« AnteriorContinuar »
Yet, as some Actions bear so great a Name,
That Courts themselves are juft, for fear of Shame;
So has the mighty Merit of your Play
Extorted Praise, and forc'd it self a way.
'Tis here, as 'tis at Sea ; who fartheft goes,
Or dares the moft, makes all the reft his Foes.
Yet when some Virtue much out-grows the reft,
It shoots too fast, and high, to be expreft ;
As his Heroic Worth struck Envy dumb,
Who took the Dutchman, and who cut the Boom.
Such Praise is yours, while you the Paffions move,
That 'tis no longer feign’d, 'cis real Love,
Where Nature triumphs over wretched Art ;
We only warm the Head, but you the Heart.
Always you warm ; and if the rising Year,
As in hot Regions, brings the Sun too near,
'Tis but to make your fragrant Spices blow,
Which in our cooler Climates will not grow.
They only think you animate your Theme
With too much Fire, who are themselves all Phlegm.
Prizes wou'd be for Lags of floweft pace,
Were Cripples made the Judges of the Race.
Despise chofe Drones, who praise, while they accufe,
The too much Vigour of your youthful Muse.
That humble Style, which they their Virtue make,
Is in your pow'r ; you need but stoop and take.
Your beautcons Images must be allow'd
By all, but fome vile Poets of the Crowd.
But how shou'd any Sign-Poft Dawber know
The Worth of Titian or of Angelo ?
Hard Features ev'ry Bungler can command ;
To draw true Beauty shews a Mafter's hand.
To my dear Friend Mr. CONGREVE,
on bis Comedy called The Double Dealer. WEI
Ell then, the promis'd Hour is come at last ;
The present Age of Wit obscures the past :
Strong were our Sires, and as they Fought they Writ,
Conqu’ring with Force of Arms, and dint of Wit :
Theirs was the Giant Race, before the Flood;
And thus, when Charles return'd, our Empire stood.
Like Janus he the stubborn Soil manur'd,
With Rules of Husbandry the Rankness cur'd ;
Tam'd us to Manners, when the Stage was rude ;
And boiftrous English Wit with Art indu'd.
Our Age was cultivated thus at length ;
But what we gain'd in Skill we loft in Strength:
Our Builders were with want of Genius curft ;
The second Temple was not like the first :
'Till you, the best Vitruvius, come at length;
Our Beauties equal, but excel our Strength.
Firm Dorick Pillars found
folid Base :
The Fair Corinthian crowns the higher Space :
Thus all below is Strength, and all above is Grace.
In easy Dialogue is Fletcher's Praise ;
He mov'd the Mind, but had not Pow'r to raise.
Great Jobnfon did by Strength of Judgment please ;
Yet, doubling Fletcher's Force, he wants his Ease.
In diff'ring Talents both adorn'd their Age ;
One for the Study, t'other for the Stage.
But both to Congreve juftly shall submit,
One match'd in Judgment, both o'ermatch'd in Wita
In him all Beauties of this Age we see,
Etherege his Courtship, Southern's Purity,
The Satire, Wit, and Strength of Manly Witcherly.
All this in blooming Youth you have atchiev'd :
Nor are your foild Contemporaries griev'd.
So much the Sweetness of your Manners move,
We cannot envy you, because we Love.
Fabius might joy in Scipio, when he saw
A beardless Consul made against the Law,
And join his Suffrage to the Votes of Rome ;
Though he with Hannibal was overcome.
Thus old Romano bow'd to Raphael's Fame,
And Scholar to the Youth he taught became.
O that your Brows my Laurel had sustain’d!
Well had I been depos’d, if you had Reign'd :
The Father had descended for the Son ;
For only you are lineal to the Throne.
Thus, when the State one Edward did depose,
A Greater Edward in his room arose.
But now, not I, but Poetry is cursd ;
For Tom the second reigns like Tom the first.
But let 'em not mistake my Patron's Part,
Nor call his Charity their own Desert.
Yet this I prophesy; Thou shalt be seen,
(Tho' with some short Parenthesis between)
High on the Throne of Wit, and, seated there,
Not mine (that's little) but thy Laurel wear.
Thy first Attempt an early Promise made ;
That early Promise this has more than paid.
So bold, yet so judiciously you dare,
That your leaft Praise is to be regular.
Time, Place, and Action, may with pains be wrought ;
But Genius must be born, and never can be taught.
This is your Portion ; this your native Store ;
Heav'n, that but once was prodigal before,
Maintain your Post : That's all the Fame you need; For’tis impossible you shou'd proceed. Already I am worn with Cares and Age, And just abandoning th' ungrateful Stage : Unprofitably kept at Heav'n's Expence, I live a Rent-Charge on his Providence : But you, whom ev'ry Mufe and Grace adorr, Whom I forefee to better Fortune born, Be kind to my Remains; and O defend, Against your Judgment, your departed Friend! Let not th' infulting Foe my Fame pursue, But Ihade those Laurels which descend to You : And take for Tribute what these Lines express : You merit more ; nor cou'd my Love do less.
TO Mr. GRANVILLE
, on bis excellent Tragedy called Heroic Love.
Uspicious Poet, wert thou not my friend,
How cou'd I ! But since'tis Nature's Law in Love and Wit, That Youth shou'd reign, and with’ring Age submit, With less regret those Laurels I resign, Which, dying on my Brows, revive on thine. With better Grace an ancient Chief may yield The long contended Honours of the Field, Than venture all his Fortune at a caft, And fight, like Hannibal, to lose at laft. Young Princes, obstinate to win the Prize, Tho' yearly beaten, yearly yet they rise :
Old Monarchs, tho' successful, fill in doubt,
Catch at a Peace, and wifely turn devout.
Thine be the Laurel then ; thy blooming Age
Can beft, if any can, fupport the Stage ;
Which so declines, that fhortly we may fee
Players and Plays reduc'd to second Infancy.
Sharp to the World, but thoughtless of renown,
They plot not on the Stage, but on the Town,
And, in despair their empty Pit to fill,
Set up some Foreign Monster in a Bill.
Thus they jog on, ftill tricking, never thriving,
And murd'ring Plays, which they miscal Reviving.
Our Sense is Nonsense, through their Pipes convey'd;
Scarce can a Poet know the Play he made;
'Tis so disguis?d in Death ; nor thinks 'tis He
That suffers in the mangled Tragedy.
Thus Itys.firft was kill'd, and after dress’d
For his own Şire, the chief invited Gueft.
I say not this of thy successful Scenes,
Where thine was all the Glory, theirs the Gains.
With length of Time, much Judgment, and more Toil,
Not ill they acted, what they cou'd not spoil.
Their Setting-Sun * ftill shoots a glimmering Ray,
Like antient Rome, majestick in Decay :
And better Gleanings their.worn Soil can boast,
Than the Crab-Vintage of the neighb'ring Coaft t.
This diff'rence yet the judging World will see ;
Thou copieft Homer, and they copy thee.
* Mr. Betterton's.Company in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields,
Drury-Lane Play House