Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

expose myself, as it is in the power of any other to expose them. In the first place, I thank God and nature, that I was born with a love to poetry; for nothing more conduces to fill up all the intervals of our time, or, if rightly used, to make the whole course of life entertaining: Cantantes licet usque (minus via lædet.) 'Tis a vast happiness to possess the pleasures of the head, the only pleasures in which a man is sufficient to himself, and the only part of him which, to his fatisfaction, he can employ all day long. The Muses are amicæ omnium horarum; and, like our gay acquaintance, the best company in the world as long as one expects no real service from them. I confess there was a time when I was in love with myself, and my first productions were the children of self love upon innocence. I had made an Epic Poem, and Panegyrics on all the Princes in Europe, and thought myself the greatest genius that ever was. I can't but regret those delightful visions of my childhood, which, like the fine colours we see wh our eyes are shut, are vanished for ever. Many tryals and sad experience have fo undeceived inė by degrees, that I am utterly at a loss at what rate to value myself. As for fame I shall be glad of any I can get, and not repine at any I miss ; and as for vanity, I have enough to keep me from hanging myself, or even from wishing those hanged who would take it away. It was this that made me write. The sense of my faults made me cor

rect: besides that it was as pleasant to me to correct as to write.

At p.vii. 1.9. In the first place I own that I have used my best endeavours to the finishing these pieces. That I made what advantage I could of the judgment of authors dead and living; and that I omitted no means in my power to be informed of my errors by my friends and my enemies. And that I expect no favour on account of my youth, business, want of health, or any fuch idle excuses. But the true reason they are not yet more correct is owing to the confideration how short a time they, and I, have to live. A man that can expect but fixty years may be ashamed to employ thirty in measuring fyllables and bringing sense and rhyme together. We spend our youth in pursuit of riches or fame, in hopes to enjoy them when we are old; and when we are old, we find it is too late to enjoy any thing. I therefore hope the Wits will pardon me, if I reserve some of my time to fave my soul; and that some wise men will be of my opinion, even if I should think a part of it better spent in the enjoyments of life than in pleasing the critics,

On Mr. POPE and his Poems,

By His GRACE

RACE

TOHN SHEFFIÉ LD,

Duke of BUCKINGHAM,

W

I TH Age decay’d, with Courts and

bus'ness tir'd, Caring for nothing but what Ease requir’d; Too dully serious for the Muse's sport, And from the Critics safe arriv'd in Port; I little thought of launching forth agen, 5 Amidst advent'rous Rovers of the Pen ; And after so much undeserv'd success, Thus hazarding at last to make it less.

Encomiums suit not this censorious time, Itself a Subject for satiric rhyme ; 10 Ignorance honour'd, Wit and Worth defam’d, Folly triumphant, and ev’n Homer blam' !

But to this Genius, join’d with so much Art, Such various Learning mix'd in ev'ry part, i

Poets are bound a loud applause to pay; 15 Apollo bids it, and they must obey.

And yet so wonderful, sublime a thing, As the great ILIAD, scarce could make me fing; Except I justly could at once commend A good Companion, and as firm a Friend. 20 One moral, or a mere well-natur’d deed Can all desert in Sciences exceed.

'Tis great delight to laugh at some mens ways, But a much greater to give Merit praise.

[ocr errors]

To Mr. POPE, on his Pastorals. :

TN these more dull, as more cenforious days,
1 When few dare give, and fewer merit praise,
A Muse fincere, that never Flatt’ry knew,
Pays what to friendship and desert is due.
Young, yet judicious ; in your verse are found 5
Art strength’ning Nature, Sense improv'd bySound,
Unlike those Wits, whose numbers glide along
So sinooth, no thought e’er interrupts the song:
Laboriously enervate they appear,
And write not to the head, but to the ear : 10

[ocr errors]

Our minds unmov'd and unconcern’d they lull,
And are at best most musically dull:
So purling streams with even murmurs creep,
And hush the heavy hearers into sleep.
As smoothest speech is most deceitful found, 15
The fmoothest numbers oft are empty sound.
But Wit and Judgment join at once in you,
Sprightly as Youth, as Age consummate too :
Your strains are regularly bold, and please )
With unforc'd care, and unaffected ease, 203
With proper thoughts, and lively images:
Such as by Nature to the Antients shewn,
Fancy improves, and judgment makes your own:
For great mens fashions to be follow'd are, '.
Altho' disgraceful 'tis their clothes to wear. 25
Some in a polish'd style write Pastoral,
Arcadia speaks the language of the Mall;
Like some fair Shepherdess, the Sylvan Muse,
Should wear those flow'rs her native fields produce;
And the true measure of the shepherd's wit 30
Should, like his garb, be for the Country fit: .
Yet must his pure and unaffected thought
More nicely than the common swain’s be wrought.
So, with becoming art, the Players dress
In filks the shepherd, and the shepherdess; 35

'

« ПредишнаНапред »