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TO SIR JOHN MENNIS,
Being invited from Calais to Bologne to eat a pige
All on a weeping Monday,
With a fat Bulgarian sloven,
Little Admiral John
To Bologne is gone,
Whom I think they call Old Loven.
3 II. Hadst thou not thy fill of carting * Will. Aubrey, Count of Oxon, When nose lay in breechi And breech made a speech, $o often cry'd a pox on?
A knight by land and water
Esteem'd at such a high rate, .
When 'tis told in Kent
In a cart that he went,
They'll say now, Hang him, pirate.
Thou might'st have ta’en example
From what thou read'st in story,
Being as worthy to sit
On an ambling tit
As thy predecessor Dory.
* We three riding in a cart from Dunkirk to Calais
a fat Dutch woman, who broke wind all along.
But, oh! the roof of linen,
Intended for a shelter :
But the rain made an ass
Of tilt and canvass,
And the snow, which you know is a melter. 25
But with thee to inveigle
That tender stripling Astcot,
Who was soak'd to the skin
Thro' drugget so thin,
Having neither coat nor waistcoat.
He being proudly mounted,
Clad in cloak of Plymouth,
Defy'd cart so base,
For thief without grace,
That goes to make a wry mouth.
Nor did he like the omen,
For fear it might be his doom
One day for to sing,
With gullet in string,
A hymin of Robert Wisdom.
IX. But what was all this bus'ness ? For sure it was important; For who rides i' th' wet, When affairs are not great, The neighbours make but a sport on't. 45
To a goodly fat sow's baby,
O John ! thou hadst a malice;
The old driver of swine
That day sure was thine,
Or thou hadst not quitted Calais.
Such is our pride, our folly, or our fate,
That few but such as cannot write translate :
But what in them is want of art or voice,
In thee is either modesty or choice.
While this great piece, restor’d by thee, doth stand
Free from the blemish of an artless hand,
Secure of fame thou justly dost esteem
Less honour to create than to redeem,
Nor ought a genius less than his that writ
Attempt translation ; for transplanted wit
All the defects of air and soil doth share,
And colder brains like colder cliinates are ;
In vain they toil, since nothing can beget
A vital spirit but a vital heat.
That servile path thou nobly dost decline
Of tracing word by word and line by line :
Those are the labour'd births of slavish brains,
Not the effect of poetry, but pains ;
Cheap vulgar arts, whose narrowness affords
No fight for thoughts, but poorly sticks at words.
A new and nobler way thou dost pursue
To make translations and translators too.
They but preserve the ashes, thou the flame,
True to his sense but truer to his fame :
Fording his current, where thou find'st it low
Lett'st in thine own to make it rise and flow,
Wisely restoring whatsoever grace
It lost by change of times, or tongues, or place.
Nor fetter'd to his numbers and his times,
Betray’st his music to unhappy rhymes.
Nor are the nerves of his compacted strength
Stretch'd and dissolv'd into unsinew'd length:
Yet, after all, (lest we should think it thine)
Thy spirit to his circle dost confine.
New names, new dressings, and the modern cast, 35
Some scenes, some persons alter'd, and out-fac’d
The world, it were thy work ; for we have known
Some thank'd and prais'd for what was less their own.
That master's hand which, to the life can trace
The airs, the lines, and features of the face,
40 May with a free and bolder stroke express A vary'd posture or a flatt'ring dress : He could have made those like who made the rest But that he knew his own design was best. 44
What mighty gale hath rais'd a flight so strong ?
So high above all vulgar eyes ? so long?
One single rapture scarce itself confines
Within the limits of four thousand lines :
yet I hope to see this noble heat
Continue till it makes the piece complete,
That to the latter age it may descend,
And to the end of time its beams extend.
When poesy joins profit with delight,
Her images should be most exquisite,
10 Since man to that perfection cannot rise, Of always virtuous, fortunate, and wise; Therefore the patterns man should imitate Above the life our inasters should create. Herein if we consult with Greece and Rome, IS Greece (as in war) by Rome was overcome ; Tho' mighty raptures we in Homer find, Yet, like himself, his characters were blind : Virgil's sublimed eyes not only gaz’d,
ng But his sublimed thoughts to heav'n were rais'd. Who reads the honours which he paid the gods Would think he had beheld their bless'd abodes ; And that his hero might accomplish'd be, From divine blood he draws his pedigree.