Reaching above our nature does no good; 100 We must fall back to our old flesh and blood; As by our little Machiavel we find That nimblest creature of the busy kind, His limbs are crippled, and his body shakes; Yet his hard mind which all this bustle makes, No pity of its poor companion takes.
What gravity can hold from laughing out, To see him drag his feeble legs about, Like hounds ill-coupled?
Some other kind of wits must be made known, Whose harmless errors hurt themselves alone; Excess of luxury they think can please, And laziness call loving of their ease: To live dissolved in pleasures still they feign, 170 Though their whole life's but intermitting pain: So much of surfeits, headaches, claps are seen, We scarce perceive the little time between: Well-meaning men who make this gross mistake, And pleasure lose only for pleasure's sake; Each pleasure has its price, and when we pay Too much of pain, we squander life away.
Thus Dorset, purring like a thoughtful cat, Married, but wiser puss ne'er thought of that: And first he worried her with railing rhyme, 180 Like Pembroke's mastives at his kindest time; Then for one night sold all his slavish life, A teeming widow, but a barren wife; Swell'd by contact of such a fulsome toad, He lugg'd about the matrimonial load; Till fortune, blindly kind as well as he, Has ill restored him to his liberty; Which he would use in his old sneaking way, Drinking all night, and dozing all the day; Dull as Ned Howard, whom his brisker times 190 Had famed for dulness in malicious rhymes.
Poets alone found the delightful way, Mysterious morals gently to convey In charming numbers; so that as men grew Pleased with their poems, they grew wiser too.
10 Satire has always shone among the rest, And is the boldest way, if not the best, To tell men freely of their foulest faults; To laugh at their vain deeds, and vainer thoughts.Jowler lugs him still Through hedges, ditches, and through all that's ill.110 'Twere crime in any man but him alone, To use a body so, though 'tis one's own: Yet this false comfort never gives him o'er, That whilst he creeps his vigorous thoughts can soar; Alas!No common coxcomb must be mentioned here: Not the dull train of dancing sparks appear; 50 Nor fluttering officers who never fight; Of such a wretched rabble who would write?  The cunning courtier should be slighted too, Who with dull knavery makes so much ado; Till the shrewd fool, by thriving too, too fast, Like sop's fox becomes a prey at last.Much less half wits: that's more against our rules; For they are fops, the other are but fools. 60 Nor shall the royal mistresses be named, Too ugly, or too easy to be blamed, With whom each rhyming fool keeps such a pother, They are as common that way as the other: Yet sauntering Charles, between his beastly brace, Meets with dissembling still in either place, Affected humour, or a painted face.But of these two, the last succeeded best, As men aim rightest when they shoot in jest.20 Yet, if we may presume to blame our guides, And censure those who censure all besides, In other things they justly are preferr'd.How dull, and how insensible a beast Is man, who yet would lord it o'er the rest!Philosophers and poets vainly strove In every age the lumpish mass to move: But those were pedants, when compared with these, Who know not only to instruct, but please.that soaring to those few that know, Is but a busy grovelling here below.So men in rapture think they mount the sky, Whilst on the ground the entranced wretches lie: So modern fops have fancied they could fly.