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THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
EARL OF WARWICK, &c.
IF, dumb too long, the drooping Muse hath stayed,
Can I forget the dismal night, that gave
To strew fresh laurels, let the task be mine;
grave with faithful epitaphs thy stone.
Oft let me range the gloomy aisles alone,
In what new region to the just assigned, What new employments please th’ unbodied mind? A winged Virtue, through th' ethereal sky, From world to world unwearied does he fly; Or curious trace the long laborious maze Of heaven's decrees, where wondering angels gaze ? Does he delight to hear bold seraphs tell, How Michael battled, and the Dragon fell? Or, mixt with milder cherubim, to glow In hymns of love, not ill essay'd below? Or dost thou warn poor mortals left behind, A task well suited to thy gentle mind ? Oh, if sometimes thy spotless form descend, To me thy aid, thou guardian Genius, lend ! When rage misguides me, or when fear alarms, When pain distresses, or when pleasure charms,
In silent whisperings purer thoughts impart,
That awful form (which, so ye heavens decree,
sight; If in the stage I seek to soothe my care, I meet his soul, which breathes in Cato there: If pensive to the rural shades I rove, His shape o'ertakes me in the lonely grove : 'Twas there of Just and Good he reasoned strong, Cleared some great truth, or
raised some serious
song; There patient showed us the wise course to steer, A candid censor,
and a friend severe; There taught us how to live; and (oh! too high The price for knowledge) taught us how to die.
Thou hill, whose brow the antique structures grace,
From other ills, however fortune frowned,
The verse, begun to one lost friend, prolong,
a second in th' unfinished song !
These works divine, which, on his death-bed laid, To thee, O Craggs, th' expiring Sage conveyed, Great, but ill-omened, monument of fame; Nor he survived to give, nor thou to claim. Swift after him thy social spirit flies, And close to his, how soon ! thy coffin lies. Blest pair! whose union future bards shall tell In future tongues : each other's boast ! farewell. Farewell! whom joined in fame, in friendship tried, No chance could sever, nor the
ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS.
TO MR. DRYDEN.1
How long, great poet, shall thy sacred lays
Prevailing warmth has still thy mind possest,
? It would not be fair to criticise our author's poetry, especially the poetry of his younger days, very exactly. He was not a poet born : or, he had not studied, with sufficient care, the best models of English poetry. Whatever the cause might be, he had not the command of what Dryden so eminently possessed, a truly poetic diction. His poetry is only pure prose put into verse. And
“Non satis est puris versum perscribere verbis.” However, it may not be amiss to point out the principal defects of his expression, that his great example may not be pleaded in excuse of them.
? Thou mak'st.] Vide after, Thou teachest.] This way of using verbs of the present and imperfect tense, in the second person singular, should be utterly banished from our poetry. The sound is intolerable. Milton and others have rather chosen to violate grammar itself, than offend the ear thus unmercifully. This liberty may, perhaps, be taken sometimes, in the greater poetry; in odes especially. But the better way will generally be, to turn the expression differently, as, 'Tis thine to teach, or in some such way.