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All this thou wert; and being this before,
Nor wish to lose a foe these virtues raise;
EPISTLE TO MR. JERVAS,
With Mr. Dryden's Translation of Fresnoy's Art of Painting.
This Epistle, and the two following, were written some years before the rest, and originally printed in 1717.
verse be thine, my friend, nor thou refuse This, from no venal or ungrateful muse. Whether thy hand strike out some free design, Where life awakes, and dawns at every line; Or blend in beauteous tints the colour'd mass, And from the canvass call the mimic face: Read these instructive leaves, in which conspire Fresnoy's close art, and Dryden's native fire: And reading wish, like theirs our fate and fame, So mix'd our studies, and so join'd our name; Like them to shine through long succeeding age, So just thy skill, so regular my rage.
Smit with the love of sister-arts we came, And met congenial, mingling flame with flame; Like friendly colours found them both unite, And each from each contract new strength and light.
How oft in pleasing tasks we wear the day,
How oft review; each finding like a friend
Rome's pompous glories rising to our thought!
With thee on Raphael's monument I mourn,
Here thy well-studied marbles fix our eye;
Yet still her charms in breathing paint engage; Her modest cheek shall warm a future age. Beauty, frail flower that every season fears, Blooms in thy colours for a thousand years. Thus Churchill's race shall other hearts surprise, And other beauties envy Worsley's eyes;
Each pleasing Blount shall endless smiles bestow, And soft Belinda's blush for ever glow.
Oh, 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.
EPISTLE TO MISS BLOUNT;
With the Works of Voiture.
N these gay thoughts the Loves and Graces shine,
And all the writer lives in every line:
His easy art may happy nature seem,
Who without flattery pleas'd the fair and great;
Still with esteem no less convers'd than read;
And, if it can, at once both please and preach.
And, more diverting still than regular,
Custom, grown blind with age, must be your guide;
Whole years neglected, for some months ador'd,
Nor let false shows, nor empty titles please:
The gods, to curse Pamela with her prayers, Gave the gilt coach and dappled Flanders mares, The shining robes, rich jewels, beds of state, And, to complete her bliss, a fool for mate. She glares in balls, front boxes, and the ring, A vain, unquiet, glittering, wretched thing! Pride, pomp, and state, but reach her outward part; She sighs, and is no duchess at her heart.
But, madam, if the fates withstand, and you Are destin'd Hymen's willing victim too; Trust not too much your now resistless charms, Those, age or sickness, soon or late, disarms: Good-humour only teaches charms to last, Still makes new conquests, and maintains the past; Love rais'd on beauty will, like that, decay, Our hearts may bear its slender chain a day; As flowery bands in wantonness are worn, A morning's pleasure, and at evening torn ; This binds in ties more easy, yet more strong, The willing heart, and only holds it long.
Thus Voiture's early care still shone the same,
The brightest eyes in France inspir'd his muse;
* Mademoiselle Paulet.