Love Of Fame, The Universal Passion. Satire II

My muse, proceed, and reach thy destin'd end;
Though toils and danger the bold task attend.
Heroes and gods make other poems fine;
Plain satire calls for sense in every line:
Then, to what swarms thy faults I dare expose!
All friends to vice and folly are thy foes.
When such the foe, a war eternal wage;
'Tis most ill-nature to repress thy rage:
And if these strains some nobler muse excite,
I'll glory in the verse I did not write.
So weak are human kind by nature made,
Or to such weakness by their vice betray'd,
Almighty vanity! to thee they owe
Their zest of pleasure, and their balm of woe.
Thou, like the sun, all colours dost contain,
Varying, like rays of light, on drops of rain.
For every soul finds reasons to be proud,
Tho' hiss'd and hooted by the pointing crowd.
Warm in pursuit of foxes, and renown,
(9)Hippolitus demands the sylvan crown;
But Florio's fame, the product of a shower,
Grows in his garden, an illustrious flower!
Why teems the earth? Why melt the vernal skies?
Why shines the sun? To make(10) Paul Diack rise.
From morn to night has Florio gazing stood,
And wonder'd how the gods could be so good;
What shape! what hue! was ever nymph so fair!
He dotes! he dies! he too is rooted there.
O solid bliss! which nothing can destroy,
Except a cat, bird, snail, or idle boy.
In fame's full bloom lies Florio down at night,
And wakes next day a most inglorious wight;
The tulip's dead! See thy fair sister's fate,
O C----! and be kind ere 'tis too late.
Nor are those enemies I mention'd, all;
Beware, O florist, thy ambition's fall.
A friend of mine indulg'd this noble flame;
A quaker serv'd him, Adam was his name;
To one lov'd tulip oft the master went,
Hung o'er it, and whole days in rapture spent;
But came, and miss'd it, one ill-fated hour:
He rag'd! he roar'd! "What demon cropt my flower?"
Serene, quoth Adam, "Lo! 'twas crusht by me;
Fall'n is the Baal to which thou bow'dst thy knee."
But all men want amusement; and what crime
In such a paradise to fool their time?
None: but why proud of this? to fame they soar;
We grant they're idle, if they'll ask no more.
We smile at florists, we despise their joy,
And think their hearts enamour'd of a toy:
But are those wiser whom we most admire,
Survey with envy, and pursue with fire?
What's he who sighs for wealth, or fame, or power?
Another Florio doting on a flower;
A short liv'd flower; and which has often sprung
From sordid arts, as Florio's out of dung.
With what, O Codrus! is thy fancy smit?
The flower of learning, and the bloom of wit.
The gaudy shelves with crimson bindings glow,
And Epictetus is a perfect beau.
How fit for thee! bound up in crimson too,
Gilt, and, like them, devoted to the view!
Thy books are furniture. Methinks 'tis hard
That science should be purchas'd by the yard;
And Tonson, turn'd upholsterer, send home
The gilded leather to fit up thy room.
If not to some peculiar end design'd,
Study's the specious trifling of the mind;
Or is at best a secondary aim,
A chase for sport alone, and not for game.
If so, sure they who the mere volume prize,
But love the thicket where the quarry lies.
On buying books Lorenzo long was bent,
But found at length that it reduc'd his rent;
His farms were flown; when, lo! a sale comes on,
A choice collection! what is to be done?
He sells his last; for he the whole will buy;
Sells ev'n his house; nay, wants whereon to lie:
So high the gen'rous ardour of the man
For Romans, Greeks, and Orientals ran.
When terms were drawn, and brought him by the clerk,
Lorenzo sign'd the bargain--with his mark.
Unlearned men of books assume the care,
As eunuchs are the guardians of the fair.
Not in his authors' liveries alone
Is Codrus' erudite ambition shown:
Editions various, at high prices bought,
Inform the world what Codrus would be thought;
And to his cost another must succeed
To pay a sage, who says that he can read;
Who titles knows, and indexes has seen;
But leaves to Chesterfield what lies between;
Of pompous books who shuns the proud expense,
And humbly is contented with their sense.
O Stanhope, whose accomplishments make good
The promise of a long illustrious blood,
In arts and manners eminently grac'd,
The strictest honour! and the finest taste!
Accept this verse; if satire can agree
With so consummate a humanity.
By your example would Hilario mend,
How would it grace the talents of my friend,
Who, with the charms of his own genius smit,
Conceives all virtues are compris'd in wit!
But time his fervent petulance may cool;
For though he is a wit, he is no fool.
In time he'll learn to use, not waste, his sense;
Nor make a frailty of an excellence.
He spares nor friend, nor foe; but calls to mind,
Like doomsday, all the faults of all mankind.
What though wit tickles? tickling is unsafe,
If still 'tis painful while it makes us laugh.
Who, for the poor renown of being smart,
Would leave a sting within a brother's heart?
Parts may be prais'd, good-nature is ador'd;
Then draw your wit as seldom as your sword;
And never on the weak; or you'll appear
As there no hero, no great genius here.
As in smooth oil the razor best is whet,
So wit is by politeness sharpest set:
Their want of edge from their offence is seen;
Both pain us least when exquisitely keen.
The fame men give is for the joy they find;
Dull is the jester, when the joke's unkind.
Since Marcus, doubtless, thinks himself a wit,
To pay my compliment, what place so fit?
His most facetious(11)letters came to hand,
Which my first satire sweetly reprimand:
If that a just offence to Marcus gave,
Say, Marcus, which art thou, a fool, or knave?
For all but such with caution I forbore;
That thou wast either, I ne'er knew before:
I know thee now, both what thou art, and who;
No mask so good, but Marcus must shine through:
False names are vain, thy lines their author tell;
Thy best concealment had been writing well:
But thou a brave neglect of fame hast shown,
Of others' fame, great genius! and thy own.
Write on unheeded; and this maxim know,
The man who pardons, disappoints his foe.
In malice to proud wits, some proudly lull
Their peevish reason; vain of being dull;
When some home joke has stung their solemn souls,
In vengeance they determine to be fools;
Through spleen, that little nature gave, make less,
Quite zealous in the way of heaviness;
To lumps inanimate a fondness take;
And disinherit sons that are awake.
These, when their utmost venom they would spit,
Most barbarously tell you--"He's a wit."
Poor negroes, thus, to show their burning spite
To cacodemons, say, they're dev'lish white.
Lampridius, from the bottom of his breast,
Sighs o'er one child; but triumphs in the rest.
How just his grief! one carries in his head
A less proportion of the father's lead;
And is in danger, without special grace,
To rise above a justice of the peace.
The dunghill breed of men a diamond scorn,
And feel a passion for a grain of corn;
Some stupid, plodding, monkey-loving wight,
Who wins their hearts by knowing black from white,
Who with much pains, exerting all his sense,
Can range aright his shillings, pounds, and pence.
The booby father craves a booby son;
And by heaven's blessing thinks himself undone.
Wants of all kinds are made to fame a plea;
One learns to lisp; another not to see:
Miss D----, tottering, catches at your hand:
Was ever thing so pretty born to stand?
Whilst these, what nature gave, disown, through pride,
Others affect what nature has denied;
What nature has denied, fools will pursue,
As apes are ever walking upon two.
Crassus, a grateful sage, our awe and sport!
Supports grave forms; for forms the sage support.
He hems; and cries, with an important air,
"If yonder clouds withdraw it will be fair:"
Then quotes the Stagyrite, to prove it true;
And adds, "The learn'd delight in something new."
Is't not enough the blockhead scarce can read,
But must he wisely look, and gravely plead?
As far a formalist from wisdom sits,
In judging eyes, as libertines from wits.
These subtle wights (so blind are mortal men,
Though satire couch them with her keenest pen)
For ever will hang out a solemn face,
To put off nonsense with a better grace:
As pedlers with some hero's head make bold,
Illustrious mark! where pins are to be sold.
What's the bent brow, or neck in thought reclin'd?
The body's wisdom to conceal the mind.
A man of sense can artifice disdain;
As men of wealth may venture to go plain;
And be this truth eternal ne'er forgot,
Solemnity's a cover for a sot.
I find the fool, when I behold the screen;
For 'tis the wise man's interest to be seen.
Hence, Chesterfield, that openness of heart,
And just disdain for that poor mimic art;
Hence (manly praise!) that manner nobly free,
Which all admire, and I commend, in thee.
With generous scorn how oft hast thou survey'd
Of court and town the noontide masquerade;
Where swarms of knaves the vizor quite disgrace,
And hide secure behind a naked face?
Where nature's end of language is declin'd,
And men talk only to conceal the mind;
Where gen'rous hearts the greatest hazard run,
And he who trusts a brother, is undone?
These all their care expend on outward show
For wealth and fame; for fame alone, the beau.
Of late at White's was young Florello seen!
How blank his look! how discompos'd his mien!
So hard it proves in grief sincere to feign!
Sunk were his spirits; for his coat was plain.
Next day his breast regain'd its wonted peace;
His health was mended with a silver lace.
A curious artist, long inur'd to toils
Of gentler sort, with combs, and fragrant oils,
Whether by chance, or by some god inspir'd,
So touch'd his curls, his mighty soul was fir'd.
The well swoln ties an equal homage claim,
And either shoulder has its share of fame;
His sumptuous watch-case, tho' conceal'd it lies,
Like a good conscience, solid joy supplies.
He only thinks himself (so far from vain!)
Stanhope in wit, in breeding Deloraine.
Whene'er, by seeming chance, he throws his eye
On mirrors that reflect his Tyrian dye,
With how sublime a transport leaps his heart!
But fate ordains that dearest friends must part.
In active measures, brought from France, he wheels,
And triumphs, conscious of his learned heels.
So have I seen, on some bright summer's day,
A calf of genius, debonnair and gay,
Dance on the bank, as if inspir'd by fame,
Fond of the pretty fellow in the stream.
Morose is sunk with shame, whene'er surpris'd
In linen clean, or peruke undisguis'd.
No sublunary chance his vestments fear;
Valu'd, like leopards, as their spots appear.
A fam'd surtout he wears, which once was blue,
And his foot swims in a capacious shoe;
One day his wife (for who can wives reclaim?)
Levell'd her barb'rous needle at his fame:
But open force was vain; by night she went,
And while he slept, surpris'd the darling rent:
Where yawn'd the frieze is now become a doubt;
And glory, at one entrance, quite shut out.(12)
He scorns Florello, and Florello him;
This hates the filthy creature; that, the prim:
Thus, in each other, both these fools despise
Their own dear selves, with undiscerning eyes;
Their methods various, but alike their aim;
The sloven and the fopling are the same.
Ye whigs and tories! thus it fares with you,
When party rage too warmly you pursue;
Then both club nonsense, and impetuous pride,
And folly joins whom sentiments divide.
You vent your spleen, as monkeys, when they pass,
Scratch at the mimic monkey in the glass;
While both are one: and henceforth be it known,
Fools of both sides shall stand for fools alone.
"But who art thou?" methinks Florello cries;
"Of all thy species art thou only wise?"
Since smallest things can give our sins a twitch,
As crossing straws retard a passing witch,
Florello, thou my monitor shalt be;
I'll conjure thus some profit out of thee.
O thou myself! abroad our counsels roam,
And, like ill husbands, take no care at home:
Thou too art wounded with the common dart,
And love of fame lies throbbing at thy heart;
And what wise means to gain it hast thou chose?
Know, fame and fortune both are made of prose.
Is thy ambition sweating for a rhyme,
Thou unambitious fool, at this late time?
While I a moment name, a moment's past;
I'm nearer death in this verse, than the last:
What then is to be done? Be wise with speed;
A fool at forty is a fool indeed.
And what so foolish as the chance of fame?
How vain the prize! how impotent our aim!
For what are men who grasp at praise sublime,
But bubbles on the rapid stream of time,
That rise, and fall, that swell, and are no more,
Born, and forgot, ten thousand in an hour?
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Submitted on August 03, 2020

Modified on April 10, 2023

11:46 min read

Quick analysis:

Scheme Text too long
Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 12,219
Words 2,272
Stanzas 1
Stanza Lengths 288

Edward Young

Edward Young, LVO is the current Deputy Private Secretary to Queen Elizabeth II. more…

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