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To the following Epiftle.

"HE Reflections of Horace and the Judgments paft in his Epistle to Auguftus, feem'd so seasonable to the present Times, that I could not help applying them to the use of my own country. The Author thought them confiderable enough to address them to his prince; whom he paints with all the great and good qualities of a Monarch, upon whom the Romans depended for the Encrease of an abfolute Empire. But to make the Poem entirely English, I was willing to add one or two of those which contribute to the Happiness of a Free people, and ́are more confiftent with the Welfare of our Neighbours.


This Epiftle will shew the learned World to have fallen into Two mistakes: one, that Auguftus was' Patron of poets in general; whereas he not only prohibited all but the Best Writers to name him, but recommended that care even to to the Civil Magiftrate Admonebat Praetores, ne paterentur Nomen fuum obfolefieri, &c. The other, that this Piece was only a general Difcourfe of Poetry; whereas it was an Apology for the Poets, in order to render Augustus more their Patron.

Horace here pleads the Cause of his Cotemporaries, first against the Taste of the Town, whose humour it was to magnify the Authors of the preceeding Age: fecondly against the Court and Nobility

who encouraged only the Writers for the Theatre; and lastly against the Emperor himself, who had conceived them of little Ufe to the government. He fhews (by a view of the Progrefs of Learning, and the Change of Taste among the Romans) that the Introduction of the Polite Arts of Greece had gi ven the Writers of his Time great advantages over their Predeceffors; that their Morals were much improved, and the licence of thofe ancient Foets restrain ed: that Satire and Comedy were become More just and useful; that whatever extravagances were left on the Stage, were owing to the Ill Taste of the Nobility; that Poets, under due Regulations, were in many respects useful to the State, and concludes, that it was upon them the Emperor himself muft depend, for his Fame with Posterity.

We may farther learn from this Epiftle, that Ho race made his Court to this Great Prince by writing with a decent Freedom toward him, with a just Contempt of his low Flatterers, and with a manly regard to his own character.









WHILE you, great patron of Mankind! fustain

The balanc'd World, and open all the Main; Your Country, chief, in Arms abroad defend, At Home, with Morals, Arts, and Laws amend; How fhall the Mufe, from fuch a Monarch, steal An hour, and not defraud the Public Weal? Edward and Henry, now the Boaft of Fame, And virtuous Alfred, a more facred Name, After a life of generous toils endur'd, The Gaul fubdu'd, or Property fecur'd, Ambition humbled, mighty cities storm'd, Or laws establish'd, and the world reform'd;

Clos'd their long Glories with a figh, to find
Th'unwilling gratitude of bafe mankind!
All human Virtue, to its latest breath,
Finds Envy never conquer'd, but by Death.
The great Alcides, every labour past,
Had ftill this monster to fubdue at last.
Sure fate of all, beneath whofe rifing ray
Each star of meaner merit fades away!
Opprefs'd we feel the beam directly beat,
Thofe Suns of Glory please not till they set.

To thee, the World its present homage pays,
The harvest early, but mature the praise :
Great friend of LIBERTY! in Kings a Name
Above all Greek, above all Roman Fame:
Whofe Word is truth, as facred and rever'd,
As Heaven's own Oracles from altars heard.
Wonder of King! like whom, to mortal eyes
None e'er has risen, and none e'er shall rife.

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Juft in one inftance, be it yet confeft Your People, Sir, are partial in the rest: Foes to all living worth except your own, And Advocates for folly, dead and gone. Authors, like, coins, grow dear as they grow old; It is the ruft we value, not the gold, Chaucer's worst ribaldry is learn'd by rote, And beaftly Skelton heads of houfes quote, One likes no language but the Fairy Queen; A Scot will fight for Chrift's Kirk o' the Green; And each true Briton is to Ben fo civil, He fwears, the Mufes met him at the Devil

Tho' juftly Greece her eldest fons admires, Why should not We be wifer than our fires? In every public Virtue we excell;

We build, we paint, we fing, we dance as well, And learned Athens to our art must stoop, Could the behold us tumbling thro' a hoop.

If Time improve our Wits as well as Wine,

Say at what age a Poet grows divine?
Shall we, or fhall we not, account him so,
Who dy'd. perhaps, an hundred years ago?
End all difpute; and fix the year precise
When British bards begin t'immortalize ?

"Who lafts a century, can have no flaw, "I hold that Wit a Claffic, good in law.

Suppose he wants a year, will you compound? And shall we deem him ancient, right and found, Or damn to all eternity at once,

At ninety nine, a Modern and a Dunce?

"We fhall not quarrel for a year or two; "By courtesy of England, he may do.

Then, by the rule that made the horse-tail bare, I pluck out year by year, as hair by hair, And melt down Ancients like a heap of fnow: While you, to measure merits, look in Stowe, And estimating Authors by the year,

Bestow a Garland only on a Bier.

Shakespear (whom you and every play-house bill, Style the divine, the matchlefs, what you will) For gain, not glory, wing'd his roving flight, And grew immortal in his own despight.

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