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We think our fathers fools, so wise we grow, 440
Our wifer sons, no doubt, will think us fo.
Once School-divines this zealous isle o’erspread,
Who know most sentences, was deepest read;
Faith, Gospel, all, seem'd made to be disputed,
And none had fenfe enough to be confuted:

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.

475

* A place where old and second-hand books were sold formerly, near Smithfield.

Be

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Be thou the first true merit to befriend,
His praise is lost, who stays 'till all commend.
Short is the date, alas, of modern rhymes,
And 'tis but just to let 'em live betimes.
No longer now that golden age appears,
When Patriarch-wits surviv'd a thousand years :
Now length of fame (our second life) is loft,
And bare threescore is all ev’n that can boast :
Our fons their fathers failing language fee,
And such as Chaucer is, shall Dryden be.
So when the faithful pencil has design'd
Some bright idea of the master's mind,
Where a new world leaps out at his command,
And ready nature waits upon his hand;
When the ripe colours foften and unite,
And sweetly melt into juft fhade and light,
When mellowing years their full perfection give,
And each bold figure juft begins to live;
The treach'rous colours the fair art betray,
And all the bright creation fades away!

Unhappy wit, like most mistaken things,
Atones' not for that envy which it brings,
In

youth alone its empty praise we boast,
But soon the short-liv'd vanity is loft!
Like some fair flow'r the early spring supplies,
That gayly blooms, but ev’n in blooming dies.
What is this wit, which must our cares employ?
The owner's wife, that other men enjoy;
The moft our trouble still when most admir’d;
The more we give, the more is still requir’d;
The fame with pains we gain, but lose with ease;
Sure some to vex, but never all to please ;
”Tis what the vicious fear, the virtuous shun,
By fools 'tis hated, and by knaves undone !

If wit so much from ign’rance undergo,
Ah let not learning too commence its foe!
Of old, those met rewards who could excel,
And such were prais'd who but endeavour'd well :

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Tho' Triumphs were to Gen’ralş only due,
Crowns were reserv'd to grace the foldiers too.

515
Now, they who reach Parnassus” lofty crown,
Employ their pains to spurn some others down;
And while self-love each jealous writer rules,
Contending wits become the sport of fools.
But still the worst with most regret commend,

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

555

Pulpits their facred fatire learn’d to spare,
And Vice admir'd to find a flätt'rer there.!
Encourag'd thus, Wit's Titans brav'd the skies,
And the Press groan'd with licens'd blasphemies.
These monsters, Critics ! with your darts engage,
Here point your thunder, and exhauft your rage!
Yet shun their fault, who, fcandaloufly nice,
Will needs mistake an author into vice;
All seems infected that th' infected fpy,
As all looks yellow to the jaundic'd eye.

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LEARN then what Morals Critics ought to show,
For’tis but half a judge's task, to know.
'Tis not enough, wit, art, and learning join;
In all you speak, let truth and candour shine:
That not alone what to your jugdment's due
All may allow; but seek your friendship too. .
Be filent always when you doubt your sense;
And speak, tho' sure, with seeming diffidence:
Some positive, perfifting fops we know,
Who, if once wrong, will needs be always fo;
But you, with pleafure own your errors paft,
And make each day a Critic on the last.

'Tis not enough, your counsel ftill be true;
Blunt truths more mischief than nice falfhoods do ;
Men must be taught as if you taught them not,
And things, unknown propos’d as things forgot.
Without good breeding, truth is disapproy’d;
That only makes superior sense belov'd.

Be niggards of advice on no pretence;
For the worst avarice is that of fense.
With mean complacence ne'er betray your truft,
Nor be so civil as to prove unjust.
Fear not the anger of the wise to raise ;
Those best can bear reproof, who merit praise.

'Twere well might Critics ftill this freedom take; But Appius reddens at each word you speak,

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And

And ftares, tremendous, with a threat'ning eye;
Like some fierce Tyrant in old Tapestry.
Fear most to tax an Honourable fool,

590
Whose right it is, uncensur'd to be dull;
Such without wit are Poets when they please,
As without learning they can take Degrees.
Leave dang’rous truths to unsuccessful Satyrs,
And flattery-to fulsome Dedicators,

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 :

Nay,

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