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Where is Lord This 2 And where my Lady That?
The Honourable Mistresses and Misses 2 Some laid aside like an old Opera hat,
Married, unmarried, and remarried: (this is An evolution oft performed of late.)
Where are the Dublin shouts—and London hisses 2 Where are the Grenvilles 2 Turn’d as usual. Where My friends the Whigs 2 Exactly where they were.
Where are the Lady Carolines and Franceses?
Divorced or doing thereanent. Ye annals So brilliant, where the list of routs and dances is,
Thou Morning Post, sole record of the panels Broken in carriages, and all the phantasies
Of fashion, — say what streams now fill those
Some die, some fly, some languish on the Continent, Because the times have hardly left them one tenant.
Some who once set their caps at cautious dukes,
Have taken up at length with younger brothers: Some heiresses have bit at sharpers' hooks:
Some maids have been made wives, some merely
Others have lost their fresh and fairy looks:
In short, the list of alterations bothers. There's little strange in this, but something strange is The unusual quickness of these common changes.
Talk not of seventy years as age ; in seven
I have seen more changes, down from monarchs to The humblest individual under heaven,
Than might suffice a moderate century through. I knew that nought was lasting, but now even
Change grows too changeable, without being new : Nought's permanent among the human race, Except the Whigs not getting into place.
LXXXII. I have seen Napoleon, who seem'd quite a Jupiter, Shrink to a Saturn. I have seen a Duke (No matter which) turn politician stupider, | If that can well be, than his wooden look. But it is time that I should hoist my “blue Peter," And sail for a new theme:—I have seen—and To see it—the king hiss'd, and then carest; [shook But don't pretend to settle which was best.
I have seen the Landholders without a rap —
I have seen Joanna Southcote—I have seen The House of Commons turn'd to a tax-trap—
I have seen that sad affair of the late Queen— I have seen crowns worn instead of a fool's cap—
I have seen a Congress(I) doing all that's mean— I have seen some nations like o'erloaded asses Kick off their burthens—meaning the high classes.
(1) [The Congress at Verona, in 1822. See ante, Vol. XIV. p. 281.] VOL. XVII. D
I have seen small poets, and great prosers, and
Interminable—not eternal—speakers— I have seen the funds at war with house and land—
I have seen the countrygentlemen turnsqueakers— I have seen the people ridden o'er like sand
By slaves on horseback—I have seen malt liquors Exchanged for “thin potations"(1) by John Bull— I have seen John half detect himself a fool.—
But “carpe diem," Juan, “carpe, carpe 1"(?)
To-morrow sees another race as gay
“Life's a poor player,”—then “playout the play, (3) Ye villains !” and above all keep a sharp eye
Much less on what you do than what you say: Be hypocritical, be cautious, be Not what you seem, but always what you see.
(1) [“If I had a thousand sons, the first human principle I would teach them should be to forswear thin potations, and to addict themselves to sack.” – Shaksp. Henry IV.]
For I disdain to write an Atalantis;(1)
You are not a moral people, and you know it
Without the aid of too sincere a poet.
What Juan saw and underwent shall be
My topic, with of course the due restriction Which is required by proper courtesy;
And recollect the work is only fiction, And that I sing of neither mine nor me,
Though every scribe, in some slight turn of diction, Will hint allusions never meant. Ne'er doubt This—when I speak, I don't hint, but speak out.
LXXXVIII. Whether he married with the third or fourth Offspring of some sage husband-hunting countess Or whether with some virgin of more worth (I mean in Fortune's matrimonial bounties)
(1) [See the “New Atalantis, or Memoirs and Manners of several Persons of Quality,”—a work in which the authoress, Mrs. Manley, makes very free with many distinguished characters of her day. Warburton calls it “a famous book, full of court, and party scandal, and written in a loose effeminacy of style and sentiment, which well suited the de. bauched taste of the better vulgar.” Pope also alludes to it in the “Rape of the Lock,”—
“As long as Atalantis shall be read,
And Swift, in his ballad on “Corinna: ” –
He took to regularly peopling Earth,
Or whether he was taken in for damages,
For being too excursive in his homages, –
Is yet within the unread events of time
Thus far, go forth, thou lay, which I will back Against the same given quantity of rhyme,
For being as much the subject of attack As ever yet was any work sublime,
By those who love to say that white is black. So much the better 1–I may stand alone, But would not change my free thoughts for a throne.