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SONG.

T

To a SCOTCH TUNE.

THE BIRKS OF ENDER MAY.

I.

HE fmiling morn, the breathing spring,
Invite the tuneful birds to fing:

And while they warble from each spray,
Love melts the univerfal lay.

Let us, Amanda, timely wife,
Like them improve the hour that flies
And, in foft raptures, wafte the day,
Among the shades of Endermay.

II.

For foon the winter of the year,
And age, life's winter, will appear :
At this, thy living bloom muft fade;
As that will strip the verdant fhade.
Our taste of pleasure then is o'er;
The feather'd fongfters love no more:
And when they droop, and we decay,
Adieu the fhades of Endermay!

OF

OF VERBAL CRITICISM.

ADVERTISEMENT TO THE Ift AND 2d EDITIONS. AS the defign of the following poem is to rally the abuse of Verbal Criticism, the author could not, without manifest partiality, overlook the Editor of Mil. ton, and the Reftorer of Shakespeare. With regard to the latter, he has read over the many and ample fpecimens with which that Scholiaft has already obliged the publick and of these, and thefe only, he pretends to give his opinion. But, whatever he may think of the Critic, not bearing the leaft ill-will to the Man, he deferred printing thefe verfes, though written feveral months ago, till he heard that the fubfcription. for a new edition of Shakespeare was closed.

:

He begs leave to add likewife, that this poem was undertaken and written entirely without the knowledge of the Gentleman to whom it is addreffed. Only as it is a public testimony of his inviolable efteem for Mr. Pope, on that account, particularly, he wishes, it may not be judged to increafe the number of mean performances, with which the town is almost daily pestered.

A

MONG the numerous fools, by fate design'd

Oft todisturb, and oft divert, mankind,

The Reading Coxcomb is of special note,
By rule a Poet, and a Judge by rote:

Grave fon of idle Industry and Pride,

Whom learning but perverts, and books mifguide.
O fam'd for judging, as for writing well,
That rareft fcience, where fo few excel;

Whofe

Whofe life, feverely scann'd, tranfcends thy lays,
For wit fupreme is but thy fecond praise :

'Tis thine, O Pope, who chuse the better part,
To tell how falfe, how vain, the Scholiaft's art,
Which nor to tafte, nor genius has pretence,
And, if 'tis learning, is not common sense.
In error obftinate, in wrangling loud,
For trifles eager, pofitive, and proud;
Deep in the darkness of dull authors bred,
With all their refuse lumber'd in his head,
What every dunce from every dunghill drew
Of literary offals, old or new,

Forth steps at last the self-applauding wight,
Of points and letters, chaff and straws, to write :
Sagely refolv'd to fwell each bulky piece

With venerable toys, from Rome and Greece;
How oft, in Homer, Paris curl'd his hair;
If Ariftotle's cap were round or square;
If in the cave, were Dido first was sped,
To Tyre fhe turn'd her heels, to Troy her head.
Such the choice anecdotes, profound and vain,
That ftore a Bentley's and a Burman's brain :
Hence, Plato quoted, or the Stagyrite,

To prove that flame afcends, and fnow is white :
Hence, much hard ftudy, without fenfe or breeding,
And all the grave impertinence of reading.

ΤΟ

15

20

25

30

If Shakespeare fays, the noon-day fun is bright, 35
His Scholiaft will remark, it then was light;
Turn Caxton, Winkin, each old Goth and Hun,
To rectify the reading of a pun.

Thus

Thus, nicely trifling, accurately dull,

How one may toil, and toil-to be a fool!

But is there then no honour due to age?

4.0

Ne reverence to great Shakespeare's noble page?
And he, who half a life has read him o'er,
His mangled points and commas to restore,
Meets he fuch flight regard in nameless lays,
Whom Bufo treats, and Lady Woud-be pays?
Pride of his own, and wonder of this age,
Who first created, and yet rules, the stage,
Bold to defign, all-powerful to express,
Shakespeare each paffion drew in every dress:
Great above rule, and imitating none;

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Rich without borrowing, Nature was his own.
Yet is his fenfe debas'd by grofs allay:

As gold in mines lies mix'd with dirt and clay.

Now, eagle-wing'd, his heavenward flight he takes ;
The big ftage thunders, and the foul awakes:
Now, low on earth, a kindred reptile creeps;
Sad Hamlet quibbles, and the hearer fleeps.

Such was the Poet: next the Scholiaft view;
Faint though the colouring, yet the features true.
Condemn'd to dig and dung a barren foil,
Where hardly tares will grow with care and toil,
He, with low induftry, goes gleaning on

From good, from bad, from mean, neglecting none:
His brother book-worm fo, in shelf or ftall,
Will feed alike on Woolfton and on Paul,
By living clients hopeless now of bread,
He pettyfogs a fcrap from authors dead :

M

56

60

65

See

See him on Shakespeare pore, intent to steal
Poor farce, by fragments, for a third-day meal.
Such that grave bird in northern feas is found,
Whose name a Dutchman only knows to sound.
Where-e'er the king of fish moves on before,
This humble friend attends from fhore to shore:
With eye still earnest, and with bill inclin'd,
He picks up what his patron drops behind;
With thofe choice cates his palate to regale,
And is the careful Tibbald of a whale.

Bleft genius! who bettows his oil and pains
On each dull paffage, each dull book contains;
The toil more grateful, as the task more low:
So carrion is the quarry of a crow.
Where his fam'd author's page is flat and poor,
There, moft exact the reading to restore;
By dint of plodding, and by sweat of face,
A bull to change, a blunder to replace :
Whate'er is refufe critically gleaning,
And mending nonsense into doubtful meaning.

70

75

80

85

For

V.78. This remarkable bird is called the Strundt-Jager. Here you fee how he purchases his food: and the fame author, from whom this account is taken, tells us farther how he comes by his drink. You may see him, adds the Dutchman, frequently pursuing a fort of feamew, called Kulge-Gehef, whom he torments inceftantly to make him void an excrement; which being liquid, ferves him, I imagine, for drink. See a Collection of Voyages to the North.

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