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An Epistle



Written in August 1745.

Nec magis expressi vultus per ænea signa
Quam per vatis opus mores animiq: virorum

Hor. Ep. 2, Lib. ii.

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RARE, and more rare, my verses still appear,
I scarce produce a poem in a year.
Yet blame not, Fox, or hear me e'er you blame;
My genius droops, my spirit's not the same.
My verse comes harder, and the little fire
I once possess'd, I daily feel expire ;
Not as when urg'd by your desire I strung
My willing lyre, and bolder numbers sung ;
Daring the patriot's treach'ry to rehearse,
Till statesmen trembled at th' impending verse.


To speak and charm in public, friend, is thine :
The silent arts of poetry are mine:
And when some striking thought affects my mind,
I rest not till to paper 'tis consign'd.
Then with a parent's fondness I behold
My child escap'l from memory's treach'rous

And smooth'd in verse, and harmoniz?din rhyme,
I dream 'tis plac'd beyond the reach of time.
The torrent bears, my genius points the way,
I feel the impulse, and with joy obey.,
Yet Vanity did ne'er allure to Fame,
I had no fondness for an author's name;
My works, like bastards, dropt about the town,
No author claim'd, no bookseller would own.
Ambition had no beauty in my eyes;
Verses like mine would hardly make me rise,
For ev'ry statesman hates poetic blows,
Tho' heavy on the shoulders of their foes ;
And doubtful where the Satire may point next,
They laugh, they fear, like, hate, are pleas’d and


'Twas your desire (perhaps your flattery too) My verse, my fame, if any, springs from you;

, And here I pay my tribute where 'tis due. Your smiles were all my vanity requir’d, Your nod was all the fame that I desir'd ; All my ambition was, to gain your praise, And all my pleasure, you alone to please. Yet PRUDENCE will be whispering in my ear, (A croaking voice that I detest and hear; Whom anxious thoughts preceding still we find, And plenty with a niggard horn behind.) “Why will you write,” she cries, “ forsake the

Muse, Despise her gifts, her influence refuse; “ To me in all thy life, for once attend, “ Prudence to parts, would prove a useful friend. “ I know your wants, and offer you my aid; Which still you shun contemptuous and



** Pleas’d with the praise, some partial few may

give, “ The hate and envy of the rest, you live :


“ Write rashly on, regardless whom you hit, “And yield to Satire, when impell’d by wit.”

“ Cease Goddess, cease,” I cry, "I'll hear no “ I've ever been a rebel to thy power; [more, “ Your caution's right, your arguments are true, “ Th’advice is good, but 'tis unpleasant too. “. Vain are your toils, and fruitless is your aid, “Whene'er you strive to change what nature

made; “ Turn to your altars, on your vot’ries shine, « See Pelham ever kneeling at thy shrine. “ Thro' you at first, by slow degrees he rose, To you the zenith of his



owes; “ You taught him in your middle-way to steer,

Impartial, mod’rate, candid, to appear. “ Fearful of enmity, to friendship cold,

Cautiously frank, and timorously bold; “ And so observant never to offend A foe, he quite forgets to fix a friend. “ Long vers'd in politics, but poor in parts, “ The Courtier's tricks, but not the Statesman's “ His smile obedient to his purpose still, “ Some dirty compromise his utmost skill. “ In vain his own penurious soil he tilld, “ In vain he glean’d from Walpole's plenteous

arts ;

field; “ In vain the exchequer robes around him flow, “ The mantle does not make the prophet now. “ Behind him close, behold Newcastle's* Grace, “ Haste in his step, and absence in his face; “ Who daily suppliant to thy temple goes, “ And courts the Goddess, as he courts his

foes. “ Yet, spite of all thy influence, all thy care, “ His prudence always deviates into fear; “ His natural gifts so low, he strives in vain “ To climb a height, that Dulness can attain ; “ Which Rushout reach'd, with long-opposing

tir'd, “ On which thy fav'rite, Wilmington, expir’d;

* Thomas Holles, Duke of Newcastle, Mr. Pelham's


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