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A U GUSTU S.
HIL E you, great patron of mankind! sustain
Edward and Henry, now the boast of fame,
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 : Whose word is truth, as facred and rever'd, As heay'n's own oracles from altars heard. Wonder of kings! like whom , to mortal eyes None e'er has risen , and none e'er shall rise.
Just in one instance, be it yet confest 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 rust we value , not the gold. Chaucer's worst ribaldry is learn'd by rote, And beastly Sk elton Heads of Houses quote: One likes no language but the Fairy Queen ; A Scot will fight for Christ's Kirk of the Green: And each true Briton is to Ben so civil, He swears the Muses met him at the Devil.
Tho' justly Greece her eldest sons admires,
If time improve our wits as well as wine,
When British bards begin t' immortalize?
» Who lasts a century can have no flaw, » I hold that wit a classic , good in law. Suppose he wants a year,
» We shall not quarrel for a year or two; » By courtesy of England, he may do c.
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 snow : 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 ev'ry play-house bill Style the divine , the matchless, what you will ) For gain, not glory , wing'd his roving flight, And grew immortal in his own despight. Ben , old and poor , as little feem'd to heed The life to come, in ev'ry poet's creed. Who now reads Cowley? if he pleases yet, His moral pleafes, not his pointed wit ; Forgot his epic, nay pindaric art, But still I love the language of his heart.
» Yet surely, surely, these were famous men! » What boy but hears the sayings of old Ben: » In all debates where critics bear a part, » Not one but nods, and talks of Johnson's art, » Of Shakespear's nature, and of Cowley's wit; (writ; » How Beaumont's judgment check'd what Fletcher
» How Shadwell hasty, Wycherley was Now;
All this may be; the people's voice is odd,
But for the wits of either Charles's days, The mob of gentlemen who wrote with ease; Sprat, Carew, Sedley, and a hundred more, (Like twinkling stars the miscellanies o’er ) One fimile, that solitary shines In the dry desert of a thousand lines, ( a page, Or lengthen'd thought that gleams through mana Has fan&tify'd whole poems for an age. I lose my patience, and I own it too
When works are censurd, not as bad but new;
On Avon's bank, where flow'rs eternal blow,
sword Was sheath’d, and luxury with Charles restord; In ev'ry taste of foreign courts improv'd, » All, by the king's example , liv'd and lov’da. Then peers grew proud in horsemanship t excell, Newmarket's glory rose, as Britain's fell; The soldier breath'd the gallantries of France, And ev'ry flow'ry courtier writ romance.