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Thy wonders, in that god-like age,
Fill thy recording Sister's page -
'Tis said, and I believe the tale,
Thy humbleft Reed could more prevail,
Had more of strength, diviner rage,
Than all which charms this laggard age,
Even all at once together found
Cæcilia's mingled world of sound -
O bid our vain endeavours cease,
Revive the juft designs of Greece,
Return in all thy simple state !
Confirm the tales her sons relate!

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Hile born to bring the Muse's happier days,

A patriot's hand protects a poet's lays, While nurs’d by you she sees her myrtles bloom, Green and unwither'd o'er his honour'd tomb: Excuse her doubts, if yet she fears to tell What secret transports in her bosom swell ; With conscious awe she hears the critic's fame, And blushing hides her wreath at Shakespear's name, Hard was the lot those injur'd strains endur'd, Unown'd by science, and by years obscurd : Fair Fancy wept; and echoing sighs confess’d A fixt despair in every tuneful breast. Not with more grief th' afficted swains appear, When wintry winds deform the plenteous year ; When lingering frosts the ruin'd seats invade Where Peace resorted, and the Graçes play'd.


Each rising art by juft gradation moves, Toil builds on toil, and age on age improves : The Mufe alone unequal dealt her rage, And grac'd with noblest pomp her earliest stage. Preserv'd thro' time, the speaking scenes impart Each changeful wish of Phædra's tortur'd heart: Or paint the curse, that mark'd the * Theban's A bed incestuous, and a father flain. [reign, With kind concern our pitying eyes o’erflow, Trace the sad tale, and own another's woe.

To Rome remov'd, with wit secure to please, The comic fifters kept their native ease. With jealous fear declining Greece beheld Her own Menander's art almoft excell'd! But every Muse essay'd to raise in vain Some labour'd rival of her tragic strain ; llyffus' laurels, tho' transferr'd with toil, [foil. Droop'd their fair leaves, nor knew th' unfriendly


The Oedipus of Sophocles,


As arts expir'd, refiftless Dulness rose; Goths, priests, or Vandals, - all were Learning's Till + Julius first recall'd each exild maid, [foes. And Cosmo own'd them in th' Etrurian fhade : Then deeply skill'd in love's engaging theme, The soft Provencial pass’d to Arno's stream: With graceful ease the wanton lyre he strung, Sweet fow'd the lays—but love was all he sung: The gay description could not fail to move ; For, led by nature, all are friends to love.

But heaven, still various in its works, decreed
The perfect boast of time should last succeed.
The beauteous union must appear at length,
Of Tuscan fancy, and Athenian strength :
One greater Muse Eliza's reign adorn,
And even a Shakespear to her fame be born!

Yet ah! so bright her morning's opening ray, In vain our Britain hop'd an equal day!

+ Julius II, the immediate predeceffor of Leo X,


No second growth the western ifle could bear,
At once exhausted with too rich a year.
Too nicely Johnson knew the critic's part;
Nature in him was almost lost in art.
Of softer mold the gentle Fletcher came,
The next in order, as the next in name.
With pleas'd attention 'midst his scenes we find
Each glowing thought, that warms the female mind;
Each melting figh, and every tender tear,
The lover's wishes, and the virgin's fear.

strain the Smiles and Graces own;
Bat stronger Shakespear felt for man alone :
Drawn by his pen, our ruder passions stand
Th’unrivall’d picture of his early hand.

His *

+ With gradual leps, and flow, exacter France Saw Art's fair empire o'er her shores advance :

* Their characters are thus diftinguished by Mr. Dryden.

+ About the time of Shakespear, the poet Hardy was in great repute in France. He wrote, according to Fontenelle, fix hundred plays. The French poets after him applied themselves in general to the correct improvement of the stage, which was almost totally disregarded by those of our own country, Johnson excepted,


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