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By weak attempts are imitated ill,
Or carried on beyond their proper light,
Or with refinement florish'd out of sight.
There Metaphors on Metaphors abound,
And sense by differing images confound:
Strange injudicious management of thought,
Not born to rage, nor into method brought.
Ah, sacred Muse! from such a Realm retreat,
Nor idly waste the influence of thy heat
On shallow soils, where quick productions rise,
And wither as the warmth that rais'd them dies."
Here o'er his breast a sort of pity roll'd,
Which something laboring in the mind control'd,
And made him touch the loud resounding strings,
While thus with Music's stronger tones he sings:
"Mount higher still, still keep thy faithful seat,
Mind the firm reins, and curb thy courser's heat;
Nor let him touch the Realms that next appear,
Whose hanging turrets seem a fall to fear;
And strangely stand along the tracts of air,
Where thunder rolls, and bearded comets glare.
The thoughts that most extravagantly soar,
The words that sound as if they meant to roar;
For rant and noise are offer'd here to choice,
And stand elected by the public voice.
All schemes are slighted which attempt to shine
At once with strange and probable design;
'Tis here a mean conceit, a vulgar view,
That bears the least respect to seeming true;
While every trifling turn of things is seen
To move by Gods descending in machine.
Here swelling lines with stalking strut proceed,
And in the clouds terrific rumblings breed
Here single heroes deal grim deaths around,
And armies perish in tremendous sound;
Here fearful monsters are preserv'd to die,
In such a tumult as affrights the sky;
For which the golden sun shall hide with dread,
And Neptune lift his sedgy-matted head,
Admire the roar, and dive with dire dismay,
And seek his deepest chambers in the sea.
To raise their subject thus the lines devise,
And false extravagance would fain surprize;
Yet still, ye Gods, ye live untouch'd by fear,
And undisturb'd at bellowing monsters here:
But with compassion guard the brain of men,
If thus they bellow through the Poet's pen :
So will the Reader's eyes discern aright
The rashest sally from the noblest flight,
And find that only boast and sound agree
To seem the life and voice of majesty,
When Writers rampant on Apollo call,
And bid him enter and possess them all,
And make his flames afford a wild pretence
To keep them unrestrain'd by common sense.
Ah, sacred Verse! lest Reason quit thy seat,
Give none to such, or give a gentler heat,"
'Twas here the Singer felt his temper wrought By fairer prospects, which arose to thought; And in himself a while collected sat,
And much admir'd at this, and much at that;
Till all the beauteous forms in order ran,
And then he took their track, and thus began :
"Above the beauties, far above the show In which weak Nature dresses here below, Stands the great palace of the Bright and Fine, Where fair ideas in full glory shine;
Eternal models of exalted parts,
The pride of minds, and conquerors of hearts.
"Upon the first arrival here, are seen Rang'd walks of bay, the Muses' ever-green, Each sweetly springing from some sacred bough, Whose circling shade adorn'd a Poet's brow, While through the leaves, in unmolested skies, The gentle breathing of applauses flies, And flattering sounds are heard within the breeze, And pleasing murmur runs among the trees, And falls of water join the flattering sounds, And murmur softening from the shore rebounds. The warbled melody, the lovely sights,
The calms of solitude inspire delights,
The dazzled eyes, the ravish'd ears are caught,
The panting heart unites to purer thought,
And grateful shiverings wander o'er the skin,
And wondrous ecstasies arise within,
Whence admiration overflows the mind,
And leaves the pleasure felt, but undefin'd.
Stay, daring Rider, now no longer rove;
Now pass to find the palace through the grove:
Whate'er you see, whate'er you feel, display
The Realm you sought for; daring Rider, stay.
"Here various Fancy spreads a varied scene,
And Judgment likes the sight, and looks serene,
And can be pleas'd itself, and helps to please,
And joins the work, and regulates the lays.
Thus, on a plan design'd by double care,
The building rises in the glittering air,
With just agreement fram'd in every part,
And smoothly polish'd with the nicest art.
"Here laurel-boughs, which ancient heroes wore, Now not so fading as they prov'd before, Wreath round the pillars which the Poets rear, And slope their points to make a foliage there. Here chaplets, pull'd in gently-breathing wind, And wrought by lovers innocently kind,
Hung o'er the porch, their fragrant odors give,
And fresh in lasting song for ever live.
The shades, for whom with such indulgent care
Fame wreaths the boughs, or hangs the chaplets there,
To deathless honors thus preserv'd above,
For ages conquer, or for ages love.
"Here bold Description paints the walls within, Her pencil touches, and the world is seen: The fields look beauteous in their flowery pride, The mountains rear aloft, the vales subside; The cities rise, the rivers seem to play, And hanging rocks repell the foaming sea; The foaming seas their angry billows show, Curl'd white above, and darkly roll❜d below, Or cease their rage, and, as they can 'v lie, Return the pleasing pictures of the sky The skies, extended in an open view, Appear a lofty distant arch of blue,
In which Description stains the painted bow,
Or thickens clouds, and feathers-out the snow,
Or mingles blushes in the morning ray,
Or gilds the noon, or turns an evening gray.
"Here, on the pedestals of War and Peace,
In different rows, and with a different grace,
Fine Statues proudly ride, or nobly stand,
To which Narration with a pointing hand
Directs the sight, and makes examples please
By boldly venturing to dilate in praise;
While chosen beauties lengthen out the song,
Yet make her hearers never think it long.
Or if, with closer art, with sprightly mien,
Scarce like herself, and more like Action seen,
She bids their facts in images arise,
And seem to pass before the Reader's eyes,
The words like charms inchanted motion givé,