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A verse was weak, you turn it, much too strong,
of every one deserve the praise ?
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 All, except trivial points, grew out of date; Parnassus spoke the cant of Billingsgate : Boundless and mad, disorder'd rhyme was seen : Disguis'd Apollo chang'd to Harlequin.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 ;
may be pleas’d to hear ;
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.
Observe the language well in all
That on your
Fantastic wits their darling follies love ;
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.