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Singing no more can your soft numbers grace,
Than Paint adds Charms unto a beauteous Face.
Yet as, when mighty Rivers gently creep,
Their even Calmness does suppose them deep ;
Such is your Muse: No Metaphor swellid high
With dangerous boldness lifts her to the Sky:
Those mounting Fancies, when they fall again,
Shew Sand and Dirt at bottom do remain.
So firm a Strength, and yet withal so sweet,
Did never but in Samson's Riddle meet.
'Tis strange each Line fo great a weight should bear,
And yet no sign of Toil, no Sweat appear.
Either your Art hides Art, as Stoicks feign
Then leaft to feel, when most they suffer Pain ;
And we, dull Souls, admire, but cannot see
What hidden Springs within the Engine be:
Or 'tis some Happiness that still pursues
Each Act and Motion of your Graceful Muse.
Or is it Fortune's Work, that in your
The curious * Net that is for Fancies spread,
Lets thro' its Meshes every meaner Thought,
While rich Ideas there are only caught ?
Sure that's not all ; this is a piece too fair
To be the Child of Chance, and not of Care.
No Atoms casually together hurl'd
Could e'er produce so beautiful a World.
Nor dare I such a Doctrine here admit,
As would destroy the Providence of Wit.
'Tis your strong Genius then which does not feel
Those Weights, wou'd make a weaker Spirit reel.
To carry weight, and run fo lightly too,
Is what alone your Pegasus can do.
Great Hercules himself cou'd ne'er do more,
Than not to feel those Heav'ns and Gods he bore.
Your easier Odes, which for Delight were penn'd,
Yet our Instruction make their second End :
We're both enrich'd and pleas'd, like them that wooe
At once a Beauty, and a Fortune too.
Of Moral Knowledge Poesy was Queen,
And still she might, had wanton Wits not been ;
Who, like ill Guardians, liv'd themselves at large,
And, not content with that, debauch'd their Charge.
Like some brave Captain, your successful Pen
Restores the Exild to her Crown again :
And gives us hope, that having seen the Days
When nothing flourish'd but Fanatick Bays,
All will at length in this Opinion rest,
“ A Sober Prince's Government is best.
This is not all ; your Art the way has found
To make th' Improvement of the richest Ground,
That Soil which those Immortal Laurels bore,
That once the Sacred Maro's Temples wore.
Elisa's Griefs are so express'd by you,
They are too Eloquent to have been true.
Had the so spoke, Æneas had obey'd
What Dido, rather than what Jove had said.
If Funeral Rites can give a Ghost Repose,
Your Muse so juftly has discharged those,
Elisa's Shade may now its wandring cease,
And claim a Title to the Fields of Peace.
But if Æneas be oblig'd, no less
Your Kindness great Achilles doth confess ;
Who, dress'd by Statius in too bold a Look,
Did ill become those Virgin Robes he took.
To understand how much we owe to you,
We must your Numbers, with your Author's, view;
=>. Then we shall see his Work was lamely rough,
Each Figure ftiff, as if design'd in Buff:
His Colours laid so thick on every place,
As only shew'd the Paint, but hid the Face.
But as in perspective we Beauties see,
Which in the Glass, not in the Picture, be ;
So here our Sight obligingly mistakes
That Wealth, which his your Bounty only makes.
Thus vulgar Dishes are, by Cooks disguis’d,
More for their dressing, than their substance priz'd. * Your curious * Notes so search into that Age,
When all was Fable but the Sacred Page,
That, since in that dark Night we needs must stray,
We are at least mis-led in pleasant way.
But what we most admire, your Verse no less
The Prophet than the Poet doth confess.
Ere our weak Eyes discern'd the doubtful Streak *Of Light, you saw Great Charles his Morning break. - So skilful Seamen ken the Land from far,
Which shews like Mists to the dull Passenger.
To Charles your Muse first pays her duteous Love,
As still the Antients did begin from Jove.
With Monk you end, whose Name preserv'd shall be,
As Rome Recorded + Rufus' Memory,
Who thought it greater Honour to obey
His Country's Intereft, than the World to sway.
But to write worthy things of worthy Men,
Is the peculiar Talent of your Pen :
Yet let me take your Mantle up, and I
Will venture in your Right to Prophesy.
☆ Annotations on Statius.
† Hic fitus eft Rufus, qui pulfo vindice quondam
Imperium aferuir non fibi, fed Perria,
" This Work, by Merit first of Fame secure, “ Is likewise happy in its Geniture : “ For, since ʼtis born when Charles ascends the Throne, " It shares, at once, his Fortune and its own.
To the Earl of Roscommon, on his excellent
Essay on Translated Verse. W 7 Hether the fruitful Nile, or Tyrian Shore,
The Seeds of Arts and Infant Science bore, , 'Tis sure the noble Plant, translated first, Advanc'd its Head in Grecian Gardens nurft. The Grecians added Verse : their tuneful Tongue Made Nature first, and Nature's God their Song. Nor stopt Translation here : For conqu’ring Rome, With Grecian Spoils, brought Grecian Numbers home ; Enrich'd by those Athenian Muses more, Than all the vanquish'd World cou'd yield before. 'Till barb'rous Nations, and more barb'rous Times, Debas’d the Majesty of Verse to Rhimes Those rude at first: a kind of hobbling Profe, That limp'd along, and tinkled in the close. But Italy, reviving from the Trance Of Vandal, Goth, and Monkisis Ignorance, With Pauses, Cadence, and well-voweld Words, And all the Graces a good Ear affords, Made Rhyme an Art, and Dante's polith'd Page Restor'd a Silver, not a Golden Age. Then Petrarch follow'd, and in him we see, What Rhyme improv'd in all its height can be : At best a pleasing Sound, and fair Barbarity. The French pursu'd their Steps ; and Britain, laft, In manly Sweetness all the rest surpassid,
The Wit of Greece, the Gravity of Rome,
Appear exalted in the British Loom :
The Muses Empire is restor'd again,
In Charles his Reign, and by Roscommon's Pen.
Yet modestly he does his work survey,
And calls a finish'd Poem an ESSAY ;
For all the needful Rules are scatter'd here
Truth smoothly told, and pleasantly severe ;
So well is Art disguis'd, for Nature to appear.
Nor need those Rules to give Translation light:
His own Example is a Flame so bright;
That he, who but arrives to copy well,
Unguided will advance, unknowing will excel.
Scarce his own Horace could such Rules ordain,
Or his own Virgil ling a nobler Strain.
How much in him may rising Ireland boast,
How much in gaining him has Britain loft !
Their Island in revenge has ours reclaim'd ;
The more instructed we, the more we still are sham'd.
'Tis well for us his generous Blood did flow ; Deriv'd from British Channels long ago,
That here his conqu’ring Ancestors were nurft;
And Ireland but translated England first :
By this Reprisal we regain our Right,
Else must the two contending Nations fight ;
A nobler Quarrel for his Native Earth,
Than what divided Greece for Homer's Birth.
To what Perfection will our Tongue arrive,
How will Invention and Translation thrive,
When Authors nobly born will bear their part,
And not disdain th' inglorious Praise of Art !
Great Generals thus, descending from Command,
With their own Toil provoke the Soldiers Hand.