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Yet Sir, reflect, the mischief is not great;
These madmen never hurt the church or state;
Sometimes the folly benefits mankind;
And rarely av'rice taints the tuneful mind.
Allow him but his plaything of a pen,
He ne'er rebels, or plots, like other men :
Flight of cashiers, or mobs, he'll never mind;
And knows no losses while the muse is kind.
To cheat a friend, or ward, he leaves to Peter,
The good man heaps up nothing but mere
metre:

Enjoys his garden and his book in quiet;
And then a perfect hermit in his diet.

Of little use the man you may suppose,
Who says in verse what others say in prose:
Yet let me shew, a poet's of some weight,
And (tho' no soldier) useful to the state.
What will a child learn sooner than a song?
What better teach a foreigner the tongue?
What's long, or short, each accent where to
place,

And speak in public with some sort of grace? I scarce can think him such a worthless thing, Unless he praise some monster of a king; Or virtue or religion turn to sport, To please a lewd or unbelieving court. Unhappy Dryden! in all Charies's days, Roscommon only boasts unspotted bays; And in our own (excuse from courtly stains) No whiter page than Addison's remains. He from the taste obscene reclaims our youth, And sets the passions on the side of truth; Forms the soft bosom with the gentlest art, And pours cach human virtue in the heart. Let Ireland tell, how wit upheld her cause, Her trade supported, and supplied her laws; And leave on Swift this grateful verse engrav'd, "The rights a court attack'd, a poet sav'd." Behold the hand that wrought a nation's cure, Stretch'd to relieve the ideot and the poor, Proud vice to brand, or injur'd worth adorn, And stretch the ray to ages yet unborn. Not but there are who merit other palms; Hopkins and Sternhold glad the heart with psalms :

The boys and girls whom charity maintains, Implore your help in these pathetic strains: How could devotion touch the country pews, Unless the gods bestow'd a proper muse? Verse cheers their leisure, verse assists their work,

Verse prays for peace, or sings down Pope and Turk.

The silene'd prcacher yields to potent strain, And feels that grace his pray'r besought in vain;

The blessing thrills thro'all the lab'ring throng, And heaven is won by violence of song.

Our rural ancestors, with little blest, Patient of labour when the end was rest, Indulg'd the day that hous'd their annual grain

With feasts and off rings, and a thankful strain: The joy their wives, their sons, and servants share,

Ease of their toil, and partners of their care: The laugh, the jest, attendants on the bowl, Smooth'a ev'ry brow, and open'd ev'ry soul : With growing years the pleasing license grew, And taunts alternate innocently flew. But times corrupt, and nature ill-inclin'd, Produc'd the points that left the sting behind; Till friend with friend, and families at strifo, Triumphant malice rang'd thro' private life. Who felt the wrong, or fear'd it, took th'alarm, Appeal'd to law, and justice lent her arm. At length by wholesome dread of statutes bound,

The poets learn'd to please, and not to wound: Most warp'd to flattery's side; but some, more

nice,

Preserv'd the freedom, and forbore the vice. Hence satire rose, that just the medium bit, And heals with morals what it hurts with wit. We conquer'd France, but feit our captive's charms,

Her arts victorious triumph'd o'er our arms; Britain to soft refinement less a foe, Wit grew polite, and numbers learn'd to flow. Waller was smooth; but Dryden taught tojoin The varying verse, the full resounding line, The long majestic march, and energy divine. Tho' still some traces of our rustic vein And splayfoot verse remain'd and will remain; Late, very late, correctness grew our care, When the tir'd nation breath'd from civil war. Exact Racine, and Corneille's noble fire, Shew'd us that France had something to admire !

Not but the tragic spirit was our own, And full in Shakespear, fair in Otway shone : But Otway fail'd to polish or refine, And fluent Shakespear scarce effac'd a line. Even copious Dryden wanted, or forgot, The last and greatest art, the art to blot. Some doubt if equal pains or equal fire The humbler muse of comedy require. But, in known images of life, I guess The labour greater, as th' indulgence less. Observe how seldom even the best succeed: Tell me if Congreve's fools are fools indeed? What pert low dialogue bas Farquhar writ! How Van wants grace who never wanted wit! The stage how loosely does Astrea tread, Who fairly puts all characters to bed! And idle Cibber, how he breaks the laws, To make poor Pinkey eat with vast applause !

But fiil their purse, our poets' work is done;
Alike to them, by Pathos or by Pun.

And snatch me o'er the earth, or thro' the air, To Thebes, to Athens, when he will, and where.

O you! whom vanity's light bark conveys
On fame's mad voyage by the wind of praise,
With what a shifting gale your course you ply,
For ever sunk too low, or borne too high!
Who pants for glory finds but short repose;
A breath revives him, or a breath o'erthrows.
Farewel the stage! if, just as thrives the play,
The silly bard grows fat, or falls away.

There still remains, to mortify a wit,
The many-headed monster of the pit;

How shall we fill a library with wit,
When Merlin's cave is half unfurnish'd yet?

A senseless, worthless, and unhonour'd crowd, || My Liege! why writers little claim your
Who, to disturb their betters mighty proud,
Clatt'ring their sticks before ten lines are
spoke,

Call for the Farce, the Bear, or the Black Joke.
What dear delight to Britons farce affords!
Ever the taste of mobs, but now of lords
(Taste, that eternal wanderer! which flies
From heads to ears, and now from ears to
eyes)!

The play stands still! damn action and dis-
course,

Back fly the scenes, and enter foot and horse;
Pageants on pageants, in long order drawn,
Peers, heralds, bishops, ermin, gold, and
lawn;

The champion too! and, to complete the jest,
Old Edward's armour beams on Cibber's
breast.

With laughter sure Democritus had died,
Had he beheld an audience gape so wide.
Let bear or elephant be e'er so white,
The people, sure the people, are the sight!
Ah, luckless poet! stretch thy lungs and roar,
That bear or elephant shall heed thee more;
While all its throats the gallery extends,
And all the thunder of the pit ascends !
Loud as the wolves, on Orcas' stormy steep,
Howl to the roarings of the northern deep,
Such is the shout, the long-applauding note,
At Quin's high plume, or Oldfield's petticoat :
Or when from court a birth-day suit bestow'd,
Sinks the lost actor in the tawdry load.
Booth enters-bark! the universal peal!
"But has he spoken?" Not a syllable.
"What shook the stage, and made the people

stare?"

Yet, lest you think I rally more than teach,
Or praise maliguly arts I cannot reach,
Let me for once presume t' instruct the times,
To know the Poet from the man of rhymes :
'Tis he who gives my breast a thousand pains,
Can make me feel each passion that he feigus
Enrage, compose, with more than magic art,
With pity and with terror tear my heart;

But not this part of the poetic state
Alone deserves the favour of the great :
Think of those authors, Sir, who would rely
More on a reader's sense, than gazer's eye.
Or who shall wander where the muses sing?
Who climb their mountain, or who taste their
spring?

thought,

I guess; and, with their leave, will tell the fault;

We Poets are (upon a Poet's word)

Of all mankind the creatures most absurd:
The season when to come and when to go,
To sing or cease to sing, we never know;
And, if we will, recite nine hours in ten,
You lose your patience just like other men.
Then too we hurt ourselves, when to defend
A single verse, we quarrel with a friend;
Repeat unask'd; lament, the wit's too fine
For vulgar eyes, and point out ev'ry line.
But most, when, straining with too weak a
wing,

We needs will write epistles to the King;
And from the moment we oblige the town,
Expect a place, or pension from the crown;
Or dubb'd historians by express command,
T'enroll your triumphs o'er the seas and

land;

Be call'd to court to plan some work divine,
As once for Louis, Boileau and Racine.

Yet think, great Sir! (so many virtues shewn)

Ab think what Poet best may make them
known!

Or choose at least some minister of grace,
Fit to bestow the Laureat's weighty place.

Charles to late times to be transmitted fair,
Assign'd his figure to Bernini's care;
And great Nassau to Kneller's hand decreed
To fix him graceful on the bounding steed;
So well in paint and stone they judg'd of merit:
But Kings in wit may want discerning spirit.
The hero William, and the martyr Charles,

Cato's long wig, flower'd gown, and lacquer'd | One knighted Blackmore, and one pension'd

chair.

Quarles;

Which made old Ben and surly Dennis swear,
"No Lord's anointed, but a Russian bear."
Not with such majesty, such bold relief,
The forms august of King or conq'ring chief,
E'erswell'd on marble, as in verse have shin'd
(In polish'd verse) the manners and the mind.
Oh! could I mount on the Mæonian wing,
Your arins, your actions, your repose to sing!

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What seas you travers'd, and what fields you fought!

Your country's peace how oft, how dearly bought!

How barb'rous rage subsided at your word, And nations wonder'd while they dropp'd the sword!

How, when you nodded, o'er the land and deep Peace stole her wing, and wrapp'd the world in sleep;

Till earth's extremes your mediation own,
And Asia's tyrants tremble at your throne.
But verse, alas your Majesty disdains;
And I'm not used to panegyric strains :
The zeal of fools offends at any time,
But most of all the zeal of fools in rhyme.
Besides, a fate attends on all I write ;
That, when I aim at praise, they say I bite.
A vile encomium doubly ridicules:
There's nothing blackens like the ink of fools.
If true, a woeful likeness; and if lies,
"Praise undeserv'd is satire in disguise:"
Well may he blush who gives it or receives;
And, when I flatter, let my dirty leaves
(Like Journals, Odes, and such forgotten
things

As Eusden, Philips, Settle, writ of Kings) Clothe spice, line trunks, or flutt'ring in a row Befringe the rails of Bedlam and Soho.

EPISTLE II-BOOK II.

DEAR Colonel, Cobham's and your country's friend!

You love a verse, take such as I can send. A Frenchman comes, presents you with his boy,

Bows and begins-" This lad, Sir, is of Blois : "Observe his shape how clean, his locks how curl'd!

"My only son, I'd have him see the world: "His French is pure; his voice too-you shall hear,

"Sir, he's your slave, for twenty pounds a year. "Mere wax as yet, you fashion him with ease, "Your barber, cook, upholst'rer, what you please :

"A perfect genius at an opera song"To say too much, might do my honour wrong.

"Take him with all his virtues, on my word; "His whole ambition was to serve a lord: "But, Sir, to you, with what would I not part? "Tho' faith, I fear, 'twill break his mother's heart.

"Once (and but once) I caught him in a lie, "And then, unwhipp'd, he had the grace to cry:

"The fault he has I fairly shall reveal; "(Could you o'erlook but that) it is, to steal." If, after this, you took the graceless lad, Could you complain, my friend, he prov'd so bad?

'Faith, in such case, ,if you should prosecute, I think Sir Godfrey should decide the suit; Who sent the thief, that stole the cash, away, And punish'd him that put it in his way.

Consider then, and judge me in this light; I told you, when I went, I could not write; You said the same; and are you discontent With laws to which you gave your own assent? Nay worse, to ask for verse at such a time! D'ye think me good for nothing but for rhyme?

In Anna's wars, a soldier poor and old Had dearly earn'd a little purse of gold : Tir'd with a tedious march, one luckless night He slept, poor dog! and lost it to a doit. This put the man in such a desp'rate mind,' Between revenge, and grief, and hunger join'd,

cried;

Against the foe, himself, and all mankind, He leap'd the trenches, scal'd a castle wall, Tore down a standard, took the fort and all. "Prodigious well!" his great commander [side. Gave him much praise, and some reward beNext pleas'd his excellence a town to batter; (Its name I know not, and 'tis no great matter) "Go on, my friend (he cried) see yonder wails! "Advance and conquer! go where glory calls! "More honours, more rewards, attend the brave."

Don't you remember what reply he gave? "D'ye think me, noble Gen'ral, such a sot? "Let him take castles who has ne'er a groat."

Bred up at home, full early I begun
To read in Greek the wrath of Peleus' son.
Besides my father taught me, from a lad,
The better art to know the good from bad :
(Aud little sure imported to remove,

To hunt for truth in Maudlin's learned grove.)
But knottier points we knew not half so well
Depriv'd us soon of our paternal cell;
And certain laws, by suff'rers thought unjust,
Denied all posts of profit or of trust;
Hopes after hopes of pious Papist fail'd,
While mighty William's thund'ring arm pre

vail'd.

For right hereditary tax'd and fin'd,

He stuck to poverty with peace of mind;
And me the muses help to undergo it;
Convict a Papist he, and I a Poet.

But (thanks to Homer!) since 1 live and thrive,

Indebted to no prince or peer alive,
Sure I should want the care of ten Monroes,
If I would scribble rather than repose.

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