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How could Devotion touch the country pews,
Unless the Gods bestow'd a proper Muse?
Verse chears their leisure, Verse afists their work, 235
Verse prays for peace, or sings down · Pope and Turk.
The Glenc'd Preacher yields to potent strain,
And feels that grace his pray'r befought in vain ;
The blessing thrills thro' all the lab'ring throng,
And Heav'n is won by Violence of Song. 240

Our rural Ancestors, with little blest,
Patient of labour when the end was rest,
Indulg'd the day that hous'd their annual grain,
With feasts, and off'rings, and a thankful strain :
The joy their wives, their fons, and servants share,
Ease of their toil, and part'ners of their care : 246
The laugh, the jest, attendants on the bowl,
Smooth'd ev'ry brow, and open'd ev'ry foul:
With growing years the pleasing Licence grew,
And ' Taunts alternate innocently few. 250
But Times corrupt, and & Nature, ill-inclin'd,
Produc'd the point that left a fting behind ;
Till friend with friend, and families at strife,
Triumphant Malice rag'd thro' private life.
Who felt the wrong, or fear's it, took th' alarm, 255
Appeal'd to Law, and Justice lent her arm.

NOTES. mired in these Poems, owe lefs to the liberty of imitating than to the superior genius of the imitator,

Conditione super communi : * quin etiam lex

Poenaque lata, malo quae nollet carmine quemquam

Describi. vertere modum, formidine fuftis

Ad i bene dicendum, dele&tandumque redacti.

* Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit, et artes

Intulit agresti Latio. fic horridus ille

Defluxit ' numerus Saturnius, et grave virus

Munditiae pepulere : sed in longum tamen aevum

Manferunt, hodieque manent, m veftigia ruris.

Serus enim Graecis admovit acumina chartis;

Et poft " Punica bella quietus quaerere coepit,

Notes. VER. 259. Most warp'd 10 Flattory's fide, etc.) Thefe two lines (notwithstanding the reference) are an addition to the Original. They seemed necessary to compleat the History of the rise and progrefs of Wit; and, if attended to, will be seen to make much for the argument the Poet is upon, viz. the recommendation of Poetry to the protection of the Magistrate. And is, therefore, what Horace would have chosen to say, had he reflected on it.

VER. 263. We conquer'd France, etc.] The instance the Poet bere gives, to answer that in the Original, is not fo happy. However, it might be faid with truth, that ous

At length, by wholsome - dread of statutes bound,
The Poets learn'd to please, and not to wound:
Moft warp'd to · Flatt'ry's side; but some, more nice,
Preserv'd the freedom, and forborc the vice. 260
Hence Satire rose, that just the medium hit,
And heals with Morals what it hurts with Wit.
* We conquer'd France, but felt our Captive's

Her Arts victorious triumph'd o'er our Arms;
Britain to soft refinements less a foe,

265 Wit grew polite, and Numbers learn'd to flow. Waller was smooth; but Dryden taught to join The varying verse, the full-resounding line, The long majestic March, and Energy divine. Tho' ftill some traces of our m rustic vein

270 And (play-foot verse, remain'd, and will remain. Late, very late, correctness grew our care, When the tir'd Nation breath'd from civil war.

Notes. Intrigues on the Continent brought us acquainted with the provincial Poets, and produced Chaucer. Only I wonder, when he had such an example before him, of a Bard who so greatly polished the rusticity of his age, he did not use it to paraphrase the sense of

Defluxit numerus Saturnius, et grave virus

Munditiae pepulere: Ver. 267. Waller was smooth ;] Mr. Waller, about this time with the Earl of Dorset, Mr. Godolphin, and others, translated the Pompey of Corneille ; and the more correct French Poets began to be in reputation. P.


Quid • Sophocles et Thefpis et Aeschylus utile fer

rent :

Tentavit quoque rem, fi digne vertere posset :
Et placuit fibi, natura sublimis et acer:
Nam P spirat tragicum fatis, et feliciter audet :
Sed a turpem putat inscite metuitque lituram.

Creditur, ex' medio quia res arceflit, habere
Sudoris minimum ; fed habet Comoedia tanto

Plus oneris, quanto veniae minus. s aspice, Plautus
Quo pacto partes tutetur amantis ephebi,
Ut patris attenti, lenonis ut infidiofi :

Quantus fit Dossennus "edacibus in parasitis;
Quam non aftri&to percurrat pulpita socco.
Gestit enim * nummum in loculos demittere; post hoc

Securus, cadat an recto ftet fabula talo.

Quem tulit ad scenam Y ventoso gloria curru,


VER. 290. Aftræa) A Name taken by Mrs. Behn, Authoress of several obscene Plays, etc. P.

Ibid. The stage bow loosely does Airæa tread,] The fine

Exact • Racine, and Corneille's noble fire,
Show'd us that France had something to admire. 275
Not but the P Tragic spirit was our own,
And full in Shakespear, fair in Otway shone :
But Otway fail'd to polish or refine,
And 9 fluent Shakespear scarce effac'd a line.
Ev'n copious Dryden wanted, or forgot,

The last and greatest Art, the Art to blot.'
Some doubt, if equal pains, or equal fire
The ' humbler Muse of Comedy require.
But in known Images of life, I guess
The labour greater, as th' indulgence less s. 285
Observe how seldom ev'n the best fucceed :
Tell me if Congreve's Fools are Fools indeed ?
What pert, low Dialogue has Farqu’ar writ!
How Van wants grace, who never wanted wit !
The ftage how ' loosely does Aftræa tread, 290
Who fairly puts all Characters to bed!
And idle Cibber, how he breaks the laws,
To make poor Pinky Weat with vast applause !
But fill their * purse, our Poet's work is done,
Alike to them, by Pathos or by Pun.

O you! whom » Vanity's light bark conveys
On Fame's mad voyage by the wind of praise,

Notes. metaphor of non aftri&to, greatly improved by the happy ambiguity of the word loosely VER. 296. you! whom Vanity's light bark conveys.]

* L

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