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Absent or dead, still let a friend be dear, (A sigh the absent claims, the dead a tear) Recall those nights that clos'd thy toilsome days, Still hear thy Parnell in his living lays; Who, careless now of interest, fame, or fate, Perhaps forgets that Oxford e'er was great; Or deeming meanest what we greatest call, Beholds thee glorious only in thy fall.
And sure if aught below the seats divine Can touch immortals, 'tis a soul like thine; A soul supreme, in each hard instance tried, Above all pain, all passion, and all pride, The rage of pow'r, the blast of public breath, The lust of lucre, and the dread of death. In vain to deserts thy retreat is made, The Muse attends thee to thy silent shade: Tis her's the brave man's latest steps to trace, Rejudge his acts, and dignify disgrace. When Interest calls off all her sneaking train, And all the' oblig'd desert, and all the vain, She waits, or to the scaffold or the cell, When the last lingering friend has bid farewell. Ev'n now she shades thy evening walk with bays; (No hireling she, no prostitute to praise) Ev'n now, observant of the parting ray, Eyes the calm sunset of thy various day, Through fortune's cloud one truly great can see, Nor fears to tell that Mortimer is he.
To James Craggs, Esq. Secretary of State. 1720.
A Soul, as full of worth as void of pride,
Which nothing seeks to show, or needs to hide, Which nor to guilt nor fear its caution owes, And boasts a warmth that from no passion flows. A face untaught to feign; a judging eye, That darts severe upon a rising lie,
And strikes a blush through frontless flattery.
All this thou wert; and being this before,
Then scorn to gain a friend by servile ways,
To Mr. Jeroas, with Mr. Dryden's Translation of Fresnoy's Art of Painting.*
THIS verse be thine, my friend! nor thou refuse
Whether thy hand strike out some free design,
Smit with the love of sister-arts we came,
How oft review; each finding, like a friend, Something to blame, and something to commend!
*This epistle, and the two following were written some years before the rest, and originally printed in 1717.
What flattering scenes our wandering fancy wrought, Rome's pompous glories rising to our thought! Together o'er the Alps, methinks we fly,
Fir'd with ideas of fair Italy.
With thee on Raphael's monument I mourn,
While fancy brings the vanish'd piles to view,
Here thy well-studied marbles fix our eye;
⚫ Fresnoy employed above 20 years in finishing his poem.
Each pleasing Blount shall endless smiles bestow, And soft Belinda's blush for ever glow.
O! lasting as those colours may they shine! Free as thy stroke, yet faultless as thy line; New graces yearly like thy works display, Soft without weakness, without glaring gay; Led by some rule that guides, but not constrains, And finish'd more through happiness than pains. The kindred arts shall in their praise conspire, One dip the pencil, and one string the lyre. Yet should the Graces all thy figures place, And breathe an air divine on every face; Yet should the Muses bid my numbers roll Strong as their charms, and gentle as their soul; With Zeuxis' Helen thy Bridgewater vie, And these be sung till Granville's Myra die : Alas! how little from the grave we claim ! Thou but preserv'st a face, and I a name.
To Miss Blount, with the Works of Voiture. 1717.
N these gay thoughts the loves and graces shine, And all the writer lives in every line ; His easy art may happy nature seem; Trifles themselves are elegant in him. Sure to charm all was his peculiar fate, Who without flattery pleas'd the fair and great; Still with esteem no less convers'd than read; With wit well-natur'd, and with books well-bred: His heart, his mistress and his friend did share, His time, the Muse, the witty, and the fair. Thus wisely careless, innocently gay, Cheerful he play'd the trifle life away; Till fate scarce felt his gentle breath supprest, As smiling infants sport themselves to rest. Ev'n rival wits did Voiture's death deplore, And the gay mourn'd who never mourn'd before; The truest hearts for Voiture heav'd with sighs; Voiture was wept by all the brightest eyes:
The smiles and loves had died in Voiture's death,
Few write to those, and none can live to these.
Custom, grown blind with age, must be your guide;
Whole years neglected for some months ador'd,