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His happy genius did our tongue refine,
And easy words with pleasing numbers join:
His verses to good method did apply,
And chang'd hard discord to soft harmony.
All own'd his laws; which long approv'd and try'd,
To present authors now may be a guide.
Tread boldly in his steps, secure from fear,
And be, like him, in your expressions clear.
If in your verse you drag, and sense delay,
My patience tires, my fancy goes astray ;
And from your vain discourse I turn my mind,
Nor search an author troublesome to find.
There is a kind of writer pleas'd with sound,
Whose fuftian head with clouds is compass'd round,
No reason can disperse them with its light:
Learn then to think ere you pretend to write.
As your idea's clear, or else obscure,
The expreflion follows perfect or impure:
What we conceive with ease we can express;
Words to the notions flow with readiness.
Observe the language well in all you write,
And swerye not from it in
The smoothest verse and the exacteft sense
Displease us, if ill English give offence:
A barbarous phrase no reader can approve;
Nor bombast, noise, or affectation love.
In short, without pure language, what you write
Can never yield us profit or delight.
Take time for thinking; never work in haste;
And value not yoûrself for writing fast.
A rapid poem with such fury writ,
Shews want of judgment, not abounding wit.
More pleas'd we are to see a river lead
His gentle streams along a flowery mead,
Than from high banks to hear loud torrents roar,
With foamy waters on a muddy More.
Gently make hafte, of labour not afraid;
A hundred times consider what you've said:
Polish, repolish, every colour lay,
And sometimes add, but oftener take away.
'Tis not enough when swarming faults are writ;
That here and there are scatter'd sparks of wit;
Each object must be fix'd in the due place,
And differing parts have corresponding grace :
Till by a curious art dispos’d, we find
One perfect whole, of all the pieces join'd,
Keep to your subject close in all you say;
Nor for a sounding sentence ever stray.
The publick censure for your writings fear,
And to yourself be critic most severe.
Fantastick wits their darling follies love;
faithful friends that will reprove,
That on your works may look with careful eyes,
And of your faults be zealous enemies:
Lay by an author's pride and vanity,
And from a friend a flatterer defcry,
Who seems to like, but means not what he says:
Embrace true counsel, but fufpect false praise.
A sycophant will every thing admire:
Each verse, each sentence sets his soul on fire:
All is divine! there's not a word amiss!
He shakes with joy, and weeps with tenderness,
He overpow'rs you with his mighty praise.
Truth never moves in those impetuous ways:
A faithful friend is careful of your fame,
And freely will your heedless errors blame;
He cannot pardon a neglected line,
But verse to rule and order will confine.
Reprove of words the too-affected found;
Here the sense flags, and your expression's round,
Your fancy tires, and your discourse grows vain,
Your terms improper make them juft and plain.
Thus 'tis a faithful friend will freedom use;
But authors, partial to their darling muse,
Think to protect it they have just pretence,
And at your friendly counsel take offence.
Said you of this, that the expreffion's flat?
Your servant, Sir, you must excuse me that,
He answers you. This word has here no grace,
Pray leave it out: That, Sir, 's the properest płace.
'This turn I like not: ''Tis approv'd by all.
Thus, resolute not from one fault to fall,
If there's a syllable of which you doubt,
'Tis a fure reason not to blot it out.
Yet ftill he says you may his faults confute,
And over him your power is absolute:
But of his feign'd humility take heed;
'Tis a bait laid to make you hear him read.
And when he leaves you happy in his muse,
Restless he runs some other to abuse,
And often finds; for in our scribbling times
No fool'can want a fot to praise his rhymes :
The flatteft work has ever in the court,
Met with some zealous ass for its support:
And in all times a forward fcribbling fop
Has found fome
S a fair nymph, when rising from her bed,
With sparkling diamonds dresses not her head, But without gold, or pearl, or costly scents, Gathers from neighb’ring fields her ornaments: VOL. I.
Şuch, lovely in its dress, but plain withal,
Ought to appear a perfect Paftoral:
Its humble method nothing has of fierce,
But hates the rattling of a lofty verse:
There native beauty pleases, and excites,
And never with harsh sounds the ear affrights.
But in this style a poet often spent,
rage throws by his rural inftrument,
And vainly, when disorder'd thoughts abound,
Amidst the Eclogue makes the trumpet found:
Pan Alies alarm'd into the neighb'ring woods,
And frighted nymphs dive down into the floods.
Oppos'd to this another, low in style,
Makes Mepherds speak a language base and vile;
His writings, flat and heavy, without sound,
Kjfing the earth, and creeping on the ground;
You'd swear that i Randal in his rustic strains,
Again was quavering to the country swains,
And changing without care of sound or dress,
Strephon and Phyllis, into Tom and Befs.
'Twixt these extremes ’tis hard to keep the right;
For guides take Virgil, and read Theocrite:
Be their juft writings by the Gods inspir'd,
Your constant pattern practis'd and admir'd.
By them alone you'll easily comprehend
How poets, without shame, may condescend
To sing of gardens, fields, of flow'rs, and fruit,
To stir up Mepherds, and to tune the lute;.
Of love's rewards to tell the happy hour,
Daphne a tree, Narcissus made a lower.
And by what nseans the Eclogue yer has power
To make the woods worthy a conqueror:
This of their writings is the grace and light;
Their rilings lofty, yet not out of sight.
i Mr. Samuel Johnson thinks this should be Randolph, Ben Jolinson's adapsed fon, who wrote fume paftorals
The Elegy that loves a mournful ftyle,
With unbound hair weeps at a funeral pile,
It paints the lovers torments and delights,
A mistress flatters, threatens and invites:
But well these raptures if you'll make us see,
You must know love as well as poetry.
I hate those lukewarm authors, whose forc'd fire
In a cold style describe a hot desire,
That figh by rule, and raging in cold blood
Their sluggish muse whip to an amorous mood:
Their feign'd transports appear but flat and vain;
Threy always figh, and always hug their chain,
Adore their prison, and their sufferings bless,
Make sense and reason quarrel as they please.
'Twas not of old in this affected tone,
That smooth Tibullus made his amorous moan;
Nor Ovid, when instructed from above,
By nature's rules he taught the art of love.
The heart in Elegies forms the discourse.
The Ode is bolder, and has greater force.
Mounting to heaven in her ambitious flight,
Amongst the Gods and heroes takes delight;
Of Pisa's wrestlers tells the finewy force,
And fings the dusty conqueror's glorious course:
To Simois' streams does fierce Achilles bring,
And makes the Ganges bow to Britain's king.
Sometimes the flies like an industrious bee,
And robs the flowers by nature's chemistry,