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We may further learn from this Epistle, that Horace made his court to this great Prince, by writing with a decent freedom towards him, with a just contempt of his low flatterers, and with a manly regard to his own character.-P.
WHILE you, great Patron of mankind ! sustain
Edward and Henry, now the boast of fame,
15 Finds Envy never conquer'd but by Death. The great Alcides, ev'ry labour past, Had still this monster to subdue at last : Sure fate of all, beneath whose rising ray Each star of meaner merit fades away!
Oppress’d we feel the beam directly beat;
To thee the world its present homage pays,
25 Above all Greek, above all Roman, fame* ; Whose word is truth, as sacred and rever'd As Heav'n's own oracles from altars heard. Wonder of kings I like whom, to mortal eyes, None e'er has risen, and none e'er shall rise.
Just in one instance, be it yet confest Your people, Sir, are partial to the rest ; Foes to all living worth except your own,. And advocates for folly dead and gone. Authors, like coins, grow dear as they grow old ; 35 It is the rust we value, not the gold. Chaucer's worst ribaldry is learn’d by rote, And beastly Skelton heads of houses quote. One likes no language but the Faery Queen ; A Scot will fight for Christ's Kirk o' the Green ; 40 And each trųe Briton is to Ben. so civil, He swears the Muses met him at The Devil.
Tho' justly Greece her eldest sons admires, Why should not we be wiser than our sires ?
* Te nostris ducibus, te Grais anteferendo.
In ev'ry public virtue we excel :
45 We build, we paint, we sing, we dance, as well; And learned Athens to our art must stoop, Could she behold us tumbling thro' a hoop.
If time improve our wits as well as wine, Say at what age a poet grows divine ?
50 Shall we, or shall we not, account him so Who dy'd, perhaps, an hundred years ago
o ? End all dispute ; and fix the year precise When British Bards began t’immortalize?
« Who lasts a century can have no flaw; 55 « I hold that wit a classic good in law."
Suppose he wants a year, will you compound?
60 “ We shall not quarrel for a year or two; “By courtesy of England he may
do." Then by the rule that made the horse-tail bare, I pluck out year by year, as hair by hair, And melt down Ancients like a heap of snow, 65 While you, to measure merits, look in Stowe, And estimating authors by the year, Bestow a garland only on a bier.
Shakespeare (whom you and ev'ry play-house bill Style the Divine, the Matchless, what you will) 70