Every Man in his Own Way.

AN EPISTLE TO A FRIEND.

By STEPHEN DUCK.

LONDON: Printed for J. ROBERTS, in Warwick-Lane; and R. DODSLEY, in Pall-mall.

M.DCC.XLI. [Price 1s.

Every Man in his Own Way. AN EPISTLE TO A FRIEND.

'T WERE well, my Laelius, if I could pursue,
That prudent Counsel which I had from You:
To quit the Muse before her Spirits sink,
Forsake my Rhymes, and wash my Hands of Ink.
But, spite of all the Precepts You impart,
This Itch of Scribbling* clings about my Heart.
'Tis a Disease above the Doctor's Skill,
Too stubborn to be cur'd with Drop or Pill.
AND yet, believe me, I have often try'd
To take your fav'rite Maxim for my Guide.
Nil admirari dwells upon your Tongue:
So Horace sings, and I approve his Song.
But like Medea, frantic in her Love,
I cannot practise what I thus approve.
Too fond of Verse, I waste my precious Time
In Sounds, and Similies, and worthless Rhyme;
Mad as the Priest, who, in poetic Rage,
With Floods of Nonsense deluges the Stage:
What tho' you damn one Offspring of his Brain?
Prolific Dullness quickly spawns again:
This Monster crush'd, another strait appears,
Head after Head the sprouting Hydra rears;
Despising all the Censures of the Town,
And ev'ry Person's Judgment, but his own;
For tho' pronounc'd a Fool by all the Pit,
He impudently thinks himself a Wit.
A SOBER Countryman, as Stories say,
Would visit Bedlam on a certain Day;
Where, as he pitied a poor Wretch's Case,
The merry Madman laugh'd him in the Face,
And cry'd, Alas! your Judgment's very bad,
Believe me, 'tis not I, but You, are mad!
Mankind are run distracted ev'ry where,
All but a few, who keep their Senses Here.
You see our Madman, tho' prodigious ill,
Was happy in his own Opinion still.
NOR lives a Wretch, so wretched in the Town,
But has some darling Pleasure of his own,
Which he calls Happiness. 'Tis my Delight,
My Pleasure, and my Happiness, to write;
For Happiness we various Ways explore;
Some think it plac'd in Wealth, and some in Pow'r;
Others believe in Luxury it lies,
In Women some, and some in Butterflies.
All other Gifts of Fortune are confin'd,
But Pleasure's free, and common as the Wind:
The Cobler feels it often as the Peer;
One's drown'd in Politics, and one in Beer:
One's pleas'd with Honours, one with being drunk,
This fondly courts a Ribband, that a Punk.
THERE are who fix their Pleasure in a Race,
Whose Acres lessen, as their Steeds increase;
Some place their Joys in ancient Coins, and some
Admire the curious Busts of Greece and Rome:
Others in Painting all their Fortune waste,
While dunning Tradesmen curse their lavish Taste.
So much they honour the illustrious Dead,
They wrong the Living of their daily Bread.
In Building some consume a vast Estate,
And only leave their Heirs the Walls to eat;
These for a Supper many Hundreds pay,
While those in Music tune their Wealth away.
Thus diff'rent as our Faces are our Views;
Yet each this Harlot Happiness pursues;
This common Strumpet is by all ador'd,
She's Mistress to the Fidler, and the Lord.
ONE, whom her Charms unluckily delight,
Courts her at Gaming-tables ev'ry Night:
No matter what her saucy Favours cost,
He will enjoy her till his Fortune's lost;
Careless of what his Wife and Chidren do:
Let Wife and Children starve, what's that to You?
YOU may condemn our Gamesters, if you please:
But is he more ridiculous than these,
Who count their glitt'ring Dirt essential Bliss?
Umidius has no other Joy but this.
For Gold he studies, strives, and toils, and sweats;
For Gold he swears, and lyes, and jobs, and cheats.
Full fifty thousand Pounds he has in Store,
And yet he covets fifty thousand more.
No wild Profusion wastes his useless Hoard;
No Soups, or French Ragoûs, adorn his Board:
But, left such Diet should provoke his Lust,
He dines, like Seneca, upon a Crust;
And thinks the Turks Religion most divine,
Because it has forbid them drinking Wine.
ANOTHER, who Lucullus would excel
In the luxurious Arts of eating well,
Plump as a Swine of Epicurus looks,
His God his Belly, and his Glory Cooks.
So many Dishes on his Board appear,
'Twould surfeit you to read his Bill of Fare:
And of one Dinner the Expence so large,
Not Peter often could support the Charge.
THE gay Adonis, of a diff'rent Mind,
Counts Love the Summum Bonum of Mankind.
Love is the great Employment of his Life,
A Passion very pleasing to a Wife:
But Wife he is determin'd to have none;
For our penurious Laws allow but one.
Of willing Nymphs he keeps a mighty Store;
Not Solomon himself had many more:
These are his Happiness, tho' Goats may be
Much happier Animals, perhaps, than he.
ACTEON rides the Fields with rapid Pace;
He feels no Happiness, but in a Chace:
To him the Genius of his Hounds is known,
And Jowler's Nature, better than his own.
Ask him if Jowler strives to starve her Young?
He'll wonder at the Folly of your Tongue:
Yet he, more cruel, wickedly inclines
To starve the native Issue of his Loins.
Go to thy Dogs, inhuman, thoughtless Elf!
Their Ways consider, and be wise thyself.
LORD Fickle, with his virtuous Lady vext,
Weds her one Day, and widows her the next:
'Tis hard to say the Pleasure of his Life;
'Tis plain, however, 'tis not in a Wife.
BIBLUS, with thirsty Throat, and firy Face,
Has fix'd his chiefest Pleasure in a Glass;
Drinking and Dozing are his dear Delight;
All Day he dozes, and he drinks all Night:
His Wife and he alternate Watches keep;
At Morning when she wakes, he falls asleep.
FAR other Thoughts young Theron's Bosom fire,
Far other Joys his noble Breast inspire:
No idle Pleasure charms the youthful Peer,
Except the Pleasure of a Charioteer:
Firm seated in the Box, he smoaks along,
The Jest and Wonder of the gazing Throng.
Dextrous as Racers on Olympian Plains,
He sounds the clashing Whip, and shakes the loosen'd Reins:
Proud to survey the Wheels impetuous roll,
While all the Coachman's Glory warms his Soul.
CHREMES, devoutly mad, forsakes his Wife,
His Friends and Children, for a future Life:
He follows Whitefield, by the Spirit driv'n;
And starves himself on Earth, to feast in Heav'n.
To shun the fatal Rock on which he splits,
Diagoras employs his subtle Wits;
Denies the Being of a God by Rule,
And proves by Logic—that he is a Fool.
Is there no Mean, no Passage we can find
Safely to steer this Vessel of the Mind?
Must we on Scylla or Charybdis run?
When Dead, be wretched; or alive, undone?
GRACCHUS, endow'd with admirable Parts,
Polish'd with Learning, Eloquence, and Arts,
Protects the People warmly in Debate,
And all his Pleasure's to reform the State;
He could adjust all Business of the Crown,
And yet he never could adjust his own:
Not that he wanted Wit for such Affairs;
He had too much for low domestic Cares.
His active scheming Head has always found
Too little Business, which has turn'd it round:
As pond'rous Ships, immoderately great,
For want of proper Ballast, overset.
OTHERS there are, who use their utmost Skill
To climb Ambition's flatt'ring faithless Hill:
To Posts and Dignities To-day they rise;
To-morrow greater Honours tempt their Eyes:
For these they struggle; next; they these acquire;
Greater appear, and greater they desire:
Those too they gain: Well, now they have their Will,
Or is this happy Something farther still?
Alas! my Laelius, you mistake their Aim,
Their Pleasure's in the Chace, not in the Game.
As arrant Sportsmen hunt thro' Bog and Brake,
Not for their Hunger, but Diversion's sake.
See Manlius, striving for his Lordship's Place;
His Lordship very fain would be his Grace:
The Serjeant treads upon the Judge's Heels,
Th'impatient Judge anticipates the Seals.
Some, boldly vain, like Phaethon, aspire;
And, if indulg'd, would set the World on Fire.
Ev'n Budgel hop'd to guide the Reins of State:
My Lord of Lambeth's miserably great!
Oppress'd with Cares and Business all his Time,
And, harder still! he can no higher climb.
THE Muse, my Friend, might Thousands more relate,
(Led either by their Folly, or their Fate)
Who follow Pleasures of another Sort:
Some go to Drury-Lane, and some to Court;
These rake in Stews, those shine in Drawing-rooms,
Proud of their Cloaths, as Peacocks of their Plumes;
Who in their Dress such wond'rous Pleasure take,
They wear their Happiness upon their Back.
In Dress the gay Lord Fopling squanders more
Than would support an Hospital of Poor.
For Dress in Debt Fastidius yearly runs,
Patient of Scandal, negligent of Duns:
While Curius, lewd and lavish on his Whores,
Brings Claps and Fashions from the Gallic Shores:
These have their Pleasures: Is it then a Crime
In me to take the Privilege of Rhyme?
BUT now, methinks you whisper in my Ear,
"This Itch of Rhyming carries you too far:"
What is't to me, you say, whose Plays are dull?
What is't to me, who's Fop, or Knave, or Fool?
Who games, or swears, or lyes, or jobs, or cheats?
Who gain Preferments, or who lose Estates?
Men ever had their Pleasures, ever will:
In God's Name let them have their Pleasures still!
But since in diff'rent ways they all incline
To have their Pleasures, shall I not have mine?
THERE's Mistress Drummond frequently will tell ye,
The Spirit swells her like to burst her Belly;
How shall she ease her Bosom of the Load?
How, but discharge and loose the lab'ring God?
Shall Ease, my Friend, be found for her alone?
Shall she have Remedy, and I have none?
WELL then, proceed, you say; but mark the End;
Writing will make you Foes, tho' not a Friend:
Besides, 'twere Vanity to think your Lays
Should please a Critic's Ear, or merit Praise.
PRAISE is a Feather, foreign to my Hope:
Give it to THOMSON, WARBURTON, or POPE.
When urgent Nature calls, I write for Ease,
The Call of Nature ev'ry one obeys.
Alike the Learn'd, and those who never learn,
Whether 'tis in a College, or a Barn;
Whether on Mincio's Banks, or in the Mint:
When Nature bids us write, we write and print.
I KNOW your Judgment, Sense, and Taste require
A Bard to sing with Spirit, Force, and Fire;
Compose such Numbers as the Ancients writ.
Are Ancients then the only Men of Wit?
Is Wit immutable? Is nothing so,
But what was writ Two thousand Years ago?
Sure if it vary not, 'tis mighty strange,
Since much more sacred Things have suffer'd Change.
BEFORE King Harry (last of all the Name)
To good Queen Bess's Mother told his Flame,
What a mysterious Dress Religion wore!
What Crops of Superstition England bore!
Our pious Sires implicit Faith receiv'd,
Believing what could hardly be believ'd.
'Twas Sin to think their Bread compos'd of Flour,
Or Two and Two equivalent to Four.
Nor dar'd they reason in their own Defence,
For the worst Heresy was common Sense:
Or if they durst espouse the noble Cause
Of Nature's Right, and Truth's eternal Laws,
Bulls and Damnations thunder'd from the Press,
And curs'd as zealously as Christ could bless.
Now, thank Reformers of a later Age,
We can't complain of superstitious Rage;
No Flamen cheats us with his holy Wiles,
Nor Smithfield smoaks with frequent Fun'ral Piles.
No Royal Quixotes lead their martial Pow'rs
To fight for Lady Faith on Foreign Shores:
Yet grant, Almighty Heav'n, we may not fall
From too much Piety, to none at all!
THUS Modes of Faith have chang'd, 'tis very plain;
And Wit has chang'd, and change it will again.
This comforts M—r; for we must allow,
Tho' his damn'd Comedies are Folly now,
They may be Wit, perhaps, to future Fools,
If they escape Trunks, Kitchens, and Close-stools.
'TWERE hard, indeed, if nothing should be writ,
But what was solid Sense, or current Wit;
Such rigid Laws would ruin Authors quite,
Not One in Twenty would attempt to write:
But, as the Poets Case in Britain stands,
We scorn tenacious Wit shou'd tie our Hands.
We freely write whatever we devise,
No matter whether Wit, or Truth, or Lyes.
Thus bold Lucilius lashes half the Town,
And teaches Manners, tho' himself has none;
At Peers and Prelates darts his poison'd Stings,
Asperses Ministers, and libels Kings;
Rakes up the sacred Ashes of a Queen
To vent his Spite, and gratify his Spleen.
Thus* He, who mimics POPE'S immortal Pen,
(Tho' awkwardly as Monkeys mimic Men)
With wicked Farce profanes the hallow'd Gown,
And to expose our Folly, shews his own.
Thus L—, when at Leisure from the Stews,
Thro' Dirt and Dung whips a lame, jaded Muse,
To number all would weary Whitefield's Lungs,
Who scribble Journals, and satiric Songs;
Who rail at WALPOLE, impotent and fierce,
Barren of Thought, yet prodigal of Verse.
Guilty of Scandal, innocent of Wit,
They write worse Stuff than Flecknoe ever writ:
And by the half-form'd Embryo's of the Scull,
Abuse the Privilege of being dull.
God save his Honour! while such Authors write,
He ought to thank their inoffensive Spite.
And shall not I indulge my harmless Pen?
And have my Way, as well as other Men?
YOU, worthy Laelius, have your Pleasure too,
And, quitting Crouds, a nobler Way pursue;
The Way of Truth and Virtue you explore,
For this you turn the Grecian Sages o'er:
For this You read what Roman Authors writ,
Digest their Precepts, and improve their Wit.
In these, and true Philosophy, you find
A Muse, to tune and harmonize your Mind,
Who sings, All Pleasure, rightly understood,
Consists alone in being Wise and Good.
FINIS.

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