The great man’s curse, without the gains, endure,
Be envied, wretched, and be flattered, poor;
All luckless wits their enemies professed,
And all successful, jealous friends at best.
Nor fame I slight, nor for her favors call;
She comes unlooked for, if she comes at all.
But if the purchase cost so dear a price,
As soothing folly, or exalting vice;
Oh! If the muse must flatter lawless sway,
And follow still where fortune leads the way;
Or if no basis bear my rising name,
But the fallen ruins of another’s fame;
Then, teach me, heav’n! to scorn the guilty bays; Drive from my breast that wretched lust of praise; Unblemished let me live, or die unknown;
Oh! Grant an honest fame, or grant me none!
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