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TO MY HONOURED FRIEND

Sir ROBERT HOWARD',

ON HIS

EXCELLENT POEMS.

S there is mufic uninform'd by art

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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.

VOL. II.

I

'Tis

Tis ftrange each line fo great a weight fhould bear,
And yet no fign of toil, no fweat appear.
Either your art hides art, as ftoics feign
Then leaft to feel, when moft they fuffer pain
And we, dull fouls, admire, but cannot fee
What hidden springs within the engine be:
Or 'tis fome happiness that ftill pursues
Each act and motion of your graceful muse.
Or is it fortune's work, that in your head
The curious 2 net that is for fancies spread,
Lets thro' its meshes every meaner thought,
While rich ideas there are only caught?
Sure that's not all; this is a piece too fair
To be the child of chance, and not of care.
No atoms cafually together hurl'd

Could e'er produce fo beautiful a world.
Nor dare I fuch a doctrine here admit,
As would destroy the providence of wit.
'Tis your ftrong genius then which does not feel
Those weights, would make a weaker fpirit reel.
To carry weight, and run fo lightly too,
Is what alone your Pegasus can do.

Great Hercules himfelf could ne'er do more,
Than not to feel those heavens and gods he bore.
Your easier odes, which for delight were penn'd,
Yet our inftruction make their fecond end:
We're both enrich'd and pleas'd, like them that woo
At once a beauty, and a fortune too.

Of moral knowledge poefy was queen,

And still she might, had wanton wits not been;
Who, like ill guardians, liv'd themselves at large,
And, not content with that, debauch'd their charge.
Like fome brave captain, your fuccessful pen
Reftores the exil'd to her crown again :
And gives us hope, that having feen the days
When nothing flourish'd but fanatic bays,

2 A compliment to a poem of Sir Robert's called Rete mirabile.

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All will at length in this opinion reft,
"A fober prince's government is best."
This is not all; your art the way has found
To make th' improvement of the richest ground,
That foil which those immortal laurels bore,
That once the facred Maro's temples wore,
Elifa's griefs are fo express'd by you,
They are too eloquent to have been true.
Had the fo fpoke, Eneas had obey'd
What Dido, rather than what Jove had said.
If funeral rites can give a ghost repofe,
Your muse so justly has difcharged those,
Elifa's fhade may now its wandring cease,
And claim a title to the fields of peace.
But if Æneas be oblig'd, no lefs

Your kindness great Achilles doth confefs;
Who, drefs'd by 3 Statius in too bold a look,
Did ill become those virgin robes he took.
To understand how much we owe to you,
We must your numbers, with your author's, view :
Then we shall fee his work was lamely rough,
Each figure ftiff, as if defign'd in buff:
His colours laid fo thick on every place,
As only fhew'd the paint, but hid the face.
But as in perspective we beauties fee,
Which in the glass, not in the picture, be;
So here our fight obligingly mistakes

That wealth, which his your bounty only makes.
Thus vulgar dishes are, by cooks disguis'd,
More for their dreffing, than their fubftance priz'd.

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.

I 2

Your

Your curious notes fo fearch into that age,

When all was fable but the facred

page,

That, fince in that dark night we needs muft ftray,
We are at least misled in pleasant way.

But what we most admire, your verse no lefs
The prophet than the poet doth confefs.

Ere our weak eyes difcern'd the doubtful ftreak
Of light, you faw great Charles his morning break.
So skilful feamen ken the land from far,

Which fhews like mifts to the dull paffenger.
To Charles your mufe firft pays her duteous love,

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
Will venture in your right to prophefy.
"This work, by merit firft of fame fecure,

"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.

up

EPISTLE the SECOND.

TO MY HONOURED FRIEND

Dr. CHARLETON,

ON HIS

Learned and ufeful WORKS; but more particularly his Treatife of STONE-HENGE, by him reftored to the true Founder.

T

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.

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