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An EPISTLÉ to Sir ROBERT WALPOLE
On his first coming into POWER.
Quæ cenfet amiculus, ut
Cæcus iter monftrare velit-
HO' strength of genius, by experience taught,
Gives thee to found the depth of human thoughty To trace the various workings of the mind, And rule the secret springs that rule mankind; (Rare gift!) yet, WALPOLE, wilt thou condescend To listen, if thy unexperienc'd friend Can ought of use impart, tho' void of skill, And win attention by sincere good-will: For friendship sometimes want of parts supplies ; The heart may furnish, what the head denies.
As when the rapid Rhone o'er swelling tides
To grace old Ocean's court in triumph rides,
Tho' rich his source, he drains a thousand springs,
Nor fcorns the tribute each small riv'let brings;
So thou shalt hence absorb each feeble ray,
Each dawn of meaning in thy brighter day ;
Shalt like, or where thou canst not like, excuse ;
For no mean intereft shall profane the muse,
No malice wrapt in truth's disguise offend,
Nor Aattery taint the freedom of the friend.
When first a generous mind surveys the great,
And views the crowds which on their fortune wait;
Pleas'd with the shew (tho' little understood)
He only seeks the power, to do the good;
Thinks, till he tries, tis, godlike to dispose,
And gratitude still springs where bounty lows;
That every grant sincere affection wins,
And where our wants have end, our love begins :
But those, who long the paths of state have trod,
Learn from the clamours of the murmuring crowd,
Which cram’d, yet craving still, their gates befiege,
Tis easier far to give than to oblige.
This of thy conduct seems the nicest part,
The chief perfection of the statesman's art;
To give to fair assent a fairer face,
And soften a refufal into grace ;
But few there are that can be truly kind,
Or know to fix their favours on the mind.
Hence fome, whene'er they would oblige, offend,
And while they make the fortune, lose the friend,
Still give unthank’d, still squander, not bestow,
For great men want not what to give, but how.
The race of men that follow courts, 'tis true, Think all they get, and more than all, their due; Still ask, but ne'er consult their own deserts, And measure by their intereft, not their parts. From this mistake so many men we see But ill become the thing they will'd to be; Hence difcontent and fresh demands arise, More power, more favour in the great man's eyes ; All feel a want, tho' none the cause suspects, And hate their patron for their own defects. Such none can please, but who reforms their hearts, And when he gives them places, gives them parts.
As thefe o'erprize their worth, fo sure the great May sell their favour at too dear a rate.
When merit pines, while clamour is preferid,
And long attachment waits among the herd;
When no distinction, where distinction's due,
Marks from the many the superiour few ;
When strong cabal constrains them to be just,
And makes them give at last, because they must;
What hopes that men of real worth should prize,
What neither friendship gives, nor merit buys ?
The man who justly o'er the world presides,
His well-weigh'd choice with wise affection guides;
Knows when to stop with grace, and when advance,
Nor gives from importunity, or chance;
But thinks how little gratitude is ow'd,
When favours are extorted, not bestow'd.
When, safe on shore ourselves, we see the crowd
Surround the great, importunate and loud,
Through such a tumult, 'tis no easy task
To drive the man of real worth to ask:
Surrounded thus, and giddy with the show,
'Tis hard for great men rightly to bestow :
From hence so few are skill'd in either cafe,
To ask with dignity, or give with grace.
Sometimes the great, seduc'd by love of parts,
Consult our genius, but neglect our hearts ;
Pleas'd with the glittering sparks that genius flings,
They lift us tow'ring on their eagle's wings,
Mark out the flights, by which themselves begung
And teach our dazzled eyes to bear the fun ;
Till we forget the hand that made us great,
And grow to envy, not to emulate.
To emulate, a generous warmth implies,
To reach the virtues that make great men rise ;
But envy wears a mean malignant face,
And aims not at their virtues, but their place.
Such to oblige how vain is the pretence,
When every favour is a fresh offence,
By which superiour pow'r is still imply'd,
And while it helps their fortune, hurts their pride:
Slight is the hate neglect or hardships breed,
But those who hate from envy, hate indeed,
Since fo perplext the choice, whom shall we trust, Methinks I hear thee cry!
—The brave and just; The man by no mean fears or hopes contrould, Who serves thee for affection, not for gold.
We love the honest and esteem the brave,
Despife the coxcomb, but deteft the knave;
No fhew of parts the truly wise seduce,
To think that knaves can be of real use,
The man who contradicts the publick voice,
And strives to dignify a worthless choice,
Attempts a talk that on that choice reflects,
And lends us 'light to point out new defects:
One worthless man that gains what he pretends,
Disgufts a thousand unpretending friends.
And since no art can make a counter pass,
Or add the weight of gold to mimick brass,
When Princes to bad ore their image join,
They more debase the stamp, than raise the coin.
Be thine the care true merit to reward,
. And gain the good, nor will that task be hard;
Souls form'd alike so quick by nature blend,
An honest man is more than half a friend.
Him no mean views or haste to rise fhall fway
Thy choice to fully, or thy trust betray;
Ambition here shall at due distance ftand,
Nor is wit dangerous in an honest hand.
Besides if failings at the bottom lie,
We view those failings with a lover's eye;
Tho'small his genius, let him do his best,
Our wishes and belief supply the rest.
Let.others barter servile faith for gold,
His friendship is not to be bought or sold j
Fierce opposition he unmov'd shall face,
Modest in favour, daring in disgrace;
To share thy adverse fate alone pretend,
In pow'r a servant, out of pow'r a friend.
Here shed thy favours in an ample flood,
Indulge thy boundless thirst of doing good;
Nor think that good alone to him confind,
Such to oblige, is to oblige mankind.
If thus thy mighty master's steps thou trace,
The brave to cherish, and the good to grace,
Long shall thou stand from rage and faction free,
And teach us long to love our king thro' thee;
Or fall a victim dangerous to the foe,
And make him tremble, when he strikes the blow;
While honour, gratitude, affection join
To deck thy close, and brighten thy decline.
(Illustrious doom !) the great when thus displac'd,
With friendship guarded, and with virtue grac’d,
In awful ruin, like Rome's fenate, fall,
prey and worship of the wondering Gaul.
No doubt, to genius some reward is due, (Excluding that were fatyrizing you)