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- Inebriety and the Candidate - 2/4 -


For very indolence has raised his name; Happy in this, that, under Satan's sway, His passions tremble, but will not obey. The vicar at the table's front presides, Whose presence a monastic life derides; The reverend wig, in sideway order placed, The reverend band, by rubric stains disgraced, The leering eye, in wayward circles roll'd, Mark him the pastor of a joyial fold, Whose various texts excite a loud applause, Favouring the bottle, and the good old cause. See! the dull smile which fearfully appears, When gross indecency her front uprears, The joy conceal'd, the fiercer burns within, As masks afford the keenest gust to sin; Imagination helps the reverend sire, And spreads the sails of sub-divine desire; But when the gay immoral joke goes round, When shame and all her blushing train are drown'd, Rather than hear his God blasphemed, he takes The last loved glass, and then the board forsakes. Not that religion prompts the sober thought, But slavish custom has the practice taught; Besides, this zealous son of warm devotion Has a true Levite bias for promotion. Vicars must with discretion go astray, Whilst bishops may be damn'd the nearest way; So puny robbers individuals kill, When hector-heroes murder as they will. Good honest Curio elbows the divine, And strives a social sinner how to shine; The dull quaint tale is his, the lengthen'd tale, That Wilton farmers give you with their ale, How midnight ghosts o'er vaults terrific pass, Dance o'er the grave, and slide along the grass; Or how pale Cicely within the wood Call'd Satan forth, and bargain'd with her blood. These, honest Curio, are thine, and these Are the dull treasures of a brain at peace; No wit intoxicates thy gentle skull, Of heavy, native, unwrought folly full: Bowl upon bowl in vain exert their force, The breathing spirit takes a downward course, Or mainly soaring upwards to the head, Meets an impenetrable fence of lead. Hast thou, oh reader! searched o'er gentle Gay, Where various animals their powers display? In one strange group a chattering race are hurl'd, Led by the monkey who had seen the world. Like him Fabricio steals from guardian's side, Swims not in pleasure's stream, but sips the tide: He hates the bottle, yet but thinks it right To boast next day the honours of the night; None like your coward can describe a fight. See him as down the sparkling potion goes, Labour to grin away the horrid dose; In joy-feigned gaze his misty eyeballs float, Th' uncivil spirit gurgling at his throat; So looks dim Titan through a wintry scene, And faintly cheers the woe-foreboding swain. Timon, long practised in the school of art, Has lost each finer feeling of the heart; Triumphs o'er shame, and, with delusive wiles, Laughs at the idiot he himself beguiles: So matrons, past the awe of censure's tongue, Deride the blushes of the fair and young. Few with more fire on every subject spoke, But chief he loved the gay immoral joke; The words most sacred, stole from holy writ, He gave a newer form, and called them wit. Vice never had a more sincere ally, So bold no sinner, yet no saint so sly; Learn'd, but not wise, and without virtue brave, A gay, deluding, philosophic knave. When Bacchus' joys his airy fancy fire, They stir a new, but still a false desire; And to the comfort of each untaught fool, Horace in English vindicates the bowl. "The man," says Timon, "who is drunk is blest, No fears disturb, no cares destroy his rest; In thoughtless joy he reels away his life, Nor dreads that worst of ills, a noisy wife." "Oh! place me, Jove, where none but women come, And thunders worse than thine afflict the room, Where one eternal nothing flutters round, And senseless titt'ring sense of mirth confound; Or lead me bound to garret, Babel-high, Where frantic poet rolls his crazy eye, Tiring the ear with oft-repeated chimes, And smiling at the never-ending rhymes: E'en here, or there, I'll be as blest as Jove, Give me tobacco, and the wine I love." Applause from hands the dying accents break, Of stagg'ring sots who vainly try to speak; From Milo, him who hangs upon each word, And in loud praises splits the tortured board, Collects each sentence, ere it's better known, And makes the mutilated joke his own. At weekly club to flourish, where he rules, The glorious president of grosser fools. But cease, my Muse! of those or these enough, The fools who listen, and the knaves who scoff; The jest profane, that mocks th' offended God, Defies his power, and sets at nought his rod; The empty laugh, discretion's vainest foe, From fool to fool re-echoed to and fro; The sly indecency, that slowly springs From barren wit, and halts on trembling wings: Enough of these, and all the charms of wine, Be sober joys and social evenings mine; Where peace and reason, unsoil'd mirth, improve The powers of friendship and the joys of love; Where thought meets thought ere words its form array, And all is sacred, elegant, and gay: Such pleasure leaves no sorrow on the mind, Too great to fall, to sicken too refined; Too soft for noise, and too sublime for art, The social solace of the feeling heart, For sloth too rapid, and for wit too high, 'Tis virtue's pleasure, and can never die!

"THE CANDIDATE" {2} A POETICAL EPISTLE TO THE AUTHORS OF THE MONTHLY REVIEW.

AN INTRODUCTORY ADDRESS OF THE AUTHOR TO HIS POEMS.

Multa quidem nobis facimus mala saepe poetae, (Ut vineta egomet caedam mea) cum tibi librum Sollicito damus, aut fesso, &c. HORACE, Epistle 1.

Ye idler things, that soothed my hours of care, Where would ye wander, triflers, tell me where? As maids neglected, do ye fondly dote, On the tair type, or the embroider'd coat; Detest my modest shelf, and long to fly Where princely Popes and mighty Miltons lie? Taught but to sing, and that in simple style, Of Lycia's lip, and Musidora's smile; - Go then! and taste a yet unfelt distress, The fear that guards the captivating press; Whose maddening region should ye once explore, No refuge yields my tongueless mansion more. But thus ye'll grieve, Ambition's plumage stript, "Ah, would to Heaven, we'd died in manuscript!" Your unsoil'd page each yawning wit shall flee, - For few will read, and none admire like me. - Its place, where spiders silent bards enrobe, Squeezed betwixt Cibber's Odes and Blackmore's Job; Where froth and mud, that varnish and deform, Feed the lean critic and the fattening worm; Then sent disgraced--the unpaid printer's bane - To mad Moorfields, or sober Chancery Lane, On dirty stalls I see your hopes expire, Vex'd by the grin of your unheeded sire, Who half reluctant has his care resign'd, Like a teased parent, and is rashly kind. Yet rush not all, but let some scout go forth, View the strange land, and tell us of its worth; And should he there barbarian usage meet, The patriot scrap shall warn us to retreat. And thou, the first of thy eccentric race, A forward imp, go, search the dangerous place, Where Fame's eternal blossoms tempt each bard, Though dragon-wits there keep eternal guard; Hope not unhurt the golden spoil to seize, The Muses yield, as the Hesperides; Who bribes the guardian, all his labour's done, For every maid is willing to be won. Before the lords of verse a suppliant stand, And beg our passage through the fairy land: Beg more--to search for sweets each blooming field, And crop the blossoms woods and valleys yield, To snatch the tints that beam on Fancy's bow; And feel the fires on Genius' wings that glow; Praise without meanness, without flattery stoop, Soothe without fear, and without trembling, hope.

TO THE READER.

The following Poem being itself of an introductory nature, its author supposes it can require but little preface.

It is published with a view of obtaining the opinion of the candid and judicious reader on the merits of the writer as a poet; very few, he apprehends, being in such cases sufficiently impartial to decide for themselves.

It is addressed to the Authors of the Monthy Review, as to critics of acknowledged merit; an acquaintance with whose labours has afforded the writer of this Epistle a reason for directing it to them in particular, and, he presumes, will yield to others a just and sufficient plea for the preference.


Inebriety and the Candidate - 2/4

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