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But for the wits of either Charles's days, The mob of gentlemen who wrote with ease; Sprat, Carew, Sedley, and a hundred more, (Like twinkling ftars the mifcellanies o'er), One fimile, that (q) folitary fhines In the dry defert of a thousand lines, Cr (r) lengthen'd thought that gleams through many a page,

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Has fanctify'd whole poems for an age.
(s) I lofe my patience, and I own it too,
When works are cenfur'd, not as bad but new;
While if our elders break all reafon's laws,
These fools demand not pardon, but applause.


(t) On Avon's bank, where flow'rs eternal blow, If I but afk, if any weed can grow; One tragic fentence if I dare deride, Which (u) Betterton's grave action dignify'd, Or well-mouth'd Booth with emphafis proclaims, (Tho' but, perhaps, a mufter-roll of names),

Pulchraque, et exactis minimum distantia, miror:
Inter quæ [q] verbum emicuit fi forte decorum,
Si [r] verfus paulo concinnior unus et alter;
Injufte totum ducit venitque poema.

[] Indignior quidquam reprehendi, non quia craffe

Compofitum, illepideve putetur, fed quia nuper; Nec veniam antiquis, fed honorem et præmia pofci. [] Recte necne crocum florefque perambulet Ata Fabula, fi dubitem; clamant periiffe pudorem Cuncti pene patres: ea cum reprehendere coner, Quæ [u] gravis Efopus, quæ doctus Rofcius egit.


How will our fathers rise up in a rage,
And fwear, all fhame is loft in George's age!
You'd think (x) no fools difgrac'd the former reign,
Did not fome grave examples yet remain,
Who fcorn a lad fhould teach his father skill,
And, having once been wrong, will be so still. 130
He, who to feem more deep than you or I,
Extols old bards, (y) or Merlin's Prophecy,
Mistake him not; he envies, not admires,
'And to debase the sons, exalts the fires.
(2) Had ancient times confpir'd to disallow 135
What then was new, what had been ancient now?
Or what remain'd, fo worthy to be read
By learned critics, of the mighty dead?

(a) In days of eafe, when now the weary sword Was fheath'd, and Luxury with Charles reftor'd; In ev'ry taste of foreign courts improv'd, "All, by the king's example, liv'd and lov'd."



Vel quia nil [x] rectum, nifi quod placuit fibi, ducunt;
Vel quia turpe putant parere minoribus, et quæ
Imberbi didicere, fenes perdenda fateri.
Jam [y] Saliare Numa carmen qui laudat, et illud,
Quod mecum ignorat, folus vult fcire videri;
Ingeniis non ille favet plauditque fepultis,
Noftra fed impugnat, nos noftraque lividus odit.

[2] Quod fi tam Græcis novitas invifa fuiffet, Quam nobis ; quid nunc effet vetus? aut quid ha


Quod legeret tereretque viritim publicus ufus? [a] U primum pofitis nugari Gracia bellis


Ver. 142. A verfe of the Lord Lansdown.


Then peers grew proud in (b) horfemanship t' excel;
Newmarket's glory rofe, as Britain's fell;
The foldier breath'd the gallantries of France, 145
And ev'ry flow'ry courtier writ romance.
Then (c) marble, soften'd into life, grew warm,
And yielding metal flow'd to human form:
Rely on (d) animated canvafs fiole

The fleepy eye, that spoke the melting foul. 150
No wonder then, when all was love and fport,
The willing Mufes were debauch'd at court:
On (e) each enervate string they taught the note
To pant, or tremble thro' an eunuch's throat.

But (f) Britain, changeful as a child at play, Now calls in princes, and now turns away. 156 Now Whig, now Tory, what we lov'd we hate; Now all for pleasure, now for church and ftate;

Coepit, et in vitium fortuna labier æqua;
Nunc athletarum ftudiis, nunc arfit [b] equorum
[c] Marmoris aut eboris fabros aut æris amavit;
Sufpendit [d] picta vultum mentemque tabella;
Nunc [e] tibicinibus, nunc eft gavifa tragœdis:

[f] Sub nutrice puella velut fi luderet infans,


Ver. 143. In horfemanship t' excel,------And ev'ry flow'ry courtier writ romance.] The Duke of Newcastle's book of horsemanship; the romance of Partheniffa, by the Earl of Orrery, and most of the French romances tranflated by perfons of quality.

Ver. 153. On each enervate firing, etc.] The fiege of Rhodes by Sir William Davenant, the first opera fung in England.

Ver. 158. Now all for pleasure, now for church and state The first half of Charles the Second's reign was paffed in an abandoned diffolutenefs of manners; the other half, in factious disputes about Popish plots and French prerogative.




Now for prerogative, and now for laws;
Effects unhappy! from a noble cause.


(g) Time was, a fober Englishman would knock His fervants up, and rife by five o'clock, Inftruct his family in ev'ry rule,

And fend his wife to church, his fon to fchool,

Quod cupide petiit, mature plena reliquit.
Quid placet, aut odio eft, quod non mutabile credas?
Hoc paces habuere bonæ, ventique fecundi.

[g] Romæ dulce diu fuit, et folemne reclufa Mane domo vigilare, clienti promere jura;











Ver. 160. Effects unhappy! from a noble caufe,] i. e. the love of Liberty---Mr Voltaire, while in England, in a letter, dated October 15, 1726, writes thus to a friend in Paris. "I had a mind at first to print our poor Henry at my own expences in London; but the loss of my money is a fad ftop to my defign. I queftion if I fhall try the way of fubfcriptions by the favour of the court. I am weary of courts. All that is king, or belongs to a king, frights my republican philofophy. I wont drink the least draught of flavery in the land of liberty. I have written freely to and I will always do fo, having no reafon to lay my"felf under any restraint. I fear, I hope nothing from your Country: all that I wish for, is to fee you one day here. I am entertaining myfelf with this pleafant hope. If it is "but a dream, let me enjoy it: do not undeceive me : let me believe I shall have the pleasure to see you in London, drawing up the strong spirit of this unaccountable nation. "You will tranflate their thoughts better when you live 'amongit them. You will fee a nation fond of their liberty, "learned, witty, defpifing life and death, a nation of philofophers. Not but that there are fome fools in England. Every country has its madmen. It may be, French folly is plea"fanter than English madness, but by "and English honesty is above yours."





English wildom





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To (b) worship like his fathers, was his care; 165
To teach their frugal virtues to his heir;
To prove, that luxury could never hold;
And place, on good (2) fecurity, his gold.
Now times are chang'd, and one (k) poetic itch
Has feiz'd the court and city, poor and rich: 170
Sons, fires, and grandfires, all will wear the bays,
Our wives read Milton, and our daughters plays,
To theatres, and to rehearsals throng,
And all our grace at table is a fong.
I, who so oft renounce the Muses, (1) lie, 175
Not's felf e'er tells more fibbs than I;
When fick of Mufe, or follies we deplore,
And promise our best friends to rhyme no more;
We wake next morning in a raging fit,
And call for pen and ink to show our wit.


(m) He ferv'd a 'prenticeship, who fets up fhop; Ward try'd on puppies, and the poor, his drop;

K 2


Scriptos [b] nominibus rectis expendere numos;
[i] Majores audire, minori dicere, per quæ
Crefcere res poffet, minui damnofa libido.
Mutavit mentem populus levis, [k] et calet uno
Scribendi ftudio: puerique patrefque feveri
Fronde comas vincti coenant, et carmina dictant.
Ipfe ego, qui nullos me affirmo fcribere verfus,
Invenior [/] Parthis mendacior; et prius orto
Sole vigil, calamum et chartas et fcrinia posco.
[m] Navem agere ignarus navis timet: abrotonum




Ver. 182. Ward] A famous Empiric, whofe pill and drop had feveral furprifing effects, and were one of the principal fubjects of writing and converfation at this time,

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