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EPISTLES
CRITICAL AND DIDACTIC.

EPISTLE 1.

On the

DIFFERENT

STYLES OF POETRY.

TO

HENRY LORD VISC. BOLINGBROKE.

FROM THOMAS PARNELL, D. D.

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I hate the vulgar with untuneful mind;
Hearts uninspir'd, and senses unrefin'd.
Hence, ye prophane: I raise the sounding string,
And Bolingbroke descends to hear me sing.

When Greece could truth in Mystic Fable shroud, And with delight instruct the listening crowd, An ancient Poet (Time has lost his name) Deliver'd strains on Verse to future fame. Still, as he sung, he touch'd the trembling lyre, And felt the notes a rising warmth inspire. Ye sweetening Graces, in the music throng, Assist my genius, and retrieve the song

From dark oblivion. See, my genius goes
To call it forth. 'Twas thus the Poem rose.

“ Wit is the Muse's horse, and bears on high
The daring Rider to the Muses' sky:
Who, while his strength to mount aloft he tries,
By regions varying in their nature flies.

“ At first, he riseth o'er a land of toil, A barren, hard, and undeserving soil, Where only weeds from heavy labor grow, Which yet the nation prune, and keep for show. Where couplets jingling on their accent run, Whose Point of Epigram is sunk to Pun; Where wings by fancy never feather’d Ay, Where lines by measure form’d in Hatchets lie; Where Altars stand, erected Porches gape, And sense is cramp'd while words are par'd to shape; Where mean Acrostics, labor'd in a frame On scatter'd letters, raise a painful scheme; And, by confinement in their work, control The great enlargings of the boundless soul; Where if a warrior's elevated fire Would all the brightest strokes of verse require, Then straight in Anagram a wretched crew Will their undeserving praises too; While on the rack his poor disjointed name Must tell its master's character to Fame. And (if my fire and fears aright presage) The laboring writers of a future age

pay

Shall clear new ground, and grots and caves repair,
To civilize the babbling echoes there.
Then, while a lover treads a lonely walk,
His voice shall with its own reflection talk,
The closing sounds of all the vain device
Select by trouble frivolously nice,
Resound through verse, and with a false pretence
Support the dialogue, and pass

for sense.
Can things like these to lasting praise pretend?
Can any Muse the worthless toil befriend?
Ye sacred Virgins, in my thoughts adorld,
Ah, be for ever in my lines deplor'd,
If tricks on words acquire an endless name,
And trifes merit in the court of Fame !"

At this the Poet stood concern'd a while,
And view'd his objects with a scornful smile :
Then other images of different kind,
With different workings, enter'd on his mind;
At whose approach, he felt the former gone,
And shiver'd in conceit, and thus went on :

“By a cold region next the Rider goes,
Where all lies cover'd in eternal snows;
Where no bright genius drives the chariot high,
To glitter on the ground, and gild the sky.
Bleak level Realm, where Frigid Styles abound,
Where never yet a daring thought was found,
But counted feet is Poetry defin'd;

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