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How did she here, when Jervas was the theme,
Waft thro' the ivory gate the Poet's dream!
How view, indignant, error's base alloy
The sterling lustre of his praise destroy,
Which now, if praise like his my Muse could

coin, Current through ages, she would stamp forthine!

Let friendship, as she caus’d, excuse the deed; With thee, and such as thee, she must succeed.

But what, if fashion tempted Pope astray? The witch has spells, and Jervas knew a day When mode-struck Belles and Beaux were

proud to come And buy of him a thousand years

of bloom*.

Ev'n then I deem it but a venial crime: Perish alone that selfish sordid rhyme, Which flatters lawless sway, or tinsel pride ; Let black Oblivion plunge it in her tide.

* Alluding to another couplet in the same Epistle :

Beauty, frail flower, that every season fears,
Blooms in thy colours for a thousand years.

From fate like this my truth-supported lays, Ev'n if aspiring to thy pencil's praise, Would flow secure; but humbler aims are mine ; Know, when to thee I consecrate the line, 'Tis but to thank thy genius for the ray Which pours on Fresnoy's rules a fuller day: Those candid strictures, those reflections new, Refin’d by taste, yet still as nature true, Which, blended here with his instructive strains, Shall bid thy art inherit new domains ; Give her in Albion as in Greece to rule, And guide (what thou hast form’d) a British

School,

And, O, if aught thy Poet can pretend Beyond his fav’rite wish to call thee friend, Be it that here his tuneful toil has drest The Muse of Fresnoy in a modern vest; And, with what skill his fancy could bestow, Taught the close folds to take an easier flow; Be it, that here thy partial smile approv'd The pains he lavish'd on the art he lov’d.

OCT. 10, 1782.

W. MASON.

THE

poem

of M. du Fresnoy, when considered as a

treatise on Painting, may unquestionably claim the merit of giving the leading principles of the art with more precision, conciseness, and accuracy,

than
any

work of the kind that has cither preceded or followed it; yet as it was published about the middle of the last century, many

of the precepts it contains have been so frequently repeated by later writers, that they have lost the air of novelty, and will, consequently, now be held common; some of them too may, perhaps, not be so generally true as to claim the authority of absolute rules: Yet the reader of taste will always be pleased to see a Frenchman holding out to his countrymen the study of nature, and the chaste models of antiquity, when (if we except Le Seur and Nicolo Poussin, who were Fresnoy's contemporaries)

EPISTLE

Τ Ο

SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS.

penury to feel,

WHEN Dryden, worn with sickness,

bow'd with years, Was doom'd(my friend, let pity warm thy tears,) The galling pang

of For ill-placed loyalty, and courtly zeal, To see that laurel, which his brows o’erspread, Transplanted droop on Shadwell's barren head, The Bard oppress'd, yet not subdued by fate, For very

bread descended to translate: And he, whose fancy, copious as his phrase, Could light at will expression's brightest blaze, On Fresnoy's lay employ'd his studious hour; But niggard there of that melodious power, His

pen in haste the hireling task to close Transform'd the studied strain to careless prose, Which, fondly lending faith to French pretence, Mistook its meaning, or obscur'd its sense.

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