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Of comments and disputes, ridiculous and vain,

All of old cut with a new dye:

How soon have you restor'd her charms
And rid her of her lumber and her books,
Drest her again genteel and neat,

And rather tight than great!
How fond we are to court her to our arms

How much of heaven is in her naked looks!


Thus the deluding Muse oft blinds me to her ways,

And ev’n my very thoughts transfers
And changes all to beauty and the praise

Of that proud tyrant sex of bers.
The rebel Muse, alas ! takes part

But with my own rebellious heart,
And you with fatal and immortal wit conspire

To fan th’ unhappy fire.

Cruel unknown! what is it you intend ? Ah! could you, could you hope a poet for your

friend! Rather forgive what my first transport said : May all the blood, which shall by woman's scorn

be shed, Lie upon you and on your children's head! For you (ah! did I think I e'er should live to see

The fatal time when that could be!)
Have ev'n increas'd their pride and cruelty.
Woman seems now above all vanity grown,

Still boasting of her great unknown
Platonic champions, gain'd without one female

Or the vast charges of a smile;

Which 'tis a shame to see how much of late

You've taught the covetous wretches to o’errate, And which they've now the consciences to weigh

In the same balance with our tears, And with such scanty wages pay

The bondage and the slavery of years, Let the vain sex dream on; the empire comes

from us;

And had they common generosity,

They would not use thus.
Well-though you've rais'd her to this high

Ourselves are rais'd as well as she;
And, spite of all that they or you can do,
'Tis pride and happiness enough to me,
Still to be of the same exalted sex with you.


Alas, how fleeting and how vain,
Is ev'n the nobler man, our learning and our wit!

I sigh whene'er I think of it:
As at the closing of an unhappy scene

Of some great king and conqueror's death,

When the sad melancholy Muse
Stays but to catch his utmost breath.
I grieve, this nobier work most happily begun
Șo quickly and so wonderfully carry'd on,
May fall at last to interest, folly, and abuse.

There is a noontide in our lives,

Which still the sooner it arrives, Although we boast our winter sun looks bright, And foolishly are glad to see it at its height, Yet so much sooner comes the long and gloomy night.


No conquest ever yet begun, And by one mighty hero carried to its height, E'er flourish'd under a successor or a son; It lost some mighty pieces through all hands it past, And vanish'd to an empty title in the last. For, when the animating mind is fled (Which nature never can retain,

Nor e'er call back again) The body, though gigantic, lies all cold and dead.


And thus undoubtedly 'twill fare

With what unhappy men shall dare
To be successors to these great unknown,

On Learning's high establish'd throne.

Censure, and Pedantry, and Pride, Numberless nations, stretching far and wide, Shall (I foresee it) soon with Gothic swarms come

forth From Ignorance's universal North, And with blind rage break all this peaceful govern

Yet shall these traces of your wit remain,

Like a just map, to tell the vast extent
Of conquest in your short and happy reign;

And to all future mankind shew

How strange a paradox is true, That men who liv'd and died without a name Are the chief heroes in the sacred list of fame.





Thrice, with a prophet's voice and prophet's

The Muse was called in a poetic hour,
And insolently thrice, the slighted maid
Dared to suspend her unregarded aid;
Then with that grief we form in spirits divine
Pleads for her own neglect, and thus reproaches

Once highly honour'd ! false is the pretence
You make to truth, retreat, and innocence !
Who, to pollute my shades, bring 'st with thee down
The most ungen'rous vices of the town;
Ne'er sprung a youth from out this isle before
I once esteem'd, and lov’d, and favour'd more,
Nor ever maid endured such.courtlike

So much in mode, so very city-born;
'Tis with a foul design the muse you send,
Like a cast mistress to your wicked friend;
But find some new address some fresh deceit,
Nor practise such an antiquated cheat;
These are the beaten methods of the stews,
Stale forms of course, all mean deceivers use,
Who barbarously think to 'scape reproach,
By prostituting her they first debauch.

Thus did the muse severe unkindly blame
This off’ring long design’d to Congreve’s fame;
First chid the zeal as unpoetic fire,
Which soon his merit forced her to inspire;


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Then call this verse, that speaks her largest aid,
The greatest compliment she ever made,
And wisely judge, no pow'r beneath divine
Could leap the bounds which part your world and

For, youth, believe, to you unseen, is fix’d
A mighty gulf unpassable betwixt.

Nor tax the goddess of a mean design To praise your parts by publishing of mine; That be my thought when some large bulky writ Shows in the front the ambition of my wit; There to surmount what bears me up and sing Like the victorious wren perch'd on the eagle's

wing; This could I do, and proudly o'er him tower, Were


desires but heighten'd to my power. Godlike the force of my young Congreve's bays, Soft’ning the Muse's thunder into praise; Sent to assist an old unvanquish'd pride That looks with scorn on half mankind beside; A pride that well suspends poor mortals fate, Gets between them and my resentment's weight, Stands in the gap 'twixt me and wretched men, T'avert th' impending judgments of my pen.

Thus I look down with mercy on the age, By hopes my Congreve will reform the stage; For never did poetic mind before Produce a richer vein or cleaner ore; The bullion stamp'd in your refining mind Serves by retail to furnish half mankind. With indignation I behold your wit Forced on me, crack’d, and clipp’d, and counterfeit, By vile pretenders, who a stock inaintain From broken scraps and filings of

your brain. D 2


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