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'Tis courtly, florid, and abounds in words
Of softer sound than ours perhaps affords ;
But who did ever in French authors see
The comprehensive English energy ?
The weighty bullion of one sterling line,
Drawn to French wire, would thro' whole pages
I speak my private but impartial sense,
With freedom, and I hope without offence ;
For I'll recant when France can shew me wit
As strong as ours, and as succinctly writ,
'Tis true, composing is a nobler part;
But good translation is no easy art.
For though materials have long since been found,
Yet both your fancy and your hands are bound ;
And by improving what was writ before,
Invention labours less, but judgment more.
The foil intended for Pierian feeds
Must be well purg'd from rank pidantic weeds
Apollo starts, and all Parnaffus fhakes,
At the rude rumbling Baralipton makes.
For none have been with admiration read,
But who (befides their learning) were well bred.
The first great work (a talk perform'd by few)
Is, that yourself may to yourself be true :
No mask, no tricks, no favour, no reserve ;
mind, examine ev'ry nerve. Whoever vainly on his strength depends, Begins like Virgil, but like Mævius ends,
That wretch in spite of his forgotten rhymes) lil!
Condemn’d to live to all succeeding times, ietei : With pompous nonsense and a bellowing found,
A Sung lofty Ilium tumbling to the ground. And (if my Muse can through past ages fee)
iba That noisy, vauseous gaping fool was heqjen Exploded, when, with universal scorn, The mountains labour'd and a mouse was born.
Learn, learn, Crotona's brawny wrestler cries,
Audacious mortals, and be timely wife !
'Tis I that call, remember Milo's end,
Wedg'd in that timber which he trove to renda
with a diff'rent talent writes ;
One praises, one instructs, another bites,
Horace did ne'er aspire to Epic bays,
Nor lofty Maro floop to Lyric lays.
Examine how your humour is inclin’d,
And which the ruling pallion of your mind ;
Then, seek a poet who your way does bend,
And choose an author as
choose a friends
United by this sympathetic bond,
You grow familiar, intimate, and fond ;
Your thoughts, your words, your styles, your fouls agree,
No longer his interpreter, but he.
With how much ease is a young Mufe betray'd !
How nice the reputation of the maid !
Your early kind, paternal care appears,
By chaste infruction of her tender years,
The first impression in her infant breast
Will be the deepest, and should be the bell.
Let not austerity breed fervile fear,
No wanton sound offend her virgin ear.
Secure from foolish pride's affected state,
And specious flattery's more pernicious bait,
Habitual innocence adorns her thoughts ;
But your neglect muft answer for her faults,
Immodest words admit of no defence ;
For want of decency is want of fenfe.
What mod'rate fop would rake the Park or stews,
Who among troops of faultless nymphs may choose ?
Variety of such is to be found;
Take then a subject proper to expound :
But moral, great, and worth a poet's voice,
For men of sense despise a trivial choice :
And such applause it must expect to meet,
As would some painter busy in a street,
To copy bulls and bears, and ev'ry fign
That calls the staring fots to nafty wine.
Yet 'tis not all to have a subject good,
It must delight us when 'tis understood.
He that brings fulsome objects to my view
(As many old have done, and many new)
With nauseous images my fancy fills,
And all goes down like oxymel of squills.
Inftrućt the liftning world how Maro fings
Of useful objects and of lofty things,
These will such true, such bright ideas raise,
As merit gratitude as well as praise :
But foul descriptions are offensive still,
Either for being like, or being ill.
For who, without a qualm, hath ever look'd
On hoły garbag, though by Homer cook'd !
Whose railing heroes, and whose wounded Godsz.
Make fome suspect he fnores as well as nods.
But I offend-Virgil begins to frown,
And Horace looks with indignation down ;
My blushing Muse with conscious fear retiresg
And whom they like implicitly admires
On sure foundations let
fabric rises And with attractive majefty surprise, Not by affected meretricious arts, But strict harmonious symmetry of parts ; Which through the whole in fenfibly must pass, With vital heat to animate the inass : A pure, an active, an auspicious flame, And bright as heaven, from whence the blessing came; But few, oh few fouls, pre-ordain'd by fate, The race of Gods, have reach'd that envied heighte No rebel Tritan's facrilegious crime, By heaping hills on hills, can hither climb:
The grizly ferryman of hell denied
| Æneas entrance, till he knew his guide :
How juftly then will impious mortals fall,
Whose pride would foar to heayen without a call!
Pride (of all others the moft dang 'rous fault)
Proceeds from want of sense or want of thought.
The men who labour and digest things moft,
Will be much apter to despond than boaft :
For if your author be profoundly good,
'Twill cost you dear before he's understood..
How many ages fince has Virgil writ !
How few are they who understand him yet!
Approach his altars with religious fear,
No vulgar deity inhabits there :
Heaven shakes not more at Jove's imperial nod,
should before their Mantuan god. Hail, mighty Maro! may that facred name Kindle
my breast with thy celestial flame ; Sublime ideas and apt words infufe : The Mufe inftruét my voice, and thou inspire the Muse!
What I have instanc'd only in the best,
Is, in proportion, true of all the relt.
Take pains the genuine meaning to explore,
There sweat, there strain, tug the laborious oar ;
Search ev'ry comment that your care can find,
Some here, fome there, may hit the poet's mindi;
Yet be not blindly guided by the throng ;
The multitude is always in the wrong.
When things appear unnaturat or hard,
Confult your author, with himself compar'd;
Who knows what blessing Phæbus may beflow,
And future ages to your labour owe ?