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And like a scatter'd seed at random sown,
685 Ile struck the lyre in such a careless mood, And so disdain'd the rules he understood, The laurel seem'd to wait on his command, He snatch'd it rudely from the muses' hand. Nature, exerting an unwearied pow'r,
690 Forms, opens, and gives scent to ev'ry flower ; Spreads the fresh verdure of the field, and leads The dancing Naiads through the dewy meads. She fills profuse ten thousand little throats With musick, modulating all their notes;
695 And charms the woodland scenes, and wilds unknown, With artless airs and concerts of her own; But seldom, (as if fearful of expense,) Vouchsafes to man a poet's just pretenceFervency, freedoin, fluency of thought,
700 Harmony, strength, words exquisitely sought ; Fancy, that from the bow that spans the sky, Brings colours dipp'd in Heav'n, that never die; A soul exalted above earth, a mind Skill'd in the characters that form mankind; 705 And as the sun in rising beauty dress’d, Looks to the westward from the dappled east, And marks whatever clouds may interpose, Ere yet his race begins, its glorious close ; And eye like his to catch the distant goal; 710 Or, ere the wheels of veree begin to roll,
Like his to shed illuminating rays
725 The shelves are full, all other themes are sped; Hackney'd and worn to the last flimsy thread, Satire has long since done his best ; and curst And loathsome ribaldry has done his worst ; Fancy has sported all her pow'rs away
730 In tales, in trifles, and in children's play ; And 'tis the sad complaint, and almost true, Whate'er we write, we bring forth nothing new. Twere new indeed to see a bard all fire, Touch'd with a coal from Heav'n, assume the lyre, 735 And tell the world, still kindling as he sung, With more than mortal musick on his tongue, That He, who died below, and reigns above, Inspires the song, and that his name is Love. For, after all, if merely to beguile,
740 By flowing numbers, and a flow'ry style, The tedium that the lazy rich endure, Which now and then sweet poetry may cure ; Or, if to see the name of idle self, Stamp'd on the well-bound quarto, grace the shelf, 745 To float a bubble on the breath of Fame, Prompt kis endeavour and engage his aim, Debas'd to servile purposes of pride, How are the pow'ra of genius misapplied !
The gift whose office is the Giver's praise, 750
759 A. Hail, Sternhold, then; and, Hopkins, hail !-B. If flatt'ry, folly, lust, employ the pen; (Amen. If acrimony, slander, and abuse, Give it a charge to blacken and traduce ; Though Butler's wit, Pope's numbers, Prior's eage, With all that fancy can invent to please,
765 Adorn the polish'd periods as they fall, One madrigal of theirs is worth them all.
A. 'Twould thin the ranks of the poetick tribe, To dash the pen through all that you proscribe.
B. No matter—we could shift when they were not ; And should, no doubt, if they were all forgot.
PROGRESS OF ERROUR.
Si quid loquar audiendum.... Hor. Lib. iv. Od. 2.
(if such a theme, so dark, so long, May find a muse to grace it with a song,) By what unseen and unsuspected arts, T'he serpent Errour twines round human hearts ; Tc!l where she lurks, beneath what flow'ry shades, 5 That not a glimpse of genuine light pervades, The pois'nous, black, insinuating worm Successfully conceals her loathsome forın. Take, if ye can, ye careless and supine, Counsel and caution from a voice like mine! 10 Truths, that the theorist could never reach, And observation taught :ne, I would teach.
Not all, whose eloquence the fancy fills, Musical as the chime of tinkling rills, Weak to perform, though mighty to pretend, 15 Can trace her mazy windings to their end ; Discern the fraud beneath the specious lure, Prevent the danger, or prescribe the cure. The clear harangue, and cold as it is clear, Falls soporifick on the listless ear;
20 Like quicksilver, the rhet’rick they display Shines as it runs, but grasp'd at slips away.
Plac'd for his trial on this bustling stage, From thoughtless youth to ruminating age, Free in his will to choose or to refuse,
25 Man may improve the crisis or abuse ;
Else on the fatalist's unrighteous plan,
40 While, all his purposes and steps to guard, Peace follows Virtue as its sure reward ; And Pleasure brings as surely in her train Remorse, and Sorrow, and vindictive Pain.
Man, thus endu'd with an elective voice, 45 Must be supplied with objects of his choice ; Where'er he turns, enjoyment and delight, Or present, or in prospect, moet his sight; Those open on the spot their honey'd store : These call him loudly to pursuit of more.
50 His unexhausted mine the sordid vice Avarice shows, and virtue is the price. Here various motives his ambition raise Pow'r, pomp, and splendour, and the thirst of praise. There Beauty woos him with expanded arms ; 55 E'en Bacchanalian madness has its charms.
Nor these alone whose pleasures, less refin’d, Might well alarm the most unguarded mind, Seek to supplant his inexperienc'd youth, Or lead him devious from the path of truth'; 60 Hourly allurements on his passions press, Safe in themselves, but dang'rous in th’ excess.
Hark! how it floats upon the dewy air' O, what a dying, dying close was there!