« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
'Tis hard, indeed if nothing will defend Mankind from quarrels but their fatal end ; That now and then a hero must decease,
175 That the surviving world may live in peace. Perhaps at last close scrutiny may show The practice dastardly, and mean, and low; That men engage in it compell’d by force, And fear, not courage, is its proper source,
180 The fear of tyrant custom, and the fear Lest fops should censure us, and fools should sneer. At least to trample on our Maker's laws, And hazard life for any or no cause, To rush into a fix'd eternal state
185 Out of the very flames of rage and hate, Or send another shiv'ring to the bar With all the guilt of such unnatural war, Whatever Use may urge, or Honour plead, On Reason's verdict is a madman's deed.
190 Am I to set my life upon a throw, Because a bear is rude, and surly? NoA moral, sensible, and well-bred man Will not affront me; and no other can. Were I empower'd to regulate the lists,
195 They should encounter with well-loaded fists ! A Trojan combat would be something new, Let Dares beat Entellus black and blue ; Then each might show, to his admiring friends, In honourable bumps his rich amends,
200 And carry in contusions of his skull, A satisfactory receipt in full.
A story, in which native humour reigns,
205 May furnish illustration, well applied ; But sedentary weavers of long tales Give me the fidgets, and my patience fails. 'Tis the most asinine employ on earth, To hear them tell of parențage and birth,
And echo conversations, dull and dry,
220 Of all ambitions man may entertain, The worst, that can invade a sickly brain, Is that, which angles hourly for surprise, And baits its hook with prodigies and lies. Credulous infancy, or age as weak,
225 Are fittest auditors for such to seek, Who to please others will themselves disgrace, Yet please not, but affront you to
face. A great retailer of this curious ware Having unloaded and made many stare,
230 Can this be true ?-an arch observer cries, Yes, (rather mov'd) I saw it with these eyes ; Sir! I believe it on that ground alone ; I could not, had I seen it with my own.
A tale should be judicious, clear, succinct ; 235 The language plain, and incidents well link'd; Tell not as new what ev'ry body knows, And, new or old, still hasten to a close ; There, cent'ring in a focus round and neat, Let all your rays of information meet.
240 What neither yields us profit nor delight Is like a nurse's lullaby at night; Guy, Earl of Warwick and fair Eleanor, Or giant-killing Jack, would please me more. The pipe, with solemn interposing puff,
245 Makes half a sentence at a time enough; The dozing sages drop the drowsy strain, Then pause, and puff--and speak, and pause again.
Such often, like the tube they so admire,
Thou art indeed the drug a gard'ner wants,
Th' emphatick speaker dearly loves t'opposé,
I cannot talk with civet in the room,
His odoriferous attempts to please
A graver coxcomb we may sometimes see, 295
300 He says but little, and that little said Owes all its weight, like loaded dice, to lead. His wit invites you by his looks to come, But when you knock it never is at home ; 'Tis like a parcel sent you by the stage,
305 Some handsome present, as your hopes presage : 'Tis heavy, bulky, and bids fair to prove An absent friend's fidelity and love ; But when unpack'd your disappointment groans To find it stuff’d with brickbats, earth, and stones. 310
Some men employ their health, an ugly trick, In making known how oft they have been sick, And give us in recitals of disease A doctor's trouble, but without the fees; Relate how many weeks they kept their bed ; 315 How an emetick or cathartick sped ; Nothing is slightly touch'd, much less forgot, Nose, ears, and eyes, seem present on the spot. Now the distemper, spite of draught or pill, Victorious seem'd, and now the doctor's skill ; 320 And nowmalas, for unforeseen mishaps ! They put on a damp nightcap and relapse ; They thought they must have died, they were so bad; Their peevish hearers almost wish they had.
Some fretful tempers wince at ev'ry touch,