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Would you

A verse was weak, you turn it, much too strong,
And grow obscure for fear you should be long.
Some are not gaudy, but are flat and dry ;
Not to be low, another foars too high.

of every one deserve the praise ?
In writing, vary your discourse and phrase ;
A frozen style that neither ebbs nor flows,
Instead of pleasing, makes us gape and doze.
Those tedious authors are esteem'd by none
Who tire us, humming the same heavy tone.
Happy who in his verse can gently steer,
From grave to light; from pleasant to severe;
His works will be admir'd where-ever found,
And oft with buyers will be compass’d round.
In all you write, be neither low nor vile :
The meanest theme may have a proper style..

The dull burlesque appear’d with impudence, And pleas’d by novelty in spite of sense. All, except trivial points, grew out of date; Parnassus spoke the cant of Billingsgate : Boundless and mad, disorder'd rhyme was seen : Disguis'd Apollo chang'd to Harlequin. This plague, which first in country towns began, Cities and kingdoms quickly over-ran; The dullest scribblers some admirers found, And the Mock Tempest was a while renown'd : But this low stuff the town at last despis’d, And fcorn’d the folly that they once had priz’d; Distinguish'd dull from natural and plain, And left the villages to Fleckno's reign.

Let not so mean a style your Muse debale ;
But learn from Butler the buffooning grace:
And let burlesque in ballads be enoploy’d;
Yet noisy bombast carefully avoid,
Nor think to raise, though on Pharfalia's plain,
“ Millions of mourning mountains of the slain :"
Nor with Dubartas bridle up the floods,
And perriwig with wool the baldpate woods.
Chufe a just style ; be grave without constraint,
Great without pride, and lovely without paint:
Write what


may be pleas’d to hear ;
And for the measure have a careful ear.
On easy numbers fix your happy choice :
Of jarring founds avoid the odious noise :
The fullest verse and the most labour'd sense,
Displease us, if the ear once take offence.
Our ancient verse, as homely as the times,
Was rude, unmeasur’d, only tagg’d with rhymes ;
Number and cadence that have since been shown,
To those unpolish'd writers were unknown.
Fairfax was he, who, in that darker age,
By his just rules restrain d poetic rage;
Spenser did next in patorals excel,
And taught the nobler art of writing well :
To stricter rules the stanza did restrain,
And found for poetry a richer vein.
Then Davenant came; who, with a new-found art,
Chang'd all, spoil'd all, and had his way apart;
His laughty Muse all others did despise,
And thought in triumph to bear off the prize,

Till the sharp-fighted critics of the times In their Mock-Gondibert expos’d his rhymes ; The laureis he pretended did refute, And dash'd the hopes of his afpiring Muse. This headitrong writer falling from on high, Made following authors take less liberty. Waller came laft, but was the first whose art, Just weight and measure did to verse impart ; That of a well-plac'd word could teach the force, And Thew'd for poetry a nobler course : His happy genius did our tongue rcfine, And easy words with pleasing numbers join : His verses to good method did apply, And chang'd hard discord to soft harmony. All own'd his laws; which, long approv'd and try’d, To present authors now may be a guide. Tread boidly in his steps, secure from fear, And be, like him, in your expressions clear. If in your verse you drag, and sense delay, My patience tires, iny fancy goes astray ; And from your vain discourse I turn my mind, Nor search an author troublesome to find. There is a kind of writer pleas’d with sound, Whose fultian head with clouds is compass”d round, No reason can disperse them with its light : Learn then to think ere you pretend to write. As your

idea's clear, or else obscure, Th’expreilion follows perfect or impure : What we conceive with ease we can express; Words to the notions flow with readiness.


you write,


Observe the language well in all
And swerve not from it in your loftielt flight.
The smootheft verse and the exacteft sense
Displease us, if ill English give offence :
A barbarous phrase no reader can approve;
Nor bombast, noise, or affectation love.
In short, without pure language, what write
Can never yield us profit or delight.
Take time for thinking; never work in haste;
And value not yourself for writing fast.
A rapid poem, with such fury writ,
Shews want of judgment, not abounding wit.
More pleas'd we are to see a river lead
His gentle streams along a flowery mead,
Than from high banks to hear loud torrents roar,
With foamy waters on a muddy shore.
Gently make halte, of labour not afraid :
A hundred times consider what you 've said :
Polish, repolish, every colour lay,
And sometimes, add, but oftener take away.
'Tis not enough when swarming faults are writ,
That here and there are scatter'd sparks of wit;
Each object must be fix'd in the due place,
And differing parts have corresponding grace :
Till, by a curious art dispos’d, we find
One perfect whole, of all the pieces join'd.
Keep to your subject close in all you say;
Nor for a founding fentence ever stray.
The public cenfure for your writings fear,
And to yourself be critic most severe.


That on your

Fantastic wits their darling follies love ;
But find you faithful friends that will approve,

works inay

look with careful eyes, And of your faults be zealous enemies : Lay by an author's pride and vanity, And from a friend a flatterer descry, Who seems to like, but means not what he says: Embrace true counsel, but fufpect false praise. A sycophant will every thing admire : Each verse, each sentence, fets his soul on fire : All is divine ! there's not a word amiss ! He shakes with joy, and weeps with tenderness, He overpowers you with his mighty praise. Truth never moves in those impetuous ways : A faithful friend is carcful of

your fame, And freely will your heedless errors blame; He cannot pardon a negle&ted line, But verse to rule and order will confine. Reprove of words the too-affected sound; Here the sense flags, and your expression's round, Your fancy tires, and your discourse Your terms improper, inake them just and plain. Thus 'uis a faithful friend will freedom use; But authors, partial to their darling Muse, Think to protect it they have just pretence, And at your friendly counsel take offence. Said

you of this, that the expression's flat? Your fervant, fir, you must excuse me that, He answers you. This word has here no grace, Pray leave it out: That, fir, 's the properest place.

grows vain,

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