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but, except what relates to the stage, I know not that he has ever written a stanza that is sung, or a couplet that is quoted. The general character of his miscellanies is, that they show little wit and little virtue.
Yet to him it must be confessed, that we are indebted for the correction of a national errour, and for the cure of our Pindaric madness. He first taught the English writers that Pindar's odes were regular; and though certainly he had not the fire requisite for the higher species of lyric poetry, he has shown us, that enthusiasm has its rules, and that in mere confusion there is neither grace nor greatness.
1 " Except!" Dr. Warton exclaims, "Is not this a high sort of poetry?" He mentions, likewise, that Congreve's opera or oratorio of Semele, was set to music by Handel, I believe in 1743. C.
BY MRS. ELIZABETH TOLLET'.'
CONGREVE! the justest glory of our age!
The whole Menander of the English stage!
Thy comic Muse, in each complete design,
Does manly sense and sprightly wit combine.
And sure the theatre was meant a school,
To lash the vicious, and expose the fool;
The wilful fool, whose wit is always shown
To hit another's fault, and miss his own,
Laughs at himself, when by thy skill exprest,
And always in his neighbour finds the jest.
A fame from vulgar characters to raise
Is every poet's labour, and his praise:
They, fearful, coast; while you forsake the shore,
And undiscover'd worlds of wit explore,
Enrich the scene with characters unknown,
There plant your colonies, and fix your throne.
Let Maskwell's treacheries and Touchwood's rage,
Let rugged Ben, and Foresight's timorous age,
And Heartwell's sullen passion, grace the stage.
Then let half-critics veil their idle spite,
For he knows best to rail, who worst can write.
Let juster satire now employ thy pen,
To tax the vicious on the world's great scene;
There the reformer's praise the poet shares,
And boldly lashes whom the zealot spares.
Ye British fair! could your bright eyes refuse
A pitying tear to grace his tragic Muse?
Can generous Osmyn sigh beneath his chain,
Or the distress'd Almeria weep in vain ?
A kindly pity every breast must move,
For injur'd Virtue, or for suffering Love.
The nymphs adorn Pastora's sacred tomb,
And mourn the lov'd Amynta's short-liv'd bloom<
The learn'd admire the poet, when he flies
To trace the Theban swan amid the skies;
When he translates, still faithful to the sense,
He copies and improves each excellence.
Or when he teaches how the rich and great,
And all but deathless Wit, must yield to Fate;
Or when he sings the courser's rapid speed,
Or Virtue's loftier praise, and nobler deed;
Each various grace embellishes his song,
As Horace easy, and as Pindar strong;
Pindar, who long, like oracles' ador'd
In reverend darkness, now to light restor'd, [record. Shall stamp thy current wit, and seal thy fame's
1 Daughter of George Tollet, esq. who, as a commissioner of the navy, had a house in the Tower in the reigns of king William and queen Anne. Sir Isaac Newton honoured both him and his daughter with his friendship, and was much pleased with some of her first essays.
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
CHARLES LORD HALIFAX.
To you, my lord, my Muse her tribute pays
Of various verse, in various rude essays;
To you she first address'd her early voice,
By inclination led, and fix'd by choice;
To you, on whose indulgence she depends,
Her few collected lays she now commends.
By no one measure bound, her numbers range,
And, unresolv'd in choice, delight in change;
Her songs to no distinguish'd fame aspire,
For, now, she tries the reed, anon, attempts the
In high Parnassus she no birth-right clains,
Nor drinks deep draughts of Heliconian streams:
Yet near the sacred mount she loves to rove,
Visits the springs, and hovers round the grove.
She knows what dangers wait too bold a flight,
And fears to fall from an Icarian height:
Yet she admires the wing that safely soars,
At distance follows, and its track adores.
She knows what room, what force, the swan requires,
Whose towering head above the clouds aspires,
And knows as well, it is your lowest praise,
Such heights to reach with equal strength and ease.
O had your genins been to leisure born,
And not more bound to aid us, than adorn!
Albion in verse with ancient Greece had vy'd,
And gain'd alone a fame, which, there, seven states
But such, ev'n such renown, too dear had cost,
Had we the patriot in the poet lost.
A true poetic state we had deplor'd,
Had not your ministry our coin restor❜d.
But still, my lord, though your exalted name
Stands foremost in the fairest list of Fame,
Though your ambition ends in public good
(A virtue lineal to your house and blood):
Yet think not meanly of your other praise,
Nor slight the trophies which the Muses raise.
How oft a patriot's best-laid schemes we find
By party cross'd, or faction undermin'd!