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But chief the sweetest passion best you sing, The grove's soft theme, and symphony of Spring: How brindled lions roar with fierce desire, And in the waters Phocae feel the fire ; There large Leviathan unwieldy raves, And burns though circled round with all his waves. But higher still, those wonders must give place To the new transports of a beauteous face! Its force on man—the touch-the glowing glance, The tempting bosom, and the tender trance ! In those how strongly dost thou paint our care, And all the darling weakness of the fair ; What thanks must Beauty give in yielding hour, To warn them from us in the rosy bower !

A sudden flash of lightning turns my eye To thunder rumbling in the Summer sky! Beneath thy hand the flaming sheet is spread O’er heaven's wide face, and wraps it round with red ; With the broad blaze the kindling lines grow bright, And all the glowing page is fill'd with light; Through the rough verse the thunder hoarsly roars, And on red wings the nimble lightning soars : Here thy Amelia starts, and, chill'd with fears, At every flash her eye-lids swim in tears; What heart but beats for so divine a form, Pale as a lily sinking in the storm ! What maid so cold to take a lover's parts But pities Celadon with all her heart !

How precious gems enrich each sparkling line, Add sun to sun, and from thy fancy shine! Here rocks of diamond blaze in broken ray, And sanguine rubies shed a blushing day; Blue shining sapphires a gay heaven unfold, And topaz lightens like transparent gold; Of evening tinct pale amethists are seen, And emeralds paint their languid beams with green : While the clear opal courts the rural sight; And rains a shower of many-color'd light : Your sky-dipp'd pencil adds the proper glow, Stains each bright stone, and lets their lustre flow, Tempers the colors shifting from each beam, And bids them flash in one continued stream.

So have I seen the florid rainbow rise,
In braided colors o'er the watery skies,
Where drops of light alternate fall away,
And fainting gleams in gradual dies decay;
But thrown together the broad arch displays
One tide of glory! one collected blaze!

Where

may

those numbers find thee now retir'd? What lawn or grove is by the Muse admir'd ? Dost thou in Stowe's delightful gardens stray, Or in the glooms of Doddington delay : There sweet embower'd some favorite author read, Or breathe the breezes of thy native Tweed; Qn her cool border rest reclin'd a while,

Mindful of Forbes, and of thy own Argyle ?
0! thou that only in this garb could'st please,
And bring me over to commend thy lays,
Where rhyme is wanting, but where fancy shines,
And bursts like ripen'd ore above the mines :
Enjoy thy genius, glory in thy choice,
Whose Roman freedom has Roscommon's voice.

EPISTLE VIII.

THE STAGE.

TO

JOSEPH ADDISON, ESQ.

FROM

MR. WEBSTER,
OF CHRIST-CHURCH, OXFORD.

Since all the din of war begins to cease,
And Britain's harrass'd sons expect a peace,
Since now her prudent senators design
To change their laurels for the Gallic vine,
To view less horrid scenes of death prepare
The painted terrors of a theatre;
Where Mars still rages in the Poet's lines,
Where the swoln flood still reeks in warlike rhymes,
Where cannons but in loud descriptions roar,
Nor wave in echoes frightful to the shore;
Where the shrill trumpet's clangor charms the ear,
And beauteous circles, without trembling, hear
The loud-mouth'd thunder of a fancied war ;
If by an unfeign'd wound some hero dies,
Love shoots the guilty darts from their too murderous

eyes.

Epist. Vin.

EPISTLES CRITICAL, &c.

87

Nigh where, as when on Naseby's fatal plains, The brazen steed the royal martyr reins, A convent once (if we may credit Fame, And still the garden keeps its ancient name) A convent once there stood, a structure made To shun the world, where now the world is play'd : How decently 'twas built, what sins t'atone, What order fill’d the place, is yet unknown. Perhaps the spot where now stands Powell's stage, Where Punch chastises spouse with prompted rage, Was then some Friar's cell, where all unseen The pious Father fed his sacred spleen; Nor Fiends nor Witches then were seen to fly, While Priests and holy-water were so nigh. No Lovers there in rhyme rehears’d their moan, But if a sigh was heard, 'twas penitence alone.

At length the world broke-in, and now the Player Attracts the Beau, the Critic, and the Fair; Ev’n in the place which once the Monk possess'd (Strange shift of scenes !) fat Dominic's the jest.

Sweet is the florish when the curtain draws, Sweet is the crowded theatre's applause ; Sweet are the strains when billing Lovers parle, But rough the cat-call and the Critic's snarl. Rough was the language, unadorn’d the stage, And mean his hero's dress in Shakspere's age : No scepter'd Kings in royal robes were seen, Scarce could her guard defend their tinsel'd Queen,

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