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The book thus put in every vulgar hand,
What then remains, but, waving each extreme,
Neither so rich a treasure to forego ;
Thus have I made my own opinions clear :
THE ART OF POETRY.
HIS translation of monsieur Boileau's Art of
Poetry was made in the year 1680, by Sir William Soame of Suffolk, Baronet ; who being very intimately acquainted with Mr. Dryden, desired his revisal of it. I saw the manuseript lie in Mr. Dryden's hands for above six months, who made very confiderable alterations in it, particularly the beginning of the fourth Canto : and it being his opinion that it would be better to apply the poem to English writers, than keep to the French names, as it was first translated, Sir William desired he would take the pains to make that alteration; and accordingly that was entirely done by Mr. Dryden.
The poem was first published in the year 1683 ; Sir William was after fent ambassador to Constantinople, in the reign of king James, but died in the voyage.
C Α Ν Τ ο Ι.
ASH author, 'tis a vain presumptuous crime,
To undertake the sacred art of rhyme ; If at thy birth the stars that ruld thy sense Shone not with a poetic influence ;
In thy strait genius thou wilt Aill be bound,
You then that burn with the desire to try
Nature abounds in wits of every kind,
write of pleasant or sublime,
But if neglected will as easily stray,
write Borrow from her its beauty, force, and light. Most writers mounted on a resty Muse, Extravagant and senseless objects chule ; They think they err, if in their verse they fall On any thought that's plain or natural : Fly this excess ; and let Italians be Vain authors of false glittering poetry. All ought to aim at sense ; but most in vain Strive the hard pass and slippery path to gain : You drown, if to the right or left you stray ; Reason to
has often but one way.
go Sometimes an author, fond of his own thought, Pursues its object till it's over-wrought : If he describes a house, he shews the face, And after walks you round froin place to place ; Here is a vista, there the doors unfold, Balconies here are ballustred with gold; Then counts the rounds and ovals in the halls, “ The festoons, freezes, and the astragals:” Tir'd with his tedious pomp, away I run, And skip o'er twenty pages to be gone. Of such descriptions the vain folly fee, And shun their barren fuperfluity. All that is needless carefully avoid ; The mind once satisfy'd is quickly cloy'd : He cannot write who knows not to give o'er; To mend one fault, he makes a hundred more :