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'Tis courtly, florid, and abounds in words
Of softer sound than ours perhaps affords ;
But who did ever in French authors see
The comprehenfive English energy?
The weighty bullion of one sterling line,
Drawn to French wire, would thro' whole pages
I speak my private but impartial fense,
With freedom, and I hope without offence ;
For I'll recant when France can shew me wit
As strong as ours, and as succinály writ.
'Tis true, composing is a nobler part;
But good translation is no easy art.
For though materials have long since been found,
Yet both your fancy and your hands are bound;
And by improving what was writ before,
Invention labours less, but judgment more.
The soil intended for Pierian feeds
Must be well purg'd from rank pidantic weeds
Apollo starts, and all Parnassus shakes,
At the rude rumbling Baralipton makes.
For none have been with admiration read,
But who (besides their learning) were well bred.
The first great work (a talk perform'd by few)
Is, that yourself may to yourself be true :
No mask, no tricks, no favour, no reserve ;
Dissects your mind, examine ev'ry nerve.
Whoever vainly on his strength depends,
Begins like Virgil, but like Mævius ends,
That wretchin spite of his forgotten rhymes), Aili!
Condemn'd to live to all succeeding times.is, : With pompous nonsense and a bellowing found, Sung lofty Ilium tumbling to the ground.
:, And (if my Muse can through pall ages, feed bra That noisy, pauseous gaping fool was he
Exploded, when, with univerfal scorn,
The mountains labour'd and a mouse was born,
Learn, learn, Crotona's brawny wrestler cries,
Audacious mortals, and be timely wife!
'Tis I that call, remember Milo's end,
Wedg'd in that timber which he trove lo rend.
with a diff'rent talent writes ; One praises, one instructs, another bites Horace did ne'er aspire to Epic bays, Nor lofty Maro floop to Lyric lays. Examine how your humour is inclin'd, And which the ruling passion of your mind ; Then, seek a poet who your way does bend, And choose an author as you choose a friend; United by this sympathetic bond, You grow familiar, intimate, and fond ; Your thoughts, your words, your styles, your souls agree, No longer his interpreter, but he.
With how much ease is a young Mufe betray'd ! How nice the reputation of the maid ! Your early kind, paternal care appears, By chalte instruction of her tender years,
The first impression in her infant brealt
Will be the deepest, and should be the bell,
Let not austerity breed servile fear,
No wanton sound offend her virgin ear.
Secure from foolish pride's affected state,
And specious flattery's more pernicious bait,
Habitual innocence adorns her thoughts ;
But your neglect must answer for her faults,
Immodeft words admit of no defence ;
For want of decency is want of sense.
What mod’rate fop would rake the Park or stews,
Who among troops of faultless nymphs may choose ?
Variety of such is to be found;
Take then a subject proper to expound :
But moral, great, and worth a poet's voice,
For men of sense despise a trivial choice :
And such applause it must expect to meet,
As would some painter busy in a street,
To copy bulls and bears, and ev'ry fign
That calls the staring fots to nafty wine.
Yet 'tis not all to have a subject good,
It must delight us when 'tis understood.
He that brings fulsome obje&ts to my view
(As many old have done, and many new)
With nauseous images my fancy fills,
And all goes down like oxymel of squills.
Instruct the liftning world how Maro sings
Of useful objects and of lofty things.
These will such true, such bright ideas raise,
As merit gratitude as well as praise :
But foul descriptions are offensive still,
Either for being like, or being ill.
For who, without a qualm, hath ever look'd
On holy garbag, though by Homer cook'd !
Whose railing heroes, and whose wounded Godsz.
Make fome suspe&t he fnores as well as nods.
But I offend-Virgil begins to frown,
And Horace looks with indignation down ;
My blushing Muse with conscious fear retires,
And whom they like implicitly admires
On sure foundations let
fabric riseg And with attractive majefty surprise, Not by affected meretricious arts, But ftriet harmonious symmetry of parts ; Which through the whole insensibly must pass, With vital heat to animate the mass : A pure, an a&tive, an auspicious flame, And bright as heaven, from whence the blessing came; But few, oh few souls, pre-ordain’d by fate; The race of Gods, have reach'd that envied heighte No rebel Tritan's facrilegious crime, By heaping hills on hills, can hither climb:
The grizly ferryman of hell denied
| Æneas entrance, till he knew his guide :
How juftly then will impious mortals fall,
Whofe pride would foar to heaven without a ca!!!
Pride (of all others the most dang 'rous fault)
Proceeds from want of sense or want of thought.
The men who labour and digest things moft,
Will be much apter to despond than boast :
For if your author be profoundly good,
'Twill cost you dear before he's understooda
How many ages fince has Virgil writ !
How few are they who understand him yet!
Approach his altars with religious fear,
No vulgar deity inhabits there:
Heaven fhakes not more at Jove's imperial nod,
should before their Mantuan god. Hail, mighty Maro! may that facred name Kindle
my breast with thy celestial flame ; Sublime ideas and apt words infufe : The Mufe inftruet my voice, and thou inspire the Muse!
What I have instanc'd only in the best,
Is, in proportion, true of all the rest.
Take pains the genuine meaning to explore,
There sweat, there strain, tug the laborious oar;
Search ev'ry comment that your care can find,
Some here, some there, may hit the poet's mindı;
Yet be not blindly guided by the throng ;
The multitude is always in the wrong.
When things appear unnaturar or hard,
Consult your author, with himself compar'd;
Who knows what blessing Phæbus may beflow, .
And future ages to your labour. owe ?