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Yet when the spirit's tumult was allay'd,
She mourn’d, perhaps, the sentiment betray'd;
But mourn’d too late, nor longer could deny,
And on her own confession charge the lye.
Thus they, whom neither the prevailing love
Of goodness here, or mercy from above,
Or fear of future pains, or human laws
Could render advocates in virtue's cause,
Caught by the scene have unawares resign'd
Their wonted difpofition of the mind :
By flow degrees prevails the pleasing tale,
As circling glasses on our senses steal ;
Till throughly by the Muses’ banquet warm’d,
The pasfions toffing, all the foul alarm’d,
They turn mere zealots flush'd with glorious rage,
Rise in their seats, and scarce forbear the stage,
Assistance to wrong'd innocence to bring,
Or turn the poignard on some tyrant king.
How can they cool to villains ? how fubfide
To dregs of vice, from such a godlike pride ?
To spoiling orphans how to-day return,
Who wept last night to see Monimia mourn?
In this gay school of virtue, whom so fit
and control the world of wit,
As Talbot, Lanfdowne's friend, has Britain known?
Him polith'd Italy has call'd her own;
He in the lap of elegance was bred,
And trac'd the Muses to their fountain head :
But much we hope, he will enjoy at home
What 's nearer ancient than the modern Rome.
Nor fear I mention of the court of France,
When I the British genius would advance :
There too has Shrewsbury improv'd his taste;
Yet still we dare invite him to our feast;
For Corneille's fake I shall my thoughts suppress
Of Oroonoko, and presume him less :
What though we wrong him ? Isabella's woe
Waters those bays that shall for ever grow.
Our foes confess, nor we the praise refuse,
The Drama glories in the British Muse.
The French are delicate, and nicely lead
Of close intrigue the labyrinthian thread;
Our genius more affects the grand, than fine,
Our strength can make the great plain action fhine :
They raise a great curiosity indeed,
From his dark maze to see the hero freed;
We rouze th' affections, and that hero show
Gasping beneath some formidable blow:
They figh; we weep: the Gallic doubt and care
We heighten into terror and despair;
Strike home, the strongest passions boldly touch,
Nor fear our audience should be pleas'd too much,
What's great in nature we can greatly draw,
Nor thank for beauties the dramatic law.
The fate of Cæsar is a tale too plain
The fickle Gallic taste to entertain ;
Their art would have perplex'd, and interwove
The golden arras with gay flowers of love :
We know Heaven made him a far greater man
Than any Cæfar, in a human plan,
And such we draw him, nor are too refin'd,
To stand affected with what Heaven design'd.
To claim attention, and the heart invade,
Shakespeare but wrote the play thAlmighty made,
Our neighbour's stage-art too bare-fac'd betrays,
'Tis great Corneille at every scene we praise ;
On Nature's surer aid Britannia calls,
None think of Shakespeare till the curtain falls;
Then with a sigh returns our audience home,
From Venice, Egypt, Persia, Greece, or Rome.
France yields not to the glory of our lines,
But manly conduct of our strong designs ;
That oft they think more justly we must own,
Not ancient Greece a truer sense has shown:
Greece thought but justly, they think justly too ;
We sometimes err by striving more to do.
So well are Racine's meanest persons taught,
But change a sentiment, you make a fault;
Nor dare we charge them with the want of flame:
When we boast more, we own ourselves to blame.
And yet in Shakespeare something still I find,
That makes me less esteemi all human-kind;
He made one nature, and another found,
Both in his page with master-strokes abound:
His witches, fairies, and inchanted isle,
Bid us no longer at our nurses smile ;
Of lost historians we almost complain,
Nor think it the creation of his brain,
Who lives, when his Othello 's in a trance ?
With his great Talbot * too, he conquer'd France.
Long we may hope brave Talbot's blood will run
In great descendants, Shakespeare has but one ;
And him, my lord, permit me not to name,
But in kind silence spare his rival's shame :-
Yet I in vain that Author would suppress,
What can't be greater, cannot be made less :
Each reader will defeat my fruitless aim,
And to himself great Agamemnon name.
Should Shakespeare rise unbless’d with Talbot's sinile,
Ev’n Shakespeare's self would curse this barren isle :
But if that reigning star propitious shine,
And kindly mix his gentle rays with thine ;
Ev’n I, by far the meanest of your age,
Shall not repent my passion for the stage.
Thus did the Will-almighty disallow,
No human force could pluck the golden bough,
Which left the tree with ease at Jove's command,
And spar'd the labour of the weakest hand.
Auspicious fate! that gives me leave to write
To you, the Muses glory and delight;
Who know to read, nor false encomiums raise,
And mortify an Author with your praise :
Praise wounds a noble mind, when 'tis not due,
But censure’s self will please, my lord, from you ;
Faults are our pride and gain, when you
descend To point them out, and teach us how to mend.
What * An ancestor of the duke of Shrewsbury, who conquered France, drawn by Shakespeare. YOUNG.
What though the great man set his coffers wide,
That cannot gratify the Poet's pride;
Whose inspiration, if 'tis truly good,
Is best rewarded, when best understood.
The Muses write for glory, not for gold,
Tis far beneath their nature to be sold :
The greatest gain is scorn’d, but as it serves
To speak a sense of what the Muse deserves ;
The Muse, which from her Lansdowne fears no wrong,
Best judge, as well as subject, of her song.
Should this great theme allure me farther still,
And I presume to ufe your patience ill,
The world would plead my cause, and none but you
Will take disgust at what I now pursue :
Since what is mean my Mufe can't raise, I 'll chuse
A theme that 's able to exalt my
For who, not void of thought, can Granville name,
Without a spark of his immortal flame ?
Whether we seek the patriot, or the friend,
Let Bolinybroke, let Anna recommend;
Whether we chuse to love or to admire,
You melt the tender, and th' ambitious fire.
Such native graces without thought abound,
And such familiar glories spread around,
As more incline the stander-by to raise
His value for himself, than you to praise.
befriend the most heroic way, Bless all, on none an obligation lay ; So turn’d by Nature's hand for all that 's well, 'Tis fcarce a virtue when you most excel.