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Yet Judged with coolness, though he sung with fire.
| Our critics take a contrary extreme,
| They judge with fury, but they write with phlegm:
Nor suffers Horace more in wrong translations
By wits, than critics in as wrong quotations.
See Dionysius Homer's thoughts refine,
| And call new beauties forth from every line!
Fancy and art in gay Petronius please,
The scholar's learning with the courtier's ease.
In grave Quintilian's copious work we find
The justest rules and clearest method join'd : 67"
Thus useful arms in magazines we place,
All ranged in order, and dispos'd with grace,
But less to please the eye than arm-the hand,
Still fit for use, and ready at command.
| Thee, bold Longinus ! all the Nine inspire,
And bless their critic with a poet's fire:
An ardent judge, who, zealous in his trust,
With warmth gives sentence, yet is always just,
Whose own examp, strengthens all his laws,
And is himself that great sublime he draws 680
Thus long succeeding critics justly reign d,
Licence repress'd and useful laws ordain'd :
Learning and Rome alike in empire grew,
nd arts still follow'd where her eagles flew;
rom the same foes, at last, both felt their doom,
And the same age saw learning fall, and Rome.
With tyranny then superstition join'd,
As that the body, this enslaved the mind;
Much was believed but little understood,
* And to be dull was construed to be good: 696
A second deluge learning thus o'erran,
And monks finish'd what the Goths began.
At length Erasmus, that great injured name,
(The glory of the priesthood, and the shame')
Stemm'd the wild torrent of a barbarous age,
And drove those holy Wandals off the stage.
His precepts teach but what his works inspire. 660/
But see! each muse, in Leo's golden days, Starts from her trance, and trims her wither'd bays; Rome's ancient genius, o'er its ruins spread, Shakes off the dust, and rears his reverend head. 700 Then sculpture and her sister-arts revive; Stones leap'd to form, and rocks began to live; With sweeter notes each rising temple rung; A Raphael painted, and a Vida sung. Immortal Vida! on whose honour’d brow The poet's bays and critic's ivy grow: Cremona now shall ever boast thy name, As next in place to Mantua, next in fame!
But soon by impious arms from Latium chased, Their ancient bounds the banish'd muses pass'd : 71C Thence arts o'er all the northern world advance, But critic-learning flourish'd most in France: The rules a nation born to serve obeys, And Boileau still in right of Horace sways. But we, brave Britons, foreign laws despis'd, And kept unconquer'd and unciviliz'd; Fierce for the liberties of wit, and bold, We still defied the Romans, as of old. Yet some there were among the sounder few Of those who less presum’d, and better knew, 720 Who durst assert the juster ancient cause, And here restor'd wit's fundamental laws. Such was the muse, whose rule and practice tell, Nature's chief master-piece is writing well.” Such was Roscommon, not more learn'd than good, With manners generous as his noble blood. To him the wit of Greece and Rome was known, And every author's merit but his own. Such late was Walsh, the muse's judge and friend, Who justly knew to blame or to commend; 73f To failings mild, but zealous for desert; The clearest head, and the sincerest heart. This humble praise, lamented shade! receive, "his praire at least a grateful muse may give:
The muse, whose early voice you taught to sing,
Prescrib'd her heights, and prun'd her tender wing,
(Her guide now lost,) no more attempts to rise,
But in low numbers short excursions tries;
Content, if hence th' unlearn'd their wants may view,
The learn'd reflect on what before they knew: 740
Careless of censure, nor too fond of fame;
Still pleas'd to praise, yet not afraid to blame:
Averse alike to flatter or offend;
Not free from faults, nor yet too vain to mend. / i
A HEROI-COMICAL POEM.
Written in the Year 1712.
TO MRS. ARABELLA FERMOR.
MADAM, It will be in vain to deny that I have some regard for this piece, since I dedicate it to you; yet you may bear me witness, it was intended only to divert a few young ladies, who have good sense and good humour enough to laugh not only at their sex's little unguard ed follies, but at their own. But as it was commu nicated with the air of a secret, it soon found its way into the world. An imperfect copy having been of fered to a bookseller, you had the good nature for my sake to consent to the publication of one more correct. This I was forced to, before I had executed half my design; for the machinery was entirely wanting to complete it.
The machinery, madam, is a term invented by the critics, to signify that part which the deities, angels, or demons, are made to act in a poem: for the ancient poets are, in one respect, like many modern ladies: let an action be never so trivial in itself they always
make it appear of the utmost importance. These
machines I determined to raise on a very new and
odd foundation, the Rosicrucian doctrine of spirits.
I know how disagreeable it is to make use of hard
words before a lady; but it is so much the concern of
a poet to have his works understood, and particularly
by your sex, that you must give me leave to explain
two or three difficult terms.
The Rosicrucians are a people I must bring you
acquainted with. The best account I know of them
is in a French book called Le Compte de Gabalis,
wnich, both in its title and size, is so like a novel,
that many of the fair sex have read it för one by mis-
take. According to these gentlemen, the four ele-
ments are inhabited by spirits, which they call Sylphs,
Gnomes, Nymphs, and Salamanders. The Gnomes,
or demons of carth, delight in mischief; but the
Sylphs, whose habitation is in the air, are the best
conditioned creatures imaginable; for they say "y
mortal may enjoy the most intimate familiarities
with these gentle spirits, upon a condition very easy to
all true adepts—an inviolate preservation of chastity.
As to the following cantos, all the passages of them
are as fabulous as the vision at the beginning, or the
transformation at the end (except the loss of your
hair, which I always mention with reverence.) The
human persons are as fictitious as the airy ones; and
the character of Belinda, as it is now managed, re-
sembles you in nothing but in beauty.
If this poem had as many graces as there are in
your person or in your mind, yet I could never hope
it should pass through the world half so uncensured
as you have done. Butlet its fortune be what it will
mine is happy enough to have given me this occasion
of assuring you that I am, with the truest esteem,
Your most obedient humble servant,
Nolueram, Belinda, tuos violare capillos;
Sed juvat, hoc precibus me tribuisse tuis. MART.
WHAT dire offence from amorous causes springs.
What mighty contests rise from trivial things,
I sing:—this verse to Caryl, Muse! is due:
This e'en Belinda may vouchsafe to view:
Slight is the subject, but not so the praise,
If she inspire, and he approve my lays.
Say what strange motive, goddess! could compel
A well-bred lord to assault a gentle belle?
O say what stranger cause, yet unexplored,
Could make a gentle belle reject a lord?
In tasks so bold, can little men engage?
And in soft bosoms dwells such mighty rage?
Sol through white curtains shot a timorous ray
And oped those eyes that must eclipse the day:
Now lap-dogs give themselves the rousing shake,
And sleepless lovers, just at twelve, awake:
Thrice rung the bell, the slipper knock'd the ground
And the press'd watch return’d a silver sound.
Belinda still her downy pillow press'd,
Her guardian Sylph prolong'd the balmy rest:
"Twas he had summon'd to her silent bed
The morning dream that hover'd o'er her head.
A youth more glittering than a birth-night beau
(That e'en in slumber caused her check to glow)
Seem'd to her ear his winning lips to lay,
And thus in whispers said, or seem'd to say:
‘Fairest of mortals, thou distinguish'd care
Of thousand bright inhabitants of air !
Ife'er one vision touch'd thy infant thought,
Of all the nurse and all the priest have taught:
Of airy elves by moonlight shadows seen,
The silver *: and the circle.d green,