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Perfians and Greeks like turns of nature found,
And the world's victor flood fubdued by found!
The pow'r of mufic all our hearts allow;
And what Timotheus was, is Dryden now.
Avoid extremes, and fhun the fault of fuch
Who ftill are pleas'd too little or too much.
At ev'ry trifle icorn to take offence;
That always fhews great pride; or little fenfe:
Thofe heads, as ftomachs, are not fure the best,
Which naufeate all, and nothing can digeft.
Yet let not each gay turn thy rapture move;
For fools admire, but men of fenfe approve:
As things feer large which we thro'miftsdefcry;
Duinels is ever apt to magnify.
Some foreign writers, fome our own, defpife;
The ancients only, or the moderns, prize.
Thus wit, like faith, by each man is applied
To one fmall fect, and all are damn'd beside.
Mealy they feek the bleffing to confine,
And force that fun but on a part to shine,
Which not alone the fouthern wit fublimes,
But ripens fpirits in cold northern climes;
Which from the firft has fhone on ages paft,
Enlights the prefent, and fhall warm the laft;
Tho each may feel increafes and decays,
And fee now clearer and now darker days.
Regard not then if wit be old or new,
But blame the falfe, and value ftill the true.
Some ne'er advance a judgment of their own,
But catch the fpreading notion of the town;
They reafon and conclude by precedent,
And own ftale nonfenfe which they ne'er invent.
judgeofauthors' names,not works; and then
Nor praife nor blame the writings, but the men.
Of all this fervile herd, the worst is he
That in proud dulnefs joins with quality:
A conftant critic at the great man's board,
To fetch and carry nonfenfe for my lord:
What woeful staff this madrigal would be,
Infome farv'd hackney fonnetteer, or me!
But let a lord once own the happy lines,
How the wit brightens ! how the ftyle refines!
Before his facred name flies ev'ry fault,
And each exalted stanza teems with thought!
The vulgar thus thro' imitation err;
As oft the learn'd by being fingular:
Such they fcorn the crowd, that if the throng
By chance go right, they purpofely go wrong:
So fchifmatics the plain believers quit,
And are but damned for having too much wit.
Se praife at morning what they blame atnight;
but always think the laft opinion right.
Mafe by thefe is like a miftrefs us'd;
This hour the's idoliz'd, the next abus'd;
While their weak heads, like towns unfortified,
Textfenfe and nonfenfe daily changetheirfide.
Aik them the caufe; they're wifer ftill, they fay;
And till to-morrow's wifer than to day.
We think our fathers fools, fo wife we grow ;
Jur wifer fons, no doubt, will think us fo.
ace fchool-divines this zealous ifle o'erfpread;
Who knew moft fentences was deepest read:
ith, Gospel, all feem'd made to be difputed,
Ind none had fenfe enough to be confuted:
Scotifts and Thomifts now in peace remain
Amidft their kindred cobwebs in Duck-lane.
If faith itfelf has diff'rent dretes worn,
What wonder modes in witfhouldtaketheirturn!
Oft, leaving what is natural and fit,
The current folly proves the ready wit;
And authors think the reputation de,
Which lives as long as fools are pleas'd tolaugh.
Some valuing thofe of their own fide or mind,
Still make themselves the meature of mankind!
Fondly we think we honour merit then,
When we but praife ourfelves in other men.
Parties in wit attend on thofe of ftate,
And public faction doubles private hate.
Pride, malice, folly, againft Dryden rofe,
In various fhapes of parfons, critics, beaux:
But fenfe furviv'd when merry jefts were paft,
For rifing merit will buoy up at last.
Might he return, and blefs once more our eyes,
New Blackmores and new Milbourns muft arife:
Nay, fhould great Homer lift his awful head,
Zoilus again would start up from the dead.
Envy will merit, as its fhade, purfue;
But, like a fhadow, proves the fubftance true:
For envied wit, like Sol eclips'd, makes known
Th' oppofing body's groffnefs, not its own.
When firft that fun too pow'rful beams difplays,
It draws up vapours which obfcure its rays;
But ev'n thofe clouds at laft adorn its way,
Reflect new glories, and augment the day.
Be thou the firft true merit to befriend;
His praife is loft who itays till all commend.
Short is the date, alas! of modern rhymes,
And 'tis but juft to let them live betimes.
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 e'en that can boaft i
Our fons their fathers' falling language fee,
And fuch as Chaucer is fhall Dryden be.
So when the faithful pencil has defign'd
Some bright idea of the mafter's mind,
Where a new world leaps out at his command,
And ready Nature waits upon his hand;
When the ripe colours foften and unite,
And fweetly melt into juft fhade and light;
When mellowing years theirfull perfection give,
And each bold figure just begins to live;
The treach'rous colours the fair art betray,
And all the bright creation fades away
Unhappy wit, like moft mistaken things,
Atones not for that envy which it brings.
In youth alone its empty praif we boalt;
But foon the fhort-liv'd vanity loft:
Like fome fair flow'r the early fpring fupplies
That gaily blooms, but ev'n in blooming dies.
What is this wit, which muft our cares employ?
The owner's wife, that other men enjoy:
Then moft our trouble ftill when moit admir'd,
And ftill the more we give, the more requir'd;
Whofe fame with pains we guard, but lole with
Sure fome to vex, but never all to pleafe: [eate,
Tis what the vicious fear, the virtuous thun,
By fools 'tis hated, and by knaves undone!
If wit fo much from ign'rance undergo,
Ah let not learning too commence its foe!
Of old, thofe met rewards who could excel,
And fuch wereprais'd who but endeavour'dwell:
Tho' triumphs were to gen'rals only due,
Crowns were referv'd to grace the foldiers too.
Now, they who reach Parnaffus' lofty crown
Employ their pain to fpurn fome others down;
And while felf-love each jealous writer rules,
Contending wits become the sport of fools;
But still the worst with most regret commend,
For each ill author is as bad a friend.
To what bafe ends, and by what abject ways,
Are mortals urg'd through facred luft of praife!
Ah! ne'er fo dire a thirst of glory boait,
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 uoble minds fome dregs remain,
Not yet purg'd off, of fpleen and four difdain,
Difcharge that rage on more provoking crimes,
Nor fear a dearth in these flagitious times.
No pardon vile obscenity should find,
Tho' wit and art confpire to move your mind;
But dulnefs with obscenity muft prove
As fhameful fure as impotence in love.
In the fat age of pleasure, wealth, and cafe,
Sprung the rank weed, and thriv'd with large
When love was all an eaty 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 maik went unimprov'd away;
The modeft fan was lifted up no more;
And virgins fmil'd at what they blush'd before.
The following licence of a foreign reign
Did all the dregs of bold Socinus drain;
Then unbelieving priests reform'd the nation,
And taught more pleafant methods of falvation;
Where Heaven's free fubjects might their rights
Left God himself should seem too abfolute:
Pulpits their facred fatire learn'd to spare,
And vice admir'd to find a flatt'rer there!
Encourag'd thus, wit's Titans brav'd the fkies,
And the prefs groan'd with licens'd blafphemies.
Thefe monfters, critics! with your darts engage,
Here point your thunder, and exhauft your rage!
Yet fhun their fault, who, fcandalously nice,
Will needs mistake an author into vice:
All feems infected that th' infected spy,
As all looks yellow to the jaundic'd eye.
Learn then what morals critics ought to fhew,
For 'tis but half a judge's talk to know.
'Tis not enough, tafte, judgment, learning, join;
In all you speak, let truth and candour thine:
That not alone what to your fenfe is due
All may allow, but feek your friendship too.
Be filent always when you doubt your fenfe;
And fpeak, tho' fure, with feeming diffidence:
Some pofitive, perfifting fops we know,
ho, if once wrong, will needs be always fo;
But you with pleasure own your errors paft And make each day a critique on the lait.
'Tis not enough your counfel ftill be tru Blunttruthsmoremifchief thannicefalfehood Men must be taught as if you taught them And things unknown propos'd as things for Without good-breeding, truth is disapprov That only makes fuperior fenfe belov'd.
Be niggards of advice on no pretence; For the worst avarice is that of fenfe. With mean complacence ne'er betray yourt Nor be fo civil as to prove unjuft. Fear not the anger of the wife to raise; Thofe beft can hear reproof who merit pra
'Twere wellmightcritics ftill this freedom But Appius reddens at each word you fpe And stares tremendous, with a threat'ning Like fome fierce tyrant in old tapestry. Fear moft to tax an honourable fool, Whose right it is, uncenfur'd, to be dull Such, without wit, are poets when they pl As without learning they can take degret. Leave dang'rous truths to unfuccessful fa And flatt'ry to fulfome dedicators, Whom, when they praife, the world believ Than when they promife to give fcribbling 'Tis beft fometimes your cenfure to reftr And charitably let the dull be vain : Your filence there is better than your fpi For who can rail fo long as they can writ Still humming on,their drowsy course they And lafh'd fo long, like tops, are lafh'di Falfe fteps but help them to renew the ra As, after ftumbling, jades will mend their What crowds of thefe, impenitently bol In founds and jingling fyllables grown o Still run on poets in a raging vein, Ev'n to the dregs and fqueezings of the Strain out the last dull droppings of their And rhyme with all the rage of impoten Such fhameless bards we have; and yet 'ti There are as mad abandon'd critics too. The bookful blockhead, ignorantly read With loads of learned lumber in his heac With his own tongue ftill edifies his ears And always lift'ning to himself appears. All books he reads, and all he reads affail From Dryden's Fables down to Durfey's 1 With him, moft authors fteal their works,o Garth did not write his own Difpenfary. Name a new Play, and he's the Poet's trie Nay,fhew'dhisfaults,but when would Poetsn No place fo facred from fuch fops is barr' Nor is Paul's church more fafe than Paul's cl
Unbafs'd or by favour or by fpite;
Nor dully prepoffels'd, nor blindly right;
The learn'd well-bred,andtho'well-bredfincere,
Modely bold, and humanly fevere;
Who to a friend his faults can freely fhew,
And gladly praife the merit of a foe?
Kieft with a tafle exact, yet unconfin'd;
A knowledge both of books and human kind;
Gen'rous converfe; a foal exempt from pride!
And love to praife, with reafon on his fide?
Such once were Critics; fuch the happy few
Athens and Rome in better ages knew.
The mighty Stagyrite firft left the thore,
Spread all his fails, and durit the deeps explore;
He teer'd fecurely, and difcover'd far,
Led by the light of the Mæonian Star.
Poets, a race long unconfin'd and free,
Still fond and proud of favage liberty,
Receiv'd his laws, and flood convinc'd; 'twas fit,
Who conquer'd Nature fhould prefide o'er Wit
Horace fill charms with graceful negligence,
And without method talks us into fenfe;
Will, like a friend, familiarly convey
The treeft notions in the ealieft way.
He who, fupreme in judgment as in wit,
Might boldly cenfure, as he boldly writ;
Yet adg'd with coolnefs, tho' he fung with fire;
His Precepts teach but what his Works infpire.
Our Critics take a contrary extreme;
They judge with fury, but they write with
or fullers Horace more in wrong translations
its, than critics in as wrong quotations.
See Dionyfius Homer's thoughts refine,
And call new beauties forth from ev'ry line!
Fancy and art in gay Petronius please;
The fcholar's learning, with the courtier's eafe.
In grave Quintilian's copious work we find
The jufteft rules and cleareft method join'd:
Thus afeful arms in magazines we place,
Bat lefs to please the eye than arm the hand;
all fit for ufe, and ready at command.
And blefs their Critic with a Poet's fire.
Thee, bold Longinus! all the Nine infpire,
An ardent judge, who, zealous in his truft,
Whole own example ftrengthens all his laws;
And is himself that great fublime he draws.
Licence reprefs'd, and ufeful laws ordain'd.
Thus long fucceeding Critics juftly reign'd,
Pening and Rome alike in empire gw,
And Arts fill follow'd where the Eagles flew:
In the fame foes, at laft, both felt their
And the fame age faw Learning fall, and Rome.
With Tyranny then Superftition join'd;
that the body, this enflay'd the mind:
Had to be dull was conftrued to be good:
Much was believ'd, but little understood;
econd deluge Learning thus o'er-run;
the Monks finish'd what the Goths begun.
At length Erafimus, that great injur'd name;
glory of the Priesthood, and the fhame!
Slight is the fubject, but not fo the praise,
If She infpire, and He approve my lays.
Say what strange motive, goddefs! could com-
A well-bred Lord t' affault a gentle Belle?
O fay what stranger caufe, yet unexplor'd,
Could make a gentle Belle reject a Lord?
In tasks fo bold can little men engage?
And in foft bofoms dwells fuch mighty rage?
Sol thro' white curtains hot a tim'rous ray,
And op'd thofe eyes that muft eclipfe the day:
Now lap-dogs gave themselves the roufing shake;
And fleepless lovers, juft at twelve, awake:
Thrice rung the bell, the flipper knoɔk'd the
And the prefs'd watch return'd a filver found.
Belinda ftill her downy pillow prefs'd,
Her guardian Sylph prolong'd the balmy reft-
'Twas He had fummon'd to her filent bed
The morning-dreams that hover do'er herhead
A youth more glitt'ring than a birth-night beau,
That even in lumber caus'd her cheek to glow,
Seem'd to her ear his winning lips to lay,
And thus in whispers faid, or feem'd to fay:
Fairest of mortals, thou diftinguith'd care
Of thousand bright inhabitants of air!
If e'er one vifion touch thy infant thought,
Of all the Nurie and all the Prieft have taught,
Of airy elves by moonlight thadows feen,
The fiver token, and the circled green,
Or virgins vifited by Angel-pow'rs, [flow'rs!
With golden crowns, and wreaths of heavenly
Hear and believe! thy own importance know,
Nor bound thy narrow views to things below.
Some fecret truths, from learned pride conceal'd,
To maids alone and children are reveal'd:
What tho' no credit doubting wits may give,
The fair and innocent fhall still believe.
Know then, unnumber'd fpirits round thee fly,
The light militia of the lower sky:
Thefe, tho' unfeen, are ever on the wing,
Hang o'er the box, and hover round the ring.
Think what an equipage thou haft in air,
And view with icorn two pages and a chair.
As now your own, our beings were of old,
And once inclos'd in woman's beauteous mould;
Thence, by a foft tranfition, we repair
From earthly vehicles to thefe of air.
Know further yet-whoever fair and ch Rejects mankind, is by fome fylph erbrac For fpirits, freed from mortal laws, with e Affume what fexes and what fhapes they p What guards the purity of melting maids In courtly balls and midnight masquerade Safe from the treach'rous friend, the daring The glance by day, the whisper in the dar When kind occafion prompts their warm d When mufic foftens, and when dancing fi 'Tis but their fylph, the wife celeftials kn Tho'honour is the word with men below.
Some nymphs there are, too conscious of For life predeftin'd to the gnomes' embra Thefe fwell their profpects and exalt their When offers are difdain'd, and love denie Then gay ideas crowd the vacant brain, [ While peers, and dukes, and all their fwe And garters, ftars, and coronets appear, And in foft founds "your grace" falutes the 'Tis thefe that early taint the female foul, Inftruct the eye of young coquette's to n Teach infant-cheeks a bidden blufh to k And little hearts to flutter at a beau.
Oft, when the world imagine women ft The fylphs thro' myftic mazes guide thei Thro' all the giddy circle they pursue, And old impertinence expel by new. What tender maid but muft a victim fall To one man's treat, but for another's ba When Florio fpeaks, what virgin couldwith If gentle Damon did not fqueeze her har With varying vanities, from ev'ry part, They fhift the moving toy-fhop of their Where wigs with wigs, with fword-knots: knots strive,
Beaux banish beaux, and coaches coaches
This erring mortals levity may call ;
Oh blind to truth! the Sylphs contrive i
Of the fe am I, who thy protection cla A watchful sprite, and Ariel is my name Late as I rang'd the cryftal wilds of air, In the clear mirror of thy ruling ftar
faw, alas! fome dread event impend, Ere to the main this morning fun defcer But heaven reveals not what, or how, or Warn'd by thy Sylph, oh pious maid, bey
Beware of all, but most beware of man'
He faid; whenShock,who thought the fle Leap'd up, and wak'd hismiftrefs withhisto 'Twasen, Belinda, if report fay true, Thy eyes firft open'd on a billet-doux; Wounds, charms, and ardours, were no But all the vifion vanish'd from thy head
Think not,when woman's tranfient breath is fled, This to difclofe is all thy guardian can :
That all her vanities at once are dead;
Succeeding vanities the itill regards,
And, tho' the plays no more, o'erlooks the cards.
Her joy in gilded chariots, when alive,
And love of ombre, after death furvive;
For when the fair in all their pride expire,
To their firft elements their fouls retire:
The fprites of fiery termagants in flame
Mount up, and take a falamander's name.
Soft vielding maids to water glide away,
And fip, with nymphs, their elemental tea.
The graver prude finks downward to a gnome,
I fearch of mischief still on earth to roam.
The light coquettes in fylphs aloft repair,
And port and flutter in the fields of air.
And now, vnveil'd, the toilet ftands diff Each filver vafe in myftic order laid. Firft, rob'd in white, the nymph intent ad With head uncover'd, the cofmetic pow A heavenly image in the glafs appears; To that the bends, to that her eyes the re Th' inferior priestess, at her altar's fide, Trembling, begins the facred rites of pric
Camereafures ope at once, and here The rings of the world appsar; The nicely culls with curious toil, Ategoddefs with the glitt'ring fpoil. tadia's glowing gems unlocks, Araba breathes from yonder box: e here and elephant unite, [white: to combs, the fpeckled and the Bias extend their fhining rows, head, patches, bibles, billet-doux. auty puts on all its arms; oment rifes in her charms, Jaries, awakens ev'ry grace, all the wonders of her face: a purer bluth arife, Lightning quicken in her eyes. phs furround their darling care; rehead, and thofe divide the hair; leeve, whilft others plait the gown; Akay's prais'd for labours not her own.
Then proftrate falls, and begs with ardent eyes
Soon to obtain, and long poffefs the prize.
The pow'rs gave ear, and granted half his pray'r ;
The reft, the winds difpers'd in empty air.
But now fecure the painted veffel glides,
The fun-beams trembling on the floating tides;
While melting mufic fteals upon the fky,
And foften'd founds along the waters die;
Smooth flow the waves,the Zephyrs gently play;
Belinda fmil'd, and all the world was gay.
All but the Sylph-with carefulthoughtsoppreft,
Th' impending woe fat heavy on his breaft.
He fummons traight his denizens of air,
The lucid fquadrons round the fails repair:
Soft o'er the shrouds aërial whispers breathe,
That feem'd but Zephyrs to the train beneath.
Some to the fun their infect wings unfold,
Waft on the breeze, or fink in clouds of gold;
Transparent forms, too fine for mortal fight,
Their fluid bodies half diffolv'd in light.
Loofe to the winds their airy garments flew,
Thin glitt'ring textures of the filmy dew,
Dipp'd in the richeft tincture of the fkies,
Where light difports in ever-mingling dyes;
While ev'ry beam new tranfient colours flings,
Colours that change whene'er they wave their
Amid the circle on the gilded maft, [wings.
Superior by the head, was Ariel plac'd;
His purple pinions op'ning to the fun,
He rais'd his azure wand, and thus begun:
more glories, in th' ethereal plain, is o'er the purpled main, ng forth, the rival of his beams the bofom of the filver Thames. and well-dreft youths, around her at was fix'd on her alone. [fhone; breat a sparkling crofs fhe wore, night kifs, aud Infidels adore. sa fprightly mind difclofe, and as unfixt as thofe : ime, to all the fmiles extends; , but never once offends. 2 her eyes the gazers ftrike,
fun, they fhine on all alike. Pule, and fweetnefs void of pride, faults,if belles had faults to hide: Come female errors fall,
Ye Sylphs and Sylphids, to your chief give ear: Fays, faries, genii, elves, and dæmons hear! Ye know the fpheres and various tasks affign'd By laws eternal to th' aërial kind. Some in the fields of open æther play, And balk and whiten in the blaze of day: Some guide the courfe of wand'ringorbs on high, Or roll the planets through the boundless fky: Some,lefs refin'd, beneath the moon's pale light, , and you'll forget them all. Purfie the ftars that fhoot across the night, 4, to the deftruction of mankind, Or fuck the mifts in groffer air below, Locks, whichgraceful hungbehind Or dip their pinions in the painted bow, and well confpir'd to deck Or brew fierce tempetts on the wint'ry main, singlets the fmooth iv'ry neck. Or o'er the glebe diftil the kindly rain: labyrinths his flaves detains, Others on earth o'er human race prefide, hearts are held in flender chains. Watch all their ways, and all their actions guide: inges we the birds betray; Of thefe the chief the care of nations own, hair furprise the finny prey; And guard with arms divine the British throne. man's imperial race enfnare, Our humbler province is to tend the Fair, y draws us with a fingle hair. Not a lefs pleafing, tho' lefs glorious care; rous Baronthebrightlocksadmir'd; To fave the powder from too rude a gale, with'd, and to the prize afpir'd. win, he meditates the way, ravih, or by fraud betray; accefs a lover's toil attends, azfraud or force attain'd his ends. ere Pha bus rofe, he had implor'd Heaven, and ev'ry pow'r ador'd; ty Love-to Love an altar built at French romances, neatly gilt. tree garters, half a pair of gloves; the trophies of his former loves: Millet-doux he lights the pyre, s three am'rous fighs to raife thefire:
Nor let th' imprifon'd effences exhale;
To draw fresh colours from the vernal flow'rs;
To fteal from rainbows,ere they drop in thow'rs,
A brighter wath; to curl their waving hairs,
Affift their blushes, and infpire their airs;
Nay oft, in dreams, invention we beftow,
To change a flounce, or add a furbelow.
This day black omens threat the brightest fair
That e'er deferv'd a watchful fpirit's care;
Some dire difafter, or by force, or flight,
But what,or where,the fates have wrapt in night.
Whether the nymph fhall break Ditha's law,
Or fome frail China jar receive a flaw;