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After a Life of gen'rous Toils endur'd,
The Gaul subdu'd, or Property secur'd,
Ambition humbled, mighty Cities storm'd,
Or Laws establish'd, and the World reform'd;
Clos’d their long Glories with a sigh, to find
Th’unwilling Gratitude of base mankind!
All human Virtue to its latest breath
Finds Envy never conquer’d, but by Death.
The great Alcides, ev'ry Labour past,
Had ftill this Monster to subdue at last.
Sure fate of all, beneath whose rising ray
Each Star of meaner merit fades away;
Opprefs’d we feel the Beam directly beat,
Thofe Suns of Glory pleafe not' till they set.

3 To Thee, the World its present homage pays,
The Harveft early, but mature the Praise :
Great Friend of LIBERTY! in Kings a Name
Above all Greek, above all Roman Fame:
Whofe Word is Truth, as facred and rever'd,
As Heav'n's own Oracles from Altars heard.

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Wonder

Præfenti tibi, &c.

Wonder of Kings ! like whom, to mortal eyes and
None e'er has risen, and none e'er shall rise.

+ Juft in one instance, be it yet confeft
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 ruft we value, not the gold.
Chaucer's worst ribaldry is learn’d by rote,

T
And beastly * Skelton Heads of Houses quote:
One likes no language but the Faery Queen;
A Scot will fight for Christ's Kirk o'the Green;
And each true Briton is to Ben so civil,
He swears the Muses met him at the Devil.

5 Tho' justly Greece her eldest fons admires,
Why should not we be wiser than our Sires?

In

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* Skelton, Poet Laureat to Hen. 8. a Volume of whose Verses has been lately reprinted, consisting almost wholly of Ribaldry, Obscenity, and Billingsgate Language.

+ Chrilt's Kirk oʻthe Green, a Ballad made by a King of Scotland.
| The Devil Tavern, where Ben. Johnson held his Poetical Club.

+

6

In ev'ry publick Virtue we excell,
We build, we paint, we fing, we dance as well,
And learned Athens to our Art must stoop,
Could she behold us tumbling thro' a hoop.

If Time improve our Wit as well as Wine,
Say at what age a Poet grows divine ?
Shall we, or shall we not, account him fo,
Who dy’d, perhaps, an hundred years ago?
End all dispute; and fix the year precise
When British bards begin t'Immortalize?

“ Whọ lasts a Century can have no flaw;
“ I hold that Wit a Classick, good in law. !'

7 Suppose he wants a year, will you compound?
And shall we deem him Ancient, right and found,
Or damn to all Eternity at once,
At ninety nine, a Modern, and a Dunce :

"We shall not quarrel for a year or two; “ By Courtesy of England, he may do.

8 Then, by the rule that made the Horse-tail bare, I pluck out year by year, as hair by hair,

And

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Si meliora dies, ut vina, &c. ' Quid? qui deperiit minor, &c. Utor permiso, candæque, &c.

(3)

:)

And melt down Ancients like a heap of snow210:
While you, to measure merits, look in Stowe,
And estimating Authors by the year, L
Bestow a Garland only on'a Bier, Kors

9 Shakespear *, (whom you and ey'ry Play-house-bill
Style the divine, the matchless, what you will) .
For gain, not glory, wing’d his toving flight, 11
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 pleafes yet,
His moral pleases, not his pointed wit';
Forgot his Epic, nay | Pindariç Art, OK
But still I love the language of his Heart.

“ 10 Yet surely, surely, these were famous men! “What Boy but hears the sayings of old Ben? “ In all debates where Criticks bear a part, “ Not one but nods, and talks of Johnson's Art,

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, Ennius, ( sapic'ns, fortis, &c. "° Adeo sanctum eft, &c.

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... * Shakespear and Ben. Johnson mày truly be said not much to have thought of Immortal Fame, the one in many picces composed in hafte for the Stage; the other in his Latter works in general, which Dryden calls his Dotages. :

+ ---Pindaric art, which has much more merit than his Epic: buc very unlike the Character, as well as Numbers, of Pindar.

(6)

" Of Shakespear's Nature, and of Cowley's Witz.. “ How Beaumont's Judgment check'd what Fletcher writ; “ How Shadwell * hasty, Wycherly was flow ; “ But, for the Passions, Southern sure and Rowe. :6!... al Thele; örly thefé, support the crouded Itage, “ From eldest Heywood down' to. Cibber's age,

" All this may be; the People's Voice is odd, It is, and it is not, the voice of God. Tot Gammér Gurton : if it give the bayş,! Cisco And yet deny the Careless Husband praise, Or say our fathers never broke a rile) 10. Why then I say, ithe Publick is a foole But let them own, that greater faults than we rizi! They had, and greater Virtues, l'H' agree. Spenser himself affects thet obsoletej And Sydney's versé halts illtan Roman feet: 3

vil Milton's

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Det Interdum vulgus, &c. D

* Shadwell hafty, Wycherly was flow.) Nothing was less true than this particular: But this Paragraph has a mixture of Irony, and must not altogether be taken for Horace's own Judgment, only the common Chate of the pretenders to Criticism ; in some things right, in others wrong: as he tells us in his answer,

Interdum vulgus rettum videt; reftubi peccat. Gammer Gurton, a piece of very low bumour, one of the first printed Plays in English, and therefore much valued by some Antiquaries, Off Spénjér too mtlich affects the obsolete.] -Particularly in the Shepherd's Calen

dar, where he imitates the uncqual Measures as well as the Languags, of Chaucer,

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