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STYLES OF POETRY.
HENRY LORD VISC. BOLINGBROKE.
FROM THOMAS PARNELL, D. D.
I hate the vulgar with untuneful mind;
When Greece could truth in Mystic Fable shroud, And with delight instruct the listening crowd, in ancient Poet (Time has lost his name) eliver'd strains on Verse to future fame.
as he sung, he touch'd the trembling lyre,
From dark oblivion. See, my genius goes
“ Wit is the Muse's horse, and bears on high/ The daring Rider to the Muses' sky: Who, while his strength to mount aloft he tries, By regions varying in their nature flies.
“ At first, he riseth o'er a land of toil, A barren, hård, and undeserving soil, Where only weeds from heavy labor grow, Which yet the nation prune, and keep for show. Where couplets jingling on their accent run, Whose Point of Epigram is sunk to Pun; Where wings by fancy never feather'd fly, Where lines by measure form'd in Hatchets lie; Where Altars stand, erected Porches gape, And sense is cramp'd while words are par’d to shape ; Where mean Acrostics, labor'd in a frame On scatter'd letters, raise a painful scheme; And, by confinement in their work, control The great enlargings of the boundless soul; Where if a warrior's elevated fire Would all the brightest strokes of verse require, Then straight in Anagram a wretched crew Will pay their undeserving praises too; While on the rack his poor disjointed name Must tell its master's character to Fame. And (if my fire and fears aright presage) The laboring writers of a future age
Shall clear new ground, and grots and caves repair,
At this the Poet stood concern'd a while,
“ By a cold region next the Rider goes, Where all lies cover'd in eternal snows; Where no bright genius drives the chariot high, To glitter on the ground, and gild the sky. Bleak level Realm, where Frigid Styles abound, Where never yet a daring thought was found, But counted feet is Poetry defin'd;
And starv'd conceits, that chill the reader's mind,
Here seem'd the Singer touch'd at what he sung, And grief a while delay'd his hand and tongue : But soon he check'd his fingers, chose a strain, And florish'd shrill, and thus arose again:
“ Pass the next region which appears to show: 'Tis very open, unimprov'd, and low; No noble flights of elevated thought, No nervous strength of sense maturely wrought, Possess this Realm ; but common turns are there, Which idly sportive move with childish air. On callow wings, and like a plague of flies, The little fancies in a Poem rise, The jaded Reader every where to strike, And move his passions every where alike. There all the graceful Nymphs are forc'd to play Where any water bubbles in the way: There shaggy Satyrs are oblig'd to rove In all the fields, and over all the grove : There every star is summon'd from its sphere, To dress one face, and make Clorinda fair: There Cupids Aing their darts in every song, While Nature stands neglected all along : Till the teaz'd hearer, vex'd at last to find One constant object still assault the mind, Admires no more at what's no longer new, And hastes to shun the persecuting view. There bright surprizes of Poetic rage (Whose strength and beauty, more confirm'd in age For having lasted, last the longer still)