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On me he fixt his eyes. I crav'd,
Peace to his mind I did commend :
When I perceiv'd it was my friend,
And begg'd that I might share his fate:
I am a wretch of honest race ;
They left me heir to no disgrace.
Loyal and brave, my mother chaste and fair :
And knowledge, oft would praise my parts,
When I was call’d to a dispute,
Yet never Envy did disjoin
did taste : But, oh! a deadly potion came at last.
As I lay loosely on my bed, A thousand pleasant thoughts triumphing in my head, And as my sense on the rich banquet fed, A voice (it seem'd no more, so busy I
Was with myself, I saw not who was nigh)
Grew with succeeding years.
Where Fortune's general game is play'd; Where honesty and wit are often prais’d,
But fools and knaves are fortunate and rais'd ; My forward spirit prompted me to find
A converse equal to my mind : But by raw judgment easily misled,
(As giddy callow boys
Are very fond of toys) I miss’d the brave and wise, and in their stead On every sort of vanity I fed. Gay coxcombs, cowards, knaves, and prating fools, Bullies of o'er-grown bulks and little fouls, Gamesters, half-wits, and spendthrifts (such as think Mischievous midnight frolics, bred by drink
Are gallantry and wit,
Were those wherewith two years at least I spent, To all their fulsome follies most incorrigibly bent;
Till at the last, myself more to abuse,
in love with a deceitful Muse.
No fair deceiver ever us’d such charms,
Or, when she had him in her arms,
Secur'd his love with greater art. I fancy'd, or I dream'd (as poets always do)
No beauty, with my Muse’s might compare. Lofty she seem’d, and on her front sat a majestic air,
Awful, yet kind; fevere, yet fair.
Upon her head a crown she bore
And round her ivory neck she wore
With jewels and with gold,
Numberless to be told ; Which in imagination as I did behold,
And lov’d, and wonder'd more and more, Said she, These riches all, my darling, shall be thine,
Riches which never poet had before.
But never told
Thus by the arts of this most fly
Deluder was I caught,
Eternal constancy we fwore,
And on the bark of every tree
Distichs, posies, and the pointed bits Of satire (written when a poet meets
His Muse's caterwauling fits)
Nay, by my Muse too I was blest
Such as have pleas'd the noblest minds, And been approv'd by judgments of the best.
But in this most transporting height,
All of a sudden I was alter'd grown ;
I try'd if I a verse could frame :
The more I strove, the more I fail'd
A line came forth, but such a one,
Of fome deform’d baboon, or ape,
And swore I'd never write again,
I did myself undo,
Had robb’d me of my dearest store,
I straight to council callid;