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Then, at the last and only couplet, fraught
With some unmeaning thing they call a thought,
A needless Alexandrine ends the song,
That like a wounded snake drags its slow length along,
And praise the easy vigour of a line

360 Where Denham's strength and Waller's sweetness

join. True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance. 'Tis not enough no harshness gives offence; The sound must seem an echo to the sense. 365 Soft is the strain when Zephyr gently blows, And the smooth stream in sinoother numbers flows; But when loud surges lash the sounding shore, The hoarse rough verse should like the torrent roar. When Ajax strives some rock’s vast weight to throw, The line too labours, and the words move slow: 371 Not so when swift Camilla scours the plain, Flieso'erth' unbending corn, andskimsalong the main. Hear how Timotheus' vary'd lays surprise, And bid alternate passions fall and rise,

375 While at each change the son of Lybian Jove Now burns with glory, and then melts with love: Now his fierce eyes with sparkling fury glow, Now sighs steal out, and tears begin to flow : Persians and Greeks like turns of Nature found, 380 And the world's victor stood subdu'd by sound!

The pow'r of music all our hearts allow,
And what Timotheus was is Dryden now.

Avoid extremes, and shun the fault of such
Who still are pleas'd too little or too much. 385
At ev'ry trifle scorn to take offence;
That always shows great pride or little sense :
Those heads, as stomachs, are not sure the best
Which nauseate all, and nothing can digest.
Yet let not each gay turn thy rapture move;

390 For fools admire, but men of sense approve.. As things seem large which we thro' mists descry, Dulness is ever apt to magnify.

Some foreign writers, some our own despise; The ancients only or the moderns prize. 395 Thus wit, like faith, by each man is apply'd To one small sect, and all are damn'd beside. Meanly they seek the blessing to confine, And force that sun but on a part to shine, Which not alone the southern wit sublimes,

400 But ripens spirits in cold northern climes; Which from the first has shone on ages past, Enlights the present, and shall warm the last; Tho' each may feel increases and decays, And see now clearer, and now darker days: 405 Regard not then if wit be old or new, But blame the false, and value still the true.

Some ne'er advance a judgment of their own, But catch the spreading notion of the town; They reason and conclude by precedent, 410 And own stale nonsense which they ne'er invent. Some judge of authors' names, not works, and then Nor praise nor blame the writings, but the men. Of all this servile herd, the worst is he That in proud dulness joins with quality : 415 A constant critic at the great man's board, To fetch and carry nonsense for my lord. What woful stuff this madrigal would be In some starv'd hackney sonnetteer or me! But let a lord once own the happy lines, 420 How the wit brightens! how the style refines ! Before his sacred name flies ev'ry fault, And each exalted stanza teems with thought !

The vulgar thus thro' imitation err, As oft the learn'd by being singular;

425 So much they scorn the crowd, that if the throng By chance go right, they purposely go wrong. So schismatics the plain believers quit, And are but damn'd for having too much wit. Some praise at morning what they blame at night, But always think the last opinion right.

431 A Muse by these is like a mistress us’d, This hour she's idoliz'd, the next abus'd;

While their weak heads, like towns unfortify'd,
"Twixt sense and nonsense daily change their side.
Ask them the cause; they're wiser still, they say;
And still to-morrow's wiser than to-day.
We think our fathers fools, so wise we grow;
Our wiser sons no doubt will think us so.
Once school-divines this zealous isle o'erspread;
Who knew most sentences was deepest read: 441
Faith, gospel, all seem'd made to be disputed,
And none had sense enough to be confuted.
Scotists and Thomists now in peace remain,
Amidst their kindred cobwebs in Duck Lane. 445
If faith itself has diff'rent dresses worn,
What wonder modes in wit should take their turn?
Oft leaving what is natural and fit,
The current folly proves the ready wit;
And authors think their reputation safe

450 Which lives as long as fools are pleas'd to laugh.

Some, valuing those of their own size or mind,
Still make themselves the measure of mankind :
Fondly we think we honour merit then,
When we but praise ourselves in other men.

455
Parties in wit attend on those of state,
And public faction doubles private hate.
Pride, malice, folly, against Dryden rose
In various shapes of parsons, critics, beaus;

But sense surviv'd when merry jests were past; 460
For rising merit will buoy up at last.
Might he return and bless once more our eyes,
New Blackmores and new Milbourns must arise :
Nay, should great Homer lift his awful head,
Zoilus again would start up from the dead. 465
Envy will merit as its shade pursue,
But like a shadow proves the substance true;
For envy'd wit, like Sol eclips'd, makes known
Th' opposing body's grossness, not its own.
When first that sun too pow'rful beams displays, 470
It draws up vapours which obscure its rays;
But ev’n those clouds at last adorn its way,
Reflect new glories, and augment the day.

Be thou the first true merit to befriend;
His praise is lost who stays till all commend. 475
Short is the date, alas! of modern rhymes,
And 'tis but just to let them live betimes.
No longer now that golden age appears
When patriarch wits surviv'd a thousand years :
Now length of fame (our second life) is lost, 480
And bare threescore is all ev’n that can boast :
Our sons their fathers' failing language see,
And such as Chancer is shall Dryden be.
So when the faithful pencil has design'd
Some bright idea of the master's mind,

485

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