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Ill-fated bard I where-e'er thy name appears,
'Tis true the man of verse, though born to ills, Too oft deserves the very fate he feels. When, vainly frequent at the great man's board,” He shares in every vice with every lord: Makes to their taste his sober sense submit, And 'gainst his reason madly arms his wit; Heav'n but in justice turns their serious heart To scorn the wretch, whose life belies his part.
He, only he, should haunt the Muse's grove, Whom youth might reverence and grey hairs approve ; Whose heav'n-taught numbers, now, in thunder
Might rouse the virtuous and appal the bold.
Curs’d be their verse, and blasted all their bays, Whose sensual lure th' unconscious ear betrays; ~ Wounds the young breast, ere virtue spreads her
And takes, not wins, the scarce disputed field,
Should some MACHAON, whose sagacious soul Trac'd blushing nature to her inmost goal, Skill’d in each drug the varying world provides, All earth embosoms, and all ocean hides, Nor cooling herb, nor healing balm supply, Ease the swoln breast, or close the languid eye; But, exquisitely ill, awake disease, And arm with poisons every baleful breeze: What racks, what tortures must his crimes demand, 2/6 The more than Borg IA of a bleeding land 1 And is less guilty he, whose shameles page Not to the present bounds its subtile rage, But spreads contagion wide, and stains a future age 2
Forgive me, Sir, that thus the moral strain, With indignation warm’d, rejects the rein; Northink I rove regardless of my theme, 'Tis hence new dangers clog the paths to fame. Not to themselves alone such bards confine Fame's just reproach for virtue's injur’d shrine; 212
Profan’d by them, the Muse's laurels fade,
New cares appear, new terrors swell the train, And must we paint them ere we close the scene : Say, must the Muse th' unwilling task pursue, And to compleat her dangers mention you ? Yes you, my friend, and those whose kind regard With partial fondness views this humble bard: 230 Ev’n you he dreads. Ah! kindly cease to raise Unwilling censure, by exacting praise. Just to itself the jealous world will claim A right to judge; or give, or cancel fame. And, if th' officious zeal unbounded flows, The friend too partial is the worst of foes. T
Behold th’ Athenian sage, whose piercing mind Had trac'd the wily lab’rinths of mankind, When now condemn'd, he leaves his infant care To all those evils man is born to bear. 24° Not to his friends alone the charge he yields, But nobler hopes on juster motives builds; Bids ev’n his foes their future steps attend, And dar'd to censure, if they dar'd offend. Would thus the poet trust his offspring forth, Or bloom'd our BRITAIN with ATHENIAN worth : Would the brave foe th' imperfect work engage With honest freedom, not with partial rage,
What just productions might the world surprize! What other Popes, what other MARos rise too
But since by foes, or friends alike deceiv'd, Too little those, and these too much believ’d; Since the same fate pursues by diff'rent ways, Undone by censure, or undone by praise; Since Bards themselves submit to vice's rule, And party feuds grow high, and patrons cool : Since, still unnam’d, unnumber'd ills behind Rise black in air, and only wait the wind : Let me, O let me, ere the tempest roar, Catch the first gale, and make the nearest shore; *4. In sacred silence join th’inglorious train, Where humble peace, and sweet contentment reign; If not thy precepts, thy example own, And steal through life not useless, though unknown.
I’ve often thought, my Lord, the thing now true,
f, . * /A How came this prime delight of man thus lessen’d - From its full orb down to a thumb-nail crescent 2 With me the case admits not of a doubt | The fact is, poesy itself's worn out. To you, my Lord, this notion I submit, Who knew and help'd to make this age of wit, zo Mix’d with those demi-gods in verse and prose, A. Congreves, and Addisons, and Garths, and Rowes, / Heroes of giant limb, and high renown, Whose deeds we wonder at, and hide our own; Whom but to copy in their idle fits, – Would break the backs of puny modern wits.