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And with celestial wealth supply'd thy store: Tis said the sound of a Messiah's birth
But still that text must be confin'd alone
And what provision could from thence accrue And all his righteousness devolvid on thee. To Indian souls, and worlds discover'd new?
Por, granting we have sinn'd, and that th' offence In other parts it helps, that, ages past, Of man is made against Omnipotence,
The scriptures there were known, and were embrac'd, Some price that bears proportion must be paid ; Till sin spread once again the shades of night: And infinite with infinite be weigh'd.
What 's that to these, who never saw the light? See then the deist lost: remorse for vice,
Of all objections this indeed is chief Not paid ; or, paid, inadequate in price:
To startle reason, stagger frail belief: What farther means can reason now direct, We grant, 'tis true, that Heaven from human sense. Or what relief from human wit expect?
Has hid the secret paths of providence:
And though no name be for salvation known,
Who knows how far transcending goodness can
Who knows what reasons may his mercy lead ; Of rites, lustrations, offerings, which before, Or ignorance invincible may plead? In various ages, various countries bore,
Not only charity bids hope the best, With Christian faith and virtues, we shall find But more the great apostle has exprest: None answering the great ends of human kind “ That if the Gentiles, whom no law inspir'd; But this one rule of life, that shows us best By nature did what was by law requird; How God may be appeas'd, and mortals blest. They, who the written rule had never known, Whether from length of time its worth we draw, Were to themselves both rule and law alone : The word is scarce more ancient than the law : To nature's plain indictment they shall plead; Heaven's early care prescrib'd for every age; And by their conscience be condemn'd or freed." First, in the soul, and after, in the page.
Most righteous doom ! because a rule reveal'd Or, whether more abstractedly we look,
Is none to those from whom it was conceal'd. Or on the writers, or the written book,
Then those who follow'd reason's dictates right; Whence, but from Heaven, could men unskill'd in Liv'd up, and lifted high their natural light; arts,
With Socrates may see their Maker's face, In several ages born, in several parts,
While thousand rubric-martyrs want a place. Weave such agreeing truths ? or how, or why, Nor does it baulk my charity, to find Should all conspire to cheat us with a lie? Th’Egyptian bishop of another mind : Unask'd their pains, ungrateful their advice, For though his creed eternal truth contains, Starving their gain, and martyrdom their price. 'Tis hard for man to doom to endless pains If on the book itself we cast our view,
All who believ'd not all his zeal requir'd; Concurrent heathens prove the story true :
Unless he first could prove he was inspir'd.. The doctrine, miracles; which must convince, Then let us either think he meant to say For Heaven in thein appeals to human sense: This faith, where publish’d, was the only way ; And though they prove not, they confirm the cause, Or else conclude, that, Arius to confute, When what is taught agrees with Nature's laws. The good old man, too eager in dispute, Then for the style, majestic and divine,
Flew high ; and as his Christian fury rose, It speaks no less than God in every line:
Damn'd all for heretics who durst oppose. Commanding words; whose force is still the same Thus far my charity this path has try'd; As the first fiat that produc'd our frame.
A much unskilful, but well-meaning guide: [bred All faiths beside, or did by arms ascend;
Yet what they are, ev'n these crude thoughts were Or sense indulg'd has made mankind their friend : By reading that which better thou hast read. This only doctrine does our lusts oppose:
Thy matchless anthor's work: which thou, my friend, Unfed by nature's soil, in which it grows;
By well translating better dost commend: Cross to our interests, curbing sense and sin; Those youthful hours which, of thy equals most Oppress’d without, and undermind within, In toys have squander'd, or in vice have lost, It thrives through pain; it's own tormentors tires; Those hours hast thou to nobler use employ'd; And with a stubborn patience still aspires.
And the severe delights of truth enjoy'd. To what can reason such effects assign
Witness this weighty book, in which appears Transcending nature, but to laws divine;
The crabbed toil of many thoughtful years, Which in that sacred volume are contain'd; Spent by thy author, in the sifting care Sufficient, clear, and for that use ordain'd? Of rabbins old sophisticated ware
But stay: the deist here will urge anew, Prom gold divine; which he who well can sort No supernatural worship can be true:
May afterwards make algebra a sport. Because a general law is that alone
A treasure, which if country-curates buy, Which must to all, and every where, be known: They Junius and Tremellius may defy: A style so large as not this book can claim, Save pains in various readings, and translations; Nor ought that bears reveal'd religion's name. And without Hebrew make most learn'd quotations
A work so full with various learning fraught, Now what appeal can end th' important suit?
To my own mother-church submitting still,
Who nerer heard this question brought in play. For soine, who have bis secret meaning guess'd, Th’mpletter'd Christian, who believes in gross, Have found our author not too much a priest : Plods on to Heaven; and ne'er is at a loss : For fashion-sake he secins to have recourse For the streight-gate would be made streighter yet, To pope, and councils, and tradition's force: Were none admitted there but men of wit. But he that old traditions could subdue,
The few by Nature form’d, with learning fraught, Could not but find the weakness of the rew: Born to instruct, as others to be taught, If scripture, though deriv'd from heavenly birth, Must study well the sacred page; and see Has been but carelessly preservd on Earth; Which doctrine, this, or that, does best agree If God's own people, who of God before
With the whole tenour of the work divine: Knew what we know, and had been promis'd more, And plainliest points to Heaven's reveal'd desigt; In fuller terms, of Heaven's assisting care,
Which exposition flows from genuine sense, And who did neither time nor study spare
And which is forc'd by wit and eloquence. To keep this book untainted, unperplext,
Not that tradition's parts are useless here: Let in gross errors to corrupt the text,
When general, old, disinterested, clear:
That ancient fathers thus expound the page,
And still the nearer to the spring we go
Could we be certain such they were, so known: And that some such have been, is prov'd too plain; | But since some flaws in long descent may be, If we consider interest, church, and gain.
They make not truth, but probability.
Ev'n Arius and Pelagius durst provoke
But truth by its own sinews will prevail.
Such an omniscient church we wish indeed ; And this, as perfect as its kind can be, "Twere worth both Testaments; cast in the creed: Rolls down to us the sacred history: But if this mother be a guide so sure,
Which, from the universal church receir'd, As can all doubts resolve, all truth secure,
Is try'd, and after, for itself believ'd. Then her infallibility, as well
The partial papists would infer from hence Where copies are corrupt or lame, can tell; Their church, in last resort, should judge the sense: Restore lost canon with as little pains,
But first they wouid assume, with wonderous art, As truly explicate what still remains :
Themselves to be the whole, who are but part Whicb yet no council dare pretend to do;
Of that vast frame the church; yet grant they were Unless like Esdras they could write it new:
The handers-down, can they from thence infer Strange confidence still to interpret true,
A right t' interpret? or would they alone,
The book is a common largess to mankind;
It speaks itself, and what it does contain,
In all things needful to be known is plain. In all things which our needful faith require.
In times o'ergrown with rust and ignorance, If others in the same glass better see,
A gainful trade their clergy did adrance: 'Tis for themselves they look, but not for me: When want of learning kept the layinen low, For my salvation must its doom receive,
And none but priests were authoriz'd to know: Not from what others, but what I believe.
When what small knowledge was, in them did dwell Must all tradition then be set aside?
And he a god who could but read and spell;
Then mother church did mightily prevail:
As needy men take money good or bad:
Yet whate'er false conveyances they made, And this unpolish'd rugged verse I chose;
As fittest for discourse, and nearest prose:
Tom Sternhold's or Tom Shadwell's rhymes will At last a knowing age began t'inquire If they the book, or that did them inspire: And, making narrower search, they found, though
THE AKT OF POETRY.
This translation of monsieur Boileau's Art of Poetry And sav'd himself as cheap as e'er he could. was made in the year 1680, by sir William Soame,
'Tis true, my friend, and far be flattery hence, of Suffolk, baronet; who being very intimately acThis good had full as bad a consequence:
quainted with Mr. Dryden, desired his revisal of it. The book thus put in every vulgar hand,
I saw the manuscript lie in Mr. Dryden's hands for Which each presum'd he best could understand, above six months, who made very considerable alThe common rule was made the common prey;
terations in it, particularly the beginning of the And at the mercy of the rabble lay.
fourth Canto: and it being his opinion, that it would The tender page with horny fists was galld;
be better to apply the poem to English writers, than And he was gifted most that loudest bawl'd: keep to the French names, as it was first translated, The spirit gave the doctoral degree:
sir William desired he would take the pains to make And every member of a company
that alteration; and accordingly that was entirely Was of his trade, and of the Bible free.
done by Mr. Dryden. Plain truths enough for needful use they found; The poem was first published in the year 1683; But men would still be itching to expound :
sir William was after sent ambassador to ConstanEach was ambitious of th' obscurest place, tinople, in the reign of king James, but died in the No measure ta'en from knowledge, all from grace. voyage.
J. TONSON. Study and pains were now no more their care; Texts were explain'd by fasting and by prayer: This was the fruit the private spirit brought;
To undertake the sacred art of rhyme;
In thy strait genius thou wilt still be hound,
Find Phæbus deaf, and Pegasus unsound. So all we make of Heaven's discover'd will,
You then, that burn with the desire to try Is, not to have it, or to use it ill.
The dangerous course of charming poetry, The danger's much the same; on several shelves Forbear in fruitless verse to lose your time, If others wreck us, or we wreck ourselves.
Or take for genius the desire of rhyme : What then remains, but, waving each extreme, Fear the allurements of a specious bait, The tides of ignorance and pride to stem?
And well consider your own force and weight. Neither so rich a treasure to forego;
Nature abounds in wits of every kind, Nor proudly seek beyond our power to know:
And for each author can a talent find : Faith is not built on disquisitions vain;
One may in verse describe an amorous flame, The things we must believe are few and plain : Another sharpen a short epigram: But, since men will believe more than they need, Waller a hero's mighty acts extol, And every man will make himself a creed, Spenser sing Rosalind in pastoral: In doubtful questions 'tis the safest way
But authors that themselves too much esteem, To learn what unsuspected ancients say:
Lose their own genius, and mistake their theme; For 'tis not likely we should higher soar
Thus in times past Dubartas vainly writ, In search of Heaven, than all the church before: Allaying sacred truth with trifling wit, Nor can we be deceiv'd, unless we see
Impertinently, and without delight, The scripture and the fathers disagree.
Describ'd the Israelites triumphant fight, If after all they stand suspected still,
And, following Moses o'er the sandy plain, For no man's faith depends upon his will ;
Perish'd with Pharaob in th' Arabian main. 'Tis some relief, that points not clearly known Whate'er you write of pleasant or sublime, Without much hazard may be let alone :
Always let sense accompany your rhyme: And, after hearing what our church can say, Falsely they seem each other to oppose ; If still our reason runs another way,
Rhyme must be made with Reason's laws to close: That private reason 'tis more just to curb,
And when to conquer her you bend your force, Than by disputes the public peace disturb, The mind will triumph in the noble course; Por points obscure are of small use to learn: To Reason's yoke she quickly will incline, But common quiet is mankind's concern.
Which, far from hurting, renders her divine: Thus have I made my own opinions clear: But if neglected will as easily stray, Yet neither praise expect, nor censure fear: And master Reason which she should obey.
Love Reason then; and let whate'er you write On easy numbers fix your happy choice:
The fullest verse, and the most labour'd sense,
Was rude, unineasur'd, only tagg'd with rhymes; Fly this excess; and let Italians be
Number and cadence that have since been shown, Vain authors of false glittering poetry.
To those unpolish'd writers were unknown.
And taught the nobler art of writing well :
And found for poetry a richer vein. If he describes a house, he shows the face, Then Davenant came; who, with a new found art, And after walks you round from place to place; Chang'd all, spoil'd all, and had his way apart; Here is a vista, there the doors unfold,
His haughty Muse all others did despise, Balconies here are ballustred with gold;
And thought in triumph to bear off the prize, Then counts the rounds and ovals in the halls, Till the sharp-sighted critics of the times “ The festoons, friezes, and the astragals :" In their Mock Gondibert expos'd his rhymes ; Tir'd with his tedious pomp, away I run,
The laurels he pretended did refuse, And skip o'er twenty pages to be gone.
And dash'd the hopes of his aspiring Muse, Of such descriptions the vain folly see,
This headstrong writer, falling from on high, And shun their barren superfinity.
Made following authors take less liberty. All that is needless carefully avoid ;
Waller came last, but was the first whose art, The mind once satisfy'd is quickly cloy'd: Just weight and measure did to verse impart; He cannot write who knows not to give o'er; That of a well-plac'd word could teach the force, To mend one fault, he makes a hundred more : And show'd for poetry a nobler course : A verse was weak; you turn it, much too strong, His happy genius did our tongue refine, And grow obscure for fear you should be long, And easy words with pleasing numbers join: Some are not gaudy, but are flat and dry; His verses to good method did apply, Not to be low, another soars too high.
And chang'd hard discord to soft harmony. Would you of every one deserve the praise ? All own'd his laws; which, long approv'd and try'd, In writing, vary your discourse and phrase; To present authors now may be a guide. A frozon style, that neither ebbs nor flows, Tread boldly in his steps, secure from fear, Instead of pleasing, makes us gape and doze. And be, like him, in your expressions clear. Those tedious authors are esteem'd by none Jf in your verse you drag, and sense delay, Who tire us, humming the same heavy tone. My patience tires, my fancy goes astray ; Happy who in his verse can gently steer,
And from your vain discourse I turn my mind, From grave to light; from pleasant to severe; Nor search an author troublesome to find. His works will be aclmir'd wherever found,
There is a kind of writer, pleas'd with sound, And oft with buyers will be compass'd round. Whose fustian head with clouds is compass'd round, In all you write, be neither low nor vile:
No reason can disperse them with its light: The meanest theme may have a proper style. Learn then to think ere you pretend to write. | The dull burlesque appear'd with impudence, As your idea 's clear, or else obscure, And pleas'd by novelty in spite of sense.
Th' expression follows perfect or impure : All, except trivial points, grew out of date; What we conce've with ease we can express; Parnassus spoke the cant of Billingsgate :
Words to the potions flow with readiness. Boundless and mad, disorder'd rhyme was seen : Observe the language well in all you write, Disguis'd Apollo chang'd to Harlequin.
And swerye not froin it in your loftiest flight. This plague, which first in country towns began, The smoothest verse and the exactest sense Cities and kingdoms quickly over-ran:
Displease us, if ill English give offence:
And value not yourself for writing fast.
More pleas'd we are to see a river lead
His gentle streams along a flowery mead, Nor think to raise, though on Pharsalia's plain, Than from high banks to hear loud torrents roar, " Millions of mourning mountains of the slain :" With foamy waters on a muddy shore. Nor with Dubartas bridle up the floods,
Gently make haste, of labour not afraid : And perriwig with wool the baldpate woods. A hundred times consider what you 've said: Choose a just s:yle; be grave without constraint, Polish, repolish, every colour lay, Great without pride, and lovely without paint: And sometimes add, but oftener take away. Write what your reader may be pleas'd to hear; Tis not enough when swarıning faults are writ, And for the measure have a careful car.
That here and there are scatter'd sparks of wit;
Each object must be fix'd in the due place, But in this style a poet often spent,
And vainly, when disorder'd thoughts abound, One perfect whole, of all the pieces join'd. Amidst the Eclogue makes the trumpet sound : Keep to your subject close in all you say ; Pan flies alarmd into the neighbouring woods, Nor for a sounding sentence ever stray.
And frighted nymphs dive down into the floods. The public censure for your writings fear, Oppos'd to this, another, low in style, And to yourself be critic most severe.
Makes shepherds speak a language base and vile: Fantastic wits their darling follies love;
His writings, flat and heavy, without sound, But find you faithful friends, that will approve, Kissing the earth, and creeping on the ground; That on your works may look with careful eyes, You'd swear that Randal, in his rustic strains, And of your faults be zealous enemies :
Again was quavering to the country swains, Lay by an author's pride and vanity,
And changing, without care of sound or dress, And from a friend a flatterer descry,
Strephon and Phyllis, into Tom and Bess. Who seems to like, but means not what he says: 'Twixt these extremes 'tis hard to keep the right; Embrace true counsel, but suspect false praise. For guides take Virgil, and read Theocrite: A sycophant will every thing admire:
Be their just writing, by the gods inspir'd, Each verse, each sentence, sets his soul on fire: Your constant pattern practis'd and admir'd. All is divine ! there's not a word amiss !
By them alone you 'll easily comprehend He shakes with joy, and weeps with tenderness, How poets, without shame, may condescend He overpowers you with his mighty praise. To sing of gardens, fields, of flowers, and fruit, Truth never moves in those impetuous ways: To stir up shepherds, and to tune the flute; A faithful friend is careful of your fame,
Of love's rewards to tell the happy hour, And freely will your heedless errours blame; Daphne a tree, Narcissus made a flower, He cannot pardon a neglected line,
And by what means the Eclogue yet has power But verse to rule and order will confine.
To make the woods worthy a conqueror : Reprove of words the too-affected sound;
This of their writings is the grace and flight; Here the sense flags, and your expression 's round, Their sisings lofty, yet not out of sight. Your fancy tires, and your discourse grows vain, Your terms improper, make them just and plain.
ELEGY. Thus 'tis a faithful friend will freedom use; But authors, partial to their darling Muse, The Elegy, that loves a mournful style, Think to protect it they have just pretence, With unbound hair weeps at a funeral pile; And at your friendly counsel take offence. It paints the lover's torments and delights, Said you of this, that the expression 's fat? A mistress Aatters, threatens, and invites : Your servant, sir, you must excuse me that, But well these raptures if you 'll make us see, He answers you. This word has here no grace, You must know love as well as poetry. Pray leave it out: that, sir, 's the properest place. I hate those lukewarm authors, whose forc'd fire This turn I like not : 'tis approv'd by all.
In a cold style describes a hot desire, Tbus, resolute not from one fault to fall,
That sigh by rule, and, raging in cold blood, If there 's a syllable of which you doubt,
Their sluggish Muse whip to an amorous mood : 'Tis a sure reason not to blot it out.
Their transports feign'd appear but fat and vain; Yet still he says you may his faults confute, They always sigh, and always hug their chain, And over him your power is absolute:
Adore their prison, and their sufferings bless, But of his feign'd humility take heed;
Make sense and reason quarrel as they please. Tis a bait laid to make you hear him read. "Twas not of old in this affected tone, And when he leaves you happy in his Muse, That smooth Tibullus made his ainorous moan; Restless he runs some other to abuse,
Nor Ovid, when, instructed from above, And often finds; for in our scribbling times By Natnre's rules he taught the art of love. No fool can want a sot to praise bis rhymes : The heart in elegies forms the discourse. The flattest work bas ever in the court Met with some zealous ass for its support:
Mounting to Heaven in her ambitious flight,
Of Pisa's wrestlers tells the sinewy force,
And sings the dusty conqueror's glorious course :
To Simo's streams does fierce Achilles bring, PASTORAL.
And makes the Ganges bow to Britain's king. As a fair nymph, when rising from her bed, Sometimes she flies like an industrious bee, With sparkling diamonds dresses not her head, And robs the flowers by Nature's chymistry, But, without gold or pearl, or costly scents, Describes the shepherd's dances, feasts, and bliss, Gathers from neighbouring fields her ornaments : And boasts froin Phyllis to surprise a kiss, Such, lovely in its dress, but plain withal,
When gently she resists with feign'd remorse, Ought to appear a perfect Pastoral :
That what she grants may seem to be by force : Its humble method nothing has of fierce,
Her generous style at random oft will part, But hates the rattling of a lofty verse:
And by a brave disorder shows her art. There native beauty pleases, and excites,
Unlike those fearful poets, whose cold rhyme And never with harsh sounds the ear affrights. In all their raptures keeps exactest time,