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And sure if aught below the seats divine
In vain to deserts thy retreat is made,
JAMES CRAGGS, ESQ.
SECRETARY OF STATE. 1720. A soul, as full of worth as void of pride, Which nothing seeks to show, or needs to hide, Which nor to guilt nor fear its caution owes, And boasts a warmth that from no passion flows. A face untaught to feign; a judging eye, That darts severe upon a rising lie, And strikes a blush through frontless fiattery. S
All this thou wert; and being this before,
MR. JERVAS, WITH MR. DRYDEN'S TRANSLATION OF FRESNOY'S
ART OF PAINTING'. This verse be thine, my friend! nor thou refuse This from no venal or ungrateful Muse. Whether thy hand strike out some free design, Where life awakes, and dawns at every line, Or blend in beauteous tints the colour'd mass, And from the canvass call the mimic face; Read these instructive leaves, in which conspire Fresnoy's close art and Dryden's native fire; And reading wish, like theirs, our fate and fame, So mix'd our studies, and so join'd our name; Like them to shine through long succeeding age, So just thy skill, so regular my rage. Smit with the love of sister-arts we came, And met congenial, mingling flame with flame;
1 This epistle, and the two following, were written some years before the rest, and originally printed in 1717.
Like friendly colours found them both unite,
How finish'd with illustrious toil appears This small well-polish'd gem, the work of 2 years ! Yet still how faint by precept is express'd The living image in the painter's breast ! Thence endless streams of fair ideas flow, Strike in the sketch, or in the picture glow; Thence beauty, waking all her forms, supplies An angel's sweetness, or Bridgewater's eyes.
? Fresnoy employed above 20 years in finishing his poem. Muse! at that same thy sacred sorrows shed Those tears eternal that embalm the dead; Call round her tomb each object of desire, Each parer frame inform'd with parer fire; Bid her be all that cheers or softens life, The tender sister, daughter, friend, and wife; Bid her be all that makes mankind adore, Then view this marble, and be vain no more!
Yet still her charms in breatbing paint engage, Her modest cheek shall warm a future age. Beauty, frail flow'r, that every season fears, Blooms in thy colours for a thousand years. Thus Churchill's race shall other hearts surprise, And other beauties enry Worsley's eyes; Each pleasing Blount shall endless smiles bestow, And soft Belinda's blush for ever glow.
0! lasting as those colours may they shine! Free as thy stroke, yet faultless as thy line : New graces yearly like thy works display, Soft without weakness, without glaring gay: Led by some rule that guides, but not constrains, And finish'd more through happiness than pains. The kindred arts shall in their praise conspire, One dip the pensil, and one string the lyre. Yet should the Graces all thy figures place, And breathe an air divine on every face; Yet should the Muses bid my numbers roll Strong as their charms, and gentle as their soul; With Zeuxis' Helen thy Bridgewater vie, And these be sung till Granville's Myra die: Alas! how little from the grave we claim ! Theu but preservist a face, and I a vame.
TO MISS BLOUNT. WITH THE WORKS OF VOITURE. 1717. In these gay thoughts the loves and graces shine, And all the writer lives in every line; His easy art may happy pature seem; Trifles themselves are elegant in him. Sure to charm all was his peculiar fate, Who without flattery pleas'd the fair and great; Still with esteem no less conyers'd than read; With wit well-natur'd, and with books well-bred : His heart, his mistress and his friend did share, His time, the Muse, the witty and the fair. Thus wisely careless, innocently gay, Cheerful he play'd the trifle life away; Till fate scarce felt his gentle breath suppress'd, As smiling infants sport themselves to rest. Ev'o rival wits did Voiture's death deplore, And the gay mourn'd who never mourn'd before ; The truest hearts for Voiture heav'd with sighs ; Voiture was wept by all the brightest eyes : The smiles and loves bad died in Voiture's death, But that for ever in his lines they breathe.
Let the strict life of graver mortals be A long, exact, and serious comedy ; In every scene some moral let it teach, And, if it can, at once both please and preach : Let mine an innocent gay farce appear, And more diverting still than regular; Have humour, wit, a native ease and grace, Though not too strictly bound to time and place. Critics in wit or life are hard to please ; Few write to those, and none can live to these.