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We think our fathers fools, so wise we grow, 440
445 Scotifts and Thomists, now, in peace remain, Amidst their kindred cobwebs in Duck-lane 1f Faith itself has diff'rent dresses worn, What wonder Modes in Wit should take their turn ? Oft', leaving what is natural and fit,
450 The current folly proves the ready wit; And authors think their reputation safe, Which lives as long as fools are pleas’d to laugh.
Some valuing those of their own side or mind, Still make themselves the measure of mankind :
455 Fondly we think we honour merit then; When we but praise ourselves in other men. Parties in Wit attend on those of State, And public faction doubles private hate, Pride, Malice, Folly, against Dryden rofe, 460 In various shapes of Parsons, Critics, Beaus; But sense surviv’d, when merry jests were paft; For rising merit will buoy up at last. Might he return, and bless once more our eyes, New Blackmores and new Milbourns must arife : 465 Nay, should great Homer lift his awful head, Zoilus again would start up from the dead. Envy will merit, as its shade, pursue; But like a shadow, proves the fubftance true; For envy'd Wit, like Sol eclips'd, makes known 470 Th'opposing body's grossness, not its own. When first that fun too pow'rful beams displays, It draws up vapours which obscure its rays; But ev'n those clouds at last adorn its way, Reflect new glories, and augment the day.
* A place where old and second-hand books were sold formerly, near Smithfield.
Be thou the first true merit to befriend,
Unhappy wit, like most mistaken things,
youth alone its empty praise we boast,
If wit so much from ign’rance undergo,
Tho' Triumphs were to Gen’ralş only due,
520' For each ill Author is as bad a Friend. To what base ends, and by what abject ways, Are mortals urg'd thro' sacred luft of praise ! Ah ne'er so dire a thirst of glory boast, Nor in the Critic let the Man be loft!
525 Good nature and good sense must ever join; To'err is human, to forgive, divine.
But if in noble minds fome dregs remain, Not yet purg'd off, of spleen and four disdain; Discharge that rage on more provoking crimes,
530 Nor fear a dearth in these flagitious times. No pardon vile Obscenity should find, Tho' wit and art conspire to move your mind; But Dulness with obscenity must prove As shameful sure as Impotence in love.
53% In the fat age of pleasure, wealth, and ease, Sprung the rank weed, and thriv'd with large increase; When Love was all an easy Monarch's care; Seldom at council, never in a war; Jilts rul'd the state, and statesmen Farces writ; 540 Nay, wits had pensions, and young Lords had wit: The Fair sat panting at a Courtier's play, And not a Mask went unimprov'd away : The modeft fan was lifted up no more, And Virgins finild at what they blush'd before,
545 The following licence of a Foreign reign Did all the dregs of bold Socinus drain; Then unbelieving Priests reform’d the nation, And taught more pleasant methods of salvation; Where heav’n’s free fubje&ts might their rights dispute, Leit God himself should seem too Absolute : 551
Pulpits their facred fatire learn’d to spare,
LEARN then what Morals Critics ought to show,
'Tis not enough, your counsel ftill be true;
Be niggards of advice on no pretence;
'Twere well might Critics ftill this freedom take; But Appius reddens at each word you speak,
And ftares, tremendous, with a threat'ning eye;
595 Whom, when they praise, the world believes no more, Than when they promise to give scribbling o'er. 'Tis best sometimes your censure to restrain, And charitably let the dull be vain: Your filence there is better than your spite,
600 For who can rail so long as they can write ? Still humming on, their drouzy course they keep, And lash'd so long, like Tops, are lash'd asleep. False steps but help them to renew the race, As after stumbling, Jades will mend their pace.
605 What crouds of these, impenitently bold, In sounds and jingling syllables grown old; Still run on Poets, in a raging vein, Ev'n to the dregs and squeezings of the brain, Strain out the last dull droppings of their sense, 610 And rhyme with all the rage of Impotence.
Such shameless Bards we have; and yet 'tis true, There are as mad, abandond Critics too. The bookful blockhead, ignorantly read, With loads of learned lumber in his head, With his own tongue ftill edifies his ears, And always lift'ning to himself appears. All books he reads, and all he reads affails, From Dryden's Fables down to Durfey's Tales. With him, most authors steal their works, or buy; 620 Garth did not write his own Dispensary. Name a new Play, and he's the Poet's friend, Nay show'd his faults—but when would Poets mend? No place so sacred from such fops is barr'd, Nor is Paul's church more safe than Paul's church-yard :