« EelmineJätka »
Expose no single fop, but lay the load
More equally, and spread the folly broad;
Mere coxcombs are too obvions; oft we see
A fool derided by as bad as he :
Hawks Ay at nobler game; in this low way,
owl may prove a bird of prey.
Small poets thus will one poor fop devour,
But to collect, like bees, from every flower,
Ingredients to compose that precious juice,
Which serves the world for pleasure and for use,
In spite of faction this would favour get ;
But Falstaff * stands inimitable yet.
Another fault which often
Is, when the wit of some great poet shall
So overflow, that is, be none at all ;
That ev'n his fools fpeak sense, as if posseft,
And each by inspiration breaks his jeit.
If once the justness of each part be loft,
Well may we laugh, bat at the poet's cost.
That filly thing men call theer-wit avoid,
With which our age so nauseously is cloy’d:
Humour is all; wit should be only brought
To turn agreeably some proper thought.
But since the poets we of late have known,
Shine in no dress so much as in their own,
The better by example to convince,
Cast but a view on this wrong side of sense.
* The matchless character of Shakespeare.
First, a soliloquy is calmly made, Where every reason is exactly weigh’d; Which once perform’d, most opportunely comes Some hero frighted at the noise of drums; For her sweet fake, whom at first sight he loves, And all in metaphor his passion proves : But some fad accident, though yet unknown, Parting this pair, to leave the swain alone; He strait grows jealous, though we know not why; Then, to oblige his rival, needs will die : But first he makes a speech, wherein he tells The absent nymph how much his flame excels; And yet bequeaths her generously now, To that lov'd rival whom he does not know ! Who strait appears; but who can fate withstand: Too late, alas ! to hold his hasty hand, That just has given himself the cruel stroke ! At which his very rival's heart is broke : He, more to his new friend than mistress kind, Most sadly mourns at being left behind, Of such a death prefers the pleasing charms To love, and living in a lady's arins. What shameful and what monstrous things are these ! And then they rail at those they cannot please ; Conclude us only partial to the dead, And grudge the sign of old Ben Jonson's head ; When the intrinsic value of the stage Can scarce be judg'd but by a following age : For dances, flutes, Italian songs, and rhyme, May keep up finking nonsense for a time;
But that must fail, which now so much o'er-rules
And sense no longer will submit to fools.
By painful steps at last we labour up
Parnassus' hill, on whose bright airy top
The Epick pocts fo divinely show,
And with just pride behold the rest below.
have a just pretence
To be the utmost stretch of human fense ;
A work of such ineftimable worth,
There are but two the world has yet brought forth !
Homer and Virgil! with what sacred awe,
Do those mere founds the world's attention draw !
Just as a changeling seems below the rest
Of men, or rather is a two-legg'd beast;
So these gigantic fouls amaz'd we find
As much above the rest of human kind !
Nature's whole strength united! endless fame,
And universal shouts attend their name!
Read Homer once, and you can read no more,
For all books elfe appear so mean, fo poor,
Verse will seem prose; but ft:ll perhift to read,
And Homer will be all the books
Had Bossu never writ, the world had still,
Like Indians, view'd this wondrous piece of skill;
As something of divine the work admir’d;
Not hop'd to be instructed, but inspir’d:
But he, disclosing facred myfteries,
Has fhewn where all the mighty magic lies;
Describ'd the seeds, and in what order fown,
That have to such a vast proportion grown.
Sure from fome angel he the secret knew,
Who through this labyrinth has lent the clue.
But what, alas ! avails it
To see this promis'd land, yet stay behind ?
The way is shewn, but who has strength to go?
Who can all sciences profoundly know?
Whose fancy flies beyond weak Reason's light,
And yet has judgment to direct it right?
Whose just discernment, Virgil-like, is such
Never to say too little or too much?
Let such a man begin without delay;
But he must do beyond what I can say ;
Must above Tasso's lofty fights prevail,
Succeed where Spenser, and ev’n Milton fail.
IS said, that favourite, mankind,
Was made the lord of all below; But yet the doubtful are concern'd to find,. 'Tis only one man tells another so.
And, for this great dominion here,
Which over other beasts we claim,
Reafon our best credential does appear,
By which indeed we domineer,
But how absurdly, we may see with shame.
Reason, that folemn trifle ! light as air,
Driven up and down by censure or applause ;
By partial love away 'tis blown,
Or the least prejudice can weigh it down ;
Thus our high privilege becomes our snare.
In any nice and weighty cause,
How ak, at best, is Reason! yet the grave
Impofe on that small judgment which we have.
In all those wits, whose names have spread so wide,
And ev’n the force of time defy'd,
Some failings-yet may be defcry’d.
Among the rest, with wonder be it told,
That Brutus is admir'd for Cæsar's death;
By which he yet survives in Fame's immortal breath,
Brutus, ev'n he, of all the rest,
In whom we should that deed the most detest,
Is of mankind esteem'd the best.
As snow descending from some lofty hill,
Is by its rolling course augmenting still,
So from illuftrious authors down have rollid
Those great encomiums he receiv'd of old :
Republic orators will shew esteem,
And gild their eloquence with praise of him :
But Truth, unveilid, like a bright sun appears,
To shine away this heap of seventeen hundred years.
In vain 'tis urg'd by an illustrious wit,
(To whom in all befidcs I willingly submit)