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TO MY HONOURED FRIEND
Sir ROBERT HOWARD',
S there is mufic uninform'd by art
In those wild notes, which with a merry heart The birds in unfrequented fhades exprefs, Who, better taught at home, yet pleafe us lefs: So in your verfe a native fweetnefs dwells, Which fhames compofure, and its art excels. Singing no more can your foft numbers grace, Than paint adds charms unto a beauteous face. Yet as, when mighty rivers gently creep, Their even calmnefs does fuppofe them deep; Such is your mufe: no metaphor fwell'd high With dangerous boldness lifts her to the sky: Thofe mounting fancies, when they fall again, Shew fand and dirt at bottom do remain. So firm a ftrength, and yet withal so sweet, Did never but in Samfon's riddle meet.
1 Sir Robert Howard, a younger fon of Thomas Earl of Berkshire, and brother to Mr. Dryden's lady, ftudied, for fome time in Magdalen-college. He fuffered many oppreffions on account of his loyalty, and was one of the few of king Charles the IId's friends, whom that monarch did not forget. He was foon after the restoration, made a knight of the Bath, and one of the auditors of the Exchequer.
Tis ftrange each line fo great a weight fhould bear,
Could e'er produce fo beautiful a world.
Great Hercules himfelf could ne'er do more,
Of moral knowledge poefy was queen,
And still she might, had wanton wits not been;
2 A compliment to a poem of Sir Robert's called Rete mirabile.
All will at length in this opinion reft,
Your kindness great Achilles doth confefs;
That wealth, which his your bounty only makes.
3 Publius Papinius Statius a Neapolitan bard, who lived at Rome, in great favour with Domitian. He wrote the Thebiad, an epic poem, in twelve books, (one of which is tranflated by Pope;) and the Achilleid, the latter is imperfect, and was tranflated by Sir Robert, with annotations, and thefe our author means to compliment in this paffage.
Your curious notes fo fearch into that age,
When all was fable but the facred
That, fince in that dark night we needs muft ftray,
But what we most admire, your verse no lefs
Ere our weak eyes difcern'd the doubtful ftreak
Which fhews like mifts to the dull paffenger.
As ftill the ancients did begin from Jove.
With 4 Monk you end, whofe name preferv'd shall be, As Rome recorded 5 Rufus' memory,
Who thought it greater honour to obey
His country's intereft, than the world to sway.
But to write worthy things of worthy men,
Is the peculiar talent of your pen :
Yet let me take your mantle up, and I
"Is likewife happy in its geniture:
"For, fince 'tis born when Charles ascends the throne, "It fhares at once his fortune and its own."
4. With Monk you end, &c. Alluding to a poem of this gentleman's on general Monk.
5 As Rome recorded Rufus' memory. P. Rutilius Rufus, conful of Rome, anno civ. 649, having the intereft of his country much at heart, was banifhed by the influence of fome defigning people; and, retiring to Smyrna, was fo highly refpected, that most of the Afian potentates fent thither ambaffadors to compliment him. Sylla would have revoked his exile, but he refused the offer, and gave himself to study.
EPISTLE the SECOND.
TO MY HONOURED FRIEND
Learned and ufeful WORKS; but more particularly his Treatife of STONE-HENGE, by him reftored to the true Founder.
HE longeft tyranny that ever fway'd, Was that wherein our ancestors betray'd Their free-born reason to the Stagyrite, And made his torch their universal light. So truth, while only one fupply'd the state, Grew scarce, and dear, and yet fophifticate. Still it was bought, like emp'ric wares, or charms, Hard words feal'd up with Ariftotle's arms. Columbus was the firft that shook his throne; And found a temp'rate in a torrid zone : The fev'rish air fann'd by a cooling breeze, The fruitful vales fet round with fhady trees;
1 The book that occafioned this epiftle, made its appearance in quarto in 1663. It is dedicated to King Charles II. and entitled, Chorea Gigantum: or, The most famous Antiquity of Great Britain, Stone-Henge, ftanding on Salisbury-plain, reftored to the Danes by Dr. Walter Charleton, M. D. and phyfician in ordinary to his majefty. It was written in answer to a treatife of Inigo Jones's, which attributed this ftupendous pile to the Romans, fuppofing it to be a temple, by them dedicated to the God Calum, or Cælus.