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who conquer'd Nature should preside o'er wit.
Horace still charms with grateful negligence,
and without method talks us into sense,
will, like a friend, familiarly convey
the truest notion is the easiest way.
He who, supreme in judgment as in wit,
might boldly censure as he boldly writ,


yet judg'd with coolness, tho' he sung with fire; his precepts teach but what his works inspire. Our critics take a contrary extreme,

they judge with fury, but they write with phlegm; nor suffers Horace more in wrong translations by wits, than critics in as wrong quotations. See Dionysius Homer's thoughts refine, and call new beauties forth from ev'ry line! Fancy and art in gay Petronius please, the scholar's learning with the courtier's ease. In grave Quintilian's copious work we find the justest rules and clearest method join'd. Thus useful arms in magazines we place, all rang'd in order, and dispos'd with grace; but less to please the eye than arm the hand, still fit for use, and ready at command.

Thee, bold Longinus! all the Nine inspire, and bless their critic with a poet's fire: an ardent judge, who, zealous in his trust, with warmth gives sentence, yet is always just: whose own example strengthens all his laws, and is himself that great Sublime he draws.

Thus long succeeding critics justly reign'd,






licence repress'd, and useful laws ordain'd: learning and Rome alike in empire grew, and arts still follow'd where her Eagles flew; from the same foes at last both felt their doom, 685



and the same age saw Learning fall and Rome. With tyranny then Superstition join'd, as that the body, this enslav'd the mind; much was believ'd, but little understood, and to be dull was constru'd to be good: a second deluge Learning thus o'er-ran, and the Monks finish'd what the Goths began. At length Erasmus, that great injur'd name, (the glory of the priesthood, and the shame!) stemm'd the wild torrent of a barb'rous age, and drove those holy Vandals off the stage. But see! each Muse in Leo's golden days starts from her trance, and trims her wither'd bays; Rome's ancient Genius o'er it's ruins spread, shakes of the dust, and rears his rev'rend head. 700 Then Sculpture and her sister arts revive; stones leap'd to form, and rocks began to live; with sweeter notes each rising temple rung; a Raphael painted, and a Vida sung: immortal Vida! on whose honour'd brow the poet's bays and critic's ivy grow! Cremona now shall ever boast thy name, as next in place to Mantua, next in fame!


But soon by impious arms from Latium chas'd, their ancient bounds the banish'd Muses pass'd: 710 thence arts o'er all the northern world advance, but critic-learning flourish'd most in France; the rules a nation, born to serve, obeys, and Boileau still in right of Horace sways. But we, brave Britons! foreign laws despis'd, and kept unconquer'd and unciviliz'd; fierce for the liberties of wit, and bold, we still defy'd the Romans, as of old.

Yet some there were, among the sounder few




of those who less presum❜d and better knew, who durst assert the juster ancient cause, and here restor'd Wit's fundamental laws. Such was the Muse whose rules and practice tell "Nature's chief masterpiece is writing well." Such was Roscommon, not more learn'd than good, with manners gen'rous as his noble blood; to him the wit of Greece and Rome was known, and ev'ry author's merit but his own.



Such late was Walsh--the Muse's judge and friend, who justly knew to blame or to commend ; to failings mild, but zealous for desert, the clearest head, and the sincerest heart. This humble praise, lamented shade! receive; this praise at least a grateful Muse may give: the Muse whose early voice you taught to sing, 735 prescrib'd her heights, and prun'd her tender wing, (her guide how lost) no more attempts to rise, but in low numbers short excursions tries; content if hence th' unlearn'd their wants may view, the learn'd reflect on what before they knew: careless of censure, nor too fond of fame; still pleas'd to praise, yet not afraid to blame; averse alike to flatter or offend;


not free from faults, nor yet too vain to mend.




Abelard and Eloisa flourished in the twelfth century; they were two of the most distinguished persons of their age in learning and beauty, but for nothing more famous than for their unfortunate passion. After a long course of calamities, they retired each to a several convent, and consecrated the remainder of their days to religion. It was many years after this separation that a letter of Abelard's to a friend, which contained the history of his misfortune, fell into the hands of Eloisa. This awakening all her tenderness, occasioned those celebrated Letters (out of which the following is partly extracted), which give so lively a picture of the struggles of Grace and Nature, Virtue and Passion.


In these deep solitudes and awful cells,
where heav'nly-pensive Contemplation dwells,
and ever-musing Melancholy reigns;
what means this tumult in a vestal's veins?
why rove my thoughts beyond this last retreat?
why feels my heart it's long-forgotten heat?
yet, yet I love !---From Abelard it came,
and Eloisa yet must kiss the name.

Dear fatal name! rest ever unreveal'd,
nor pass these lips, in holy silence seal'd:
hide it, my heart, within that close disguise,
where mix'd with God's, his lov'd idea lies:
O write it not, my hand---the name appears
already written---wash it out, my tears?
in vain lost Eloisa weeps and prays,
her heart still dictates, and her hand obeys.




Relentless walls? whose darksome round contains

repentant sighs, and voluntary pains:

ye rugged Rocks! which holy knees have worn; ye Grots and Caverns shagg'd with horrid thorn! 20 shrines! where their vigils pale-eye'd virgins keep,

and pitying saints, whose statues learn to weep! though cold like you, unmov'd and silent grown, I have not yet forgot myself to stone.

All is not Heav'n's while Abelard has part,
still rebel Nature holds out half my heart;
nor pray'rs nor fasts it's stubborn pulse restrain,
nor tears for ages taught to flow in vain.
Soon as thy letters trembling I unclose,
that well-known name awakens all my woes.
Oh name for ever sad! for ever dear!

still breath'd in sighs, still usher'd with a tear.
I tremble too, where'er my own I find,
some dire misfortune follows close behind.
Line after line my gushing eyes o'erflow,
led through a sad variety of woe;

now warm in love, now with'ring in my bloom,
lost in a convent's solitary gloom!





there stern Religion quench'd th' unwilling flame; there dy'd the best of passions, love and fame. Yet write, oh write me all, that I may join griefs to thy griefs, and echo sighs to thine. Nor foes nor fortune take this pow'r away; and is my Abelard less kind than they? Tears still are mine, and those I need not spare 45 love but demands what else were shed in pray'r; no happier task these faded eyes pursue; to read and weep is all they now can do. Then share thy pain, allow that sad relief; ah, more than share it, give me all thy grief. Heav'n first taught letters for some wretch's aid, some banish'd lover, or some captive maid; they live, they speak, they breathe what love inspires, warm from the soul, and faithful to its fires; the virgin's wish without her fears impart,


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