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Nor is it yet despondence and dismay
But when a country (one that I could name)
Stop, while ye may; suspend your mad career;
Not only Vice disposes and prepares
above; But nothing scares them from the course they love. To the lascivious pipe and wanton song, That charm down fear, they frolic it along, With mad rapidity and unconcern, Down to the gulf, from which is no return. They trust in navies, and their navies failGod's curse can cast away ten thousand sail ! They trust in armies, and their courage dies; In wisdom, wealth, in fortune, and in lies ; But all they trust in withers, as it must, When He commands, in whom they place no trust. Vengeance at last pours down upon their coast A long-despis'd, but now victorious host; Tyranny sends the chain, that must abridge The noble sweep of all their privilege; Gives liberty the last, the mortal shock; Slips the slave's collar on, and snaps the lock,
A. Such lofty strains embellish what you teach, Mean
you to prophesy, or but to preach? B. I know the mind that feels indeed the fire The Muse imparts, and can command the lyre,
Acts with a force, and kindles with a real,
A. At Westminster, where little poets strive
B. Thus reputation is a spur to wit,
From him, who rears a poem lank and long, To him who strains his all into a song ; Perhaps some bonny Caledonian air, All birks and braes, though he was never there ; Or, having whelp'd a prologue with great pains, Feels himself spent, and fumbles for his brains ; A prologue interdash'd with many a stroke An art contriv'd to advertise a joke, So that the jest is clearly to be seen, Not in the words—but in the gap between : Manner is all in all, whate'er is writ, The substitute for genius, sense, and wit.
To dally much with subjects mean and low, Proves that the mind is weak, or makes it so. Neglected talents rust into decay, And ev'ry effort ends in push-pin play, The man that means success, should soar above A soldier's feather, or a lady's glove ; Else summoning the Muse to such a theme, The fruit of all her labour is whipp'd cream. As if an eagle flew aloft, and thenStoop'd from it's highest pitch to pounce a wren.
As if the poet, purposing to wed,
His conrt, the dissolute and hateful school, Should carve himself a wife in gingerbread.
Of Wantonness, where vice was taught by rule, Ages elaps'd ere Homer's lamp appear'd,
Swarm’d with a scribbling herd, as deep inlaid And ages ere the Mantuan swan was heard,
With brutal lust as ever Circe made. To carry nature lengths unknown before,
From these a long succession, in the rage To give a Milton birth, ask'd ages more.
Of rank obscenity, debauch'd their age; Thus Genius rose and set at order'd times,
Nor ceas'd, till, ever anxious to redress And shot a day.spring into distant climes,
The abuses of her sacred charge, the press, Ennobling ev'ry region that he chose ;
The Muse instructed a well-nurtur'd train He sunk in Greece, in Italy he rose ;
Of abler votaries to cleanse the stain, And tedious years of Gothic darkness pass'd,
And claim the palm for parity of song, Emerg'd all splendour in our isle at last.
That Lewdness had usurp'd and worn so long. Thus lovely halcyons dive into the main,
Then decent Pleasantry and sterling Sense, Then show far off their shining plumes again.
That neither gave nor would endure offence, A. Is genius only found in epic lays ?
Whipp'd out of sight, with satire just and keen, Prove this, and forfeit all pretence to praise.
The puppy pack, that had defil'd the scene. Make their heroic pow'rs your own at once,
In front of these came Addison. In him Or candidly confess yourself a dunce.
Humour in holiday and sightly trim, B. These were the chief: each interval of night Sublimity and Attic taste, combin'd, Was grac'd with many an undulating light,
To polish, furnish, and delight, the mind. In less illustrious bards his beauty shone
Then Pope, as harmony itself exact,
In verse well disciplin'd, complete, compact,
Levied a tax of wonder and applause,
But he (his musical finesse was such,
So nice his ear, so delicate his touch)
Made poetry a mere mechanic art;
Nature imparting her satiric gift,
Her serious mirth, to Arbuthnot and Swift, Language, above all teaching, or if taught,
With droll sobriety they rais'd a smile Only by gratitude and glowing thought,
At Folly's cost, themselves unmov'd the while. Elegant as simplicity, and warm
That constellation set, the world in vain As ecstasy, unmanacled by form,
Must hope to look upon their like again. Not prompted, as in our degen’rate days,
A. Are we then left?-B. Not wholly in the dark ; By low ambition and the thirst of praise,
Wit now and then, struck smartly, shows a spark, Was natural as is the flowing stream,
Sufficient to redeem the modern race And yet magnificent-A God the theme !
From total night and absolute disgrace. That theme on Earth exhausted, though above
While servile trick and imitative knack 'T is found as everlasting as his love,
Confine the million in the beaten track,
Snuffs up the wind, and flings himself abroad.
Contemporaries all surpass'd, see one ; The song was moral, and so far was right.
Short his career indeed, but ably run ; 'T was thus till Luxury seduc'd the mind
Churchill; himself, unconscious of his pow'rs, To joys less innocent, as less' retin'd;
In penury consum'd his idle hours; Then Genius danc'd a bacchanal; he crown'd
And, like a scatter'd seed at random sown, The brimming goblet, seiz'd the thyrsus, bound Was left to spring by vigour of his own. His brows with ivy, rush'd into the field
Lifted at length, by dignity of thought Of wild imagination, and there reelid,
And dint of genius, to an affluent lot,
He laid his head in Luxury's soft lap,
'T was negligence in him, not want of worth. When Cromwell fought for pow'r, and while he
Surly, and slovenly, and bold, and coarse, reign'd
Too proud for art, and trusting in mere force, The proud protector of the pow'r he gain'd,
Spendthrift alike of money and of wit, Religion, harsh, intolerant, austere,
Always at speed, and never drawing bit, Parent of manuers like herself severe,
He struck the lyre in such a careless mood, Drew a rough copy of the Christian face
And so disdain'd the rules he understood, Without the smile, the sweetness, or the grace ;
The laurel seem'd to wait on his command, The dark and sullen humour of the time
He snatch'd it rudely from the Muses' hand. Judg'd ev'ry effort of the Muse a crime;
Nature, exerting an unwearied pow'r, Verse, in the finest mould of fancy cast,
Forms, opens, and gives scent to ev'ry flow'r; Was lamber in an age so void of taste;
Spreads the fresh verdure of the field, and leads But when the second Charles assum'd the sway, The dancing Naiads through the dewy meads: And arts reviv'd beneath a softer day,
She fills profuse ten thousand little throats Then, like a bow long forc'd into a curve,
With music, modulating all their notes; The mind, releas'd from too constrain'd a nerve,
And charms the woodland scenes, and wilds upFlew to it's first position with a spring,
known, That made the vaulted roofs of pleasure ring.
With artless airs and concerts of her own:
But seldom (as if fearful of expense)
And tell the world, still kindling as he sung, Vouchsafes to man a poet's just pretence
With more than mortal music on his tongue, Fervency, freedom, fluency of thought,
That He, who died below, and reigns above, Harmony, strength, words exquisitely sought ; Inspires the song, and that his name is Love. Fancy, that from the bow, that spans the sky,
For, after all, if merely to beguile, Brings colours, dipp'd in Heav'n, that never die; By, flowing numbers and a flow'ry style, A soul exalted above Earth, a mind
The tædium that the lazy rich endure, Skill'd in the characters that form mankind;
Which now and then sweet poetry may cure; And, as the Sun in rising beauty dress'd,
Or, if to see the name of idle self, Looks to the westward from the dappled east, Stamp'd on the well-bound quarto, grace the shelf, And marks, whatever clouds may interpose,
To float a bubble on the breath of Fame, Ere yet his race begins, it's glorious close !
Prompt his endeavour and engage his aim, An eye like his to catch the distant goal;
Debas'd to servile purposes of pride, Or, ere the wheels of verse begin to roll,
How are the pow'rs of genius misapplied ! Like his to shed illuminating rays
The gift, whose office is the Giver's praise, On ev'ry scene and subject it surveys:
To trace him in his word, his works, his ways ! Thus grac'd, the man asserts a poet's name,
Then spread the rich discov'ry, and invite And the world cheerfully admits the claims.
Mankind to share in the divine delight, Pity Religion has so seldom found
Distorted from it's use and just design, A skilful guide into poetic ground!
To make the pitiful possessor shine. The flow'rs would spring where'er she deign'd to stray, To pnrchase, at the fool-frequented fair And ev'ry Muse attend her in her way.
Of vanity, a wreath for self to wear, Virtue indeed meets many a rhyming friend,
Is profanation of the basest kindAnd many a compliment politely penn'd;
Proof of a trifling and a worthless mind. But, unattir'd in that becoming vest
A. Hail Sterphold, then; and Hopkins, hail! Religion weaves for her, and half undress’d,
B. Amen. Stands in the desert, shiv'ring and forlorn,
If flattry, folly, lust, employ the pen ; A wintry figure, like a wither'd thorn.
If acrimony, slander, and abuse, The shelves are full, all other themes are sped; Give it a charge to blacken and traduce ; Hackney'd and worn to the last flimsy thread. Though Butler's wit, Pope's numbers, Prior's ease, Satire has long since done his best; and curst
With all that fancy can invent to please, And loathsome Ribaldry has done his worst;
Adorn the polish'd periods as they fall, Fancy has sported all her pow'rs away
One madrigal of theirs is worth them all. In tales, in trifles, and in children's play;
A. 'T would thin the ranks of the poetic tribe, And 't is the sad complaint, and almost true,
To dash the pen through all that you proscribe. Whate'er we write, we bring forth nothing new. B. No matter-we could shift when they were T were new indeed to see a bard all fire,
not ; Touch'd with a coal from Heav'n, assume the lyre, And should, no doubt, if they were all forgot.
Nam neque me tantum venientis sibilus austri,
VIRG. Eccl. y.
Though Nature weigh our talents, and dispense
And if it weigh th' importance of a fly,
There is a prurience in the speech of some,
Too of play,
A toy to sport with, and pass time away.
Infectious as impure, your blighting pow'r
Vociferated logic kills me quite, Taints in its rudiments the promis’d flow'r;
A noisy man is always in the right, It's odour perish’d, and it's charming hue,
I twirl my thumbs, fall back into a chair, Thenceforth 't is hateful, for it smells of you.
Fix on the wainscot a distressful stare, Not ev'n the vigorous and headlong rage
And, when I hope his blunders are all out, Of adolescence, or a firmer age,
Reply discreetly~" To be sure-no doubt!" Affords a plea allowable or just
Dubius is such a scrupulous good manFor making speech the pamperer of lust;
Yes-you may catch him tripping, if you can. But hen the breath of age commits the fault,
He would not with a peremptory tone, 'T is nauseous as the vapour of a vault.
Asgert the nose upon his face his own; So wither'd stumps disgrace the sylvan scene,
With hesitation admirably slow, No longer fraitful, and no longer green;
He humbly, hopes--presumes-it may be so. The sapless wood divested of the bark,
His evidence, if he were call'd by law Grows fungous, and takes fire at ev'ry spark.
To swear to some enormity he saw, Oaths terminate, as Paul observes, all strife
For want of prominence and just relief, Some men have surely then a peaceful life:,
Would hang an honest man, and save a thief. Whatever subject occupy discourse,
Through constant dread of giving truth offence, The feats of Vestris, or the naval force,
He ties ap all his hearers in suspense; Asseveration blust'ring in your face
Knows what he knows, as if he knew it not; Makes contradiction such a hopeless case:
What he remembers seems to have forgot; In ev'ry tale tirey tell, or false or true,
His sole opinion, whatsoe'er befall, Well known, or such as no man ever knew,
Centring at last in having none at all. ney fix attention, heedless of your pain,
Yet, though he tease and balk your list’ning ear, With oaths like rivets forc'd into the brain;
He makes one useful point exceeding clear ; And ev'n when sober truth prevails throughout, Howe'er ingenious on his darling theme They swear it, till affirmance breeds a doubt.
A sceptic in philosophy may seem, A Persian, humble servant of the Sun,
Reduc'd to practice, his beloved rule Who, though devout, yet bigotry, had none,
Would only prove him a consummate fool; Hearing a lawyer, grave in his address,
Useless in him alike both brain and speech, With adjurations ev'ry word impress,
Fate having plac'd all truth above his reach, Suppos'd the man a bishop, or at least,
His ambiguities his total sum, God's name so much upon his lips, a priest;
He might as well be blind, and deaf, and dumb. Bow'd at the close with all his graceful airs,
Where men of judgment creep, and feel theis And begg'd an intrest in his frequent pray’rs.
way, Go, quit the rank to which ye stood preferrd, The positive pronounce without dismay; Henceforth associate in one common herd;
Their want of light and intellect supplied Religion, virtue, reason, common sense,
By sparks absurdity strikes out of pride. Pronounce your human form a false pretence ;
Without the means of knowing right from wrong, A mere disguise, in which a devil lurks,
They always are decisive, clear, and strong ; Who yet betrays his secret by his works.
Where others toil with philosophic force, Ye pow'rs who rule the tongue, if such there
Their nimble nonsense takes a shorter course; are,
Flings at your head conviction in the Jump, And make colloquial happiness your care,
And gains remote conclusions at a jump: Preserve me from the thing I dread and hate,
Their own defect, invisible to them, A duel in the form of a debate.
Seen in another, they at once condemn; The clash of arguments and jar of words,
And, though self-idoliz'd in ev'ry case, Worse than the mortal brunt of rival swords,
Hate their own likeness in a brother's face. Decide no question with their tedious length,
The canse is plain, and not to be denied, For opposition gives opinion strength,
The proud are always most provok'd by pride. Divert the champions prodigal of breath,
Few competitions but engender spite; And put the peaceably.dispos’d to death.
And those the most, where neither has a right. O thwart me not, Sir Soph, at ev'ry turn,
The point of honour has been deem'd of use, Nor carp at ev'ry flaw you may discern;
To teach good manners, and to curb abuse; Though syllogisms hang not on my tongue,
Admit it true, the consequence is clear, I am not surely always in the wrong;
Our polish'd manners are a mask we wear, 'T is hard if all is false that I advance,
And, at the bottom barb'rous still and rude, A fool must now and then be right by chance. We are restrain'd, indeed, but not subdu'd. Not that all freedom of dissent I blame;
The very remedy, however sure, No-there I grant the privilege I claim ;
Springs from the mischief it intends to care,
in it's principle appears,
'T is hard, indeed, if nothing will defend To brush the surface, and to make it flow;
Mankind from quarrels but their fatal end; But still remember, if you mean to please,
That now and then a hero must decease, To press your point with modesty and ease.
That the surviving world may live in peace. The mark, at which my juster aim I take,
Perhaps at last close scrutiny may show Is contradiction for it's own dear sake.
The practice dastardly, and mean, and low; Set your opinion at whatever pitch,
That men engage in it compellid by force, Knots and impediments make something hitch ; And fear, not courage, is it's proper source: Adopt his owu, 't is equally in vain,
The fear of tyrant custom, and the fear Your thread of argument is spapp'd again;
Lest fops should censure us, and fools should sheer. The wrangler, rather than accord with you,
At least to trample on our Maker's laws, Will judge himself deceiv'd, and prove it too.
And bazard life for any or no cause,
To rush into a fix'd eternal state
A story, in which native humour reigns,
But are we so to wit and beauty blind,
Th’emphatic speaker dearly loves l'oppose,
I cannot talk with civet in the room,
A graver coxcomb we may sometimes see,
Some men employ their health, an ugly trick,
“Sir! I believe it on that ground alone;
A tale should be judicious, clear, succinct;
Tbe pipe, with soletnn interposing puff,
Their peevish hearers almost wish they had.
Some fretful tempers wince at ev'ry touch, You always do too little, or too much : You speak with life, in hopes to entertain, Your elevated voice goes through the brain;