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The ancients only, or the moderns prize :
(Thus wit, like faith, by each man is apply'd

And public faction doubles private hate.

Pride, malice, folly, against Dryden rose,
To one small sect, and all are damn'd beside.) In various shapes of parsons, critics, beaux:
Meanly they seek the blessing to confine,

But sense surviv'd, when merry jests were past ;
And force that sun but on a part to shine,
Which not alone the southern wit sublimes,

For rising merit will buoy up at last.

Might he return, and bless once more our eyes,
But ripens spirits in cold northern climes;

New Blackmores and new Milbourns must arise:
Which from the first has shone on ages past, Nay, should great Homer lift his awful head,
Enlights the present, and shall warm the last; Zoilus again would start up from the dead:
(Though each may feel increases and decays, Envy will merit, as its shade, pursue ;
And see now clearer and now darker days.)

But, like a shadow, proves the substance true:
Regard not then if wit be old or new,

For envy'd wit, like Sol eclips'd, makes known But blame the false, and value still the true.

Th' opposing body's grossness, not its own. Some ne'er advance a judgment of their own, When first that sun too powerful beams displays, But catch the spreading notion of the town;

It draws up vapours which obscure its rays; They reason and conclude by precedent,

But ev’n those clouds at last adorn its way, And own stale nonsense which they ne'er invent. Reflect new glories, and augment the day. Some judge of authors' names, not works, and then Be thou the first true merit to befriend, Nor praise nor blame the writings, but the men. His praise is lost, who stays till all commend. Of all this servile herd, the worst is he

Short is the date, ałas, of modern rhymes, That in proud dulness joins with quality;

And 'tis but just to let them live betimes. A constant critic at the great man's board,

No longer now that golden age appears, To fetch and carry nonsense for my lord.

When patriarch-wits surviv'd a thousand years; : What woful stuff this madrigal would be,

Now length of fame (our second life) is lost, In some starv'd hackney-sonneteer or me!

And bare threescore is all ev'n that can boast; But let a lord once own the happy lines,

Our sons their fathers failing language see, How the wit brightens! how the style refines! And such as Chaucer is, shall Dryden be. Before his sacred name flies every fault,

So when the faithful pencil has design'd And each exalted stanza teems with thought! Some bright idea of the master's mind, The vulgar thus through imitation err;

Where a new world leaps out at his command,
As oft the learn'd by being singular;

And ready nature waits upon his hand;
So much they scorn the crowd, that is the throng When the ripe colours soften and unite,
By chance go right, they purposely go wrong: And sweetly melt into just shade and light;
So schismatics the plain believers quit,

When mellowing years their full perfection give,
And are but damn'd for having too much wit. And each bold figure just begins to live;
Some praise at morning what they blame at night, The treacherous colours the fair art betray,
But always think the last opinion right.

And all the bright creation fades away!
A Muse by these is like a mistress usd,

Unhappy wit, like most mistaken things,
This hour she's idoliz'd, the next'abus'd;

Atones not for that envy which it brings;
While their weak beads, like towns unfortify'd, In youth alone its empty praise we boast,
"Twixt sense and nonsense daily change their side. But soon the short-liv'd vanity is lost:
Ask them the cause; they're wiser still, they say; Like some fair flower the early spring supplies,
And still tomorrow's wiser than today,

That gaily blooms, but ev'n in blooming dies.
We think our fathers fools, so wise we grow;

What is this wit, which must our cares employ?
Our wiser sons, no doubt, will think us so.

The owner's wife, that other men enjoy;
Once school divines this zealous isle o'erspread; The most our trouble still when most admir'd,
Who knew most sentences was deepest read: And still the more we give, the more requir’d;
Faith, gospel, all, seem'd made to be disputed, Whose fame with pains we guard, but lose with
And none had sense enough to be confused:

Sure some to vex, but never all to please; (ease,
Scotists and Thomists, now in peace remain, 'Tis what the vicious fear, the virtuous shun;
Amidst their kindred cobwebs in Duck-lane,

By fools 'tis hated, and by koaves undone! If faith itself bas different dresses worn,

If wit so much from ignorance undergo, What wonder modes in wit should take their turn!

Ah, let not learning too commence its foe! Oft, leaving what is natural and fit,

Of old, those met rewards, who could excel, The current folly proves the ready wit;

And such were prais'd who but endeavour'd well; And authors think their reputation safe,

Though triumphs were to generals only due, Which lives as long as fools are pleas’d to laugh.

Crowns were reserv'd to grace the soldiers too. Some, valuing those of their own side or mind,

Now, they who reach Parnassus' lofty crown, Still make themselves the measure of mankind :

Employ their pains to spurn some others down;

And while self-love each jealous writer rules, When we but praise ourselves in other men.

Contending wits become the sport of fools:

But still the worst with most regret commend, Parties in wit attend on those of state,

Fondły we think we honour merit then,

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For the worst avarice is that of sense.
For each ill author is as bad a friend.
To what base ends, and by what abject ways, With mean complacence ne'er betray your trust,

Nor be so civil as to prove unjust.
Are mortals urg'd through sacred lust of praise !
Ah, ne'er so dire a thirst of glory boast,

Fear not the anger of the wise to raise ;
Nor in the critic let the man be lost.

Those best can bear reproof, who merit praise.
Good-nature and good-sense must ever join ;

"Twere well might critics still this freedom take: To err, is human; to forgive, divine.

But Appius reddens at each word you speak,
But if in noble minds some dregs remain,

And stares tremendous, with a threatening eye,
Not yet purg'd off, of spleen and sour disdain: Like some fierce tyrant in old tapestry.
Discharge that rage on more provoking crimes, Fear most to tax an honourable fool,
Nor fear a dearth in these flagitious times.

Whose right it is, uncensur'd, to be dull!
No pardon vile obscenity should find,

Such, without wit, are poets when they please,
Though wit and art conspire to move your mind; As without learning they can take degrees.
But dulness with obscenity must prove

Leave dangerous truths to unsuccessful satires,
As shameful sure as impotence in love.

And flattery to fulsome dedicators, (more In the fat age of pleasure, wealth, and ease,

Whom, when they praise, the world believes vo Sprang the rank weed, and thriv'd with large in Than when they promise to give scribbling o'er.

'Tis best sometimes your censure to restrain,
When love was all an easy monarch's care ;

And charitably let the dull be vain:
Seldom at council, never in a war:

Your silence there is better than your spite,
Jilts rul'd the state, and statesmen farces writ; For who can rail so long as they can write?
Nay wits had pensions, and young lords had wit: Still humming on, their drowsy course they keep,
The fair sat panting at a courtier's play,

And lash'd so long, like tops, are lash'd asleep.
And not a mask went unimprov'd away:

False steps but help them to renew the race,
The modest fan was jifted up no more,

As, after stumbling, jades will mend their pace.
And virgins smild at what they blush'd before. What crowds of these, impenitently bold,
The following license of a foreign reign

In sounds and jingling syllables grown old,
Did all the dregs of bold Socinus drain;

Still run on poets, in a raging vein,
Then unbelieving priests reform’d the nation, Ev'n to the dregs and squeezings of the brain,
And taught more pleasant methods of salvation ; Strain out the last dull droppings of their sense
Where Heaven's free subjects might their rights And rhyme with all the rage of impotence!

Such shameless bards we have; and yet 'tis true,
Lest God himself should seem too absolute:

There are as mad, abandon'd critics too.
Pulpits their sacred satire learn'd to spare,

The bookful blockhead, ignorantly read,
And vice admir'd to find a flatterer there!

With loads of learned lumber in his head,
Encourag'd thus, wit's Titans brav'd the skies, With his own tongue still edifies his ears,
And the press groan'd with licens'd blasphemies. And always listening to himself appears.
These monsters, critics! with your darts engage,

All books he reads, and all he reads assails,
Here point your thunder, and exhaust your rage! From Dryden's Fables down to Dursey's Tales:
Yet shun their fault, who, scandalously nice,

With him, most authors steal their works, or buy ;
Will needs mistake an author into vice;

Garth did not write his own Dispensary.
All seems infected that th' infected spy,

Name a new play, and he's the poet's friend,
As all looks yellow to the jaundic'd eye.

Nay show'd his faults-but when would poets mend?
Learn then what morals critics ought to show; No place so sacred from such fops is barr'd, (yard:
For 'tis but half a judge's task, to know.

Nor is Paul's church more safe than Paul's church
'Tis not enough, taste, judgment, learning, join; Nay, fly to altars; there they'll talk you dead;
In all you speak, let truth and candour shine; For fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
That not alone what to your sense is due

Distrustful sense with modest caution speaks,
All may allow, but seek your friendship too. It still looks home, and short excursions makes:

Be silent always when you doubt your sense ; But rattling nonsense in full vollies breaks,
And speak, though sure, with seeming diffidence: And never shock’d, and never turn'd aside,
Some positive, persisting fops we know,

Bursts out, resistless, with a thundering tide.
Who, if once wrong, will needs be always so;

But where's the man, who counsel can bestow,
But you, with pleasure, own your errors past,

Still pleas’d to teach, and yet not proud to kriow? And make each day a critic on the last.

Unbiass'd, or by favour, or by spite; 'Tis not enough your counsel still be true;

Not dully prepossess'd, nor blindly right; (sincere; Blunt truths more mischief thao nice falsehoods do:

Though learn'd, well-bred; and though well-bred,
Men must be taught as if you taught them not,

Modestly bold, and humanly severe :
And things unknown propos d as things forgot.

Who to a friend his faults can freely show,
Without good breeding truth is disapprov'd; And gladly praise the merits of a foe?
That only makes superior sense belov’d.

Blest with a taste exact, yet unconfin'd;
Be niggards of advice on no pretence;

A knowledge both of books and human kind;

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Generous converse ; a soul exempt from pride ;

With sweeter notes each rising temple rung; And love to praise, with reason on his side?

A Raphael painted, and a Vida sung. Such once were critics ; such the happy few Immortal Vida! on whose honour'd brow Athens and Rome in better ages knew:

The poet's bays and critic's ivy grow: The mighty Stagyrite first left the shore,

Cremona now shall ever boast thy name, Spread all his sails, and durst the deeps explore ; As next in place to Mantua, next in fame! He steer'd securely, and discover'd far,

But soon, by impious arms from Latium chas'd, Led by the light of the Mæonian star.

Their ancient bounds the banish'd Muses pass'd; Poets, a race long unconfin'd and free,

Thence arts o'er all the northern world advance, Still fond and proud of savage liberty,

But critic-learning flourish'd most in France: Receiv'd his laws; and stood convinc'd 'twas fit The rules, a nation born to serve, obeys : Who conquer'd nature, should preside o'er wit. And Boileau still in right of Horace sways.

Horace still charms with graceful negligence, But we, brave Britons, foreign laws despis'd, And without method talks us into sense,

And kept unconquer'd, and unciviliz'd; Will, like a friend, familiarly convey

Fierce for the liberties of wit, and bold, The truest notions in the easiest way.

We still defy'd the Romans, as of old. He, who supreme in judgment, as in wit,

Yet some there were among the sounder few Might boldly censure, as he boldly writ,

Of those who less presum'd and better knew,
Yet judg'd with coolness, though he sung with fire; Who durst assert the juster ancient cause,
His precepts teach but what his works inspire. And here restor'd wit's fundamental laws.
Our critics take a contrary extreme,

Such was the Muse, whose rules and practice tell,
They judge with fury, but they write with phlegm: “ Nature's chief master-piece is writing well."
Nor suffers Horace more in wrong translations Such was Roscommon-not more learn'd than good,
By wits, than critics in as wrong quotations. With manners generous as his noble blood;
See Dionysius Homer's thoughts refine,

To him the wit of Greece and Rome was known,
And call new beauties forth from every line! And every author's merit but his own.
Fancy and art in gay Petronius please,

Such late was Walsh-the Muse's judge and friend,
The scholar's learning, with the courtier's ease. Who justly knew to blame or to commend;

In grave Quintilian's copious work, we find To failings mild, but zealous for desert;
The justest rules and clearest method join'd:

The clearest head and the sincerest heart.
Thus useful arms in magazines we place,

This humble praise, lamented shade! receive, All rang'd in order, and dispos’d with grace ; This praise at least a grateful Muse may give: But less to please the eye, than arm the hand,

The Muse, whose early voice you taught to sing, Still fit for use, and ready at command.

Prescrib'd her heights, and prun'd her tender wing. Thee, bold Longinus! all the Nine inspire, (Her guide now lost) no more attempts to rise, And bless their critic with a poet's fire.

But in low numbers short excursions tries: An ardent judge, who, zealous in his trust,

Content, if hence th’unlearn'd their wants may view,
With warmth gives sentence, yet is always just; The learn'd reflect on what before they knew.

Careless of censure, nor too fond of fame;
Whose own example strengthens all his laws;
And is himself that great sublime he draws. Still pleas'd to praise, yet not afraid to blame;

Thus long succeeding critics justly reign'd, Averse alike, to flatter or offend;
License repress’d, and useful laws ordain'd. Not free from faults, nor yet too vain to mend.
Learning and Rome alike in empire grew,
And arts still followed where her eagles flew;

From the same foes at last both felt their doom,
And the same age saw learning fall, and Rome.
With tyranny, then superstition join'd,

What dire offence from amorous causes springs,
As that the body, this enslav'd the mind;

What mighty contests rise from trivial things, Much was believ'd, but little understood,

I sing--this verse to Caryl, Muse! is due: And to be dull was construed to be good :

This ev'n Belinda may vouchsafe to view: A second deluge learning thus o'erran,

Slight is the subject, but not so the praise,
And the monks finished what the Goths began. If she inspire, and he approve my lays.

At length Erasmus, that great, injur'd name, Say what strange motive, goddess ! could compel
(The glory of the priesthood and the shame!) A well-bred lord t' assault a gentle belle ?
Stemm’d the wild torrent of a barbarous age, O say what stranger cause, yet unexplor'd,
And drove those holy Vandals off the stage. Could make a gentle belle reject a lord ?

But see! each Muse, in Leo's golden days, In tasks so bold, can little men engage ?
Starts from her trance, and trims her wither'd bays; And in soft bosoms dwells such mighty rage ?
Rome's ancient genius o'er its ruins spread,

Sol through white curtains shot a tim'rous ray, Shakes off the dust, and rears his reverend head.

And ope'd those eyes that must eclipse the day: Then sculpture and her sister arts revive;

Now lap-dogs give themselves the rouzing shake, Stones leap'd to form, and rocks began to live ; And sleepless lovers, just at twelve, awake:


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Thrice rung the bell, the slipper knock'd the ground, Some nymphs there are, too conscious of their face,
And the press'd watch return'd a silver sound. For life predestin’d to the gnomes' embrace.
Belinda still her downy pillow prest,

These swell their prospects and exalt their pride, Her guardian sylph prolong'd the balmy rest : When offers are disdain'd, and love denyid: *Twas he had summon’d to her silent bed

Then gay ideas crowd the vacant brain, The morning dream that hover'd o'er her head. While peers and dukes, and all their sweeping train, A youth more glittering than a birth-night beau And garters, stars, and coronets appear, (That ev'n in slumber caus'd her cheek to glow) And in soft sounds, your Grace salutes their ear. Seem'd to her ear his wioning lips to lay,

'Tis these that early taint the female soul, And thus in whispers said, or seem'd to say: Instruct the eyes of young coquettes to roll,

Fairest of mortals, thou distinguish'd care Teach infant cheeks a bidden blush to know,
Of thousand bright inhabitants of air !

And little hearts to flutter at a beau.
If e'er one vision touch thy infant thought,

Oft when the world imagine women stray, Of all the nurse and all the priest have taught; The sylphs through mystic mazes guide their way, Of airy elves by moonlight shadows seen,

Through all the giddy circle they pursue, The silver token and the circled green,

And old impertinence expel by new. Or virgins visited by angel-powers,

What tender maid but must a victim fall With golden crownsand wreaths of heavenlyflowers; To one man's treat, but for another's ball? Hear and believe! thy own importance know,

When Florio speaks, what virgin could withstand, Nor bound thy narrow views to things below. If gentle Damon did not squeeze her hand ? Some secret truths, from learned pride conceald,

With varying vanities, from every part, To maids alone and children are reveal’d:

They shift the moving toyshop of their heart; What though no credit doubting wits may give ?

Where wigs with wigs, with sword-knots swordThe fair and innocent shall still believe.

knots strive, Know then, unnumber'd spirits round thee fly,

Beaux banish beaux, and coaches coaches drive.
The light militia of the lower sky:

This erring mortals levity may call;
These, though unseen, are ever on the wing, Oh, blind to truth! the sylphs contrive it all.
Hang o'er the box, and hover round the ring.

Of these am I, who thy protection claim,
Think what an equipage thou hast in air,

A watchful sprite, and Ariel is my name. And view with scorn two pages and a chair. Late, as I rang'd the crystal wilds of air, As now your own, our beings were of old,

In the clear mirror of thy ruling star And once enclos'd in woman's beauteous mould; I saw, alas! some dread event impend, Thence, by a soft transition, we repair

Ere to the main this morning sun descend; From earthly vehicles to these of air.

But heaven reveals not what, or how, or where: Think not, when woman's transient breath is fled,

Warn'd by the sylph, oh, pious maid, beware! That all her vanities at once are dead.

This to disclose is all thy guardian can; Succeeding vanities she still regards,

Beware of all, but most beware of man! And though she plays no more, o'erlooks the cards. He said; when Shock, who thought she slept too Her joy in gilded chariots, when alive,

Leap'd up, and wak'd his mistress with his tongue. And love of ombre, after death survive :

'Twas then, Belinda, if report say true, For when the fair in all their pride expire,

Thy eyes first open'd on a billet doux; To their first elements their souls retire:

Wounds, charms, and ardours, were no sooner read, The sprites of fiery termagants in flame

But all the vision vanish'd from thy head. Mount up, and take a salamander's name:

And now, unveil'd, the toilet stands display'd, Soft yielding minds to water glide away,

Each silver vase in mystic order laid. And sip, with nymphs, their elemental tea.

First, rob'd in white, the nymph intent adores, The graver prude sinks downward to a gnome,

With head uncover'd, the cosmetic powers. In search of mischief still on earth to roam.

A heavenly image in the glass appears, The light coquettes in sylphs aloft repair,

To that she bends, to that her eyes she rears; And sport and flutter in the fields of air.

Th’inferior priestess, at her altar's side, Know farther yet: whoever fair and chaste

Trembling, begins the sacred rites of pride. Rejects mankind, is by some sylph embrac'd:

Unnumber'd treasures ope at once, and here For spirits, freed from mortal laws, with ease

The various off” rings of the world appear; Assume what sexes and what shape they please.

From each she nicely culls with curious toil, What guards the purity of melting maids,

And decks the goddess with the glittering spoil.

This casket India's glowing gems unlocks, la courtly balls, and midnight masquerades, Safe from the treach'rous friend, the daring spark,

And all Arabja breathes from yonder box.

The tortoise here and elephant unite, The glance by day, the whisper in the dark,

Transform’d to combs, the speckled and the white, When kind occasion prompts their warm desires,

Here files of pins extend their shining rows, When music softens, and when dancing fires ?

Puffs, powders, patches, bibles, billet-doux. *Tis but their sylph, the wise celestials know,

Now awful beauty puts on all its arms; Though honour is the word with men below.


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The fair each moment rises in her charms,

Smooth flow the waves, the zephyrs gently play, Repairs her smiles, awakens every grace,

Belinda smild, and all the world was gay, And calls forth all the wonders of her face:

All but the sylph-with careful thoughts opprest, Sees by degrees a purer blush arise,

Th’impending wo sat heavy on his breast. And keener lightnings quicken in her eyes.

He summons straight his denizens of air; The busy sylphs surround their darling care; The lucid squadrons round the sails repair; These set the head, and those divide the hair; Soft o'er the shroud aërial whispers breathe, Some fold the sleeve, whilst others plait the gown; That seem'd but zephyrs to the train beneath. And Betty's prais'd for labours not her own.

Some to the sun their insect wings unfold,

Waft on the breeze, or sink in clouds of gold; CANTO II.

Transparent forms, too fine for mortal sight, Not with more glories in th' ethereal plain,

Their Auid bodies half dissolv'd in light. The sun first rises o'er the purpled main,

Loose to the wind their airy garments flew, Than issuing forth, the rival of his beams

Thin glittering textures of the filmy dew, Launch'd on the bosom of the silver Thames. Dipp'd in the richest tinctures of the skies, Fair nymphs and well-dress’d youths around her Where light disports in ever-mingling dyes, shone,

While every beam new transient colours flings, But every eye was fixed on her alone.

Colours that change whene'er they wave their wings. On her white breast a sparkling cross she wore,

Amid the circle on the gilded mast, Which Jews might kiss, and Infidels adore.

Superior by the head was Ariel plac'd; Her lively looks a sprightly mind disclose,

His purple pinions opening to the sun, Quick as her eyes, and as unfix'd as those :

He rais'd his azure wand and thus begun: Favours to none, tu all she smiles extends;

Ye sylphs and sylphids, to your chief give ear; Oft she rejects, but never once offends.

Fays, fairies, genii, elves, and dæmons, hear! Bright as the sun, her eyes the gazers strike, Ye know the spheres, and various tasks assiga'd And, like the sun, they shine on all alike.

By laws eternal to th' aërial kind. Yet graceful ease, and sweetness void of pride,

Some in the fields of purest æther play, Might hide her faults, if belles had faults to hide:

And bask and whiten in the blaze of day; If to her share some female errors fall,

Some guide the course of wandering orbs on high, Look on her face, and you'll forget them all. Or roll the planets through the boundless sky;

This nymph, to the destruction of mankind, Some, less refin’d, beneath the moon's pale light Nourish'd two locks, which graceful hung behind

Pursue the stars that shoot athwart the night, In equal curls, and well conspir'd to deck

Or suck the mists in grosser air below, With shining ringlets the smooth ivory neck. Or dip their pinions in the painted bow, Love in these labyrinths his slaves detains,

Or brew fierce tempests on the wintery main, And mighty hearts are held in slender chains. Or o'er the glebe distil the kindly rain. With hairy springes we the birds betray;

Others on earth o'er human race preside, Slight lines of hair surprise the finny prey;

Watch all their ways, and all their actions guide: Fair tresses man's imperial race insnare,

Of these the chief the care of natious own, And beauty draws us with a single hair.

And guard with arms divine the British throne. Th’adventurous baron the bright locks admir'd;

Our humbler province is to tend the fair, He saw, he wish'd, and to the prize aspir’d.

Not a less pleasing, though less glorious care; Resolv'd to win, he meditates the way,

To save the powder from too rude a gale, By force to ravish, or by fraud betray;

Nor let th’ imprison'd essences exhale; For when success a lover's toil attends,

To draw fresh colours from the vernal flowers; Few ask, if fraud or force attain's his ends.

To steal from rainbows ere they drop in showers For this, ere Phæbus rose, he had implor’d A brighter wash; to curl their waving hairs, Propitious heav'n, and every power ador’d,

Assist their blushes, and inspire their airs; 1 But chiefly Love—10 Love an altar built,

Nay oft, in dreams, invention we bestow, Of twelve vast French romances, neatly gilt. To change a flounce, or add a furbelow. There lay three garters, half a pair of gloves,

This day, black omens threat the brightest fair And all the trophies of his former loves.

That e'er deserv'd a watchful spirit's care; With tender billet-doux he lights the pyre,

Some dire disaster, or by force, or flight; And breathes three amorous sighs to raise the fire. But what, or where, the fates have wrapp'd in night. Then prostrate falls, and begs with ardent eyes Whether the nymph shall break Diana's law, Soon to obtain, and long possess the prize :

Or some frail China-jar receive a flaw, The powers gave ear, and granted half his prayer; Or stain her honour, or her new brocade; The rest, the winds dispers'd in empty air.

Forget her prayers, or miss a masquerade; But now secure the painted vessel glides,

Or lose her heart or necklace at a ball; The sunbeams trembling on the floating tides; Or whether Heaven has doom'd that Shock must fa.l. While melting music steals upon the sky,

Haste then, ye spirits! to your charge repair: And soften’d sounds along the waters die;

The fluttering fan be Zephyretta's care;

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