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But still, while virtue kindled his delight,
The song was moral, and so far was right.
Twas thus till Luxury seduc'd the mind

To joys less innocent, as less refin’d;
Then Genius danc'd a bacchanal ; he crown'd
The brimming goblet, seiz'd the thyrsus, bound
His brows with ivy, rush'd into the field
Of wild imagination, and there réeld,

The victim of his own lascivious fires,
And, dizzy with delight, profan'd the sacred wires. ·
Anacreon, Horace, play'd in Greece and Rome
This bedlam part, and others nearer home.
When Cromwell fought for pow'r, and while he reign'd
The proud protector of the power he gaind,

Religion harsh, intolerant, austere,
Parent of manners like herself severe,
Drew a rough copy of the Christian face,
Without the smile, the sweetness, or the grace ;
The dark and sullen humour of the time
Judy'd ev'ry effort of the muse a crime;
Verse, in the finest mould of fancy cast,
Was lumber in an age so void of taste :
But when the second Charles assum'd the sway, 620
And arts reviv'd beneath a softer day,
Then like a bow long forc'd into a curve,
The mind, releas'd from too constrain'd a nerve,
Flew to its first position with a spring,
That made the vaulted roofs of Pleasure ring. 625
His court, the dissolute and hateful school
Or Wantonness, where vice was taught by rule,
Swarm'd with a scribbling herd, as deep inlaid
With brutal lust as ever Circe made.
From these a long succession, in a rage

Of rank obscenity debauch'd their age :
Nor ceas'd till ever anxious to redress
I he abuses of her sacred charge, the pirnos,
Tie muse instructed a well-nurtur'd train
Of abler votaries to cleanse the stain,


And claim the palm for purity of song,
That Lewdness had usurp'd and worn so long.
Then decent Pleasantry, and sterling Sense,
Tiat neither gave nor would endure offence,
Whipp'd out of sight, with satire just and keen, 640
The puppy pack, that had defild the scene.

In front of these came Addison. In him
Ilumour in holiday and sightly trim,
Sublimity and attick taste combin'd,
To polish, furnish, and delight the mind.

Then Pope, as harmony itself exact,
In verse well disciplin'd, complete, compact,
Gave virtue and morality a grace,
That quite eclipsing Pleasure's painted face,
Levied a tax of wonder and applause,

650 E'en on the fools that trampled on their laws. But he, (his musical finesse was such, So nice his ear, so delicate his touch,) Made poetry a mere mechanick art; And ev'ry warbler has his tune by heart.

655 Nature imparting her satirick gift, Her serious mirth, to Arbuthnot and Swift, With droll sobriety they rais'd a smile At Foily's cost, themselves unmov'd the while. That constellation set, the world in vain

660 Must hope to look upon their like again.

A. Are we then left-B. Not wholly in the dark ;
Wit now and then, struck smartly, shows a spark,
Sufficient to redeem the modern race
From total night and absolute disgrace.

While servile trick and imitative knack
Confine the million in the beaten track.
Perhaps some courser, who disdains the road,
Snuffs up the wind, and flings himself'abroad.
Contemporaries all surpass'd, see one ;

670 Short his career, indeed, but ably run ; Churchill, himself unconscious of his powits, In penury consumid bis id'e hours ;

And like a scatter'd seed at random sown,
Was left to spring by vigour of his own.

Lifted at length, by dignity of thought
And dint of genius to an affluent lot,
He laid his head in Luxury's soft lap,
And took, too often, there his easy nap.
If brighter beams than all he threw not forth, 600
'Twas negligence in him, not want of worth.
Surly, and slovenly, and bold, and coarse,
Too proud for art, and trusting in mere force,
Spendthrift alike of money and of wit,
Always at speed, and never drawing bit,

685 He struck the lyre in such a careless mood, And so disdain'd the rules he understood, The laurel seem'd to wait on his command, He snatch'd it rudely from the muses' hand. Nature, exorting an unwearied pow'r,

690 Forms, opens, and gives scent to ev'ry flower ; Spreads the fresh verdure of the field, and leads The dancing Naiads through the dewy meads. She fills profuse ten thousand little throats With musick, modulating all their notes;

695 And charms the woodland scenes, and wilds unknown, With artless airs and concerts of her own; But seldom, (as if fearful of expense,) Vouchsafes to man a poet's just pretence Fervency, freedomn, fluency of thought,

700 Harmony, strength, words exquisitely sought ; Fancy, that from the bow that spans the sky, Brings colours dipp'd in Heav'n, that never die ; A soul exalted above earth, a mind Skill'd in the characters that form mankind; 705 And as the sun in rising beauty dressid, Looks to the westward from the dappled east, And marks whatever clouds rmy interposo, Ere yet his race begins, its glorious close ; And eye like his to catch the distant goal ; iso Or, ere the wheels of verge begin to roll,

Like his to shed illuminating rays
On ev'ry scene and subject it surveys :
Thus grac'd, the man asserts a poet's name,
And the world cheerfully admits the claim. 715

Pity Religion has so seldom found,
A skilful guide into poetick ground!
The flow'rs would spring where'er she deign'd to stray
And ev'ry muse attend her in her way.
Virtue indeed, meets many a rhyming friend, 720
And many a compliment politely penn'd;
But, unattir'd in that becoming vest
Roligion weaves for her, and half undress'd,
Stands in the desert, shiv'ring and forlorn,
A wintry figure, like a wither'd thorn.

725 The shelves are full, all other themes are sped; Hackney'd and worn to the last flimsy thread, Satire has long since done his best ; and curst And loathsome ribaldry has done his worst ; Fancy has sported all her pow'rs away

730 In tales, in trifles, and in children's play ; And 'tis the sad complaint, and almost true, Whate'er we write, we bring forth nothing new. T'were new indeed to see a bard all fire, Touch'd with a coal from Heav'n, assume the lyre, 7:15 And tell the world, still kindling as he sung, With more than mortal musick on his tongue, That He, who died below, and reigns above, Inspires the song, and that his name is Love. For, after all, if merely to beguile,

740 By flowing numbers, and a flow'ry style, The tedium that the lazy rich endure, Which now and then sweet poetry may cure Or, if to see the name of idle self, Stamp'd on the well-bound quarto, grace the shelf, 745 To float a bubble on the breath of Fame, Prompt tis endeavour and engage his aim, Dobas'd to servile purposes of pride, How ar. the pow'rs of genius misapplied !

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The gift whose office is the Giver's praise, 750
To trace him in his word, his works, his waye!
Then spread the rich discov'ry, and invite
Mankind to share in the divine delight,
Distorted from its use and just design,
To make the pitiful possessor shine,

To purchase at the fool-frequented fair
Of Vanity, a wreath for self to wear,
Is profanation of the basest kind
Proof of a trifling and a worthless mind.

759 A. Hail, Sternhold, then; and, Hopkins, hail !-B. If flatt’ry, folly, lust, employ the pen; (Amen. If acrimony, slander, and abuse, Give it a charge to blacken and traduce ; Though Butler's wit, Pope's numbers, Prior's case, With all that fancy can invent to please,

765 Adorn the polish'd periods as they fall, One madrigal of theirs is worth them all.

4. 'Twould thin the ranks of the poetick tribe, To dash the pen through all that you proscribe.

B. No matter-we could shift when they were not ; And should, no dc ubt, if they were all forgot.


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