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To set this matter in the clearest light,
And be myself th’ example while I write,
Let us, my Lord, if so it may avail,
And you have patience for a long detail, olo
Give the Earl’s sentence a poetic turn;
Let it run thus: “See all Parnassus mourn,
“Mute ev'ry muse, see George's praise unsung,
“Their laurels scatter’d, and their lyres unstrung,
“Apollo veils with mists his beamy head,
“Nay, Aganippe murmurs something sad.”
Say, will this stile, my Lord, go down or no,
Glib as it did two thousand years ago
I fancy scarce, and favor’d, if it pass
From a raw school-boy in the second class: 32
The reason then why no disgust it drew,
Was, that it might be Truth, for aught they knew.
y o Those early ages no mistrust had shewn, ... ...”
Ready their faith, their manners roughly hewn,
And while both Reason and Suspicion doz’d,
Priest, Poet, Prophet, Patriot, impos'd.
With all that either broach'd, the world content,
Believ'd still farther than they could invent,
All irrealities came forth reveal’d -
By pow'rful Fancy into fact congeal’d. 4,
Then Poetry had elbow-room enough,
And not restrain'd, as now, for want of stuff;
The great abyss of Fable open stood,
And nothing solid rose above the flood.
A new Religion spreading ev'ry where,
The stock of Poetry fell under par; -
For Oracles grew dumb, as men grew wise,
None saw for those, who saw with their own eyes.
To waste her leaves no more the sybil chooses,
They and her tripod serve for other uses. An
No more the Jesuit prompts her what to tell;
For to say Middleton and Fontenelle,
But the new doctrines being found too pure,
Some able doćtors undertook its cure;
It serv’d no purposes but saving sinners, _
They added that by which themselves were winners;
Ghosts, Devil, Witches, Conjurors, in flocks
Came, like a new subscription, to the stocks;
And Poetry, enlarg’d with a new range,
Began to shew her head again in Change. do
The world grown old, its youthful follies past,
Reason assumes her reign, tho’ late, at last.
By slow degrees, and laboring up the hill,
Step after step, yet seeming to stand still,
She wins her way, wherever she advances;
Satyr no more, nor Fawn, nor Dryad dances.
The groves, tho’ trembling to a natural breeze,
Dismiss their horrors, and shew nought but trees.
Before her, Nonsense, Superstition fly;
We burn no Witch, let her be e'er so dry: 70
A woman now may live, tho’ past her prime,
So hallow'd and so gracious is the time.
Bankrupt of deities, with all their train,
And set to work without his tools in vain,
Not genius-crampt (but what can genius do
When it’s tied down to one and one make two )
How can poor Poet stir In such a case -
We must do something to supply their place.
See, at his beck, all Nouns renouncing sense,
Start into persons of some consequence. — &e
Proud of new being, tread poetic ground,
And aggregate their attributes around;
These he may use of right, as his own growth,
In all the rest confin'd to sober Truth. ar
To bless a nation, see Charlotta come, 'Twas Anson, and not Neptune, brought her home. A single Nereid stirr'd not from below, The duce a conch did e'er one Triton blow ; But, in revenge she plough'd her subjećt main, or a With every virtue 'tending in her train. 7° Hark, 'tis a people's universal voice, That bless, while they approve their Sov’reign's
On such a theme, my Lord, might one extend Far as one would, nor strictest Truth offend,
*Twere only proper epithets to find, -
To every grace of person and of mind;
With decent dress, and emblem to improve
All that can merit our esteem and love.
But then to Poetry where's the pretence
Locke and Sir Isaac write not plainer sense, Loe
From the first ages down to modern time,
Derive the pleasing stream of verse and rhime,
However vast from its first source it rose,
Th’ inverted river dwindles as it flows.
Thus from the lunar hills some other Nile,
Swoln with new stores from snows that melt the while,
Stretches his current on to fiercer suns,
And glads a thousand nations as he runs,
Till having reach'd, proud of his long career,
Those sands which belt the middle of our sphere,”e
Exhal’d, absorb’d, diverted, dry foot cross'd, -
And, finger'd into rivulets, is lost.
Fall’n cherub ; Simile ! who erst divine, Cloath’d with transcendant beauty didst outshine to Plain angel Poesy; how art thou lost
* Thus to plain Narrative confin’d alone,
Figure, Description, Simile quite gone ;
The whole affair evinc'd which we contend,
The thing has had its day, and there's an end. 12°
with Milton, Epic drew its latest breath, /.../ le
Since Shakspere, Tragedy puts us to death; * .
Th’ assassin Satire sheaths the keen stiletto, 23.44. or
And languishes, depriv'd of the Concetto;
The age with pious eye no longer views_
The great mortality of gross abuse. or
Soft Elegy has dried up all her tears, C-
And Gray composes once in seven years;
Celia's and Delia's shine no more in song,
Nor ballad bauls the deafen’d streets along. 23, or
My Lord, a little patience further still,
To “Wit is gone,” by way of codicil;
Who but will say the thing that hears me tell ?—
The man mistakes—Lord Melcombe's very well,
Suppose I said—O could I War is done, 2–
Means it there's no such thing, as sword, or gun ?
Party and Fačtion dead, whoever grants,
Means he that every man has what he wants
In all these cases is implied alone,
That there’s no object to employ them on. 4.
A Court, my Lord, and Minister to hit, And cry corruption, make all public wit: 'Tis on this sense my reason chiefly stands— There may be cash enough in private hands. Now where could Malice bite, or Envy sting, The polish'd model of a perfect King