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Persians and Greeks like turns of nature sound, and the world's victor stood subdued by sound! 380 the power of music all our hearts allow, and what Timotheus was, is Dryden now.
Avoid extremes; and shun the fault of such, who still are pleas'd too little or too much: At every trifle scorn to take offence, that always shows great pride, or little sense; those heads, as stomachs, are not sure the best, which nauseate all, and nothing can digest. Yet let not each gay turn thy rapture move; 390 for fools admire, but men of sense approve: as things seem large which we through mist descry, dulness is ever apt to magnify.
Some foreign writers, some our own despise; the ancients only, or the moderns prize: thus wit, like faith, by each man is apply'd to one small sect, and all are damn'd beside. Meanly they seek the blessing to confine, and force that sun but on a part to shine, which not alone the southern wit sublimes, 400 but ripens spirits in cold northern climes; which from the first has shone on ages past, enlights the present, and shall warm the last; tho' each may feel increases and decays, and see now clearer and now darker days.: 405 Regard not then if wit be old or new, but blame the false, and value still the true. Some ne'er advance a judgment of their own, but catch the spreading notion of the town; they reason and conclude by precedent, 410 and own stale nonsense which they ne'er invent. Some judge of authors' names, not works, and then nor praise nor blame the writings, but the men.
f all this servile herd, the worst is he hat in proud dulness joins with quality; constant critic at the great man's board, o fetch and carry nonsense for my lord, what woful stuff this madrigal would be, n some starv'd hackney-sonneteer, or me! put let a lord once own the happy lines, low the wit brightens ! how the style refines ! efore his sacred name flies every fault, nd each exalted stanza teems with thought!
The vulgar thus through imitation err; s oft the learn'd by being singular;
425 o much they scorn the croud, that if the throng y chance go right, they purposely go wrong: • Schismatics the plain believers quit, nd are but damn'd for having too much wit. ome praise at morning what they blame at night, ut always think the last opinion right. 431 muse by these is like a mistress us’d, his hour she's idoliz'd, the next abus'd; "hile their weak heads, like towns unfortify'd, wixt sense and nonsense daily change their side. isk them the cause; they're wiser still, they say; nd still to-morrow's wiser than to-day. Ne think our fathers fools, so wise we grow; 'ur wiser sons, no doubt, will think us so. Once school divines this zealous isle o'erspread; 440 'ho knew most sentences was deepest read : ith, gospel, all seein'd made to be disputed, ad none had sense enough to be confuted: cotists and Thomists, now in peace remain, nidst their kindred cobwebs in Duck-lane. 445 faith itself has different dresses worn, lat wonder modes in wit should take their turné
oft, leaving what is natural and fit,
Some, valuing those of their own side or mind, still make themselves the measure of mankind: fondly we think we honour merit then, when we but praise ourselves in other men. 455 Parties in wit attend on those of state, and public faction doubles private hate. Pride, malice, folly, against Dryden rose, in various shapes of parsons, critics, beaux: but sense surviv'd, when merry jests were past; 460 for rising merit will buoy up at last. Might he return, and bless once more our eyes, new Blackmores and new Milbourns must arise: nay, should great Homer lift his awful head, Zoilus again would start up from the dead. Envy will merit, as it's shade, pursue; but, like a shadow, proves the substance true; for envy'd wit, like Sol eclips'd, makes known th'opposing body's grossness, not it's own. When first that sun too powerful beams displays, 470 it draws up vapours which obscure it's rays; but ev’n those clouds at last adorn it's way, reflect new glories, and augment the day.
Be thou the first, true merit to befriend; his praise is lost, who stays till all commend. 475 Short is the date, alas, of modern rhymnes, and 't is but just to let them live betimes. No longer now that golden age appears, when patriarch-wits surviv'd a thousand years; now length of fame (our second life) is lost, 48 and bare threescore is all ev’n that can boast;
jur sons their fathers failing language see, nd such as Chaucer is, shall Dryden be. o when the faithful pencil has desigu'd ome bright idea of the master's mind, · 485 here a new world leaps out at his command, nd ready nature waits upon his hand; rben the ripe colours soften and unite, nd sweetly melt into just shade and light; then mellowing years their full perfection give, 490 nd each bold figure just begins to live; he treach'rous colours the fair art betray, nd all the bright creation fades away! Unhappy wit, like most mistaken things, tones not for that envy which it brings; 495 1 youth alone it's empty praise we boast, ut soon the short-liv'd vanity is lost: ke some fair flower the early spring supplies, at gaily blooms, but ev’n in blooming dies. That is this wit, which must our cares employ? 500, le owner's wife, that other men enjoy ; jen most our trouble still when most admir'd, od still the more we give, the more requir'd; hose fame with pains we guard, but lose with ease, are some to vex, but never all to please; is what the vicious fear, the virtuous shun; y fools 't is hated, and by knaves undone!
If wit so much from ignorance undergo, 1, let not learning too cominence it's foe! cold, those met rewards, who could excel, 510 id such were prais'd who but endeavour'd well; lo' triumphs were to generals only due, owns were reserv'd to grace the soldiers too. ow, they who reach Parnassus' lofty crown, nploy their pains to spurn some others down; 515, No. 79.
and while self-love each jealous writer rules, contending wits become the sport of fools; but still the worst with most regret commend, for each ill author is as bad a friend. To what base ends, and by what abject ways, 520 are mortals urg'd through sacred lust of praise ! ah, ne'er so dire a thirst of glory boast, nor in the critic let the man be lost. Good-nature and good-sense must ever join; to err, is human; to forgive, divine.
But if in noble minds some dregs remain, not yet purg'd off, of spleen and sour disdain; discharge that rage on more provoking crimes, nor fear a dearth in these flagitious times. No pardon vile obscenity should find,
530 tho' wit and art conspire to move your mind; but dulness with obscenity must prove as shameful sure as impotence in love. In the fat age of pleasure, wealth, and ease, sprang the rank weed, and thriv'd with large increase: when love was all an easy monarch's care;
536 seldom at council, never in a war: jilts rul'd the state, and statesmen farces writ; nay wits had pensions, and young lords had wit; the fair sat panting at a courtier's play, and not a mask went unimprov'd away; the modest fan was lifted up no more, and virgins smil'd at what they blush'd before. The following license of a foreign reign did all the dregs of bold Socinus drain ; then unbelieving priests reform’d the nation, and taught more pleasant methods of salvation; where heaven's free subjects might their rights dir lest God himself should seem too absolute: [putea