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S HA K S P E A RE,
A P E.
AN EPISTLE TO MR, GARRICK.
Who strictly faft, because they find,
The glowings of uncommon zeal,
But what can all this rambling mean?
*HANKS to much industry and pains,
Much twisting of the wit and brains,
No more shall taste presume to speak
Critic, I hear thy torrent rage,
'Tis blasphemy againft that stage,
Perfection! 'tis a word ideal,
Must they be blockheads, dolts, and fools)
Who tread in buskins or in socks.
Where half their lectures yield no more
How much we all are in the dark : As rufhlights in a spacious room, Just burn enough to form a gloom.
When Shakspeare leads the mind a dance From France to England, hence to France, Talk not to me of time and place; I own I'm happy in the chace.
Whether the drama's here or there,
True Genius, like Armida's wand,
Or need the chorus to reveal
Oh, where's the Bard, who at one view
AN EPISTLE TO C. CHURCHILL,
AUTHOR OF THE ROSCIAD.
F at a Tavern, where you'd wish to dine,
Transplanting flowers, with useless toil;
Yet those who breathe the classic veini
A privilege which dulness claims,
Come, pr'ythee Critic, set before us,
'Tis to be ever on the stage,
Doubtless the Antient want the art To strike at once upon the heart : Or why their prologues of a mile In fimple call it humble stile, In unimpassioned phrase to say “ 'Fore the beginning of this play. « I, hapless Polydore, was found “ By filhermen, or others drown'd!” Or, “ ), a gentleman, did wed, “ The lady I wou'd never bed, « Great Agamemnon's royal daughter, 66 Who's coming hither to draw water.'
Would you, resolve me, critics for you can,
Critics of old, a manly liberal race,
The state of letters too will melt away,
graves, Behold a weak enervate race of Daves. In classic lore, deep science, language dead, Though modern witlings are but scantly read, Professors * fail not, who will loudly bawl In praise of either, with the want of all: Hail'd mighty critics to this present hour. -The tribune's name surviv'd the tribune's pow's.
* The author takes chis opportunity, notwithstando ing all inlinuations to the contrary, to declare, that he has no particular aim at a gentleman, whose abilia ty he sufficiently acknowledges.
Now Quack and Critic differ but in name, The prude demure, with fuber faint-like air, Empirics frontless both, they mean the same; Pities her neighbour for she's wand'rous fair. This raw in Phylic, that in Letters fresh,
And when temptations lie before our feet, Both spring,
like warts, excrescence from the Beauty is frail, and females indiscreet:
She hopes the nymph will every danger thun,
Yet is not scandal to one sex contin'd,
If partial friendship, in thy sterling lays, No toothless spleen, no venom'd critic's aim, Grows all too wanton in another's praise, Shall rob thee Churchill, of thy proper fame; Critics, who judge by ways themfelves have knowing While hitch'd for ever in thy nervous rhyme, Shall swear the praise, the poem is my own; Fool lives, and shines out fool to latert time. For 'tis the method in these learned days Pity perhaps might with a harmless fool
For wits co fcribble first, and after praise. To fcape th' obfervince of the eritic school ; Critics and Co. thus vend their wretched ftuff, But if low malice, leagu'd with folly, rise, And help out nonsense by a monthly puff, Armd with invectives, and hedy'd round with Exalt to giant forms weak puny elves,
And descant sweetly on their own dear selves; Should wakeful dulness, if she ever wake,
For works per month by learning's midwives paid, Write sleepy nonsense but for writing's sake, Demand a puffing in the way of trade. And, itung with rage, and piously severe,
Reserv'd and cautious, with no partial aim With bitter comforts to your dying car;
My muse e'er sought to blast another's fame. If some small wit, some silk-lin'd verfeman rakes, With willing hand cou'd twine a rival's bays, For quaint reflections in the putrid jakes,
From candour silent where she cou'd not praise : Talents usurp'd demand a censor's rage,
But if vile rancour, from (no matter who) A dunce is dunce proscrib'd in ev'ry age.
Actor or mimic,nprinter, or Review; Courtier, physician, lawyer, parfon, cit, Lies, oft o'erthrown, with ceaseless Venom (pread All, all are objects of theatric wit.
Still hiss out scandal from their Hydra head; Are ye then, actors, privileg'd alone.
If the dull maliec boldly walk the town, To make that weapon, ridicule your own
Patience herself wou'd wrinkle to a frown. Professions bleed not from his just attack,
Come then with justice draw the ready pen, Who laugħs at pedant, coxcomb, knave, of quack; Give me the works, I wou'd not know the men: Fools on and off the itage are fools the same, all in their turns might make reprisals too, And every dunce is fatire's lawful game.
Had all the patience but to tread them through: Freely you thought, where thought has freeft room, Come, to the utmost, probe the defperate wound, Why then apologize ? for what? to whom?
Nor spare the knife where'er infection's found! Though Gray's-Inn wits with author fquires unite, But, prudence, Churchill, or her lifter, Fear, And self-made giants club their labour'd mite, Whispers forbedrance to my fright'ned ear. 'Though pointless satire make its weak escape, Oh! then with me forsake the thorny road, In the dull babble of a mimic ape,
Left we should flounder in sume Fleet-Ditch Odes Boldly pursue where genius points the way, And sunk for ever in the lazy flood Nor heed what monthly puny critics say.
Weep with the Naiads heavy drops of Mud. Firm in thyself, with calm indifference smile,
Hail mighty Ode! which like a picture frame, When the wise Vet'ran knows you by your stile, Holds any portrait, and with any name ; With critic scales weighs out the partial wit, Or, like your hitches, planted thick and thin, What I, or You, or He, or no one writ;
Will serve to cram the random hero in. Denying thee thy just and proper worth,
Hail mighty bard too-whatso'er thy name, But to give falfhood's spurious issue birth;
-or Durfy, for it's all the same. And all self-will'd with lawlefs hand to raise To brother bards shall equal praise belong, Malicious Nander on the base of praise.
For wit, for ius, comedy and song ? Disgrace eternal wait the wretch's name
No costive Mi se is thiné, which freely rakes Who lives on credit of a borrowd fame ;
With ease familiar in the well-known jakes, Who wears the trappings of another's wit, Happy in skill to fouse through foul and fair, Of fathers bantlings which he could not get! And toss the dung out with a lordly air. But threwd Suspicion with her squinting eye, So have I feen, amidst the grinning throng, To truth declar'd, prefers a whisper'd lye. The Nedge procession fowly dragg'd along, With greedy mind the proffer'd tale believes; Where the mock female threw and hen-peck'd male Relates her wishes, and with joy deceives.
Scoop'd richi contents from either copious pail, The World, a pompous name, by custom due Callid bursts of laughter from the roaring rout, To the small circle of a talking few,
And dash'd and splash'd the filthy grains about: With heart-felt glee th’injurious tale repeats, Quit then, my friend, the Mules' lor'd abodel And sends the whisper buzzing through the Arçets. Alas! they lead not to preferment's road.
Be Golemn, fad, put on the priestly frowa, Or who like him shall sweep the Theban lyre,
E'en now to guard afflicted learning's cause,
Broad is the path by learning's fons pusless'd, Boast we true critics in their proper right,
unite. Joftled by pedants out of elbow room.
Hail sacred names !-Oh guard the Muse's page, 1, who nor court their love, nor fear their hate, Save your loy'd mistress from a ruffian's rage ; Mut mourn in filence o'er the Muse's fate.
See how she gasps and struggles hard for life,
Her wounds all bleeding from the butcher's knife
Critics, like surgeons, bleft with curious art,
To names like these I pay the hearty vow,
And feel the pleasures of my conscious praise :
Not that I mean to court each letter'd name,
And poorly glimmer from reflected fame,
But that the Muse, who owns no servile fear,
EPISTLE TO J. B. ESQ. 1757
That modern rules obstruct perfection,
And the severity of Taste
Fancy's a flight we deal no more in,
Our authors creep instead of roaring,
And all the brave imagination
But still you cry in sober sadness,
A pithy sentence, which wants credit!
Because I find a poet said it :
Their verdict makes but small impresion,
Who are known lyars by profession.
Rise what exalted flights it will,
And say, that horse would you prefer,
Which wants a bridle or a spur?
The mettled steed may lose his tricks ;
The jade grows callous to your kicks.
Had Shakspeare crept by modern rules,
We'd lost his Witches, Fairies, Fools !
He'd form'd a regular plantation,
In nicest symmetry dispos’d,
The hedges cut in proper order,
Not e'en a branch beyond the border ?
The growth of twice three hundred years
The iry or wild eglantine.
Cry—“ This is tafte--that's my opinion."
So have you seen with dire affright,
" You'll suffer for your daring, “ And 0-n you, you shall pay for swearing." Then turning, tell the astonish'd ring, I lie to represent the KING,
EPISTLE TO THE SAME, 1757.
“ But Shakspeare's all creative fancy “ Made athers love extravagancy: “ While cloud-capt nonsense was their aim, “ Like Hurlothrumbo's mad lord Flame." True-who can stop dull imitators ? 'Those younger brothers of translators, Those insects, which from genius rile, And buzz abont, in swarms, like Aies? Fashion, that sets the modes of dress, Sheds too her influence o'er the press : As formerly the fons of rhyme Sought Shakspeare's fancy and sublime ; By cool correctness now they hope To emulate the praise of Pope. But Pope and Shakspeare both disclaim These low retainers to their fame. What task can dullness e'er effect So easy, as to write corrett? Poets, 'tis said, are sure to split By too much or too little wit; So, to avoid th' extremes of either, They miss their mark and follow neither ; They so exactly poife the scale That neither measure will prevail, And mediocrity the Muse Did never in her fons excuse. 'Tis true, thcir tawdry works are grac'd With all the charms of modern taste, And every senseless line is drest In quaint expression's tinsel vest. Say, did you never chance to meet A monsieur-barder in the street, Whote rume, as it lank depends, And dongles o'er his fingers' ends, His olive tann'd complexion graces With little dahs of Dresden laces, While for the body Monsieur Puff, Wou'd think e'en dowlas fine enough? So fears it with our men of rhymes, Sweet tinklers of poetic chimes. For lace, and fringe, and tawdry cloaths, Sure never yet were greater beaux ; But fairly ítrip them to the shirt, They're all made up of rags and dirt.
And shall these wretches bards commence, Without or spirit, talte, or sense? And when they bring no other treasure, Shall I admire them for their measure ? Or do I scorn the critic's rules Because I will not learn of fools ? Although Longinus’full-mouth'd prose With all the force of genius glows; 'Though Dionysius' learned tatte Is ever manly, just, and chaite, Who, like a skilful wife physician, Diffects each part of composition, And thews how beauty strikes the soul From a just compact of the whole ; Though judgment, in Quintillian's page, Ilolds forth her lamp for ev'ry age; Yet Hypercrita s I disdain, A race of blockheads dull and vain, And laugh at all those empty fools, Who cramp a genius with dull rules, And what their narrow science mocks Damn with the name of Het'rodox.
These butchers of a poet's fame, While they usurp the critic's name,
AS my good dame a wicked child ?
It takes the gentle name of wild ; if chests he breaks, if locks he picks, 'Tis nothing more than youthful tricks : The mother's fondness stamps it merit, For vices are a sign of spirit.
Say, do the neighbours think the fame With the good old indulgent dame? Cries goslip Prate, “ I hear with grief “ My neighbour's son's an arrant thief. " Nay, could you think it, I am told, " He stýle five guineas, all in gold, “ You know the youth was always wild “ He got his father's maid with child ; " And robb'd his master, to defray " The money he had lost at play. “ All means to save him must now fail, “ What can it end in :-In a Jail."
Howe'er the dame doats o'er her youths My goslip says the very truth.
But as his vices love wou'd hide,
Grant I succeed, like Horace rife,