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Are necessary, yet but vulgar arts;
And all in vain these superficial parts
Contribute to the structure of the whole,
Without a genius too ; for that's the foul:
A spirit wtich inspires the work throughout,
As that of nature moves the world about;
A flare that glows amidst conceptions fit;
Ev'n fouething of divine, and more than wit;
Itself unfoun, yet all things by it shown,
Describing all men, but describ'd by none.
Where doi-thou dwell? What caverns of the brain
Can such a vast and mighty thing contain ?
When I, at vacant huurs, in vain thy absence mourn,
Oh! where doit thou retire? and why doft thou return,
Sometimes with pos'rful charms to hurry me away,
From pleasures of the night, and bus'ness of the day?
Ev'n now, too far transported, I am fain
To check thy course, and use the needful reio.
As all is dulneís, when the fancy's bad ;
So, without judgmeat, fancy is but mad:
And judgment has a boundless influence
Not only in the choice of words, or sense,
But on the world, on manners, and on men ;
Fancy is but the father of the pen;
Reason is that subttar tial, useful part,
Which gains the head, while t'other wins the heart.
Here I shall ail the various sorts of verse,
And the whole art of poetry rehearse;
But who that talk would atier Horace do?
The best of maiters, and examples too!
Echoes at beft, all' we can say is vain;
Dull the design, and fruitless were the pain.
'Tis true, the ancients we may rob with ease;
But who with that mean shift himself can please,
Without an actor's pride? A player's art
Is above his who writes a borrow'd part.
Yet modern laws are made for later faults,
And new absurdities inspire new thoughts;
What need has Satire, then, to live on theft,
When so much fresh occafion still is left?
Fertile our soil, and full of rankeft weeds,
And monsters worse than ever Nilus breeds.
But hold, the fools shall have no cause to fear;
'Tis wit and sense that is the subject here:
Defects of witty men deserve a cure,
And those who are so, will ey'n this endure.
First, then, of Songs, which now so much abound,
Without his song no fop is to be found;
A most offensive weapon, which he draws
On all he meets, against Apollo's laws.
Tho' nothing seems more easy, yet no part
poetry requires a nicer art;
For as in rows of richest pearl there lies
Many a blemish that escape our eyes,
The least of which defeets is plainly shown
In one small ring, and brings the value down:
So Songs should be to just perfection brought ;
Yet where can one be feen without a fault?
Exact propriety of words and thought;
Expreflion easy, and the fancy high;
Yet that not seem to creep, nor this to Ay;
No words transpos'd, but in such order all,
As wrought with care, yet seem by chance to fall ?
Here, as in all things else, is most unfit,
Bare ribaldry, that poor pretence to wit;
Such nauseous fongs by a late author made,
Call an unwilling censure on his shade.
Not that warm thoughts of the transporting joy
Can shock the chasteft, or the nicest cloy;
But words obscene, too gross to move desire,
Like heaps of fuel, only choak the fire.
On other themes he well deserves our praise;
But palls that appetite he meant to raise.
Next, Elegy, of sweet, but folemn voice,
And of a subject grave, exacts the choice ;
The praise of beauty, valour, wit contains ;
And there too oft despairing love complains :
In vain, alas ! for who by wit is mov'd ?
That Phønix-fhe deserves to be belov'd;
But noisy nonsense, and such fops as vex
Mankind, take most with that fantastic fex.
This to the praise of those who better knew;
raise the value of the few.
But here (as all our sex too oft have try'd)
Women have drawn my wand'ring thoughts aside.
'Their greatest fault, who in this kind have writ,
Is not defect in words, or want of wit ;
But should this muse harmonious numbers yield,
And ev'ry couplet be with fancy fillid;
If yet a just coherence be not made
Between each thought, and the whole model laid
So right, that ev'ry line may higher rise,
Like goodly mountains, till they reach the skies:
Such trifles may, perhaps, of late, have pass’d,
And may be lik'd awhile, but never last :
'Tis epigram, 'tis point, 'tis what you will,
But not an Elegy, nor writ with skill,
No Panegyric, nor a Cooper's Hill.
A higher Alight, and of a happier force,
Are Odes: the Muses' most unruly horse,
That bounds fo fierce, the rider has no rest,
Here foams at mouth, and moves like one poffess’d.
The poet, here, must be, indeed, inspir’d,
With fury. too, as well as fancy fir’d.
Cowley might boast to have perform'd this part,
Had he with nature join'd the rules of art;
But, sometimes, diction mean, or verse ill-wrought,
Deadens, or clouds, his noble frame of thought,
Tho' all appear in heat and fury done,
The language still must soft and easy run.
These laws may found a little too severe;
But judgment yields and fancy governs here,
Which, tho' extravagant, this muse allows,
And makes the work much easier than it shows.
Of all the ways that wiseft men could find
To mend the age, and mortify mankind,
Satire well-writ has most successful prov'd,
And cures, because the remedy is loy'd;
"Tis hard to write on such a subject more,
Without repeating things said oft before :
Some vulgar errors only we'll remove,
That stain a beauty which we so much love.
Of chosen words fome take not care enough,
And think they should be, as the subject, rough;
This poem must be more exa&ly made,
And sharpest thoughts in smoothest words convey'd.
Some think, if sharp enough, they cannot fail,
As if their only bus'ness was to rail :
But human frailty nicely to unfold,
Distinguishes a fatyr from a scold.
Rage you must hide, and prejudice lay down ;
A fatyr's smile is sharper than his frown;
So, while you seem to flight some rival youth,
Malice itself may pass sometimes for truth.
The Laureat, here, may juftly claim our praise,
Crown'd by Mack-Fleckno with immortal bays ;
Yet once his Pegasus has borne dead weight,
Rid by some lumpish minister of state.
Here rest, my Muse, fuspend thy cares awhile,
A more important task attends thy toil.
As some young eagle, that designs to fly
A long unwonted journey through the sky,
Weighs all the dang'rous enterprize before,
O'er what wide lands and seas she is to soar,
Doubts her own strength so far, and justly fears
That lofty road of airy travellers ;
But yet, incited by some bold design,
That does her hopes beyond her fears incline,
Prunes ev'ry feather, views herself with care,
At last resolv'd, the cleaves the yielding air ;
Away me flies, fo ftrong, fo high, fo faft,
She lessens to us, and is loft at last :