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With growing years the pleafing licence grew,
And (b) taunts alternate innocently flew.
But times corrupt, and (i) nature, ill-inclin'd,
Produc'd the point that left a fting behind;
'Till friend with friend, and families at strife,
Triumphant Malice rag'd thro' private life.
Who felt the wrong, or fear'd it, took th' alarm,
Appeal'd to law, and Juftice lent her arm. 256
At length, by wholesome (k) dread of statutes
The Poets learn'd to please, and not to wound: Moft warp'd to (1) Flatt'ry's fide; but some, more nice,
Preferv'd the freedom, and forbore the vice. 26@
Hence Satire rofe, that just the medium hit,
And heals with morals what it hurts with wit.
(m)We conquer'd France, but felt our Captive's
Her Arts victorious triumph'd o'er our Arms;
Fefcennina per hunc inventa licentia morem
[b] Verfibus alternis opprobria ruftica fudit;
Libertafque recurrentes accepta per annos
Lufit amabiliter: [i] donec jam fævus apertam
In rabiem cœpit verti jocus, et per honestas
Ire domos impune minax, doluere cruento
Dente laceffiti: fuit intactis quoque cura
Conditione fuper communi: [k] quin etiam lex
Poenaque lata, malo quæ nollet carmine quemquam
Defcribi. vertere modum, formidine fuftis
Ad  bene dicendum, delectandumque redacti.
[m] Græcia capta ferum victorem coepit, et artes/ Intulit agrefti Latio. fic horridus ille
Britain to foft refinements lefs a foe,
Wit grew polite, and (7) numbers learn'd to flow,
Waller was fmooth; but Dryden taught to join
The varying verfe, the full refounding line,
The long majestic march, and energy divine.
Tho' ftill fome traces of our fo) ruftic vein
And splay-foot verfe remain'd, and will remain.
Late, very late, correctness grew our care,
When the tir'd nation (p) breath'd from civil war.
Exact (9) Racine, and Corneille's noble fire,
Show'd us that France had fomething to admire.
Not but the (r) Tragic fpirit was our own, 276
And full in Shakespear, fair in Otway fhone:
But Otway fail'd to polish or refine,
And (s) fluent Shakespear scarce effac'd a line.
Ev'n Copious Dryden wanted, or forgot, 289
The laft and greatest art, the art to blot.
Defluxit [n] numerus Saturnius, et grave virus
Munditie pepulere: fed in longum tamen ævum
Manferunt, hodieque manent, [a] veftigia ruris.
Serus enim Græcis admoyit acumina chartis;
Et poft [p] Punica bella quietus quærere cœpit,
Quid  Sophocles et Thelpis et Æfchylus utile
Tentavit quoque rem, fi digne vertere poffet:
Et placuit fibi, natura fublimis et acer:
Nam [r] fpirat tragicum fatis, et feliciter audet:
Sed  turpem putat infcite metuitque lituram.
Ver. 267. Waller was fmooth; Mr Waller, about this ti ne, with the Earl of Dorfet, Mr Godolphin, and others, tranflated the Pompey of Corneille; and the more correct French poets began to be in reputation.
Some doubt, if equal pains, or equal fire,
The (t) humbler Mufe of Comedy require.
But in known images of life, I guess
The labour greater, as th' indulgence (u) lefs. 285
Obferve how feldom ev'n the best fucceed:
Tell me if (x) Congreve's fools are fools indeed?
What pert, low dialogue, has Farqu'ar writ!
How Van wants grace, who never wanted wit!
The ftage how (y) loofely does Aftræa tread, 290
Who fairly puts all characters to bed!
And idle Cibber, how he breaks the laws,
To make poor Pinky (x) eat with vast applause!
But fill their (a) purfe, our Poet's work is done,
Alike to them, by Pathos or by Pun.
O you! whom (b) Vanity's light bark conveys On Fame's mad voyage by the wind of praife, With what a shifting gale your course you ply, For ever funk too low, or borne too high!
Creditur, ex [t] medio quia res arceffit, habere Sudoris minimum; fed habet Comœdia tanto Plus oneris, quanto veniæ minus. [u] afpice, Plautus Quo pactu [x] partes tutetur amantis ephebi, Us patris attenti, lenonis ut infidiofi : Quantus fit Doffennus [y] edacibus in parafitis; Quam [x] non aftricto percurrat pulpita focco. Geftit enim [a] nummum in loculos demittere; poft hoc
Securus, cadat an recto ftet fabula talo.
Quem tulit ad fcenam [b] ventofo gloria curru, Exanimat lentus fpectator, fedulus inflat :
Ver. 290. Aftra.] A name taken by Mrs Behn, authorefs of feveral obfcene plays, etc.
Who pants for glory finds but fhort repofe,
A breath revives him, or a breath o'erthrows.
(c) Farewell the stage! if juft as thrives the play,
The filly bard grows fat, or falls away.
(d) There fill remains, to mortify a Wit, The many-headed monster of the Pit: A fenfeleis, worthlefs, and unhonour'd crowd; Who, (e) to disturb their betters mighty proud, Clatt'ring their sticks before ten lines are spoke, Call for the Farce, (f) the Bear, or the Black-jock. What dear delight to Britons farce affords! 310 Ever the taste of mobs, but now (g) of lords; (Tafte, that eternal wanderer, which flies From heads to ears, and now from ears to eyes.) The play ftands ftill; damn action and difcourfe, Back fly the fcenes, and enter foot (b) and horse;
Sic leve, fic parvum eft, animum quod laudis a
Subruit, ac reficit: [c] valeat res ludicra, fi me Palma negata macrum, donata reducit opimum. [d] Sæpe etiam audacem fugat hoc terretque
Quod numero lures, virtute et honore minores
Indocti, ftolidique, et [e] depugnare parati
Si difcordet eques, media inter carmina pofcunt
Aut [f] urfum aut pugiles: his nam plebecula
Verum [g] equitis quoque jam migravit ab aure Omnis, ad incertos oculos, et gaudia vana. Quatuor aut plures aulaa premuntur in horas; Dum fugiuut [b] equitum turmæ, peditumque ca
Pageants on pageants, in long order drawn,
Peers, heralds, bishops, ermin, gold, and lawn;
The Champion too! and, to complete the jeft,
Old Edward's armour beams on Cibber's breaft.
With (i) laughter fure Democritus had dy'd,
Had he beheld an audience gape fo wide,
Let bear or (k) elephant be e'er fo white,
The people fure, the people are the fight!
Ah lucklefs (7) Poet! ftretch thy lungs and roar,
That bear or elephant fhall heed the more;
While all its (m) throats the Gallery extends,
And all the thunder of the Pit afcends!
Mox trahitur manibus regum fortuna retortis;
Effeda feftinant, pilenta, petorrita, naves;
Captivum portatur ebur, captiva Corinthus.
[i] Si foret in terris, rideret Democritus; feu
Diverfum confufa genus panthera camelo,
Sive [k] elephas albus vulgi converteret ora.
Spectaret populum ludis attentius ipfis,
Ut fibi præbentem mimo fpectacula plura:
Scriptores autem  narrare putaret afello
Fabellum furdo. nam quæ [m] pervincere voces
Evaluere fonum, referunt quem nostra theatra?
Ver. 319. Old Edward's armour beams on Cibber's breast.] The coronation of Henry VIII. and Queen Anne Boleyn, in which the playhouses vied with each other to reprefent all the pomp of a coronation. In this noble contention, the armour of one of the kings of England was borrowed from the Tower, to drefs the Champion.