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To give to nature all the force of art,
And while it charms the ear to mend the heart.
Thornton, to thee, I dare with truth commend
The decent stage, as virtue's natural friend.
Tho' oft debas'd with scenes profane and loose,
No reason weighs against its proper use.
Tho' the lewd priest his sacred function shame,
Religion's perfect law is still the same.
Shall they, who trace the passions from their rise, Shew scorn her features, her own image vice?
Who teach the mind its proper force to scan,
And hold the faithful mirror up to man.
Shall their profession e'er provoke disdain,
Who stand the foremost in the mortal train;
Who lend reflection all the grace of art,
And strike the precept home upon the heart?
Yet, hapless Artist! tho' thy skill can raise
The bursting peal of universal praise,
Tho' at thy beck applause delighted stands,
And lifts, Briareus like, her hundred hands,
Know, fame awards thee but a partial breath!
Not all thy talents brave the stroke of death.
Poets to ages yet unborn appeal,
And latest times th' eternal nature feel.
Tho' blended here the praise of bard and play'r,
While more than half becomes the actor's share,
Relentless death untwists the mingled fame,
And sinks the player in the poet's name.
The pliant muscles of the various face,
The mien that gave each sentence strength and grace,
The tuneful voice, the eye that spoke the mind,
Are gone, nor leave a single trace behind.
Occasioned by the Author's being suspected of writing the Poem under that title.
WHY with such freedom should the town accuse,
And charge absurd encomiums on my Muse?
Celestial objects by themselves I place,
Nor with a Cl*de a FORRESTER disgrace;
That disproportion'd piece offends the view:
No feign'd perfection should attend the true.
Whene'er my voice attempts the British Fair,
I sing the worthy, but th' unworthy spare;
Respect, when merit fails, in silence lies;
Praise undeserv'd is scandal in disguise.
What moderate tongue would vulgar things rehearse,
Where crowds of wondrous Nymphs invite the verse?
Charmers in millions grace this happy sphere,
And every view presents a conqueror here.
Who to mean subjects can debase his quill,
And waste his scanty stock of art so ill,
Looks like the fop that courts a paltry dame,
While faultless maids contend to meet his flame.
Poets should still autumnal forms omit,
Forty gives small encouragement to wit;
The genius flags beneath so stale a theme,
And sprightly fancy sinks to heavy phlegm,
When those declining years our strains require,
And compliment supplies pretended fire;
Some little Virtue may perhaps be found,
But Beauty 's an intolerable sound:
To youth alone that heavenly grace belongs,
None but the young are fair, and truly worthy songs.
Ye Female Glories, which exalt our isle,
Vouchsafe th' auspicious influence of your smile;
To You I call, to you, ye matchless lights,
Inspire my numbers, and improve my flights;
Lest I depress your fame with languid lines,
And pay unhallow'd vows at sacred shrines.
Would you, ye Powers, but look serenely down,
I'd soar aloft, and blazon your renown;
Then something so divine might raise my voice,
And make me scarce inferior to my choice;
What ancient story tells the world should scorn,
Goddess deem in glorious Britain born.
Begin, my Muse, begin with Marlborough's race: When Valor's sung, the Father claims the place; And sure when Beauty's power employs our flight, The shining Daughters challenge foremost right,
A SUNDERLAND the coldest Writer warms, So turn'd for conquest, so compleat in charms, There seems detraction in our highest praise, She leaves the Muse behind, and mocks our distant lays.
Not thus Minerva, though a Goddess, shone.
O! had her eyes such dazling lustre thrown,
Thence the bold artist had inform'd his clay,
Nor sought another sun, nor fallen a vulture's prey.
Could Nature's self her own first form express, She'd charm the world in bright MONTHERMER'S dress:
Gods! what engaging bloom sits smiling there!
How languishingly sweet her every air!
Her shape, her gesture, all the Nymph, subdues,
We look our souls away, and fate with transport
Had Love's fair Goddess been so strong in charms,
Rash Diomede had dropt his venturous arms;
No shameful victory the Greek had won,
But thousand wounds receiv'd, instead of giving one.
Splendor and softness in BRIDGEWATER meet, There mild appears an attribute with great; Such humble sweetness gives a dawn of joy, She seems, like Heaven, unwilling to destroy. Who would not serve, where such a victor reigns? What freedom equal to such gentle chains?
But soon, too soon, mistaken mortals know,