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Off, to due diftance, half ye ftalking train!
Blots of a title, your low taftes profane!
No dull, cold, mouther fhares the actor's plea,
Rightly to feem, is tranfiently, to be.
How fhall this goal be reach'd, that, seen moft
Still glides more diftant from th' advancing eye?
Like the fky's fea-dipt arch, heaven's fancied
For ever fail'd to, and, yet, never found.
How fhall trac'd practice hit th' untrodden way?
Where life is travell'd out, in arts to stray.
Arduous the task, and afks a climbing brain;
A head for judgment, and a heart for pain:
E'er fenfe imprefs'd, reflects adopted forms,
And changeful nature fhakes, with borrow'd
F'er ductile genius turns, as paffions wind,
And bends, to fancy's curve, the pliant mind.
Mark, when th' expanding feed, from earth's moist
Starting, at nature's call, prepares to spread;
First, the prone ROOT breaks downward, thence
Shot ftems, whofe joints collateral boughs extend:
Twigs, from thofe boughs, lend leaves, each leaf
Side-lefs'ning stalks, transvers'd by fibry veins.
So, from injected, thought, fhoots paffion's growth;
No sprout ipontaneous, no chance child, of floth:
IDEA lends it ROOT firm, on touch'd minds,
Fancy, (fwift planter!) first, th' impreffion binds.
Shap's in conception's mould, nature's prompt
Bids fubject nerves obey th' infpiring WILL:
Strung to obfequious bend, the mufe'ly frane
Stamps the shown image. Pleasure, pity 1hame,
Anger, grief, terror, catch th' adaptive spring,
While the eye darts it! and the accents ring..
Winding, delightful, thro' the mazy round!
Tempt the try'd f'kill, to no fole proof confin'd;
Shift the fhort fhadowings, o'er your figur'd
Mournful, recall fome friend's lamented fate:
Sad, on each feature, hangs the mind's feld, weight:
Seek you ftrong fenfe of Joy! Looks, firft, im-
Then, the nerv'd ftricture bounds it from the heart:
Does rage inflame? No vifage can conceal,
What the mark'd muscle bids the fpirit feel:
Still, as the nerves constrain, the looks obey,
And what the look enjoins, the nerves display:
Mutual their aid, reciprocal their ftrain,
Will but commanding, face, and nerves explain,
Light'ning and thunder, fo concurring, strike,
One their joint origin, tho' form'd unlike:
So, to the look, th' attentive nerves reply,
As, from the flash, fucceeding thunders fly.
'Tis caufe, and confequence; nor flows more grace
From beauty's fimile, than the touch'd actor's face.
Poize the rule's practice; turn it o'er and o'er;
Nor think it tedious, tho' conceiv'd before:
'Tis but, to Look, and Will Th' imprinted eye
Moves the ftrung mufcles, and the limbs comply:
Gesture is meaning's Ape grave, furious, gay,
Changeful, as cloud-form'd fhapes, when winds
Imag'd conception, firft, but face inflames;
Then, the mien paints it, and the tone proclaims.
Is there, who doubts an art, thus briefly
Call out proof's pow'r, and make that art his
Bid him, with mournful brow, fwell founds of joy, Half the mock'd fenfe th' unbracing nerves deftroy :
Tun'd to the tea ful eye's retentive w
Rapture's check'd phrase fhalt quench its fiery
Painfully plaintful, each flat note fhall die,
And his look's anguif h, give his words the lie.
Next, while foft fmiles reftrain his voic'd eflay
Bid angry founds give Rage its thund'ring way;
Vainly, mouth'd menace fwells th' attempted
Kind, as confent, th' unfright'ning accents form: While his look frown'd not, fenfe coud found but fweet;
No nerve, concurring, help'd th' unfinew'd heat.
But had his eyes th' impatient fire display'd,
Each note had fnatch'd it, and each step convey'd:
Thus, one plain practice paints whole nature
And all her changeful pictures move delight.
Is there, who loves not Joy?
Search the foul-pleafing paffion's power, within;
Find your Smile's force, before fome faithful
Heedful, to let no faint impreffion pass:
There, to touch'd gladness, thought-form'd features train,
'Till each crifp'd fibre feels th' enrapt'ring train:
Then (ftretch'd), behold your op'ning forehead
Back'ning, in boastful sense of sparkling eyes.
Broadly majestical your breast expands,
Brac'd your prefs'd joints neck, knee, feet, fhoul-
Treading on air, each step new foul difplays,
Your limbs all lighten, and your looks all blaze:
Then, fpeak joy anfwers; every found its own:
Mufick, and rapture, mix'd, in transport's tone!
Fall, from this height (ah! 'tis but fortune's
Down, to deep fenfe of forrow's pungent goad;
Damp your loofe features into thought's diftrefs,
Fade fancy's glofs, to dim-ey'd wretchedness;
The fad look fick'ning, ftrait the fpirits break,
Unbending nerves grief's lax impreffion take:
Faint hangs the clouded eye short steps drag
And every heedlefs gefture bends with woe:
Now, to the heart-touch'd fenfe, the voice com-
And fighing pityers catch th' infectious pains.
Say, fhould fome flak'ner of the paffion's
Form'd for gay flights, and struggling from de-
Bow'd, from his native bent, to doubt's new part
Find Fear's cold caft affign'd a fearless heart?
What could he do! Where houfe th' intrufive
Let his Eye lodge him-'twill prepare his breaft.
From the foul's optic fhoots th' admitted fhape,
Nor lets one tim'rous wavering start escape.
Fear is elufive forrow, fhunning pain:
Active yet, ftop'd-it dims the doubtful brain;
Spirit fnatch'd inward, ftagnating, by dread,
Slow, thro' the limbs, crawls cold, the living lead:
Form'd to the look, that moulds th' affumer's
His joints catch tremblings life's moift ftrings
This road, and that, th'alarmful paffion tries,
Halts, in the motion flutters, in the eyes;
Checks the clipt accent's hefitative way,
And, on th' evafive muscles, hangs delay.
Anger is pride provok'd, (fo felt, fo known)
Strange! its ftage influence is fo faintly, fhown!
Yet, with what absent sense of all its flame
See we rage meek fire cold and fury tame!
Bid the face, red'ning, warm'd idea take,
Strait, the foul's wild fires all obstruction break.
Stung, by inflicted thought's imagin'd pain,
Hard heave the mufcles, rolling eye balls, ftrain:
'Twixt the clos'd teeth, indignantly, fuppreft,
Or, ftorm-like, loud, out-pours th' unguarded
Slack'ning, exclaiming, swift, flow, reftlefs chan
Wings the voic'd tempeft, in its whirlwind range;
Quick turns and startings, face, and air, deform;
And thick, fhort, breathings paint the infelt
Nor fea, nor life, eternal Tempeft fweeps,
Hufh'd calms fucceed it, and the thunder fleeps:
Such, the foft, filent tide, that floods the mind,
To mov'd Compaffion's pain-touch'd warmth, in-
Aidful idea springs to pitied woe,
Thence, every quiv'ring finew learns to glow:
Back, from the panting bofom, to the eye,
Kind, figh-wing'd dews in soft sensation, fly:
So, from earth's op'ning breaft in flow'r drefs'd
Steams the fipt fragrance, to the fun's felt ray;
Lightly fuftain'd, to morn's faint clafp it clings,
Yet, oft (let go) falls back-oft, upward, fprings:
So learn, -to fteal foft pity's copied grace;
Languor's moift cloud marks, firft, the mournful
Then, hope's kind tenfion warms the mufc'ly
Dragg'd diff'rent ways, contending contrafts lean;