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By ftated bounds your progrefs to control,
To join the parts, and regulate the whole.
And now 'tis time to spread the opening fails
Wide to the wanton winds and flattering gales;
'Tis time we now prescribe the genuine laws
To raise the beauteous fabrick with applause;
But first some method requisite appears
To form the boy, and mould his tender years.
In vain the Bard the facred wreath pursues,
Unless train'd up and season'd to the Muse.
Soon as the prattling innocent fhall reach
To the first use and rudiments of speech,
Ev'n then, by Helicon he ought to rove,

Ev'n then the tuneful Nine should win his love
By just degrees.---But make his guide your choice
For his chafte phrafe and elegance of voice;
That he at firft fuccefsfully may teach

The methods, laws, and discipline of speech;
Left the young charge, mistaking right and wrong,
With vitious habits prejudice his tongue,
Habits, whose subtle feeds may mock your art,

And spread their roots and poifon through his heart.
Whence none fhall move me to approve the wretch,
Who wildly borne above the vulgar reach,
And big with vain pretences to impart
Vaft shows of learning, and a depth of art,
For fenfe th' impertinence of terms affords;
An idle cant of formidable words;
The pride of pedants, the delight of fools;
The vile disgrace, and lumber of the schools:

In vain the circling youths, a blooming throng,
Dwell on th' eternal jargon of his tongue.
Deluded fools!---The fame is their mistake,
Who at the limpid ftream their thirst may flake,
Yet choose the tainted waters of the lake.
Let no fuch peft approach the blooming care,
Deprave his ftyle, and violate his ear;
But far, oh far, to fome remoter place
Drive the vile wretch to teach a barbarous race.
Now to the Mufe's ftream the pupil bring,
To drink large draughts of the Pierian spring;
And from his birth the facred Bard adore,
Nurft by the Nine, on Mincio's flowery shore;
And ask the Gods his numbers to infpire,
With like invention, majefty, and fire.
He reads Afcanius' deeds with equal flame,
And longs with him to run at nobler game.
For youths of ages past he makes his moan,
And learns to pity years fo like his own;
Which with too fwift, and too fevere a doom,
The fate of war had hurried to the tomb.
His eyes, for Pallas, and for Laufus, flow,
Mourn with their fires, and weep another's woe.
But when Euryalus, in all his charms,

Is fnatch'd by fate from his dear mother's arms,
And as he rolls in death, the purple flood

Streams out, and stains his fnowy limbs with blood,
His foul the pangs of generous forrow pierce,

And a new tear steals out at every verse.


Mean time with bolder fteps the youth proceeds,
And the Greek Poets in fucceffion reads ;
Seafons to either tongue his tender ears;
Compares the heroes glorious characters;
Sees, how Æneas is himself alone,
The draught of Peleus' and Laertes' fon ;
How, by the Poet's art, in one, confpire
Ulyffes' conduct, and Achilles' fire.

But now, young Bard, with ftrict attention hear,
And drink my precepts in at either ear;
Since mighty crowds of Poets you may find,
Crowds of the Grecian and Aufonian kind,
Learn hence what Bards to quit or to pursue,
To fhun the falfe, and to embrace the true;
Nor is it hard to cull each noble piece,
And point out every glorious fon of Greece;
Above whofe numbers Homer fits on high,
And shines fupreme in diftant majesty;
Whom with a reverent eye the rest regard,
And owe their raptures to the fovereign Bard ;
Through him the God their panting fouls infpires,
Swells every breast, and warms with all his fires.
Bleft were the Poets with the hallow'd rage,
Train'd up in that and the fucceeding age:
As to his time each Poet nearer drew,
His fpreading fame in juft proportion grew.
By like degrees the next degenerate race
Sunk from the height of honour to disgrace.
And now the fame of Greece extinguith'd lies,
Her ancient language with her glory dies.

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Her banish'd princes mourn their ravish'd crowns,
Driven from their old hereditary thrones ;

Her drooping natives rove o'er worlds unknown,
And weep their woes in regions not their own ;
She feels through all her states the dreadful blow,
And mourns the fury of a barbarous foe.

But when our Bards brought o'er th' Aonian maids
From their own Helicon to Tyber's fhades;
When first they fettled on Hefperia's plains,
Their numbers ran in rough unpolish'd strains.
Void of the Grecian art their measures flow'd;
Pleas'd the wild fatyrs, and the fylvan crowd.
Low fhrubs and lofty forests whilom rung,
With uncouth verfe, and antiquated fong;
Nor yet old Ennius fung in artless strains,
Fights, arms, and hofts embattel'd on the plains,
Who firft afpir'd to pluck the verdant crown
From Grecian heads, and fix it on his own.
New wonders the fucceeding Bards explore,
Which flept conceal'd in nature's womb before;
Her awful fecrets the bold Poet fings,
And fets to view the principles of things;
Each part was fair, and beautiful the whole,
And every line was nectar to the foul.

By fuch degrees the verse, as ages roll'd,

Was ftampt to form, and took the beauteous mould.
Aufonia's Bards drew off from every part
The barbarous dregs, and civiliz’d the art.
Till, like the day, all shining and ferene,

That drives the clouds, and clears the gloomy fcene,



Refines the air, and brightens up the skies,
See the majestic head of Virgil rife;
Phoebus' undoubted fon !---who clears the ruft
Of the rough ancients, and shakes off their duft.
He on each line a nobler grace bestow'd ;
He thought, and spoke in every word a god.
To grace this mighty Bard, ye Muses, bring
Your choiceft flowers, and rifle all the spring;
See! how the Grecian Bards, at diftance thrown,
With reverence bow to this diftinguish'd fon;
Immortal founds his golden lines impart,

And nought can match his genius but his art.
Ev'n Greece turns pale, and trembles at his fame,
Which fhades the luftre of her Homer's name.
'Twas then Aufonia faw her language rife
In all its ftrength and glory to the skies;
Such glory never could the boast before,
Nor could fucceeding Poets make it more.
From that bleft period the poetic state

Ran down the precipice of time and fate;
Degenerate fouls fucceed, a wretched train,
And her old fame at once drew back again.
One, to his genius trusts, in every part,
And fcorns the rules and difcipline of art.
While this, an empty tide of sound affords,
And roars and thunders in a ftorm of words.
Some, mufically dull, all methods try
To win the ear with fweet ftupidity;
Unruffled ftrains for folid wit difpenfe,

And give us numbers, when we call for fenfe.

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