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TO MY HONOURED FRIEND
Sir ROBERT HOWARD',
EXCELLENT POEM S.
S there is music uninform’d by art
In those wild notes, which with a merry heart The birds in unfrequented shades express, Who, better taught at home, yet please us less : So in your verse a native sweetness dwells, Which shames composure, and its art excels. Singing no more can your foft numbers grace, Than paint adds charms unto a beauteous face. Yet as, when mighty rivers gently creep, Their even calmness does suppose them deep; Such is your muse: no metaphor swell'd high With dangerous boldness lifts her to the sky : Those mounting fancies, when they fall again, Shew sand and dirt at bottom do remain. So firm a strength, and yet withal so sweet, Did never but in Samson's riddle meet.
i Sir Robert Howard, a younger son of Thomas Earl of Berkshire, and brother to Mr. Dryden's lady, studied, for some time in Magdalen-college. He suffered many oppressions on account of his loyalty, and was one of the few of king Charles the Ild's friends, whom that monarch did not forget. He was soon after the restoration, made a knight of the Bath, and one of the auditors of the Exchequer. VOL. II. I
Tis ftrange each line fo great a weight should bear,
2 A compliment to a poem of Sir Robert's called Rete mirabile.
All will at length in this opinion reft,
3 Publius Papinius Statius a Neapolitan bard, who lived at Rome, in great favour with Domitian. He wrote the Thebiad, an epic poem, in twelve books, (one of which is translated by Pope ;) and the Achilleid, the latter is imperfect, and was translated by Sir Robert, with annotations, and these our author means to compliment in this passage.
Your curious notes fo search into that age,
and I Will venture in your right to prophesy. “ This work, by merit first of fame fecure, " Is likewise happy in its geniture : « For, since 'tis born when Charles ascends the throne, " It shares at once his fortune and its own."
4. With Monk you end, &c. Alluding to a poem of this gentleman's on general Monk.
5 As Rome recorded Rufus? memory. P. Rutilius Rufus, consul of Rome, anno civ. 649, having the interest of his country much at heart, was banished by the influence of some designing people ; and, retiring to Smyrna, was 'so highly respected, that most of the Asian potentates sent thither ambasladors to compliment him. Sylla would have revoked his exile, but he refused the offer, and gave himself up to study.
EPISTLE the SECOND i.
TO MY HONOURED FRIEND
Learned and ufeful WORKS; but more particularly
his Treatise of STONE-HENGE, by him restored to the true Founder.
HE longest tyranny that ever sway'd,
Was that wherein our ancestors betray'd Their free-born reason to the Stagyrite, And made his torch their universal light. So truth, while only one supply'd the state, Grew scarce, and dear, and yet sophisticate. Still it was bought, like emp’ric wares, or charms, Hard words seal'd up with Aristotle's arms. Columbus was the first that shook his throne; And found a temp’rate in a torrid zone: The fev'rish air fann'd by a cooling breeze, The fruitful vales set round with shady trees ;
i The book that occafioned this epistle, made its appearance in quarto in 1663. It is dedicated to King Charles II. and entitled, Chorea Gigantum : or, The most famous Antiquity of Great Britain, Stone-Henge, standing on Salisbury plain, restored to the Danes by Dr. Walter Charleton, M. D. and physician in ordinary to his majesty. It was written in answer to a treatise of Inigo Jones's, which attributed this stupendous pile to the Romans, supposing it to be a temple, by them dedicated to the God Cælum, or Calus,