Imatges de pÓgina
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Or why their prologues of a mile
In simple-call it-humble style,
In unimpassion'd phrase to say,
"Fore the beginning of this play,
1, hapless Polydore, was found
By fishermen, or others, drown'd!"
Or" 1, a gentleman, did wed,
The lady I wou'd never bed,
Great Agamemnon's royal daughter,
Who's coming hither to draw water."
Or need the Chorus to reveal
Reflections, which the audience feel;
And jog them, lest attention sink,
To tell them how and what to think?

Oh, where's the bard, who at one view
Could look the whole creation through,
Who travers'd all the human heart,
Without recourse to Grecian art?
He scorn'd the modes of imitation,
Of altering, pilfering, and translation,
Not painted horrour, grief, or rage,
From models of a former age;
The bright original he took,

And tore the leaf from Nature's book.
'Tis Shakspeare, thus, who stands alone-
-But why repeat what you have shown?
How true, how perfect, and how well,
The feelings of our hearts must tell.

AN EPISTLE TO C. CHURCHILL,

AUTHOR OF THE ROSCIAD.

If at a tavern, where you'd wish to dine,
They cheat your palate with adulterate wine,
Would you, resolve me, critics, for you can,
Send for the master up, or chide the man?
The man no doubt a knavish business drives,
But tell me what's the master who connives?
Hence you'll infer, and sure the doctrine's true,
Which says, "No quarter to a foul review,"
It matters not who vends the nauseous slop,
Master or 'prentice; we detest the shop.

Critics of old, a manly liberal race,
Approv'd or censur'd with an open face:
Boldly pursu'd the free decisive task,

Nor stabb'd, conceal'd beneath a ruffian's mask.
To works, not men, with honest warmth, severe,
Th' impartial judges laugh'd at hope or fear:
Theirs was the noble skill, with gen'rous aim,
To fan true genius to an active flame;
To bring forth merit in its strongest light,
Or damn the blockhead to his native night.
But, as all states are subject to decay,
The state of letters too will melt away,
Smit with the harlot charms of trilling sound,
Softness now wantons e'en on Roman ground;
Where Thebans, Spartans, sought their honour'd

graves,

Behold a weak enervate race of slaves.

In classic lore, deep science, language dead,
Though modern witlings are but scantly read,
Professors' fail not, who will loudly bawl
In praise of either, with the want of all:

The author takes this opportunity, notwithstanding all insinuations to the contrary, to declare, that he has no particular aim at a gentleman, whose ability he sufficiently acknowledges.

Hail'd mighty critics to this present hour.
-The tribune's name surviv'd the tribune's pow'r.
Now quack and critic differ but in name,
Empirics frontless both, they mean the same;
This raw in physic, that in letters fresh,
Both spring, like warts, excrescence from the
flesh:

Half form'd, half bred in printers' hireling schools,
For all professions have their rogues and fools,
Though the pert witling, or the coward knave,
Casts no reflection on the wise or brave.

Yet, in these leaden times, this idle age, When, blind with dulness, or as blind with rage, Author 'gainst author rails with venom curst, And happy he who calls out "blockhead" first; From the low Earth aspiring genius springs, And sails triumphant, born on eagle wings. No toothless spleen, no venom'd critic's aim, Shall rob thee, Churchill, of thy proper fame; While hitch'd for ever in thy nervous rhyme, Fool lives, and shines out fool to latest time. Pity perhaps might wish a harmless fool To scape th' observance of the critic school; But if low Malice, leagu'd with Folly, rise, Arm'd with invectives, and hedg'd round with lies; Should wakeful Dulness, if she ever wake, Write sleepy nonsense but for writing's sake, And, stung with rage, and piously severe, Wish bitter comforts to your dying ear; If some small wit, some silk-lin'd verseman, rakes, For quaint reflections, in the putrid jakes, Talents usurp'd demand a censor's rage, A dunce is dunce proscrib'd in ev'ry age. Courtier, physician, lawyer, parson, cit, All, all are objects of theatric wit. Are ye then, actors, privileg'd alone, To make that weapon, ridicule, your own? Professions bleed not from his just attack, Who laughs at pedant, coxcomb, knave, or quack; Fools on and off the stage are fools the same, And every dunce is satire's lawful game. [room, Freely you thought, where thought has freest Why then apologise? for what? to whom?

Though Gray's-Inn wits with author squires
unite,

And self-made giants club their labour'd mite,
Though pointless satire make its weak escape,
In the dull babble of a mimic ape,

Boldly pursue where genius points the way,
Nor heed what monthly puny critics say.
Firm in thyself, with calm indifference smile,
When the wise vet'ran knows you by your style,
With critic scales weighs out the partial wit,
What I, or you, or he, or no one writ;
Denying thee thy just and proper worth,
But to give Falshood's spurious issue birth;
And all self-will'd with lawless hand to raise
Malicious Slander on the base of Praise.

Disgrace eternal wait the wretch's name
Who lives on credit of a borrow'd fame;
Who wears the trappings of another's wit,
Or fathers bantlings which he could not get!
But shrewd Suspicion with her squinting eye,
To truth declar'd, prefers a whisper'd lie.
With greedy mind the proffer'd tale believes,
Relates her wishes, and with joy deceives.

The world, a pompous name, by custom due
To the small circle of a talking few,
With heart-felt glee th' injurious tale repeats,
And sends the whisper buzzing through the streets.

The prude demure, with sober saint-like air,
Pities her neighbour, for she's wondrous fair.
And when temptations lie before our feet,
Beauty is frail, and females indiscreet:
She hopes the nymph will every danger shun,
Yet prays devoutly that the deed were done.
Mean time sits watching for the daily lie,
As spiders lurk to catch a single fly.

Yet is not scandal to one sex confin'd, Though men would fix it on the weaker kind. Yet, this great lord, creation's master, man, Will vent his malice where the blockhead can, Imputing crimes, of which e'en thought is free, For instance now, your Rosciad, all to me.

If partial friendship, in thy sterling lays, Grows all too wanton in another's praise, [known, Critics, who judge by ways themselves have Shall swear the praise, the poem is my own; For. 't is the method in these learned days For wits to scribble first, and after praise. Critics and Co. thus vend their wretched stuff, And help out nonsense by a monthly puff, Exalt to giant forms weak puny elves, And descant sweetly on their own dear selves; For works per month by Learning's midwives paid, Demand a puffing in the way of trade.

Reserv'd and cautious, with no partial aim
My Muse e'er sought to blast another's fame.
With willing band could twine a rival's bays,
From candour silent where she could not praise:
But if vile rancour, from (no matter who)
Actor, or mimic, printer, or review;

Lies, oft o'erthrown, with ceaseless venom spread,
Still hiss out scandal from their hydra head;
If the dull malice boldly walk the town,
Patience herself would wrinkle to a frown.
Come then with justice draw the ready pen,
Give me the works, I would not know the men:
All in their turns might make reprisals too,
Had all the patience but to read them through.
Come, to the utmost, probe the desperate wound,
Nor spare the knife where'er infection's found!

But, Prudence, Churchill, or her sister, Fear,
Whispers" forbearance" to my fright'ned ear.
Oh! then with me forsake the thorny road,
Lest we should flounder in some Fleet-ditch Ode,
And sunk for ever in the lazy flood
Weep with the Naiads heavy drops of mud.

Hail mighty Ode! which like a picture-frame, Holds any portrait, and with any name; Or, like your nitches, planted thick and thin, Will serve to cram the random hero in. Hail mighty bard toc-whatso'er thy name, -2 or Durfy, for it's all the same. To brother bards shall equal praise belong, For wit, for genius, comedy and song? No costive muse is thine, which freely rakes With ease familiar in the well-known jakes, Happy in skill to souse through foul and fair, And toss the dung out with a lordly air. So have I seen, amidst the grinning throng, The sledge procession slowly dragg'd along. Where the mock female shrew and hen-peck'd male Scoop'd rich contents from either copious pail, Call'd bursts of laughter from the roaring rout, And dash'd and splash'd the filthy grains about.

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Quit then, my friend, the Muses' lov'd abode,
Alas! they lead not to preferment's road.
Be solemn, sad, put on the priestly frown,
Be dull! 'tis sacred, and becomes the gown.
Leave wit to others, do a Christian deed,
Your foes shall thank you, for they know their
Broad is the path by learning's sous possess'd,
A thousand modern wits might walk abreast,
Did not each poet mourn his luckless doom,
Justled by pedants out of elbow room.

I, who nor court their love, nor fear their hate,
Must mourn in silence o'er the Muse's fate.
No right of common now on Pindus' hill,
While all our tenures are by critics' will;
Where, watchful guardians of the lady Muse,
Dwell monstrous giants, dreadful tall Reviews,
Who, as we read in fam'd romance of yore,
Sound but a horn, press forward to the door:
But let some chief, some bold advent'rous knight,
Provoke these champions to an equal fight,
Straight into air to spaceless nothing fall
The castle, lions, giants, dwarf and all.

Ill it befits with undiscerning rage,
To censure giants in this polish'd age.
No lack of genius stains these happy times,
No want of learning, and no dearth of rhymes.
The see-saw Muse that flows by measur'd laws,
In tuneful numbers, and affected pause,'
With sound alone, sound's happy virtue fraught,
Which hates the trouble and expense of thought,
Once, every moon throughout the circling year,
With even cadence charms the critic ear.
While, dire promoter of poetic sin,
A Magazine must hand the lady in.

[well,

How moderns write, how nervous, strong and The Anti-Rosciad's decent Muse does teil: Who, while she strives to cleanse each actor hurt, Daubs with her praise, and rubs him into dirt. Sure never yet was happy era known So gay, so wise, so tasteful as our own. Our curious histories rise at once complete, Yet still continued, as they're paid, per sheet.

See every science which the world would know, Your magazines shall every month bestow, Whose very titles fill the mind with awe, Imperial, Christian, Royal, British, Law; Their rich contents will every reader fit, Statesman, divine, philosopher, and wit; Compendious schemes! which teach all things at And make a pedant coxcomb of a dunce. [once,

But let not anger with such frenzy grow, Drawcansir like, to strike down friend and foe, To real worth be homage duly paid, But no allowance to the paltry trade. My friends I name not (though I boast a few, To me an honour, and to letters too) [pose, Fain would I praise, but, when such things opMy praise of course must make them'-'s foes. If manly. Jobuson, with satyric rage, Lash the dull follies of a trifling age, If his strong Muse with genuine strength aspire, Glows not the reader with the poet's fire? His the true fire, where creep the witling fry To warm themselves, and light their rushlights by. What Muse like Gray's shall pleasing pensive Attemper'd sweetly to the rustic woe? [How Or who like him shall sweep the Theban lyre, And, as his master, pour forth thoughts of fire?

E'en now to guard afflicted Learning's cause, To judge by reason's rules, and Nature's laws,

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Boast we true critics in their proper right, While Lowth and Learning, Hurd and Taste unite.

Hail sacred names!-Oh guard the Muse's

Save

page,

your lov'd mistress from a ruffian's rage; See how she gasps and struggles hard for life, Her wounds all bleeding from the butcher's knife: Critics, like surgeons, blest with curious art, Should mark each passage to the human heart, But not, unskilful, yet with lordly air, Read surgeon's lectures while they scalp and tear. To names like these I pay the hearty vow, Proud of their worth, and not asham'd to bow. To these inscribe my rude, but honest lays, And feel the pleasures of my conscious praise: Not that I mean to court each letter'd naine, And poorly glimmer from reflected fame, But that the Muse, who owns no servile fear, Is proud to pay her willing tribute here.

EPISTLE TO J. B. ES2. 1757.

AGAIN I urge my old objection,
That modern rules obstruct perfection,
And the severity of taste

Has laid the walk of genius waste.
Fancy's a flight we deal no more in,
Our authors creep instead of soaring,
And all the brave imagination
Is dwindled into declamation.

But still you cry in suber sadness,
"There is discretion e'en in madness."
A pithy sentence, which wants credit!
Because I find a poet said it:

Their verdict makes but small impression,
Who are known liars by profession.
Rise what exalted flights it will,
True genius will be genius still;
And say, that borse would you prefer,
Which wants a bridle or a spur?
The mettled steed may lose his tricks;
The jade grows callous to your kicks.
Had Shakspeare crept by modern rules,
We'd lost his witches, fairies, fools:
Instead of all that wild creation,
He'd form'd a regular plantation,
A garden trim, and all enclos'd,

In nicest symmetry dispos'd,
The hedges cut in proper order,
Nor e'en a branch beyond the border:
Now like a forest he appears,

The growth of twice three hundred years;
Where many a tree aspiring shrouds
Its airy summits in the clouds,
While round its root still love to twine
The ivy or wild eglantine.

"But Shakspeare's all creative fancy
Made others love extravagancy;
While cloud-capt nonsense was their aim,
Like Hurlothrumbo's mad lord Flame."
True-who can stop dull imitators?
Those younger brothers of translators,
Those insects, which from genius rise,
And buzz about, in swarms, like flies?
Fashion, that sets the modes of dress,
Sheds too her influence o'er the press:

As formerly the sons of rhyme
Sought Shakspeare's fancy and sublime;
By cool correctness now they hope
To emulate the praise of Pope.

But Pope and Shaks eare both disclaim
These low retainers to their fame.

What task can Dulness e'er effect
So easy, as to write correct?
Poets, 'tis said, are sure to split
By too much or too little wit;
So, to avoid th' extremes of either,
They miss their mark and follow neither;
They so exactly poise the scale
That neither measure will prevail,
And mediocrity the Muse

Did never in her sons excuse.
'Tis true, their tawdry works are grac'd
With all the charms of modern taste,
And every senseless line is drest
In quaint Expression's tinsel vest.
Say, did you never chance to meet
A monsieur-barber in the street,
Whose ruffle, as it lank depends,
And dangles o'er his fingers' ends,
His olive-tann'd complexion graces
With little dabs of Dresden laces,
While for the body monsieur Puff,
Would think e'en dowlas fine enough?
So fares it with our men of rhymes,
Sweet tinklers of poetic chimes.
For lace, and fringe, and tawdry clothes,
Sure never yet were greater beaux;
But fairly strip them to the shirt,
They're all made up of rags and dirt.

And shall these wretches bards commence,
Without or spirit, taste, or sense?
And when they bring no other treasure,
Shall I admire them for their measure?
Or do I scorn the critic's rules
Because I will not learn of fools?
Although Longinus' full-mouth'd prose
With all the force of genius glows;
Though Dionysius' learned taste
Is ever manly, just, and chaste,
Who, like a skilful wise physician,
Dissects each part of composition,
And shows how beauty strikes the soul
From a just compact of the whole;
Though Judgment, in Quintillian's page,
Holds forth her lamp for ev'ry age;
Yet hypercritics I disdain,

A race of blockheads dull and vain,
And laugh at all those empty fools,
Who cramp a genius with dull rules,
And what their narrow science mocks
Damn with the name of het'rodox.

These butchers of a poet's fame,
While they usurp the critic's name,
Cry-"This is taste-that's my opinion."
And poets dread their mock dominion.

So have you seen with dire affright, The petty monarch of the night, Seated aloft in elbow chair, Command the prisoners to appear, Harangue an hour on watchmen's praise, And on the dire effect of frays; Then cry, "You'll suffer for your daring, And d-n you, you shall pay for swearing." Then turning, tell th' astonish'd ring, "I sit to represent the king."

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EPISTLE TO THE SAME. 1757.

HAS my good dame a wicked child?
It takes the gentle name of wild;
If chests he breaks, if locks he picks,
"Tis nothing more than useful tricks:
The mother's fondness stamps it merit,
For vices are a sign of spirit.

Say, do the neighbours think the same
With the good old indulgent dame?
Cries gossip Prate, "I hear with grief
My neighbour's son's an arrant thief.
Nay, could you think it, I am told,
He stole five guineas, all in gold.
You know the youth was always wild-
He got his father's maid with child;
And robb'd his master, to defray
The money he had lost at play.
All means to save him must now fail.
What can it end in ?—In a jail."

Howe'er the dame doats o'er her youth, My gossip says the very truth.

But as his vices love would hide,
Or torture them to virtue's side,
So friendship's glass deceives the eye,
(A glass too apt to magnify)

And makes you think at least you see
Some spark of genius, e'en in me.

You say I should get fame: I doubt it:
Perhaps I am as well without it.
For what's the worth of empty praise?
What poet ever din'd on bays?
For though the laurel, rarest wonder!

May screen us from the stroke of thunder,
This mind I ever was, and am in,
It is no antidote to famine.
And poets live on slender fare,
Who, like cameleons, feed on air,
And starve, to gain an empty breath,
Which only serves them after death.

Grant 1 succeed, like Horace rise,
And strike my head against the skies;
Common experience daily shows,
That poets have a world of foes;
And we shall find in every town
Gossips enough to cry them down;
Who meet in pious conversation
T'anatomize a reputation,
With flippant tongue, and empty head,
Who talk of things they never read.

Their idle censures 1 despise :
Their niggard praises won't suffice.
Tempt me no more then to the crime
Of dabbling in the font of rhyme.
My Muse has answer'd all her end,
If her productions please a friend.
The world is burthen'd with a store,
Why need I add one scribbler more?

ΤΟ

ABOUT TO PUBLISH A VOLUME OF MISCELLANIES.
WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1755.

SINCE
now, all scruples cast away,
Your works are rising into day,
Forgive, though I presume to send
This honest counsel of a friend.

Let not your verse, as verse now goes,
Be a strange kind of measur'd prose;
Nor let your prose, which sure is worse,
Want nought but measure to be verse.
Write from your own imagination,
Nor curb your Muse by imitation:
For copies show, howe'er exprest,
A barren genius at the best.

-But imitation's all the mode-
Yet where one hits, ten miss the road.
The mimic bard with pleasure sees
Mat. Prior's unaffected ease:
Assumes his style, affects a story,
Sets every circumstance before ye,

The day, the hour, the name, the dwelling,
And mars a curious tale in telling:
Observes how easy Prior flows,

Then runs his numbers down to prose.

Others have sought the filthy stews To find a dirty slip-shod Muse. Their groping genius, while it rakes The bogs, the common-sew'rs, and jakes, Ordure and filth in rhyme exposes, Disgustful to our eyes and noses; With many a dash-that must offend us, And much

*

Hiatus non deflendus.

O Swift! how would'st thou blush to see,
Such are the bards who copy thee?

This, Milton for his plan will choose:
Wherein resembling Milton's Muse?
Milton, like thunder, rolls along
In all the majesty of song;

While his low mimics meanly creep,
Nor quite awake, nor quite asleep;
Or, if their thunder chance to roll,
'Tis thunder of the mustard bowl.
The stiff expression, phrases strange,
The epithet's preposterous change,
Fore'd numbers, rough and unpolite,
Such as the judging ear affright,
Stop in mid verse. Ye mimics vile!
Is't thus ye copy Milton's style?
His faults religiously you trace,
But borrow not a single grace.

How few, (say, whence can it proceed?)
Who copy Milton, e'er succeed!

But all their labours are in vain:
And wherefore so?—The reason's plain.
Take it for granted, 'tis by those
Milton's the model mostly chose,
Who can't write verse, and won't write prose.
Others, who aim at fancy, choose
To woo the gentle Spenser's Muse.
This poet fixes for his theme

An allegory, or a dream;
Fiction and truth together joins
Through a long waste of flimsy lines:
Fondly believes his fancy glows,

And image upon image grows;

Thinks his strong Muse takes wond'rous flights, Whene'er she sings of peerless wights,

Of dens, of palfreys, spells and knights,
'Till allegory, Spenser's veil

T' instruct and please in moral tale,
With him's no veil the truth to shroud,
But one impenetrable cloud.

Others, more daring, fix their hope
On rivaling the fame of Pope.

Satire's the word against the times—
These catch the cadence of his rhymes,
And borne from earth by Pope's strong wings,
Their Muse aspires, and boldy flings
Her dirt up in the face of kings.
In these the spleen of Pope we find;
But where the greatness of his mind?
His numbers are their whole pretence,
Mere strangers to his manly sense.

Some few, the fav'rites of the Muse,
Whom with her kindest eye she views;
Round whom Apollo's brightest rays
Shine forth with undiminish'd blaze;
Some few, my friend, have sweetly trod
In imitation's dang'rous road.
Long as tobacco's mild perfume
Shall scent each happy curate's room,
Oft as in elbow-chair he smokes,
And quaffs his ale, and cracks his jokes,
So long, O Brown', shall last thy praise,
Crown'd with tobacco-leaf for bays;
And whosoe'er thy verse shall see,
Shall fill another pipe to thee.

TO GEORGE COLMAN, ES2. AFAMILIAR EPISTLE. WRITTEN JANUARY 1,1761,

FROM TISSINGTON IN DERBYSHIRE,

FRIENDSHIP with most is dead and cool,
A dull, inactive, stagnant pool;
Yours like the lively current flows,
And shares the pleasure it bestows.
If there is aught, whose lenient pow'r
Can soothe affliction's painful hour,
Sweeten the bitter cup of care,
And snatch the wretched from despair,
Superior to the sense of woes,

From friendship's source the balsam flows.
Rich then am 1, possest of thine,
Who know that happy balsam mine.

In youth, from Nature's genuine heat,
The souls congenial spring to meet,
And emulation's infant strife,
Cements the man in future life.
Oft too the mind well-pleas'd surveys
Its progress from its childish days;
Sees how the current upwards ran,
And reads the child o'er in the man.
For men, in Reason's sober eyes,
Are children, but of larger size,
Have still their idle hopes and fears,
And hobby-horse of riper years.
Whether a blessing, or a curse,
My rattle is the love of verse.
Some fancied parts, and emulation,
Which still aspires to reputation,
Bade infant Fancy plume her flight,
And held the laurel full to sight.
For Vanity, the poet's sin,
Had ta'en possession all within:

And he whose brain is verse-possest,

Is in himself as highly blest,

As he, whose lines and circles vie

With Heav'n's direction of the sky.

Howe'er the river rolls its tides,
The cork upon the surface rides.
And on Ink's ocean, lightly buoy'd,
The cork of Vanity is Lloyd,
Let me too use the common claim
And souse at once upon my name,
Which some have done with greater stress,
Who know me, and who love me less.

Poets are very harmless things,
Unless you tease one till it stings;
And when affronts are plainly meant,
We're bound in honour to resent:
And what tribunal will deny

An injur❜d person to reply?

In these familiar emanations,
Which are but writing conversations,
Where Thought appears in dishabille,
And Fancy does just what she will,
The sourest critic would excuse
The vagrant sallies of the Muse:
Which lady, for Apollo's blessing,
Has still attended our caressing,
As many children round her sees
As maggots in a Cheshire cheese,
Which I maintain at vast expense,
Of pen and paper, time and sense:
And surely 'twas no small miscarriage
When first I enter'd into marriage.
The poet's title, which I bear,
With some strange castles in the air,
Was all my portion with the fair.
However narrowly I look,
In Phoebus's valorem book,
I cannot from inquiry find
Poets had much to leave behind.
They had a copy hold estate

In lands which they themselves create,
A foolish title to a fountain,

A right of common in a mountain,
And yet they liv'd amongst the great,
More than their brethren o of late;
Invited out at feasts to dine,

Eat as they pleas'd, and drank their wine;
Nor is it any where set down
They tipt the servants half-a-crown,
But pass'd amid the waiting throng
And pay'd the porter with a song;
As once, a wag, in modern days,
When all are in these bribing ways,
His shillings to dispense unable,
Scrap'd half the fruit from off the table,
And walking gravely through the crowd,
Which stood obsequiously, and bow'd,
To keep the fashion up of tipping,
Dropt in each hand a golden pippin.
But there's a difference indeed
'Twixt ancient bards and modern breed.
Though poet known, in Roman days,
Fearless he walk'd the public ways,
Nor ever knew that sacred name
Contemptuous smile, or painful shame:
While with a foolish face of praise,
The folks would stop to gape and gaze,
And half untold the story leave,
Pulling their neighbour by the sleeve,
While th' index of the finger shows,

1 Isaac Hawkins Brown, esq., author of a piece-There-yonder's Horace-there he goes. called the Pipe of Tobacco, a most excellent imitation of six different authors.

This finger, I allow it true,

Points at us modern poets too;

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