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Successive study, exercise, and ease.
Or raise old warriors, whose ador'd remains He gathers health from herbs the forest yields, In weeping vaults her hallow'd earth contains ! And of their fragrant physic spoils the fields ;
With Edward's acts adorn the shining page, With chemic art exalts the mineral powers,
Stretch his long triumphs down through every age; And draws the aromatic souls of flowers:
Draw monarchschain'd, and Cressy's glorious field, Now marks the course of rolling orbs on high ; The lilies blazing on the regal shield: O'er figur'd worlds now travels with his eye; Then, from her roofs when Verrio's colours fall, Of ancient writ unlocks the learned store,
And leave inanimate the naked wall, Consults the dead, and lives past ages o'er:
Still in thy song should vanquish'd France appear, Or wandering thoughtful in the silent wood, And bleed for ever under Britain's spear. Attends the duties of the wise and good;
Let softer strains ill-fated Henry mourn, T'observe a mean, be to himself a friend,
And palms eternal flourish round his urn. To follow nature, and regard his end;
Here o'er the martyr-king the marble weeps, Or looks on heaven with more than mortal eyes, And fast, behind him, once-fear'd Edward sleeps: Bids his free soul expatiate in the skies,
Whom not th' extended Albion could contain, Amid her kindred stars familiar roam,
From old Belerium to the northern main, Survey the region, and confess her home!
The grave unites; where ev’n the great find rest, Such was the life great Scipio once admir’d; And blended lie th’ oppressor and th' opprest! Thus Atticus and Trumbull thus retir'd.
Make sacred Charles's tomb for ever known Ye sacred Nine ! that all my soul possess,
(Obscure the place, and uninscrib'd the stone); Whose raptures fire me, and whose visions bless, Oh fact accurs'd! what tears has Albion shed! Oh bear me to sequester'd scenes,
Heavens, what new wounds! and how her old have The bowery mazes, and surrounding greens ;
She saw her sons with purple deaths expire, [bled! To Thames's banks which fragrant breezes fill,
Her sacred domes involv'd in rolling fire, Or where the Muses sport on Cooper's Hill.
A dreadful series of intestine wars, (On Cooper's Hill eternal wreaths shall grow, Inglorious triumphs, and dishonest scars. While lasts the mountain, or while Thames shall At length great Anna said, “ Let discord cease !" flow).
She said, the world obey'd, and all was peace! I seem through consecrated walks to rove,
In that blest moment from the oozy bed I hear soft music die along the grove:
Old father Thames advanc'd his reverend head. Led by the sound, I roam from shade to shade, His tresses dropp'd with dews, and o'er the stream By god-like poets venerable made:
His shining horns diffus'd a golden gleam: Here his first lays majestic Denham sung;
Grav'd on bis urn appear'd the moon, that guides There the last numbers tlow'd from Cowley'stongue. His swelling waters, and alternate tides; O early lost! what tears the river shed,
The figur'd streams in waves of silver rollid, When the sad pomp along his banks was led ! And on their banks Augusta rose in gold; His drooping swans on every note expire,
Around his throne the sea-born brothers stood And on his willows hung each Muse's lyre.
Who swell with tributary urns his flood ! Since fate relentless stopp'd their heavenly voice, First the fam'd authors of his ancient name, No more the forests ring,or groves rejoice; (strung The winding Isis, and the fruitful Thame: Who now shall charm the shades, where Cowley The Kennet swift, for silver eels renown'd; His living harp, and lofty Denham sung?
The Loddon slow, with verdant alders crown'd; But hark! the groves rejoice, the forest rings ! Cole, whose dark streams his flowery islands lave; Are these reviv'd? or is it Granville sings ! And chalky Wey, that rolls a milky wave: 'Tis yours, my Lord, to bless our soft retreats, The blue, transparent Vandalis appears; And call the Muses to their ancient seats ;
The gulfy Lee his sedgy tresses rears; To paint anew the flowery sylvan scenes,
And sullen Mole, that hides his diving flood; To crown the forest with immortal greens,
And silent Darent, stain'd with Danish blood. Make Windsor hills in lofty numbers rise,
High in the midst, upou his urn reclin'd, And lift her turrets nearer to the skies;
(His sea-green mantle waving with the wind) To sing those honours you deserve to wear,
The god appear'd: he turn’d his azure eyes And add new lustre to her silver star.
Where Windsor-domes and pompous turrets rise; Here noble Surrey felt the sacred rage,
Then bow'd, and spoke ; the winds forget to roar, Surrey, the Granville of a former age:
And the hush'd waves glide softly to the shore. Matchless his pen, victorious was his lance,
Hail, sacred peace! hail, long-expected days, Bold in the lists and graceful in the dance:
That Thames's glory to the stars shall raise ! In the same shades the Cupids tun'd his lyre, Though Tiber's streams immortal Rome behold, To the same notes, of love, and soft desire :
Though foaming Hermus swells with tides of gold, Fair Geraldine, bright object of his vow,
From Heaven itself the seven-fold Nilus flows, Then fill'd the groves, as heavenly Mira now. And harvests on a hundred realms bestows;
Oh wouldst thou sing what heroes Windsor bore, These now no more shall be the Muses' themes, What king first breath'd upon her winding shore; Lost in my fame, as the sea their streams.
Let Volga's banks with iron squadrons shine, The thoughts of gods let Granville's verse recite, And groves of lances glitter on the Rhine;
And bring the scenes of opening fate to light: Let barbarous Ganges arm a servile train:
My humble Muse, in unambitious strains, Be mine the blessings of a peaceful reign.
Paints the green forests and the flowery plains, No more my sons shall dye with British blood Where peace descending bids her olive spring, Red Iber's sands, or Ister's foaming flood:
And scatters blessings from her dove-like wing. Safe on my shore each unmolested swain
Ev'n I more sweetly pass my careless days, Shall tend the flocks, or reap the bearded grain; Pleas'd in the silent shade with empty praise ; The shady empire shall retain no trace
Enough for me, that to the listening swains Of war or blood, but in the sylvan chace;
First in these fields I sung the sylvan strains.
ODE ON SOLITUDE.
Written when the Author was about Twelve years old. Behold! Augusta's glittering spires increase,
Happy the man, whose wish and care
Content to breathe his native air
In his own ground. There mighty nations shall inquire their doom, Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread, The world's great oracle in times to come ;
Whose flocks supply him with attire ; There kings shall sue, and suppliant states be seen Whose trees in summer yield him shade, Once more to bend before a British queen.
In winter fire.
Blest who can unconcern’dly find
Quiet by day,
Sound sleep by night; study and ease, Where clearer flames glow round the frozen pole; Together mix'd; sweet recreation, Or under southern skies exalt their sails,
And innocence, which most does please,
Thus unlamented let me die,
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lie.
ESSAY ON CRITICISM.
'Tis hard to say if greater want of skill Earth’s distant ends our glory shall behold,
Appear in writing or in judging ill; And the new world launch forth to seek the old.
But of the two, less dangerous is th' offence Then ships of uncouth form shall stem the tide, To tire our patience, than mislead our sense. And feather'd people crowd my wealthy side, Some few in that, but numbers err in this, And naked youths and painted chiefs admire Ten censure wrong for one who writes amiss ; Our speech, our colour, and our strange attire! A fool might once himself alone expose, Oh, stretch thy reign, fair peace! from shore to shore, Now one in verse makes many more in prose. Till conquest cease, and slavery be no more;
'Tis with our judgments as our watches; none Till the freed Indians in their native groves
Go just alike, yet each believes his own.
True taste as seldom is the critic's share ;
Both must alike from Heaven derive their light, Exil'd by thee from earth to deepest hell,
These born to judge, as well as those to write. In brazen bonds shall barbarous discord dwell:
Let such teach others who themselves excel, Gigantic pride, pale terror, gloomy care,
And censure freely who have written well: And mad ambition, shall attend her there:
Authors are partial to their wit, 'tis true; There purple vengeance bath'd in gore retires, But are not critics to their judgment too? Her weapons blunted, and extinct her fires:
Yet, if we look more closely, we shall find There hateful envy her own snakes shall feel, Most have the seeds of judgment in their mind: And persecution mourn her broken wheel: Nature affords at least a glimmering light; [righe There faction roar, rebellion bite her chain, The lines, though touch'd but faintly, are drawa And gasping furies thirst for blood in vain.
But as the slightest sketch, if justly trac'd, Here cease thy flight, nor with unhallow'd lays Is by ill colouring but the more disgrac'd, Touch the fair fame of Albion's golden days. So by false learning is good sense defac'd:
Some are bewilder'd in the maze of schools,
Those rules of old discover'd, not devis'd,
By the same laws which first herself ordain'd. Each burns alike, who can, or cannot write,
Hear how learn'd Greece her useful rules endites, Or, with a rival's, or an eunuch's spite.
When to repress, and when indulge our flights: All fools have still an itching to deride,
High on Parnassus' top her sons she shew'd, And fain would be upon the laughing side.
And pointed out those arduous paths they trod: If Mævius scribble in Apollo's spite,
Held from afar, aloft, th’immortal prize, There are who judge still worse than he can write. And urg'd the rest by equal steps to rise.
Some have at first for wits, then poets past; Just precepts thus from great examples given, Turn'd critics next, and prov'd plain fools at last. She drew from them what they deriv'd from Heaven. Some neither can for wits nor critics pass,
The generous critic fannd the poet's fire, As heavy mules are neither horse nor ass.
And taught the world with reason to admire. Those half-learn’d witlings, numerous in our isle, Then criticism the Muse's handmaid prov'd, As half-form'd insects on the banks of Nile;
To dress her charms, and make her more belov'd: Unfinish'd things, one knows not what to call, But following wits from that intention stray'd, Their generation 's so equivocal:
Who could not win the mistress, woo'd the maid; To tell them would a hundred tongues require, Against the poets their own arms they turn'd, Or one vain wit's, that might a hundred tire. Sure to hate most the men from whom they learn’d.
But you, who seek to give and merit fame, So modern 'pothecaries taught the art And justly bear a critic's noble name,
By doctors' bills to play the doctor's part, Be sure yourself and your own reach to know, Bold in the practice of mistaken rules, How far your genius, taste, and learning, go; Prescribe, apply, and call their masters fools. Launch not beyond your depth, but be discreet, Some on the leaves of ancient authors prey, And mark that point where sense and dulness meet. Nor time nor moths e'er spoil'd so much as they; Nature to all things fix'd the limits fit,
Some drily plain, without invention's aid, And wisely curb'd proud man's pretending wit: Write dull receipts how poems may be made. As on the land while here the ocean gains,
These leave the sense, their learning to display, In other parts it leaves wide sandy plains;
And those explain the meaning quite away. (steer, Thus in the soul while memory prevails,
You then whose judgment the right course would The solid power of understanding fails;
Know well each ancient's proper character: Where beams of warm imagination play,
His fable, subject, scope in every page; The memory's soft figures melt away.
Religion, country, genius of his age: One science only will one genius fit;
Without all these at once before your eyes, So vast is art, so narrow human wit:
Cavil you may, but never criticise. Not only bounded to peculiar arts,
Be Homer's works your study and delight, But oft in those confin'd to single parts.
Read them by day, and meditate by night; Like kings, we lose the conquests gain'd before, Thence form your judgment, thence your maximns By vain ambition still to make them more:
And trace the Muses upward to their spring; [bring, Each might his several province well command,
Still with itself compar'd, his text peruse ; Would all but stoop to what they understand. And let your comment be the Mantuan Muse.
First follow nature; and your judgment frame When first young Maro, in his boundless mind By her just standard, which is still the same: A work t' outlast immortal Rome design'd, Unerring nature, still divinely bright,
Perhaps he seem'd above the critic's law, One clear, unchang’d, and universal light,
And but from nature's fountains scorn'd to draw: Life, force, and beauty, must to all impart, But when t' examine every part he came, At once the source, and end, and test of art.
Nature and Homer were, he found, the same.
As if the Stagyrite o’erlook'd each line.
Some beauties yet no precepts can declare,
Music resembles poetry; in each For wit and judgment often are at strife,
Are nameless graces which no methods teach, Though meant each others aid, like man and wife. And which a master-hand alone can reach. 'Tis more to guide, than spur the Muse's steed; If, where the rules not far enough extend, Restrain his fury, than provoke his speed:
(Since rules were made but to promote their end), The winged courser, like a generous horse,
Some lucky license answer to the full Shows most true mettle when you check his course. Th’intent propos'd, that license is a rule.
Thus Pegasus, a nearer way to take,
Truth breaks upon us with resistless day. May boldly deviate from the common track ; Trust not yourself; but, your defects to know, From vulgar bounds with brave disorder part, Make use of every friend—and every foe. And snatch a grace beyond the reach of art,
A little learning is a dangerous thing! Which, without passing through the judgment, gains Drink deep, or taste not the Piërian spring: The heart, and all its end at once attains.
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, In prospects thus, some objects please our eyes, And drinking largely sobers us again. Which out of nature's common order rise,
Fir'd at first sight with what the Muse imparts, The shapeless rock, or hanging precipice.
In fearless youth we tempt the heights of arts, Great wits sometimes may gloriously offend, While, from the bounded level of our mind, And rise to faults true critics dare not mend. Short views we take, nor see the lengths behind; But though the ancients thus their rules invade But more advanc'd, behold with strange surprise (As kings dispense with laws themselves have New distant scenes of endless science rise! Moderns, beware! or, if you must offend (made); So pleas'd at first the towering Alps we try, Against the precept, ne'er transgress its end: Mount o'er the vales, and seem to tread the sky; Let it be seldom, and compellid by need;
Th' eternal snows appear already past, And have, at least, their precedent to plead. And the first clouds and mountains seem the last: The critic else proceeds without remorse,
But those attain'd, we tremble to survey Seizes your fame, and puts his laws in force. The growing labours of the lengthen’d way;
I know there are, to whose presumptuous thoughts Th’increasing prospect tires our wandering eyes, Those freer beauties, ev'n in them, seem faults. Hills peep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps arise! Some figures monstrous and mis-shap'd appear, A perfect judge will read each work of wit Consider'd singly, or beheld too near,
With the same spirit that its author writ, Which, but proportion’d to their light, or place, Survey the whole, nor seek slight faults to find Due distance reconciles to form and grace.
Where nature moves, and rapture warms the mind; A prudent chief not always must display
Nor lose, for that malignant dull delight, His powers in equal ranks, and fair array,
The generous pleasure to be charm'd with wit. But with th' occasion and the place comply, But, in such lays as neither ebb nor flow, Conceal his force, nay sometimes seem to fly. Correctly cold, and regularly low, Those oft are stratagems which errors seem, That shunning faults, one quiet tenour keep; Nor is it Homer nods, but we that dream.
We cannot blame indeed—but we may sleep. Still green with bays each ancient altar stands, In wit, as nature, what affects our hearts Above the reach of sacrilegious hands;
Is not th' exactness of peculiar parts; Secure from flames, from envy's fiercer rage, 'Tis not a lip, or eye, we beauty call, Destructive war, and all-involving age.
But the joint force and full result of all. See from each clime the learn'd their incense bring!
Thus when we view some well-proportion'd dome, Hear in all tongues consenting Pæans ring!
(The world's just wonder, and ev’n thine, O Rome !) In praise so just let every voice be join'd,
No single parts unequally surprise, And fill the general chorus of mankind.
All comes united to the admiring eyes; Hail, bards triumphant! born in happier days;
No monstrous height, or breadth, or length appear; Immortal heirs of universal praise !
The whole at once is bold and regular. Whose honours with increase of ages grow,
Whoever thinks a faultless piece to see, As streams roll down, enlarging as they flow; Thinks what ne'er was, nor is, nor e'er shall be. Nations unborn your mighty names shall sound, In every work regard the writer's end, And worlds applaud that must not yet be found ! Since none can compass more than they intend; O may some spark of your celestial fire,
And if the means be just, the conduct true,
Applause, in spite of trivial faults, is due.
Neglect the rules each verbal critic lays,
Most critics, fond of some subservient art, Man's erring judgment, and misguide the mind, Still make the whole depend upon a part: What the weak head with strongest bias rules, They talk of principles, but notions prize, Is pride, the never-failing voice of fools.
And all to one lov'd folly sacrifice. Whatever nature has in worth deny'd,
Once on a time, La Mancha's knight, they say, She gives in large recruits of needful pride! A certain bard encount’ring on the way, For as in bodies, thus in souls, we find
Discours'd in terms as just, with looks as sage, What wants in blood and spirits, swell'd with wind: As e'er could Dennis, of the Grecian stage ; Pride, where wit fails, steps in to our defence, Concluding all were desperate sots and fools, And fills up all the mighty void of sense.
Who durst depart from Aristotle's rules. If once right reason drives that cloud away, Our author, happy in a judge so nice,
Produc'd his play, and begg’d the knight's advice; Be not the first by whom the new are try'd,
But most by numbers judge a poet's song;
In the bright Muse though thousand charms con" What! leave the combat out?" exclaims the Her voice is all these tuneful fools admire ; (spire, Yes, or we must renounce the Stagyrite. (knight; Who haunt Parnassus but to please their ear, “ Not so, by Heaven!" (he answers in a rage) Not mend their minds; as some to church repair, Knights, 'squires, and steeds, must enter on the Not for the doctrine, but the music there. stage.”
These, equal syllables alone require, So vast a throng the stage can ne'er contains Though oft the ear the open vowels tire; " Then build a new, or act it in a plain.”
While expletives their feeble aid do join, Thus critics, of less judgment than caprice, And ten low words oft creep in one dull line: Curious, not knowing, not exact, but nice,
While they ring round the same unvary'd chimes, Form short ideas; and offend in arts
With sure returns of still expected rhymes. (As most in manners) by a love to parts.
Where'er you find“ the cooling western breeze," Some to conceit alone their taste confine,
In the next line it " whispers through the trees.” And glittering thoughts struck out at every line ; In crystal streams “ with pleasing murmurs creep," Pleas'd with a work where nothing's just or fit;
The reader's threaten’d (not in vain) with “ sleep:” One glaring chaos and wild heap of wit.
Then, at the last and only couplet franght Poets like painters, thus, unskill'd to trace
With some unmeaning thing they call a thought, The naked nature and the living grace,
A needless Alexandrine ends the song, With gold and jewels cover every part,
That, like a wounded snake, drags its slow length And hide with ornaments their want of art.
[know True wit is nature to advantage dress’d,
Leave such to tune their own dull rhymes, and What oft was thought, but ne'er so well express'd; What's roundly smooth, or languishingly slow; Something, whose truth convinc'd at sight we find, And praise the easy vigour of a line, That gives us back the image of our mind.
Where Denham's strength and Waller's sweetness As shades more sweetly recommend the light,
join. So modest plainness sets off sprightly wit:
True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, For works may have more wit than does them good, As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance. As bodies perish through excess of blood.
'Tis not enough no harshness gives offence, Others for language all their care express,
The sound must seem an echo to the sense: And value books, as women men, for dress:
Soft is the strain when zephyr gently blows, Their praise is still—the style is excellent:
And the smooth stream in smoother numbers flows; The sense, they humbly take upon content.
But when loud surges lash the sounding shore, Words are like leaves; and where they most abound, The hoarse, rough verse should like the torrent roar. Much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found.
When Ajax strives, some rock’s vast weight to throw, False eloquence, like the prismatic glass,
The line too labours, and the words move slow; Its gaudy colours spreads on every place;
Not so, when swift Camilla scours the plain, The face of nature we no more survey,
Flies o'er th' unbending corn, and skims along the All glares alike, without distinction gay:
Hear how Timotheus' vary'd lays surprise, [main. But true expression, like th' unchanging sun, And bid alternate passions fall and rise ! Clears, and improves whate'er it shines upon; While, at each change, the son of Lybian Jove It gilds all objects, but it alters none.
Now burns with glory, and then melts with love; Expression is the dress of thought, and still
Now his fierce eyes with sparkling fury glow, Appears more decent, as more suitable;
Now sighs steal out, and tears begin to flow: A vile conceit in pompous words express'd,
Persians and Greeks like turns of nature found, Is like a clown in regal purple dress'd:
And the world's victor stood subdued by sound! For different styles with different subjects sort, The pow'r of music all our hearts allow, As several garbs, with country, town, and court. And what Timotheus was, is Dryden now. Some by old words to fame have made pretence,
Avoid extremes; and shun the fault of such, Ancients in phrase, mere moderns in their sense ; Who still are pleas'd too little or too much. Such labour'd nothings, in so strange a style, At every trifle scorn to take offence, Amaze th' unlearn'd, and make the learned smile. That always shows great pride, or little sense ; Unlucky, as Fungosa in the play,
Those heads, or stomachs, are not sure the best, These sparks with aukward vanity display
Which nauseate all, and nothing can digest. What the fine gentleman wore yesterday;
Yet let not each gay turn thy rapture move; And but so mimic ancient wits at best,
For fools admire, but men of sense approve: As apes our grandsires in their doublets drest. As things seem large which we through mists descry, In words, as fashions, the same rule will hold; Dulness is ever apt to magnify. Alike fantastic, if too new, or old:
Some foreign writers, some our own despise ;