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Of Orpheus now no more let poets tell:
To bright Cecilia greater power is given:
His numbers raised a shade from hell,
Hers lift the soul to heaven.
TO THE TRAGEDY OF BRUTUS, Altered from Shakspeare by the Duke of Buckingham: at whose desire these two Chorusses were composed, to supply as many wanting in his Play. They were set many years afterwards by the famous Bononcini, and performed at Buckingham-house.
CHORUS OF ATHENIANS.
YE shades, where sacred truth is sought;
Groves, where immortal sages taught;
Where heavenly visions Plato fired,
And Epicurus lay inspired!
In vain your guiltless laurels stood
Unspotted long with human blood.
War, horrid war, your thoughtful walks invades,
And steel now glitters in the muses' shades.
Oh heaven-born sisters! source of art!
Who charm the sense, or mend the heart;
Who lead fair virtue's train along,
Moral truth and mystic song!
To what new clime, what distant sky,
Forsaken, friendless, shall ye fly?
Say, will ye bless the bleak Atlantic shore?
Or bid the furious Gaul be rude no more?
When Athens sinks by fates unjust,
When wild barbarians spurn her dust!
Perhaps e'en Britain's utmost shore
Shall cease to blush with stranger's gore:
See arts her savage sons controul,
And Athens rising near the pole !
Till some new tyrant lifts his purple hand,
And civil madness tears them from the land.
Ye gods! what justice rules the ball?
Freedom and arts together fall;
Fools grant whate'er ambition craves,
And men once ignorant are slaves.
O cursed effects of civil hate,
In every age, in every state!
Still, when the lust of tyrant power succeeds,
Some Athens perishes, some Tully bleeds.
CHORUS OF YOUTHS AND VIRGINS
OH tyrant Love! hast thou possess'd
The prudent, learn'd, and virtuous breast?
Wisdom and wit in vain reclaim,
And arts but soften us to feel thy flame.
Love, soft intruder, enters here,
But entering learns to be sincere.
Marcus, with blushes owns he loves,
And Brutus tenderly reproves.
Why, virtue, dost thou blame desire,
Which nature hath impress'd?
Why, nature, dost thou soonest fire
The mild and generous breast?
Love's purer flames the gods approve;
The gods and Brutus bend to love :
Brutus for absent Porcia sighs,
And sterner Cassius melts at Junia's eyes
What is loose love? a transient gust,
Spent in a sudden storin of lust:
A vapour fed from wild desire;
A wandering, self-consuming fire.
But Hymen's kinder flames unite,
And burn for ever one;
Chaste as cold Cynthia's virgin light,
Productive as the sun.
Oh source of every social tie,
United wish, and mutual joy!
What various joys on one attend,
As son, as father, brother, husband, friend.
Whether his hoary sire he spies,
While thousand grateful thoughts arise;
Or meets his spouse's fonder eye;
Or views his smiling progeny;
What tender passions take their turns,
What home-felt raptures move!
His heart now melts, now leaps, now burns,
With reverence, hope, and love.
Hence, guilty joys, distastes, surmises;
Hence, false tears, deceits, disguises,
Dangers, doubts, delays, surprises,
Fires that scorch, yet dare not shine:
Purest Love's unwasting treasure,
Constant faith, fair hope, long leisure;
Day of ease, and nights of pleasure,
Sacred Hymen! these are thine.
ODE ON SOLITUDE.
Written when the Author was about twelve Years ol HAPPY the man whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound, Content to breathe his native air
Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
Whose flocks supply him with attire;
Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
In winter fire.
Bless'd, who can unconcernedly find
Hours, days, and years, slide soft away,
In health of body, peace of mind,
Quiet by day.
Sound sleep by night: study and ease,
Together mix'd; sweet recreation,
And innocence, which most does please
Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;
Thus unlamented, let me die,
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lie.
The dying Christian to his Soul.
VITAL spark of heavenly flame!
Quit, oh quit this mortal frame:
Trembling, hoping, lingering, flying-
Oh the pain, the bliss of dying!
Cease, fond Nature, cease thy strife,
And let me languish into life.
Hark! they whisper: angels say,
Sister spirit, come away.
What is this absorbs me quite,
Steals my senses, shuts my sight,
Drowns my spirits, draws my breath?
Tell me, my soul, can this be death?
The world recedes; it disappears!
Heaven opens on my eyes! my ears
With sounds seraphic ring:
Lend, lend your wings! I mount! I fly.
Oh grave! where is thy victory?
Oh death! where is thy sting?
AN ESSAY ON CRITICISM. Written in the Year 1709.
Introduction That it is as great a fault to judge ill, as to write ill, and a more dangerous one to public, ver. 1. That a true taste is as rare to be found as a true genius, ver. 9 to 18. That most men are born with some taste, but spoiled by false education, ver. 19 to 25. The multitude of critics, and causes of them, ver 26 to 45. That we are to study our own taste, and know the limits of it, ver. 46 to 67. Nature the best guide of judgment, ver. 68 to 87. Improved by art and rules, which are but methodized nature, ver. 88. Rules derived from the practice of ancient poets, ver. 88 to 110. That therefore the ancients are necessary to be studied by a critic, particularly Homer and Virgil, ver. 120 to 138. Of licenses, and the use of them by the ancients, ver. 140 to 80. Reverence due to the ancients, and praise of them, ver. 181, &c.
'Tis hard to say, if greater want of skill
Appear in writing, or in judging ill;
But of the two, less dangerous is the offence
To tire our patience, than mislead our sense.
Some few in that, but numbers err in this;
Ten censure wrong for one who writes amiss
A fool might once himself alone expose;
Now one in verse makes many more in prose.
'Tis with our judgments as our watches; none
Go just alike, yet each believes his own.
In poets as true genius is but rare,
True taste as seldom is the critic's share ·