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Just in one instance, be it yet confest Your People, Sir, are partial in the rest : Foes to all living worth except your own, And Advocates for folly dead and gone. Authors, like coins, grow dear as they grow old; 35 It is the rust we value, not the gold. 1 Chaucer's worst ribaldry is learn’d by rote, And beastly Skelton heads of houses quote : One likes no language but the Faery Queen ; A Scot will fight for Christ's Kirk o' the Green : 40 And each true Briton is to Ben so civil, m He swears the Mufes met him at the Devil.

Though justly ~ Greece her eldest sons admires, Why should not we be wiser than our fires ?

In

Caetera nequaquam fimili ratione modoque
Aestimat; et, nifi quae terris semota suisque
Temporibus defuncta videt, fastidit et odit :
1 Sic fautor veterum, et tabulas peccare vetantes
Quas bis quinque viri fanxerunt, foedera regum,
Vel Gabiis vel cum rigidis aequata Sabinis,
Pontificum libros, annofa volumina Vatum,
m Dictitet Albano Mufas in monte locutas.

Si, quia n Graiorum funt antiquissima quaeque
Scripta vel optima, Romani pensantur eadem
Scriptores trutina ; non eft quod multa loquamur :
Nil intra est oleam, nil extra eft in nuce duri.
Venimus ad fummum fortunae : pingimus, atque

In every Public Virtue we excell;

45 We build, we paint, o we sing, we dance as well, And P learned Athens to our art must stoop, Could she behold us tumbling through a hoop.

If a Time improve our Wits as well as Wine, Say at what age a Poet grows divine ?

50 Shall we, or Thall we not, account him fo, Who dyd, perhaps, an hundred years ago? End all dispute; and fix the year precise When British bards begin t' immortalize ?

“ Who lasts a' century can have no flaw, 55 “ I hold that Wit a Claffic, good in law." Suppose he wants a year,

will

you compound?
And shall we deem him s Ancient, right and sound,
Or damn to all eternity at once,
At ninety-nine, a Modern and a Dunce ?

60 “ We shall not quarrel for a year or two; “ By courtesy of England, he may do."

Then,

• Pfallimus, et pluctamur Achivis doctius unetis.
Si q meliora dies, ut vina, poemata reddit;
Scire velim, chartis pretium quotus arroget annus.
Scriptor ab hinc annos centum qui decidit, inter
Perfectos veteresque referri debet, an inter
Viles atque novos ? excludat jurgia finis.
Eft vetus atque probus. ' centum qui perficit annos,
Quid? qui deperiit minor uno mense vel anno,
Inter quos referendus erit ? s veteresne poetas,
An quos et praesens et poftera respuat aetas ?
Iite quidem veteres inter ponetur honeste,

65

Then, by the rule that made the u Horse-tail bare, I pluck out year by year, as hair by hair, And melt w down Ancients like a heap of snow : While you, to measure merits, look in * Stowe, And, estimating authors by the year, Beltow a Garland only on a y Bier.

z Shakespeare (whom you and every Playhouse bill Style the divine, the matchless, what you will) 70 For gain, not glory, wing'd his roving flight, And grew Immortal in his own despight. Ben, old and poor, as little seem'd to heed a 'The Life to come, in every Poet's Creed. Who now reads b Cowley? if he pleases yet, 75 His Moral pleases, not his pointed wit; Forgot his Epic, nay Pindaric Art, But still < I love the language of his heart.

“ Yet surely, d surely, these were famous men! “ What boy but hears the sayings of old Ben ? 80

" In

Qui vel mense brevi, vel toto est junior anno.

Utor permiffo, caudaeque pilos ut u equinae Paulatim vello : et demo unum, demo et item unum ; Dum cadat elusus ratione w ruentis acervi, Qui redit in x fastos, et virtutem aestimat annis, Miraturque nihil, nisi quod y Libitina sacravit.

2 Ennius et sapiens, et fortis, et alter Homerus, Ut critici dicunt, leviter curare videtur Quo a promissa cadant, et fomnia Pythagorea.

Naevius in manibus non est; at c mentibus haeret Pene recens ; d adeo fanctum est vetus omne poema.

“ In alle debates where Critics bear a part, “ Not one but nods, and talks of Jonson's Art, “ Of Shakespeare's Nature, and of Cowley's Wit; “ How Beaumont's judgment check'd what Fletcher

«« writ;

85

90

* How Shadwell hasty, Wycherly was now;
« But, for the Passions, Southerne sure and Rowe.
These, fonlythese, support the crowded stage,
« From eldest Heywood down to Cibber's age.”

All this may be; & the people's Voice is odd,
It is, and it is not, the voice of God.
Toh Gammer Gurton if it give the bays,
And yet deny the Careless Husband praise,
Or say our Fathers never broke a rule;
Why then, I say, the Public is a fool.
But let them own, that greater Faults than we

95 They had, and greater Virtues, I'll agree.

Spenser

Ambigitur quoties, uter utro sit prior; aufert
Pacuvius docti famam senis, Accius alti :
Dicitur Afranî toga convenisse Menandro:
Plautus ad exemplar Siculi properare Epicharmi
Vincere Caecilius gravitate, Terentius arte :
Hos ediscit, et hos arcto ftipata theatro
Spectat Roma potens ; f habet hos numeratque poetas
Ad nostrum tempus, Livî scriptoris ab aevo.
& Interdum vulgus rečtum videt: est ubi peccat.
Sih veteres ita miratur laudatque poetas,
Ut nihil anteferat, nihil illis comparet ; errat:

Spenser himself affects the i Obsolete,
And Sydney's verse halts ill on k Roman feet:
Milton's strong pinion now not Heaven can bound,
Now Serpent-like, in profe he sweeps the ground, 10
In Quibbles, Angel and Archangel join,
And God the Father turns a School-divine.
m Not that I'd lop the Beauties from his book,
Like n Nashing Bentley with his desperate hook,
Or damn all Shakespeare, like th' affected Fool 105
At court, who hates whate'er he o read at school.

But for the Wits of either Charles's days,
The Mob of Gentlemen who wrote with Ease;
Sprat, Carew, Sedley, and a hundred more,
(Like twinkling stars the Miscellanies' o'er)
One Simile, that p solitary shines.
In the dry desert of a thousand lines,
Or a lengthen'd Thought that gleams through many a

page, Has fančtify'd whole poems

I lose

11@

for an age.

Si quaedam nimis i antique, fi pleraque k dure
Dicere credit eos, ignave multa fatetur;
Et fapit, et mecum facit, et Jove judicat aequo.
m Non equidem insector, delendaque carmina Livi
Esse reor, memini quae n plagosum o mihi parvo
Orbilium dictare ;

fed emendata videri
Pulchraque, et exactis minimum diftantia, miror :
Inter quae P verbum emicuit si forte decoruin,
Si I versus paulo soncinnior unus et alter :

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