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TO MY HONOURED FRIEND

Sir ROBERT HOWARD',

ON HIS

EXCELLENT POEM S.

AS

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

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Tis ftrange each line fo great a weight should bear,
And yet no sign of toil, no sweat appear.
Either your art hides art, as ftoics feign
Then leaft to feel, when most they suffer pain,
And we, dull fouls, admire, but cannot see
What hidden springs within the engine be:
Or 'tis fome happiness that still pursues
Each act and motion of your graceful muse.
Or is it fortune's work, that in your

head
The curious 2 net that is for fancies spread,
Lets thro' its meshes every meaner thought,
While rich ideas there are only caught?
Sure that's not all; this is a piece too fair
To be the child of chance, and not of care.
No atoms casually together hurl'd
Could e'er produce so beautiful a world.
Nor dare I such a doctrine here admit,
As would destroy the providence of wit.
'Tis your strong genius then which does not feel
Those weights, would make a weaker fpirit reel.
To carry weight, and run fo lightly too,
Is what alone your Pegasus can do.
Great Hercules himself could ne'er do more,
Than not to feel those heavens and gods he bore.
Your easier odes, which for delight were penn'd,
Yet our inftruction make their second end :
We're both enrich'd and pleas'd, like them that woo
At once a beauty, and a fortune too.
Of moral knowledge poesy was queen,
And still she might, had wanton wits not been ;
Who, like ill guardians, liv'd themselves at large,
And, not content with that, debauch'd their charge,
Like some brave captain, your successful pen
Restores the exil'd to her crown again :
And gives us hope, that having seen the days
When nothing flourish'd but fanatic bays,

2 A compliment to a poem of Sir Robert's called Rete mirabile.

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All will at length in this opinion reft,
" A fober prince's government is best.”
This is not all; your art the way has found
To make th’ improvement of the richest ground,
That foil which those immortal laurels bore,
That once the sacred Maro's temples wore,
Elisa's griefs are so express'd by you,
They are too eloquent to have been true.
Had me so spoke, Æneas had obey'd
What Dido, rather than what Jove had said.
If funeral rites can give a ghost repose,
Your muse fo juftly has discharged those,
Elisa's fhade may now its wandring cease,
And claim a title to the fields of peace.
But if Æneas be oblig'd, no less
Your kindness great Achilles doth confess ;
Who, dress’d by 3 Statius in too bold a look,
Did ill become those virgin robes he took.
To understand how much we owe to you,
We must your numbers, with your author's, view:
Then we shall see his work was lamely rough,
Each figure ftiff, as if design’d in buff:
His colours laid so thick on every place,
As only shew'd the paint, but hid the face.
But as in perspective we beauties see,
Which in the glass, not in the picture, be;
So here our fight obligingly mistakes
That wealth, which his your bounty only makes.
Thus vulgar dishes are, by cooks disguis’d, .
More for their dressing, than their substance priz'd.

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

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Your curious notes fo search into that age,
When all was fable but the facred page,
That, fince in that dark night we needs must stray,
We are at least milled in pleafant way.
But what we most admire, your verse no less
The prophet than the poet doth confess.
Ere our weak eyes discern'd the doubtful ftreak
Of light, you saw great Charles his morning break.
So skilful seamen ken the land from far,
Which shews like mifts to the dull passenger.
To Charles your muse first pays her duteous love,
As still the ancients did begin from Jove.
With 4 Monk you end, whose name preserv'd shall be,
As Rome recorded

5
Who thought it greater honour to obey
His country's intereft, than the world to sway.
But to write worthy things of worthy men,
Is the peculiar talent of your pen :
Yet let me take

your mantle

up,

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."

Rufus' memory,

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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

Dr. CHARLETON,

ON HIS

Learned and ufeful WORKS; but more particularly

his Treatise of STONE-HENGE, by him restored to the true Founder.

T

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,

And

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