd his Horse,
297 Fit for the War, or Road, or Course;
298 His Mouth was soft; his Eye was good;
299 His Foot was sure as ever trod:
[Page 370]
300 One Fault he had, a Fault indeed;
301 And what was that? The Horse was Dead.
302 Dick, from these Instances and Fetches,
303 Thou mak'st of Horses, Clocks, and Watches,
304 Quoth Mat, to Me thou seem'st to mean,
305 That Alma is a mere Machine;
306 That telling others what's a Clock,
307 She knows not what Her self has struck;
308 But leaves to Standers-by the Tryal,
309 Of what is mark'd upon her Dial.
310 Here hold a Blow, good Friend, quoth Dick,
311 And rais'd his Voice exceeding quick:
312 Fight fair, Sir: what I never meant
313 Don't You infer. In Argument,
314 Similies are like Songs in Love:
315 They much describe; they nothing prove.
316 Mat, who was here a little gravel'd,
317 Tost up his Nose, and would have cavil'd:
318 But calling Hermes to his Aid,
319 Half pleas'd, half angry, thus He said:
320 Where mind ('tis for the Author's Fame)
321 That Matthew call'd, and Hermes came.
322 In Danger Heroes, and in Doubt
323 Poets find Gods to help 'em out.
[Page 371]
324 Friend Richard, I begin to see,
325 That You and I shall scarce agree.
326 Observe how odly you behave:
327 The more I grant, the more You crave.
328 But, Comrade, as I said just now,
329 I should affirm, and You allow.
330 We System-makers can sustain
331 The Thesis, which, You grant, was plain;
332 And with Remarks and Comments teaze Ye;
333 In case the Thing before was easy.
334 But in a Point obscure and dark,
335 We fight as Leibnits did with Clark;
336 And when no Reason we can show,
337 Why Matters This or That Way go;
338 The shortest Way the Thing We try,
339 And what We know not, We deny:
340 True to our own o'erbearing Pride,
341 And false to all the World beside.
342 That old Philosopher grew cross,
343 Who could not tell what Motion was:
344 Because He walk'd against his Will;
345 He fac'd Men down, that He stood still.
346 And He who reading on the Heart,
347 (When all his Quodlibets of Art
348 Could not expound it's Pulse and Heat)
349 Swore, He had never felt it beat.
350 Chrysippus, foil'd by Epicurus,
351 Makes bold (Jove bless Him!) to assure Us,
[Page 372]
352 That all things, which our Mind can view,
353 May be at once both false, and true.
354 And Malbranch has an odd Conceit,
355 As ever enter'd Frenchman's Pate:
356 Says He, so little can our Mind
357 Of Matter, or of Spirit find,
358 That We by Guess, at least, may gather
359 Something, which may be Both, or Neither.
360 Faith, Dick, I must confess, 'tis true
361 (But this is only Entre Nous)
362 That many knotty Points there are,
363 Which All discuss, but Few can clear:
364 As Nature slily had thought fit,
365 For some by-Ends, to cross-bite Wit.
366 Circles to square, and Cubes to double,
367 Would give a Man excessive Trouble:
368 The Longitude uncertain roams,
369 In spight of Wh—n and his Bombs.
370 What System, Dick, has right averr'd
371 The Cause, why Woman has no Beard;
372 Or why, as Years our Frame attack,
373 Our Hair grows white, our Teeth grow black?
374 In Points like These We must agree,
375 Our Barber knows as much as We.
376 Yet still unable to explain,
377 We must persist the best We can;
378 With Care our Systems still renew,
379 And prove Things likely, tho' not true.
380 I could, Thou see'st, in quaint Dispute,
381 By dint of Logic strike Thee mute;
[Page 373]
382 With learned Skill, now push, now parry,
383 From Darii to Bocardo vary,
384 And never yield, or what is worst,
385 Never conclude the Point discours'd.
386 Yet, that You hic & nunc may know,
387 How much You to my Candor owe;
388 I'll from the Disputant descend,
389 To show Thee, I assume the Friend:
390 I'll take Thy Notion for my own
391 (So most Philosophers have done)
392 It makes my System more complete:
393 Dick, can it have a Nobler Fate?
394 Take what Thou wilt, said Dick, Dear Friend;
395 But bring thy Matters to an End.
396 I find, quoth Mat, Reproof is vain:
397 Who first offend will first complain.
398 Thou wishest, I should make to Shoar;
399 Yet still put'st in Thy thwarting Oar.
400 What I have told Thee fifty times
401 In Prose, receive for once in Rhimes:
402 A huge fat Man in Countrey-Fair,
403 Or City-Church, (no matter where)
404 Labor'd and push'd amidst the Croud,
405 Still bauling out extremely loud;
406 Lord save Us! why do People press?
407 Another marking his Distress,
408 Friendly reply'd; Plump Gentleman,
409 Get out as fast as e'er You can:
[Page 374]
410 Or cease to push, or to exclaim:
411 You make the very Croud You blame.
412 Says Dick, your Moral does not need
413 The least Return; So e'en proceed:
414 Your Tale, howe'er apply'd, was short:
415 So far, at least, I thank You for't.
416 MAT. took his Thanks, and in a Tone
417 More Magisterial, thus went on.
418 Now Alma settles in the Head;
419 As has before been sung, or said:
420 And here begins this Farce of Life;
421 Enter Revenge, Ambition, Strife:
422 Behold on both Sides Men advance,
423 To form in Earnest Bays's Dance.
424 L'Avare not using Half his Store,
425 Still grumbles, that He has no more;
426 Strikes not the present Tun, for fear
427 The Vintage should be bad next Year:
428 And eats To-day with inward Sorrow,
429 And Dread of fancy'd Want To-morrow.
430 Abroad if the Sour-tout You wear,
431 Repells the Rigor of the Air;
432 Would You be warmer, if at Home
433 You had the Fabric, and the Loom?
434 And if two Boots keep out the Weather;
435 What need You have two Hides of Leather?
[Page 375]
436 Could Pedro, think You, make no Tryal
437 Of a Sonata on his Viol,
438 Unless he had the total Gut,
439 Whence every String at first was cut?
440 When Rarus shows You his Carton;
441 He always tells You, with a Groan,
442 Where two of that same Hand were torn,
443 Long before You, or He were born.
444 Poor Vento's Mind so much is crost,
445 For Part of His Petronius lost;
446 That He can never take the Pains
447 To understand what yet remains.
448 What Toil did honest Curio take?
449 What strict Enquiries did He make,
450 To get one Medal wanting yet,
451 And perfect all his Roman Sett?
452 'Tis found: and O his happy Lot!
453 'Tis bought, lock'd up, and lies forgot:
454 Of These no more You hear Him speak:
455 He now begins upon the Greek.
456 These rang'd and show'd, shall in their Turns
457 Remain obscure, as in their Urns.
458 My Copper-Lamps at any Rate,
459 For being True Antique, I bought;
460 Yet wisely melted down my Plate,
461 On Modern Models to be wrought:
[Page 376]
462 And Trifles I alike pursue;
463 Because They're Old; because They're New.
464 Dick, I have seen You with Delight,
465 For Georgy make a Paper-Kite.
466 And simple Odes too many show Ye,
467 My servile Complaisance to Cloe.
468 Parents and Lovers are decreed
469 By Nature Fools That's brave indeed!
470 Quoth Dick: such Truths are worth receiving:
471 Yet still Dick look'd, as not believing.
472 Now, Alma, to Divines and Prose
473 I leave Thy Frauds, and Crimes, and Woes:
474 Nor think To-night of Thy Ill-Nature,
475 But of Thy Follies, Idle Creature,
476 The turns of Thy uncertain Wing,
477 And not the Malice of Thy Sting:
478 Thy Pride of being great and wise,
479 I do but mention, to despise.
480 I view with Anger and Disdain,
481 How little gives Thee Joy, or Pain:
482 A Print, a Bronze, a Flow'r, a Root,
483 A Shell, a Butter-fly can do't.
484 Ev'n a Romance, a Tune, a Rhime
485 Help Thee to pass the tedious Time,
486 Which else would on thy Hand remain:
487 Tho' flown, it ne'er looks back again.
488 And Cards are dealt, and Chess-boards brought,
489 To ease the Pain of Coward-Thought.
[Page 377]
490 Happy Result of Human Wit!
491 That Alma may Her self forget.
492 Dick, thus We act; and thus We are,
493 Or toss'd by Hope, or sunk by Care.
494 With endless Pain This Man pursues
495 What, if he gain'd, He could not use:
496 And T'other fondly Hopes to see
497 What never was, nor e'er shall be.
498 We err by Use, go wrong by Rules;
499 In Gesture grave, in Action Fools:
500 We join Hypocrisie to Pride,
501 Doubling the Faults, We strive to hide.
502 Or grant, that with extreme Surprize,
503 We find our selves at Sixty wise;
504 And twenty pretty Things are known,
505 Of which we can't accomplish One;
506 Whilst, as my System says, the Mind
507 Is to these upper Rooms confin'd:
508 Should I, my Friend, at large repeat
509 Her borrow'd Sense, her fond Conceit;
510 The Bede-roll of her vicious Tricks;
511 My Poem would be too prolix.
512 For could I my Remarks sustain,
513 Like Socrates, or Miles Montaigne;
514 Who in these Times would read my Books,
515 But Tom o' Stiles, or John o' Nokes?
516 As Brentford Kings discrete and wise,
517 After long Thought and grave Advice,
[Page 378]
518 Into Lardella's Coffin peeping,
519 Saw nought to cause their Mirth or Weeping:
520 So Alma now to Joy or Grief
521 Superior, finds her late Relief:
522 Weary'd of being High, or Great,
523 And nodding in her Chair of State;
524 Stun'd and worn out with endless Chat,
525 Of Will did this, and Nan said that;
526 She finds, poor Thing, some little Crack,
527 Which Nature, forc'd by Time, must make;
528 Thro' which She wings her destin'd Way:
529 Upward She soars; and down drops Clay:
530 While some surviving Friend supplies
531 Hic jacet, and a hundred Lies.
532 O Richard, 'till that Day appears,
533 Which must decide our Hopes and Fears:
534 Would Fortune calm her present Rage,
535 And give us Play-things for our Age:
536 Would Clotho wash her Hands in Milk,
537 And twist our Thread with Gold and Silk:
538 Would She in Friendship, Peace, and Plenty,
539 Spin out our Years to four times Twenty:
540 And should We both in this Condition,
541 Have conquer'd Love, and worse Ambition;
542 (Else those two Passions, by the way,
543 May chance to show us scurvy Play:)
544 Then Richard, then should We sit down,
545 Far from the Tumult of this Town:
546 I fond of my well-chosen Seat,
547 My Pictures, Medals, Books compleat:
[Page 379]
548 Or should We mix our friendly Talk,
549 O'er-shaded in that Fav'rite Walk,
550 Which Thy own Hand had whilom planted,
551 Both pleas'd with all we thought We wanted:
552 Yet then, ev'n then one cross Reflection
553 Would spoil Thy Grove, and My Collection:
554 Thy Son and his, e'er that, may die;
555 And Time some uncouth Heir supply;
556 Who shall for nothing else be known,
557 But spoiling All, that Thou hast done.
558 Who set the Twigs, shall He remember,
559 That is in Hast to sell the Timber?
560 And what shall of thy Woods remain,
561 Except the Box that threw the Main?
562 Nay may not Time and Death remove
563 The near Relations, whom I love?
564 And my Coz Tom, or his Coz Mary
565 (Who hold the Plough, or skim the Dairy)
566 My Fav'rite Books and Pictures sell
567 To Smart, or Doiley by the Ell?
568 Kindly throw in a little Figure,
569 And set their Price upon the bigger?
570 Those who could never read their Grammar;
571 When my dear Volumes touch the Hammer;
572 May think Books best, as richest bound.
573 My Copper Medals by the Pound
574 May be with learned Justice weigh'd:
575 To turn the Ballance, Otho's Head
576 May be thrown in; And for the Mettle,
577 The Coin may mend a Tinker's Kettle
[Page 380]
578 Tir'd with these Thoughts Less tir'd than I,
579 Quoth Dick, with Your Philosophy
580 That People live and dye, I knew
581 An hour ago, as well as You.
582 And if Fate spins Us longer Years,
583 Or is in haste to take the Shears;
584 I know, We must Both Fortunes try,
585 And bear our Evils, wet or dry.
586 Yet let the Goddess smile, or frown;
587 Bread We shall eat, or white, or brown:
588 And in a Cottage, or a Court,
589 Drink fine Champaigne, or muddl'd Port.
590 What need of Books these Truths to tell,
591 Which Folks perceive, who cannot spell?
592 And must We Spectacles apply,
593 To view, what hurts our naked Eye?
594 Sir, if it be Your Wisdom's Aim,
595 To make Me merrier than I am;
596 I'll be all Night at Your Devotion
597 Come on, Friend; broach the pleasing Notion:
598 But if You would depress my Thought;
599 Your System is not worth a Groat
600 For Plato's Fancies what care I?
601 I hope You would not have me die,
602 Like simple Cato in the Play,
603 For any Thing that He can say?
604 E'en let Him of Ideas speak
605 To Heathens in his Native Greek.
[Page 381]
606 If to be sad is to be wise;
607 I do most heartily despise
608 Whatever Socrates has said,
609 Or Tully writ, or Wanley read.
610 Dear Drift, to set our Matters right,
611 Remove these Papers from my Sight;
612 Burn Mat's Des-cart', and Aristotle:
613 Here, Jonathan, Your Master's Bottle.


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Title (in Source Edition): ALMA: OR, THE PROGRESS OF THE MIND. In Three Cantos.
Author: Matthew Prior
Genres: satire

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Prior, Matthew, 1664-1721. Poems on Several Occasions [English poems only]. London: Printed for JACOB TONSON at Shakespear's-Head over against Katharine-Street in the Strand, and JOHN BARBER upon Lambeth-Hill. MDCCXVIII., 1718, pp. []-381. [42],506,[6]p.: ill.; 2°. (ESTC T075639) (Page images digitized from a copy in the Bodleian Library [H 6.8 Art.].)

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Typography, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been cautiously modernized. The source of the text is given and all significant editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. This ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.

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