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REV. SIR JOHN DOLBEN, BART. D. D.
SIR John, or Doctor, choose you whether;
Or Friend, a better name than either:
Had it pleas'd dame or madam Fortune,
T'have thrown me in some place opportune,
To see, and hear, and talk with you
And Wake sometimes an hour or two;
Or say it hours were six or seven,
(For Will can joke from morn till even)
No need had been to pump for metre,
To furnish out an idle letter;
For then, instead of 'diting poesy,
might have prated viva voce.
Then haply, had the way between 's
Been miles and way-bits under teens,
I might have view'd fair Finedon's tow❜rs,
Its walks, and avenues, and bow'rs,
The sweet abode of you and yours;
The noble furniture have seen,
The living furniture I mean ;
For what is all the costly traffic,
That comes from India, Spain, or Afric,
Compar'd to sprightly wit and beauty,
That always pleasant is and new t' you?
Then had I seen in evʼry kind,
Such beauties both of face and mind,
As oft are read of in romance's,
The creatures of poetic fancies,
But save at Finedon, hardly found
On English, or un-English ground;
Then had I-but I cry you mercy,
For I must be content with hearsay,
Nor hope to see such sights as there are,
Unless I liv'd a great deal nearer.
But miles there are twenty and thirty,
Both woundy long, and plaguy dirty,
Which I, the laziest thing alive,
Could hardly pass in days twice five.
Would Pegasus let me bestride him,
And teach me skill, when up, to ride him;
Or had I wings well glu'd and corded,
Better than Icarus or Ford had,
Away I'd fly, nor stay to bait,
Until I knock'd at Finedon gate.
Then woe be to the beef and claret,
For by my faith I would not spare it;
Nor should I, once possession taken,
Contrive or care to save your bacon.
But what a sot am I to think
Of such poor things as meat and drink,
And not revolve within my mind
The fairest of the fairest kind!
Since to the fair, with heart most fervent, I vow myself an humble servant,
How should I joy to see the Lady
That makes three sweet ones call you Dady
To see those pretty heirs apparent
Trip it along like fairies errant !
To view those little representers
Surpassing nicest skill of painters,
Resembling either Parent's face
The Digby and the Dolben race;
To read in ev'ry line and feature,
Avi avorum wrote by Nature.
These images, dear Sir, I find
So strongly painted in my mind,
That all the while I tell my story,
Methinks I see 'em full before me.
Thus distant half a hundred miles,
I view their little play and smiles,
While, as the absent lover's use is,
Fancy supplies what fate refuses.
You see, Sir, how this long epistle, Just like young master's bell and whistle,
Has nothing else to recommed it,
But jingling sound, and yet I send it ;
. For where no better can be had,
Respect is shewn, though fare be bad.
Thus, having tir'd myself and you, Sir, I kiss your hands, and so adieu! Sir.
March 8, 1725.
IF Doddington will condescend
To visit a poetic friend,
And leave a numerous bill of fare,
For four or five plain dishes here;
No costly welcome, but a kind
He and his friends will always find;
A plain, but clean and spacious room,
The master and his heart at home,
A cellar open as his face,
A dinner shorter than his grace;
Your mutton comes from Pimpern-down,
Your fish (if any) from the town;
Our rogues, indeed, of late, o'er-aw'd,
By human laws, not those of God,
No venison steal, or none they bring,
Or send it all to master King;