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Nor is Pride, or Folly's vain command,
That only tetters his creative hand;
At Fai hinon's nod he copies as they pass
Each quaint reflection from her crowded glass.
The formal coat, with intersecting line,
Mars the free graces of his fair design;
The towering cap he marks with like distress,
And all the motley mass of female dress.
The hoop extended with enormous size,
The corks that like a promontory rise;
The stays of deadly steel, in whose embrace
The tyrant Fashion tortures injur'd Grace.
But Art, despairing over shapes like these
To cast an air of elegance and eale,
Invokes kind Fancy's aid - she comes to spread
Her magic spells — the Gothic forms are fled;
And see, to crown the painter's juft desire,
Her free positions, and her light attire!
Th' ambitious artist wishes to pursue
This brilliant plan with more extensive view,
And with adopted character to give
A lasting charm to make the portrait live;
All points of art by one nice effort gain,
Delight the learned, and content the vain;
Make history to life new value lend,
And in the comprehensive picture blend
The ancient hero with the living friend.
Moit faire device! „, but, ah! what foes to sense,
What broods of motley monsters rife from hen.
The strange pretensions of each age and sex
These plans of fancy and of taste perplex;
For male and female, to themselves unknown,
Demand a character unlike their own,
Till oft the painter to this quaint diftress
Prefers the awkward chapes of common dress.
Sweet girls, of mild and pensive softness, choose
The sportive emblems of the comic Muse;
And fprightly damsels are inclin d to borrow
The garb of penitence, and tears of sorrow:
harley. While awkward pride ,- tho'lafe from war's
Round his plump body buckles ancient arms,
And, from an honest justice of the peace,
Starts up at once a demi.god of Greece;
Too firin of heart by ridicule to fall,
The finish'd hero crowns his country hall,
Ordain'd to fill, if fire his glory spare,
The lumber-garret of his wiser heir.
Not less absurd to flatter nero's eyes
Arose the portrait of coloffal fize:
Twice fifty feer th’ enormous sheet was spreat,
To lift o'er gazing slaves the monster's head,
When impious Folly sway'd Oppression's rod,
And fervile Rome ador'd the mimic God.
Think not, my friend, with supercilious air,
I rank the portrait as beneath thy care,
Bleft be the pencil! which from death can save
The semblance of the virtuous, wife, and brave;
That youth and emulation still may gaze
On those inspiring forms of ancient days,
And, from the force of bright example bold,
Rival their worth, „and be what they behold.“
Blest be the pencil! whose consoling pow'r,
Soothing soft Friendl hip in her pensive hour,
Dispels the cloud, with melancholy fraught,
That absence throws upon her tender thought.
Bleft be the pencil! whose enchantment gives
To wounded Love the food on which he lives.
Rich in this gift, tho' cruel ocean bear
The youth to exile from his faithful fair,
He in fond dreams hangs o'er her glowing cheek,
Still owns her present, and still hears her speak:
Oh! Love, it was thy glory to impart
Its infant being to this magic art!
Inspir’d by thee, the soft Corinthian maid
Her graceful lover's sleeping form portray'd:
Her boding heart his near departure knew,
Yet long'd to keep his image in her view:
Pleas'd she beheld the steady shadow fall
| By the clear lamp upon the even wall:
The line fhe trac'd with fond precision true,
And, drawing, doated on the form she drew;
Nor, as she glow'd with no forbidden fire,
Conceal'd the simpel picture from her fire:
His kindred fancy, still to nature just,
Copied her line, and form'd the mimic bust.
Thus from thy power, inspiring love, we trace
The modellid image, and the pencil'd face!
We pity Genius, when, by interest led,
His toils but reach the semblance of a head;
Yet are those censures too severe and vain,
That scorn the Portrait as the Painter's bane.
Tho' up the mountain winds the arduous road
That leads to pure Perfection's bright abode,
In humbler walks some tempting laurels grow,
Some flowers are gather'd in the vale below:
Youth on the plain collects increasing force,
To climb the steep in his meridian course.
While Nature fees her living models share
The rising artist's unremitting care,
She on his mind her every charm imprints,
Her eafy postures, and her perfect tints
Till his quick pencil, in maturer hour,
Becomes her rival in creative
ESSAY ON HISTORY;
Ep. III, v. 191-254.
Far other views the liberal Genius fire
Whose toils to pure Historic praise, aspire,
Nor Moderation's dupe, nor Faction's brave,
Nor Guilt's apologist, nor Flattery's flave:
Wise, but not cunning; temperate, not cold;
Servant of Truth, and in that just controul
By which mild Nature lways the manly foul,
And Reason's philantropic spirit draws
To Virtue's interest, and Freedom's cause;
Those great ennoblers of the human name,
Pure springs of Power, of Happiness, and Fame!
To teach their influence, and spread their sway,
The just Historian winds his toilsome way;
From filent darkness, creeping o'er the earth,
Redeems the sinking trace of useful worth;
In Vice's bosom marks the latent thorn,
And brands that public peft with public scorn.
A lively teacher in a moral school!
In that great office steady, clear, and cool!
Pleas'd to promote the welfare of mankind,
And by informing meliorate the mind!
Such the bright task committed to his care!
Boundless its use; but its completion rare.
Critics have said. Tho' high th' Historian's
His Laws are simple tho' his Province large;
Two obvious rules ensure his full success
To speak no Fallehood; and no Truth suppress:
Art must to other works a lustre lend,
But History pleases, howsoe'er it's penn'd.“
Perchance in ruder periods; but in those,
Where all the luxury of Learning flows,
To Trath's plain fare no palate will submit,
Each reader grows an Epicure in Wit;
And Knowdlege must his nicer taste beguile
With all the poignant charms of Attic style.
The curious Scholar, in his judgment choice,
Expects no common Notes from History's voice;
But all the tones, that all the passions luit,
From the bold Trumpet to the tender Lute:
Yet if thro' Music's scale her voice should range
Now high, now low, with many a pleasing change,
Grace must thro' every variation glide,
In every movement Majesty preside:
With ease not careless, tho' correct not cold;
Soft without languor, without harf hnefs bold.
Tho' Affectation can all works debale,
In Language, as in life, the bane of Grace!
Regarded ever with a scornful smile,
She most is censur'd in th' Historic style:
Yet her insinuating power is such,
Not ev'n the Greeks ef kap'd her baleful touch;
Hence the fictious Speech, and long Harangue,
Too oft, like weights, on ancient Story hang.
Less fond of labour, modern pens devise
Affected beauties of inferior fize:
They in a narrower compass boldly Itrike
The fancied Portrait, with no feature like;
And Nature's fimple colouring vainly quit,
To boast the brilliant glare of fading Wit.
Those works alone may that blest fate expect
To live thro' time, unconscious of negleet,
That catch, in springing from no sordid fource,
The ease of Nature, and of Truth the force,