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From Mars his forge, sent to Minerva's schools,
To learn th' unlucky art of wheedling fools,
With itch of honour, and opinion, vain,
All things beyond their native worth we strain:
The 8 spoils of war, brought to Feretrian Jove,
An empty coat of armour hung above
The conqueror's chariot, and in triumph borne,
A streamer from a boarded galley torn,
A chap-faln beaver loosely hanging by
The cloven helm, an arch of victory,
On whose high convex fits a captive foe,
And fighing casts a mournful look below;
Of ev'ry nation, each illuftrious name,
Such toys as these have cheated into fame :
Exchanging solid quiet, to obtain
The windy satisfaction of the brain.
So much the thirst of honour fires the blood;
So many would be great, so few be good.
For who would Virtue for herself regard,
Or wed, without the portion of reward?
Yet this mad chace of fame, by few pursu'd,
Has drawn destruction on the multitude :
This avarice of praise in times to come,
Those long inscriptions, crowded on the tomb,
Should some wild fig-tree take her native bent,
And heave below the gaudy monument,
Would crack the marble titles, and disperse
The characters of all the lying verse.
For fepulchres themselves must crumbling fall
In time's abyss, the common grave
Great Hannibal within the balance lay;
And tell how many pounds his afhes weigh;
Whom Afric was not able to contain,
Whose length runs level with th’ Atlantic main,
8 This is a mock-account of a Roman triumph.
And wearies fruitful Nilus, to convey
His fun-beat waters by so long a way;
Which Ethiopia's double clime divides,
And elephants in other mountains hides.
Spain first he won, the Pyrenæans paft,
And steepy Alps, the mounds that nature čaft :
And with corroding juices, as he went,
A paffage through the living rocks he rent.
Then, like a torrent, rolling from on high,
He pours his head-long rage on Italy';
In three victorious battles over-run ;
Yet ftill uneasy, cries, There's nothing done,
Till level with the ground their gates are laid;
And Punic flags on Roman tow'rs display'd. .
Ask what a face belong’d to his high fame :
His picture scarcely would deserve a frame :
A fign-poft dawber would disdain to paint
The one-ey'd hero on his elephant.
Now what's his end, O charming Glory! say
What rare fifth act to crown his huffing play?
In one deciding battle overcome,
He fies, is bavilh'd from his native home:
Begs refuge in a foreign court, and there
Attends, his mean petition to prefer ;
Repuls'd by furly grooms, who wait before
'The sleeping tyrant's interdicted door.
What wond'rous sort of death has heav'n defign’d,
Diftinguilh'd from the heard of human kind,
For so untam'd, so turbulent a mind!
Nor swords at hand, nor hiffing darts afar,
Are doom'd t'avenge the tedious bloody war;
But poison, drawn thro' a ring's hollow plate,
Muft finith him; a fucking infant's fate.
Go, climb the rugged Alps, ambitious fool,
To please the boys, and be a theme at school.
One world suffic'd not Alexander's mind; Coop'd up, he seem'd in earth and seas corfind:
And, struggling, Atretch'd his restless limbs about
The narrow globe, to find a passage out.
Yet 9 enter'd in the brick-built town, he try'd
The tomb, and found the strait dimenfions wide :
“ Death only this mysterious truth unfolds,
“ The mighty soul, how small a body holds."
Old , Greece a tale of Athos would make out,
Cut from the continent, and fail'd aboat;
Seas hid with navies, chariots pafing o'er
The channel, on a bridge from shore to shore :
Rivers, whose depth no sharp beholder fees,
Drunk at an army's dinner, to the lees ;
With a long legend of romantic things,
Which in his cups the bowly poet sings:
But how did he return, this haughty brave,
Who whipt the winds, and made the sea his slave?
(Though Neptune took unkindly to be bound;
And Eurus never such hard ufage found
In his Æolian prison under ground;
What God so mean, ev’n 2 he who points the way,
So merciless a tyrant to obey !
But how return’d he, let us ask again?
In a poor skiff he pass'd the bloody main,
Choak’d with the flaughter'd bodies of his train.
9 Babylon, where Alexander died,
1 Xerxes is represented in history, after a very romantick manner, affecting fame beyond measure, and doing the most extravagant things to compass it. Mount Athos made a prodigious promontory in the Egean sea : He is faid to have cut a channel through it, and to have failed round it. He made a bridge of boats over the Hellespont, where it was three miles broad: And ordered a whipping for the winds and seas, because they had once crossed his designs, as we have a very folemn account of it in Herodotus. But, after all these vain boasts, he was shamefully beaten by Themistocles at Salamis; and returned home, leaving most of his fleet behind him.
2 Mercury, who was a God of the lowest fize, and employed always in errands between heaven and hell, and mortals used him accordingly: For his statues were anciently placed, where roads met ; with directions on the fingers of them, pointing out the several ways to travellers,
For fame he pray'd, but let th' event declare
He had no mighty penn'worth of his pray'r.
Jove grant me length of life, and years good store
Heap on my bended back, I ask no more.
Both fick and healthful, old and young conspire
In this one filly mischievous desire.
Mistaken blefling which old age they call,
'Tis a long, nafty, darksome hospital,
A ropy chain of rheums; a visage rough,
Deform’d, unfeatur'd, and a skin of buff.
A stitch-faln cheek, that hangs below the jaw;
Such wrinkles, as a skilful hand would draw
For an old grandam ape, when, with a grace,
She sits at squat, and scrubs her leathern face.
In youth, distinctions infinite abound;
No shape, or feature, just alike are found;
The fair, the black, the feeble, and the strong;
But the fame foulness does to age belong,
The self-fame palsy, both in limbs and tongue.
The skull and forehead one bald barren plain ;
gums unarm'd to mumble meat in vain.
Besides th’ eternal drivel, that supplies
The dropping beard, from noftrils, mouth and eyes.
His wife and children loath him, and, what's worse,
Himself does his offenfive carrion curse!
Flatt’rers forsake him too; for who would kill
Himself, to be remember'd in a will ?
His taste not only palld to wine and meat,
But to the relish of a nobler treat.
The limber nerve, in vain provok'd to rise,
Inglorious from the field of battle flies :
Poor feeble dotard, how could he advance.
With his blue head-piece, and his broken lance?
Add, that endeavouring still without effect,
A luft more fordid juftly we fufpect.
Those senfes loft, behold a new defeat,
The soul dislodging from another seat.
What mufic, or enchanting voice, can chear
A stupid, old, impenetrable ear?
No matter in what place, or what degree
Of the full theatre he fits to fee :
Cornets and trumpets cannot reach his ear:
Under an actor's nose, he's
His boy must bawl, to make him understand
The hour o'th' day, or such a lord's at hand :
The little blood that creeps within his veins,
Is but juft warm'd in a hot fever's pains.
In fine, he wears no limb about him sound :
With fores and sicknesses beleaguer'd round :
Ask me their names, I sooner could relate
How many drudges on salt Hippia wait;
What crouds of patients the town-doctor kills,
Or how, last fall, he rais'd the weekly bills.
What provinces by Basilus were spoil'd,
What herds of heirs by guardians are beguild:
How many bouts a-day that bitch has try'd;
How many boys that pedagogue can ride!
What lands and lord ships for their owner know
My quondam barber, but his worship now.
This dotard of his broken back complains,
One his legs fail, and one his shoulders pains :
Another is of both his
And envies who has one for aiming left.
A fifth, with trembling lips expecting stands,
As in his childhood, crammd by others hands;
One, who at sight of supper open'd wide
His jaws before, and whetted grinders try'd ;
Now only yawns, and waits to be supply'd :
swallow, when with weary wings Expected food her fasting mother brings.
His loss of members is a heavy curse, But all his faculties decay'd, a worse !