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In royal John, with Philip angry grown,
I thought he would have knock'd poor Davies down.
Inhuman tyrant! was it not a shame,
To fright a king so harmless and so tame?
But, spite of all defects, his glories rise;
And art, by judgment form’d, with nature vies:
Behold him sound the depth of Hubert's soul,
Whilst in his own contending passions roll;
View the whole scene, with critic judgment scan,
And then deny him merit if you can.
Where he falls short, 'tis nature's fault alone;
Where he succe
cceeds, the merit's all his own. Last Garrick came. Behind him throng a train Of snarling critics, ignorant as vain.
One finds out-"He's of stature somewhat low “ Your hero always should be tall, you know. “ True nat’ral greatness all consists in height.” Produce your voucher, critic.-" Sergeant Kite."
Another can't forgive the paltry arts
By which he makes his way to shallow hearts ;
Mere pieces of finesse, traps for applause-
“ Avaunt, unnat'ral start, affected pause."
For me, by nature form'd to judge with phlegm,
I can't acquit by wholesale, nor condemn.
The best things carried to excess are wrong:
The start may be too frequent, pause too long;
But, only us’d in proper time and place,
Severest judgment must allow them grace.
If bunglers, form'd on imitation's plan, Just in the way that monkeys mimic man,
Their copied scene with mangled arts disgrace,
and start with the same vacant face;
We join the critic laugh; those tricks we scorn,
Which spoil the scenes they mean them to adorn.
But when, from nature's pure and genuine source,
These strokes of acting flow with gen'rous force,
When in the features all the soul's pourtray'd,
And passions, such as Garrick's, are display'd,
To me they seem from quickest feelings caught :
Each start is nature; and each pause is thought.
When reason yields to passion's wild alarms,
And the whole state of man is up
What but a critic could condemn the play'r,
For pausing here, when cool sense pauses there?
Whilst, working from the heart, the fire I trace,
And mark it strongly flaming to the face;
Whilst, in each sound, I hear the very man;
I can't catch words, and pity those who can.
Let wits, like spiders, from the tortur'd brain
Fine-draw the critic-web with curious pain;
The gods,-a kindness I with thanks must pay,
Have form'd me of a coarser kind of clay;
Nor stung with envy, nor with spleen diseas'd,
poor dull creature, still with nature pleas'd ; Hence to thy praises, Garrick, I agree, And, pleas'd with nature, must be pleas'd with thee.
Now might I tell, how silence reign'd throughout, And deep attention hush'd the rabble rout! How ev'ry claimant, tortur'd with desire, Was pale as ashes, or as red as fire:
But, loose to fame, the Muse more simply acts,
Rejects all flourish, and relates mere facts.
The judges, as the several parties came,
With temper heard, with judgment weigh'd each
claim, And, in their sentence happily agreed, In name of both, great Shakspeare thus decreed.
“ If manly sense; if nature link'd with art; “ If thorough knowledge of the human heart; “ If pow'rs of acting vast and unconfin'd; “ If fewest faults with greatest beauties join'd; “ If strong expression, and strange pow'rs which lie “ Within the magic circle of the eye; “ If feelings which few hearts, like his, can know, 66 And which no face so well as his can show; “Deserve the pref'rence ;-Garrick, take the chair; « Nor quit it-till thou place an equal there."
FROM THE PROPHECY OF FAMINE.
Two boys, whose birth beyond all question springs
From great and glorious, though forgotten, kings,
Shepherds of Scottish lineage, born and bred
On the same bleak and barren mountain's head,
By niggard nature doom'd on the same rocks
To spin out life, and starve themselves and flocks,
Fresh as the morning, which, enrob'd in mist,
The mountain's top with usual dulness kiss'd,
Jockey and Sawney to their labours rose;
Soon clad, I ween, where nature needs no clothes,
Where, from their youth inur'd to winter skies,
Dress and her vain refinements they despise.
Jockey, whose manly high-bon'd cheeks to crown
With freckles spotted flam'd the golden down,
With mickle art could on the bagpipes play,
E'en from the rising to the setting day;
Sawney as long without remorse could bawl
Home's madrigals, and ditties from Fingal.
Oft at his strains, all natural though rude,
The Highland lass forgot her want of food,
And, whilst she scratch'd her lover into rest,
Sunk pleas'd, though hungry, on her Sawney's breast.
Far as the eye could reach, no tree was seen, Earth, clad in russet, scorn'd the lively green. The plague of locusts they secure defy, For in three hours a grasshopper must die. No living thing, whate'er its food, feasts there, But the cameleon, who cán feast on air. No birds, except as birds of passage, flew, No bee was known to hum, no dove to coo. No streams as amber smooth, as amber clear, Were seen to glide, or heard to warble here. Rebellion's spring, which through the country ran, Furnish'd, with bitter draughts, the steady clan. No flow'rs embalm'd the air, but one white rose, Which on the tenth of Jane by instinct blows, By instinct blows at morn, and, when the shades Of drizzly eve prevail, by instinct fades.
One, and but one poor solitary cave,
Too sparing of her favours, nature gave;
That one alone (hard tax on Scottish pride !)
Shelter at once for man and beast supplied.
Their snares without entangling briers spread,
And thistles, arm'd against th' invader's head,
Stood in close ranks all entrance to oppose,
Thistles now held more precious than the rose.
All creatures which, on nature's earliest plan,
Were form’d to lothe, and to be loth'd by man,
Which ow'd their birth to nastiness and spite,
Deadly to touch, and hateful to the sight,
Creatures, which when admitted in the ark,
Their saviour shunn'd, and rankled in the dark,
Found place within: marking her noisome road
With poison's trail, here crawld the bloated toad;
There webs were spread of more than common size,
And half-starv'd spiders prey'd on half-starv'd flies;
In quest of food, efts strove in vain to crawl;
Slugs, pinch'd with hunger, smear'd the slimy wall;
The cave around with hissing serpents rung;
On the damp roof unhealthy vapour hung;
And Famine, by her children always known,
As proud as poor, here fix'd her native throne.
Here, for the sullen sky was overcast,
And summer shrunk beneath a wint’ry blast,
A native blast, which, arm'd with hail and rain,
Beat unrelenting on the naked swain,
The boys for shelter made; behind, the sheep,
Of which those shepherds every day take keep,