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EPISTLE III.

ON

SCRIBBLING AGAINST GENIUS.

BY EDWARD ROLLE, B. D.

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.

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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.

To stop

'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

the
progress

of
pen

full speed. '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

slew.
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 !

a

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 tunefal Nine,

With all the guilt of impotence in view, Griev'd for past sins, but yet committing new ; Whate'er the wits may say, or wise may think, Am fooling every way with pen and ink. When all who wish me best, begin t' advise, • That being witty, is not being wise ; • That if the voice of int'rest might be heard, ¢ For one who wears a gown,-would be preferr'd'Incorrigibly deaf, I feign a yawn; And mock their just conclusions, ere they're drawn,

If to my practice, they oppos’d my theme;
And pointed, how I swam against the stream:
With all the rancor of a bard in rage,
I'd quote 'em half the writers of the age;
Who in a wrath of verse, with all their might
Write on, howe'er unqualify'd to write,

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You ask me, Sir, why thus by phantoms aw'd,
No kind occasion tempts the Muse abroad?
Why, when retirement sooths this idle art,
To fame regardless sleeps the youthful heart?

'Twould wrong your judgment, should I fairly say Dist or weakness caus'd the cold delay : Hint the small diff'rence, till we touch the lyre, 'Twixt real genius and too strong desire; The human slips, or seeming slips pretend, That rouze the critic, but escape the friend; Nay which, though dreadful when the foe pursues, You pass, and smile, and still provoke the Muse.

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