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Each finger marks him, and each eye approves |
Secure, as halcyons brooding o'er the deep,
The waves roll gently, and the thunders sleep,
Obsequious nature binds the tempest's wings,
And pleas'd attention listens whilst he sings

O blissful state, O more than human joy What shafts can reach him, or what cares annoy What cares, my friend ? why all that man can know, Oppress'd with real or with fancy'd woe. Rude to the world, like earth's first lord expell'd, to To climes unknown, from Eden’s safer field; No more eternal springs around him breathe, Black air scowls o'er him, deadly damps beneath; Now must he learn, misguided youth, to bear Each varying season of the poet's year: Flatt’ry’s full beam, detraštion’s wintry store, The frowns of fortune, or the pride of pow'r. His asts, his words, his thoughts no more his own, Each folly blazon'd, and each frailty known. Is he reserv'd —his sense is so refin'd, é. It ne'er descends to trifle with mankind. Open and free ?—they find the secret cause Is vanity; He courts the world’s applause. Nay, though he speak not, something still is seen, Each change of face betrays a fault within. If grave, ’tis spleen; he smiles but to deride; And downright aukwardness in him is pride. Thus must he steer through fame's uncertain seas, Now sunk by censure, and now puff'd by praise;

Contempt with envy strangely mix'd endure, 2

Fear'd where caress'd, and jealous though sécure.

One fatal rock on which good authors split
Is thinking all mankind must like their wit;
And the grand business of the world stand still
To listen to the dićtates of their quill.
Hurt if they fail, and yet how few succeed!
What’s born in leisure men of leisure read;
And half of those have some peculiar whim
Their test of sense, and read but to condemn.

Besides, on parties now our fame depends, 3% And frowns or smiles, as these are foes or friends. Wit, judgment, nature join ; you strive in vain; 'Tis keen invečtive stamps the current strain. Fix'd to one side, like Homer's gods, we fight, These always wrong, and those for ever right. And would you choose to see your friend, resign'd Each conscious tie which guides the virtuous mind, Embroil’d in fačtions, hurl with dreadful skill The random vengeance of his desp'rate quill 'Gainst pride in man with equal pride declaim,” And hide ill-nature under virtue’s name * Or deeply vers'd in flattery’s wily ways, Flow in full reams of undistinguish'd praise To vice's grave, or folly's bust bequeath The blushing trophy, and indignant wreath Like Egypt’s priests, bid endless temples rise, And people with earth's pests th’ offended skies

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The Muse of old her native freedom knew, And wild in air the sportive wand’rer flew : On worth alone her bayseternal strow'd, zoo And found the hero, ere she hymn'd the god. Nor less the chief his kind support return’d, No drooping Muse her slighted labors mourn’d ; But stretch'd at ease she prun’d her growing wings, By sages honor'd and rever'd by kings. Ev’n knowing Greece confess'd her early claim, And warlike Latium caught the gen’rous flame, Not so our age regards the tuneful tongue, 'Tis senseless rapture all, and empty song: No Pollio sheds his genial influence round, we No Varus listens whilst the groves resound. Ev’n those, the knowing and the virtuous few, Who noblest ends by noblest means pursue, Forget the poet's use; the powerful spell Of magic verse, which SIDNEY paints so well. Forget that Homer wak'd the Grecian flame, That Pindar rous'd inglorious Thebes to fame, That every age has great examples giv'n Of virtue taught in verse, and verse inspir’d by

heav'n.

But I forbear—these dreams no longer last, ze The times of fable and of flights are past. To glory now no laurel'd suppliants bend, No coins are struck, no sacred domes ascend. Yet ye, who still the Muse’s charms admire, And best deserve the verse your deeds inspire,

Ev’n in these gainful unambitious days,
Feel for yourselves at least, ye fond of praise,
And learn one lesson taught in mystic rhyme,
“'Tis verse alone arrests the wings of Time.”
Fast to the thread of life, annex’d by Fame, was
A sculptur'd medal bears each human name,
O'er Lethe's streams the fatal threads depend,
The glitt’ring medal trembles as they bend;
Close but the shears, when chance or nature calls,
The birds of rumor catch it as it falls; -
Awhile from bill to bill the trifle’s tost,
The waves receive it, and ’tis ever lost 1

But should the meanest swan that cuts the stream Consign'd to Phoebus, catch the favor'd name, Safe in her mouth she bears the sacred prize 232 To where bright Fame's eternal altars rise. 'Tis there the Muse's friends true laurels wear, There Egypt's monarch reigns, and great Augustus there.

Patrons of arts must live 'till arts decay, Sacred to verse in every poet's lay. — Thus grateful France does Richlieu’s worth proclaim, Thus grateful Britain doats on Somers' name. And, spite of party rage, and human flaws, And British liberty and British laws, Times yet to come shall sing of ANNA’s reign,74, And bards, who blame the measures, love the men.

-

But why round patrons climb th’ ambitious bays Is interest then the sordid spur to praise Shall the same cause, which prompts the chatt’ring

jay

To aim at words, inspire the poet's lay
And is there nothing in the boasted claim
Of living labors and a deathless name
The pićtur'd front, with sacred fillets bound
The sculptur'd bust with laurels wreath'd around
The annual roses scatter'd o'er his urn, - 23°
And tears to flow from poets yet unborn ?

Illustrious all but sure to merit these,
Demands at least the poet’s learned ease.
Say, can the bard attempt what's truly great,
Who pants in secret for his future fate
Him serious toils, and humbler arts engage,
To make youth easy, and provide for age;
While lost in silence hangs his useless lyre,
And though from heaven it came, fast dies the sacred

fire.
Or grant true genius with superior force 4.
Bursts every bond, resistless in its course,
Yet lives the man, how wild soe'er his aim,
Would madly barter fortune's smiles for fame *
Or distant hopes of future ease forego,

For all the wreaths that all the Nine bestow
Well pleas'd to shine, through each recording page,
The hapless Dryden of a shameless age

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