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Of fofter mold the gentle Fletcher came,
The next in order, as the next in name.
With pleas'd attention 'midft his fcenes we find
Each glowing thought, that warms the female mind;
Each melting figh, and every
The lover's wishes and the virgin's fear.
His every strain the Smiles and Graces own;
But stronger Shakespear felt for Man alone:
Drawn by his pen, our ruder paffions stand
Th' unrival'd picture of his early hand.
s With gradual steps, and flow, exacter France
Saw Art's fair empire o'er her fhores advance:
By length of toil a bright perfection knew,
Correctly bold, and juft in all she drew.
'Till late Corneille, with Lucan's spirit fir'd,
Breath'd the free strain, as Rome and He infpir'd:
And claffic judgment gain'd to sweet Racine
The temp'rate ftrength of Maro's chafter line.
f Their characters are thus diftinguished by Dryden.
About the time of Shakespear, the poet Hardy was in great repute in France. He wrote, according to Fontenelle, fix hundred plays. The French poets after him applied themselves in general to the correct improvement of the stage, which was almost totally difregarded by thofe of our own country, Johnson excepted.
The favourite author of the elder Corneille.
But wilder far the British laurel spread,
And wreaths lefs artful crown our poet's head.
Yet He alone to every scene could give
Th' hiftorian's truth, and bid the manners live.
Wak'd at his call I view, with glad furprize,
Majestic forms of mighty monarchs rife.
There Henry's trumpets spread their loud alarms,
And laurel'd Conqueft waits her hero's arms.
Here gentler Edward claims a pitying figh,
Scarce born to honours, and fo foon to die!
Yet fhall thy throne, unhappy infant, bring
No beam of comfort to the guilty king:
The time' fhall come, when Glo'ster's heart fhall bleed
In life's laft hours, with horror of the deed:
When dreary visions shall at last present
Thy vengeful image in the midnight tent,
Thy hand unfeen the fecret death fhall bear,
Blunt the weak fword, and break th' oppreffive fpear.
Where-e'er we turn, by Fancy charm'd, we find
Some sweet illufion of the cheated mind.
Oft, wild of wing, fhe calls the foul to rove
With humbler nature, in the rural grove;
i Tempus erit Turno, magno cum optaverit emptum
Intactum Pallanta, &c.
Where fwains contented own the quiet fcene,
And twilight fairies tread the circled green:
Dress'd by her hand the Woods and Vallies fmile,
And Spring diffusive decks th' inchanted ifle.
O more than all in pow'rful genius blest,
Come, take thine empire o'er the willing breast!
Whate'er the wounds this youthful heart fhall feel,
Thy songs fupport me, and thy morals heal!
There every thought the poet's warmth may raise,
There native music dwells in all the lays.
O might fome verse with happiest skill perfuade
Expreffive Picture to adopt thine aid!
What wond'rous draughts might rife from ev'ry page! What other Raphaels charm a distant age ! Methinks ev'n now I view fome free design, Where breathing Nature lives in every line: Chafte and fubdu'd the modeft lights decay, Steal into shades, and mildly melt away. -And fee, where Anthony in tears approv'd, Guards the pale relics of the chief he lov'd : O'er the cold corfe the warrior feems to bend, Deep funk in grief, and mourns his murder'd friend! Still as they prefs, he calls on all around, Lifts the torn robe, and points the bleeding wound. * See the tragedy of Julius Cæfar.
But who is he, whofe brows exalted bear
A wrath impatient, and a fiercer air?
Awake to all that injur'd worth can feel,
On his own Rome he turns th' avenging fteel.
Yet fhall not War's infatiate fury fall,
(So heav'n ordains it) on the deftin'd wall.
See the fond mother 'midst the plaintive train
Hung on his knees, and proftrate on the plain!
Touch'd to the foul, in vain he strives to hide
The fon's affection, in the Roman's pride:
O'er all the man conflicting paffions rife,
Rage grafps the fword, while Pity melts the eyes.
Thus, gen'rous Critic, as thy Bard inspires,
The fifter Arts fhall nurse their drooping fires;
Each from his scenes her stores alternate bring,
'Blend the fair tints, or wake the vocal string:
Those Sibyl-leaves, the sport of every wind,
(For poets ever were a careless kind)
By thee difpos'd, no farther toil demand,
But, just to Nature, own thy forming hand.
So fpread o'er Greece, th' harmonious whole unknown,
Ev'n Homer's numbers charm'd by parts alone.
Coriolanus. See Mr. Spence's dialogue on the Odyssey.
Their own Ulyffes scarce had wander'd more,
By winds and water cast on every
When rais'd by Fate, fome former HANMER join'd
Each beauteous image of the boundless mind:
And bade, like thee, his Athens ever claim
A fond alliance with the Poet's name.
Sung by GUIDERUS and AR VIRAGUS Over FIDELE, supposed to be dead.
O fair Fidele's graffy tomb
Soft maids and village hinds fhall bring
Each op'ning sweet, of earliest bloom,
And rifle all the breathing Spring.