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EPISTLE TO ROBERT, EARL OF OXFORD,
AND EARL MORTIMER. Sent to the Earl of Oxford, with Dr. Parnell's Poems, published by our Author, after the said Earl's imprisonment in the Tower and Retreat into the Coun. try, in the Year 1721.
Such were the notes thy once-loved poet sung, fill death untimely stopp'd his tuneful tongue. Oh, just beheld, and lost : admired, and mourn'd! With softest manners, gentlest arts adorn'd! Bless’d in each science, bless'd in every strain! Dear to the muse! to Harley dear-in vain ! For him, thou oft hast bid the world attend, Fond to forget the statesman in the friend ; For Swift and him, despised the farce of state, The sober follies of the wise and great ; Dexterous, the craving, fawning crowd to quit, And pleased to escape from flattery to wit.
Absent or dead, still let a friend be dear,
And sure, if aught below the seats divine
In vain to deserts thy retreat is made ;
When interest calls off all her sneaking train,
EPISTLE TO JAMES CRAGGS, ESQ.
Secretary of State in the Year 1720. A soul as full of worth, as void of pride, Which nothing secks to show, or needs to hide: Which nor to guilt nor fear its caution owes, And boasts a warmth that from no passion flows A face untaught to feign ; a judging eye, That darts severe upon a rising lie, And strikes a blush through frontless flattery: All this thou wert; and being this before, Know, kings and fortune cannot make thee more Then scorn to gain a friend by servile ways, Nor wish to lose a foe these virtues raise; But candid, free, sincere as you began, Proceed-a minister, but still a man. Be not (exalted to whate'er degree) Ashamed of any friend, not e'en of me: The patriot's plain, but untrod, path pursue ; If not, 'tis I must be ashamed of you.
EPISTLE TO MR. JERVAS; With Mr. Dryden's Translation of Fresnoy's Art
of Painting. This Epistle, and the two following, were written some
years before the resi, and originally printed in 1717.
This verse be thine, my friend, nor thou refuse This, from no venal or ungrateful muse. Whether thy hand strike out some free design, Where life awakes and dawns at every line ; Or blend in beauteous tints the colour'd mass, And from the canvass call the mimic face: Read these instructive leaves, in which conspire Fresnoy's close art, and Dryden's native fire : And reading wish, like theirs our fate and fame, So mix'd our studies, and so join'd our name: Like them to shine through long succeeding age, So just thy skill, so regular my rage.
Smit with the love of sister arts we came, And met congenial, mingling flame with flame; Like friendly colours found them both unite, And each from each contract new strength and
light. How oft in pleasing tasks we wear the day, While summer suns roll un perceived away! How oft our slowly-growing works impart, While images reflect from art to art! How oft review ; each finding, like a friend, something to blame and something to commend ! What flattering scenes our wandering fancy
wrought, Rome's pompous glories rising to our thought! l'ogether o'er the Alps methinks we fly, Fired with ideas of fair Italy. With thee on Raphael's monument I mourn, Or wait inspiring dreams at Maro's urn: With thee repose where Tully once was laid, Or seek some ruin's formidable shade : While fancy brings the vanish'd piles to view, And builds imaginary Rome anew. Here thy well-studied marbles fix our eye; A fading fresco here demands a sigh: Each heavenly piece unwearied we compare, Match Raphael's grace with thy loved Guido's air,
Caracci's strength, Corregio's softer line, Paulo's free stroke, and Titian's warmth divine.
How finish'd with illustrious toil appears This small well-polish'd gem, the work of years . Yet still how faint by precept is express’d The living image in the painter's breast! Thence endless streams of fair ideas flow, Strike in the sketch, or in the picture glow; Thence beauty, waking all her forms, supplies An angel's sweetness, or Bridgewater's eyes.
Muse! at that name thy sacred sorrows shed, Those tears eternal that embalm the dead! Call round her tomb each object of desire, Each purer frame inform’d with purer fire : Bid her be all that chcers or softens life, The tender sister, daughter, friend, and wife : Bid her be all that makes mankind adore ; Then view this marble, and be vain no more!
Yet still her charms in breathing paint engage; Her modest cheek shall warm a future age. Beauty, frail flower that every season fears, Blooms in thy colours for a thousand years. Thus Churchill's race shall other hearts surprise, And other beauties envy Worsley's eyes; Each pleasing Blount shall endless smiles bestow And soft Belinda's blush for ever glow.
Oh, lasting as those colours may they shine, Free as thy stroke, yet faultless as thy line ; New graces yearly like thy works display, Soft without weakness, without glaring gay ; Led by some rule, that guides, but not constrains And finish'd more through happiness than pains ! The kindred arts shall in their praise conspire, One dip the pencil, and one string the lyre. Yet should the Graces all thy figures place, And breathe an air divine on every face; Yet should the Muses bid my numbers roll Strong as their charms, and gentle as their soul;
With Zeuxis' Helen' thy Bridgewater vie,
EPISTLE TO MISS BLOUNT;
With the Works of Voiture. In these gay thoughts the loves and graces shine And all the writer lives in every line : His easy art may happy nature seem, Trifles themselves are elegant in him. Sure to charm all was his peculiar fate, Who without flattery pleased the fair and great ; Still with esteem no less conversed than read; With wit well-natured, and with books well-bred: His heart, his mistress and his friend did share; His time, the muse, the witty, and the fair. Thus wisely careless, innocently gay, Cheerful he play'd the trifle, life, away; Till fate, scarce felt, his gentle breath suppressid, As smiling infants sport themselves to rest. E'en rival wits did Voiture's death deplore, And the gay mourn'd who never mourn'd before; The truest hearts for Voiture heaved with sighs, Voiture was wept by all the brightest eyes : The smiles and loves had died in Voiture's death, But that for ever in his lines they breathe.
Let the strict life of graver mortals be A long, exact, and serious comedy; In every scene some moral let it teach, And, if it can, at once both please and preach.' Let mine, an innocent gay farce appear, And more diverting still than regular, Have humour, wit, a native ease and grace, Though not too strictly bound to time and place: