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An Epistle Of The Right Honourable Sir Robert Walpole

Still let low wits, who sense nor honour prize,
Sneer at all gratitude, all truth disguise;
At living worth, because alive, exclaim,
Insult the exil'd, and the dead defame!
Such paint what pity veils in private woes,
And what we see with grief, with mirth expose;
Studious to urge-(whom will mean authors spare?)
The child's, the parent's, and the consort's tear:
Unconscious of what pangs the heart may rend,
To lose what they have ne'er deserv'd-a friend.
Such, ignorant of facts, invent, relate,
Expos'd persist, and answer'd still debate:
Such, but by foils, the clearest lustre see,
And deem aspersing others praising thee.

Far from these tracks my honest lays aspire,
And greet a gen'rous heart with gen'rous fire.
Truth be my guide! Truth, which thy virtue claims!
This, nor the poet, nor the patron shames!
When party-minds shall lose contracted views,
And hist'ry question the recording Muse;
'Tis this alone to after-times must shine,
And stamp the poet and his theme divine.

Long has my Muse, from many a mournful cause,
Sung with small pow'r, nor sought sublime applause;
From that great point she now shall urge her scope;
On that fair promise rest her future hope;
Where policy, from state-illusion clear,
Can through an open aspect shine sincere;
Where Science, Law, and Liberty depend,
And own the patron, patriot, and the friend;
(That breast to feel, that eye on worth to gaze,
That smile to cherish, and that hand to raise!)
Whose best of hearts her best of thoughts inflame,
Whose joy is bounty, and whose gift is fame.

Where, for relief, flees innocence distress'd?
To you, who chase oppression from th' oppress'd:
Who, when complaint to you alone belongs,
Forgive your own, tho' not a people's wrongs:
Who still make public property your care,
And thence bid private griefs no more despair.

Ask they what state your shelt'ring care shall own?
'Tis youth, 'tis age, the cottage, and the throne:

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