When Fate presents us with the Bays,
We prize the Praiser, not the Praise.
We scarcely think our Fame eternal
If vouched for by the Farthing Journal;
But when the Craftsman's self has spoken,
We take it for a certain Token.
This an Example best will show,
Derived from DENNIS DIDEROT.
A hackney Author, who'd essayed
All Hazards of the scribbling Trade;
And failed to live by every Mode,
From Persian Tale to Birthday Ode;
Embarked at last, thro' pure Starvation,
In Theologic Speculation.
'Tis commonly affirmed his Pen
Had been most orthodox till then;
But oft, as SOCRATES has said,
The Stomach's stronger than the Head;
And, for a sudden Change of Creed,
There is no Jesuit like Need.
Then, too, 'twas cheap; he took it all,
By force of Habit, from the Gaul.
He showed (the Trick is nowise new)
That Nothing we believe is true;
But chiefly that Mistake is rife
Touching the point of After-Life;
Here all were wrong from PLATO down:
His Price (in Boards) was Half-a-Crown.
The Thing created quite a Scare:--
He got a Letter from VOLTAIRE,
Naming him Ami and Confrère;
Besides two most attractive Offers
Of Chaplaincies from noted Scoffers.
He fell forthwith his Head to lift,
To talk of "I and DR. SW--FT;"
And brag, at Clubs, as one who spoke,
On equal Terms, with BOLINGBROKE.
But, at the last, a Missive came
That put the Copestone to his Fame.
The Boy who brought it would not wait:
It bore a Covent-Garden Date;--
A woful Sheet with doubtful Ink.
And Air of Bridewell or the Clink,
It ran in this wise:--Learned Sir!
We, whose Subscriptions follow here,
Desire to state our Fellow-feeling
In this Religion you're revealing.
You make it plain that if so be
We 'scape on Earth from Tyburn Tree,
There's nothing left for us to fear
In this--or any other Sphere.
We offer you our Thanks; and hope
Your Honor, too, may cheat the Rope!
With that came all the Names beneath,
As BLUESKIN, JERRY CLINCH, MACHEATH,
BET CARELESS, and the Rest--a Score
Of Rogues and Bona Robas more.
This Newgate Calendar he read:
'Tis not recorded what he said.