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There oft I follow beauty with surprise,
And drink sweet numbers from inspiring eyes;
With eager steps I cross the verdant stage,
And soon transplant them to my borrow'd page;
Each maid I meet I set her graces down,
Hence critics say those thoughts are not my own.
Fine is the secret, delicate the part,
To praise with prudence, and address with art;
Encomium chiefly is that kind of wit,
Where compliments should indirectly hit;
From different subjects take their sudden rise,
And, least expected, cause the more surprise :
"For none have been with admiration read,
"But who, beside their learning, were well bred."
Such suit all tastes, on every tongue remain,
Forbid our blushes, and prevent our pain;
Such subjects best a Boyle might understand,
These call, my Lord, for an uncommon hand
To turn the finer features of the soul,
To paint the passions sparkling as they roll:
The power of numbers, the superior art,
To wind the springs that move the beating heart;
With living words to fire the blood to rage,
Or pour quick fancy on the glowing page;
This be thy praise, nor thou this praise refuse,
From no unworthy, nor ungrateful Muse;
A Muse as yet unblemish'd, as unknown,
Who scorns all flattery, and who envies none;
Of wrongs forgetful, negligent of fame,
Who found no patron, and who lost no name;
Indifferent what the world may think her due,
Whose friends are many, though her years are few.
SCRIBBLING AGAINST GENIUS.
No single rule's more frequently enjoin'd
Than this; "Observe the bias of your mind.”
However just by every one confess'd,
There's not a rule more frequently transgress'd;
For mortals, to their int'rest blind, pursue
The thing they like, not that they're fit to do.
This Verro's fault, by frequent praises fir'd,
He several parts had try'd, in each admir'd.
That Verro was not ev'ry way complete,
'Twas long unknown, and might have been so yet:
But music-mad, th' unhappy man pursu'd
That only thing heav'n meant he never should;
And thus his proper road to fame neglected,
He's ridicul'd for that he but affected.
Would men but act from nature's secret call,
Or only, where that fails, not act at all:
If not their skill, they'd shew at least good sense,-
They'd get no fame-nor would they give offence.
Not that where some one merit is deny'd, Men must be every way unqualify'd ; Nor hold we, like that wrong-concluding wight, A man can't fish-because he could not write. View all the world around: each man design'd And furnish'd for some fav'rite part you find. That, sometimes low: yet this, so small a gift, Proves nature did not turn him quite adrift. The phlegmatic, dull, aukward, thick, gross-witted, Have all some clumsy work for which they're fitted. 'Twas never known, in men a perfect void, Ev'n I and Tibbald might be well employ'd; Would we our poverty of parts survey, And follow as our genius led the way.
What then? obedient to that turn of mind
Should men jog on to one dull path confin'd;
From that small circle never dare depart,
To strike at large, and snatch a grace from art?
At least with care forbidden paths pursue?
Who quits the road, should keep it still in view :
From genius some few 'scapes may be allow'd;
But ever keep within its neighbourhood.
But Cibber, faithless to his bias see,
With giant-sin opposing heav'n's decree.
Still fond where he should not, he blunders on
With all that haste fools make to be undone :
Want of success his passion but augments;
Like eunuchs rage of love, from impotence.
'Mongst all the instances of genius crost,
The rhyming tribe are those who err the most.
Each piddling wretch who hath but common sense,
Or thinks he hath, to verse shall make pretence;
Why not? 'tis their diversion, and 'twere hard
If men of their estates should be debarr'd.
Thus wealth with them gives every thing beside:
As people worth so much are qualify'd :
They've all the requisites for writing fit,
All but that one-some little share of wit.
Give way, ye friends, nor with fond pray'rs proceed
To stop the progress of a pen
'Tis heav'n, incens'd by some prodigious crime,
Thus for mens sins determines them to rhyme.
Bad men, no doubt; perhaps 'tis vengeance due
For shrines they've plunder'd, or some wretch they
Whate'er it be, sure grievous is th' offence,
And grievous is (heaven knows!) its recompence.
At once in want of rhyme, and want of rest;
Plagues to themselves, and to mankind a jest :
Seduc'd by empty forms of false delight—
Such, in some men, their deadly lust to write!
Ev'n I, whose genius seems as much forgot,
(Mine when I write, as your's when you do not ;)
Who gravely thus can others' faults condemn,
Myself allowing, what I blame in them;
With no pretence to Phoebus' aid divine,
Nor the least int'rest in the tuneful Nine,