Verse > John Dryden > Poems
John Dryden (1631–1700).  The Poems of John Dryden.  1913.
Epistles and Complimentary Addresses
To my Ingenious Friend, Henry Higden, Esq., on his Translation of the Tenth Satyr of Juvenal
THE 1 Grecian Wits, who Satyr first began,
Were Pleasant Pasquins on the Life of Man;
At Mighty Villains, who the State opprest,
They durst not Rail 2 perhaps; they Laugh’d at least,
And turn’d ’em out of Office with a Jest.        5
No Fool could peep abroad, but ready stand
The Drolls to clap a Bauble in his hand:
Wise Legislators never yet could draw
A Fop, within the Reach of Common-Law;
For Posture, Dress, Grimace, and Affectation.        10
Tho’ Foes to Sence, are Harmless to the Nation.
Our last Redress is Dint of Verse to try,
And Satyr is our Court of Chancery.
This Way took Horace to reform an Age,
Not Bad enough to need an Author’s Rage:        15
But Yours, 3 who liv’d in more degen’rate Times,
Was forc’d to fasten Deep, and worry Crimes:
Yet You, my Friend, have temper’d him so well.
You make him Smile in spight of all his Zeal:
An Art peculiar to your Self alone,        20
To joyn the Vertues of TWO stiles in One.
  Oh! were your Author’s Principle receiv’d,
Half of the lab’ring World wou’d be reliev’d;
For not to Wish, is not to be deceiv’d!
Revenge wou’d into Charity be chang’d,        25
Because it costs too Dear to be Reveng’d:
It costs our Quiet and Content of Mind;
And when ’tis compass’d leaves a Sting behind.
Suppose I had the better End o’ th’ Staff,
Why should I help th’ ill-natur’d World to laugh?        30
’Tis all alike to them who gets the Day;
They Love the Spight and Mischief of the Fray.
No; I have Cur’d my Self of that Disease,
Nor will I be provok’d, but when I please:
But let me half that Cure to You restore;        35
You gave the Salve, I laid it to the Sore.
  Our kind Relief against a Rainy Day,
Beyond a Tavern, or a tedious Play;
We take your Book, and laugh our Spleen away,
If all your Tribe, (too studious of Debate)        40
Wou’d cease false Hopes and Titles to create,
Led by the Rare Example you begun,
Clyents wou’d fail and Lawyers be undone.

Note 1. Text from the original, prefixt to Higden’s Translation of Juvenal’s Tenth Satire, 1687. [back]
Note 2. Rail perhaps;] Rail; perhaps, 1687. Laugh’d] Many editors wrongly give lash’d. [back]
Note 3. Juvenal. [back]

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