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We think our fathers fools; fo wife we grow;
Our wifer fons, no doubt, will think us fo.
Once School-divines this zealous ifle o'erspread;
Who knew moft fentences was deepest read:
Faith, gofpel, all, feem'd made to be disputed,
And none had sense enough to be confuted:

440

Scotifts and Thomifts, now in peace remain,

Amidst their kindred cobwebs in Duck-lane.

445

If Faith itself has different dreffes worn,

What wonder modes in Wit should take their turn?

Oft', leaving what is natural and fit,

The current folly proves the ready wit;
And authors think their reputation fafe,

450

Which lives as long as fools are pleas'd to laugh.
Some, valuing those of their own fide or mind,
Still make themselves the measure of mankind:
Fondly we think we honour merit then,

When we but praise ourselves in other men.

455

Parties in Wit attend on thofe of State,

And public faction doubles private hate.

VARIATION.

Ver. 447. Between this and ver. 448.

Pride,

The rhyming Clowns that gladded Shakespeare's age, No more with crambo entertain the stage.

Who now in Anagrams their Patron praise,

Or fing their Mistress in Acroftic lays;

Ev'n pulpits pleas'd with merry puns of yore;
Now all are banish'd to th' Hibernian fhore !
Thus leaving what was natural and fit,
The current folly prov'd their ready wit;
And authors thought their reputation fafe,

Which liv'd as long as fools were pleas'd to laugh.

Pride, Malice, Folly, against Dryden rose,
In various shapes of Parfons, Critics, Beaux;
But fenfe furviv'd, when merry jefts were past;
For rifing merit will buoy up at last.

460

Might he return, and bless once more our eyes,
New Blackmores and new Milbourns must arife:
Nay should great Homer lift his awful head,
Zoilus again would start up from the dead.
Envy will merit, as its fhade, pursue;

465

But, like a shadow, proves the substance true :
For envy'd Wit, like Sol eclips'd, makes known
Th' oppofing body's groffnefs, not its own.
When first that fun too powerful beams difplays,
It draws up vapours which obfcure its rays;
But ev'n thofe clouds at last adorn its way,
Reflect new glories, and augment the day.

Be thou the first true merit to befriend ;
His praife is loft, who stays till all commend.
Short is the date, alas, of modern rhymes,
And 'tis but just to let them live betimes.

470

475

No longer now that golden age appears,

When Patriarch-wits furviv'd a thousand years:

Now length of Fame (our fecond life) is loft,
And bare threefcore is all ev'n that can boast ;

480

Our fons their fathers' failing language fee,
And fuch as Chaucer is, fhall Dryden be.
So when the faithful pencil has defign'd
Some bright idea of the master's mind,

VARIATION.

Ver. 485. Ed. 1. Some fair idea, &c.

485 Where

Where a new world leaps out at his command, his hand;

And ready Nature waits upon

When the ripe colours soften and unite,

And sweetly melt into just shade and light;

When mellowing years their full perfection give,
And each bold figure just begins to live,

The treacherous colours the fair art betray,
And all the bright creation fades away!

490

Unhappy wit, like most mistaken things,
Atones not for that envy which it brings,
In youth alone its empty praise we boast,
But foon the short-liv'd vanity is loft:"

Like fome fair flower the early spring supplies,
That gayly blooms, but ev'n in blooming dies.

495

What is this Wit, which muft our cares employ? 500 The owner's wife, that other men enjoy;

The most our trouble still when most admir'd,

And still the more we give, the more requir'd;

Whose fame with pains we guard, but lose with ease, Sure fome to vex, but never all to please;

VARIATIONS.

505

'Tis

Ver. 490. Ed. 1. When mellowing time does, &c. Ver. 492. The treacherous colours in few years decay. Ver. 495. Repays not half that envy, &c.

Ver. 498.

Like fome fair flower that in the spring does rise. Ver. 500. What is this wit that does our cares employ? Ver. 5c2.

The more his trouble as the more admir'd;

Where wanted, fcorn'd; and envy'd where acquir'd Maintain❜d with pains, but forfeited with eafe, &c.

'Tis what the vicious fear, the virtuous fhun,
By fools 'tis hated, and by knaves undone!
If Wit fo much from ignorance undergo,
Ah, let not learning too commence its foe!
Of old, thofe met rewards, who could excell,
And fuch were prais'd who but endeavour'd well:
Though triumphs were to generals only due,
Crowns were referv'd to grace the foldiers too.
Now, they who reach Parnaffus' lofty crown,
Employ their pains to spurn fome others down;
And while felf-love each jealous writer rules,
Contending wits become the fport of fools:
But still the worft with most regret commend,
For each ill author is as bad a friend.
To what bafe ends, and by what abject ways,

510

515

520

Are mortals urg'd through facred luft of praise!
Ah, ne'er fo dire a thirst of glory boast,

Nor in the Critic let the man be lost.
Good-nature and good-fenfe must ever join;
To err, is human; to forgive, divine.

But if in noble minds fome dregs remain
Not yet purg'd off, of spleen and four difdain;
Discharge that rage on more provoking crimes,
Nor fear a dearth in thefe flagitious times.

No

VARIATIONS.

Ver. 508. Ed. 1. Too much does Wit, &c.
Ver. 514. Now those that reach, &c.

Ver. 519. And each, &c.

Ver. 521. Are mortals urg'd by facred, &c.

No pardon vile obfcenity should find,

Though wit and art confpire to move your mind;

But dulness with obscenity must prove,

As fhameful fure as impotence in love.

In the fat age of pleasure, wealth, and ease,

530

Sprang the rank weed, and thriv'd with large increase: When love was all an eafy Monarch's care;

Seldom at council, never in a war:

Jilts rul'd the state, and statesmen farces writ;
Nay wits had penfions, and young lords had wit:
The Fair fat panting at a Courtier's play,
And not a mask went unimprov'd away:
The modest fan was lifted up no more,

540

And Virgins fmil'd at what they blush'd before.
The following license of a foreign reign

Did all the dregs of bold Socinus drain;

545

Then unbelieving Priests reform'd the nation,

And taught more pleasant methods of falvation;

Where Heaven's free fubjects might their rights difpute,

550

Left God himself should seem too abfolute :
Pulpits their facred fatire learn'd to fpare,

And Vice admir'd to find a flatterer there!
Encourag'd thus, Wit's Titans brav'd the skies,
And the prefs groan'd with licens'd blasphemies.

VARIATION.

Thefe

Ver. 547. The Author has here omitted the two following lines; as containing a National Reflection, which in his ftricter judgment he could not but difapprove on any People whatever:

Then firft the Belgians' morals were extoll'd;
We their religion had, and they our gold.

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