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Such praise is your's, while you the passions move, That 'tis no longer feign’d, 'tis real love, Where nature triumphs over wretched art; We only warm the head, but you the heart. Always you warm; and if the rising year, As in hot regions, brings the sun too near, 'Tis but to make your fragrant spices blow, Which in our cooler climates will not grow. They only think you animate your theme With too much fire, who are themselves all phlegm. Prizes would be for lags of slowest pace, Were cripples made the judges of the race. Despise those drones, who praise, while they accuse The too much vigour of your youthful muse. That humble style which they your virtue make, Is in your power; you need but stoop and take. Your beauteous images must be allow'd By all, but some vile poets of the crowd. But how should any sign-post dauber know The worth of Titian or of Angelo ? Hard features every bungler can command; To draw true beauty shows a master's hand.
TO THE EARL OF ROSCOMMON,
ON HIS ESSAY ON TRANSLATED VERSE. WHETHER the fruitful Nile, or Tyrian shore, The seeds of arts and infant science bore, 'Tis sure the noble plant, translated first, Advanced its head in Grecian gardens nursed. The Grecians added verse: their tuneful tongue Made nature first, and nature's God their song. Nor stopp'd translation here: for conqu’ring Rome, With Grecian spoils, brought Grecian numbers home; Enrich'd by those Athenian muses more, Than all the vanquish'd world could yield before. 'Till barbarous nations, and more barbarous times, Debased the majesty of verse to rhymes; Those rude at first, a kind of hobbling prose, That limp'd along, and tinkled in the close. But Italy, reviving from the trance Of Vandal, Goth, and Monkish ignorance,
With pauses, cadence, and well-voweld words,
And all the graces a good ear affords,
Made rhyme an art, and Dante's polish'd page
Restored a silver, not a golden age.
Then Petrarch follow'd, and in him we see,
What rhyme improved in all its height can be:
At best å pleasing sound, and fair barbarity:
The French pursued their steps; and Britain, last,
In manly sweetness all the rest surpass’d.
The wit of Greece, the gravity of Rome,
Appear exalted in the British loom:
The Muse's empire is restored again,
In Charles his reign, and by Roscommon's pen.
Yet modestly he does his work survey,
And calls a finish'd Poem an Essay;
For all the needful rules are scatter'd here;
Truth smoothly told, and pleasantly severe;
So well is art disguised, for nature to appear.
Nor need those rules to give translation light:
His own example is a flame so bright,
That he who but arrives to copy well,
Unguided will advance, unknowing will excel.
Scarce his own Horace could such rules ordain,
Or his own Virgil sing a nobler strain.
How much in him may rising Ireland boast,
How much in gaining him has Britain lost !
Their island in revenge has ours reclaim’d;
The more instructed we, the more we still are shamed.
'Tis well for us his generous blood did flow,
Derived from British channels long ago,
That here his conqu’ring ancestors were nurs
And Ireland but translated England first:
By this reprisal we regain our right,
Else must the two contending nations fight;
A nobler quarrel for his native earth,
Than what divided Greece for Homer's birth.
To what perfection will our tongue arrive,
How will invention and translation thrive,
When authors nobly born will bear their part,
And not disdain the inglorious praise of art!
Great generals thus, descending from command,
With their own toil provoke the soldier's hand.
How will sweet Ovid's ghost be pleased to hear
His fame augmented by an English peer;
How he embellishes his Helen's loves,
Outdoes his softness, and his sense improves ?
When these translate, and teach translators too,
Nor firstling kid, nor any vulgar vow,
Should at Apollo's grateful altar stand:
Roscommon writes; to that auspicious hand,
Muse, feed the bull that spurns the yellow sand.
Roscommon, whom both court and camps commend,
True to his prince, and faithful to his friend ;
Roscommon, first in fields of honour known,
First in the peaceful triumphs of the gown,
Who both Minervas justly makes his own.
Now let the few beloved by Jove, and they
Whom infused Titan form’d of better clay,
On equal terms with ancient wit engage,
Nor mighty Homer fear, nor sacred Virgil's page:
Our English palace opens wide in state;
And without stooping they may pass the gate.
TO THE DUCHESS OF YORK,
ON HER RETURN FROM SCOTLAND IN THE YEAR 1682.
WHEN factious rage to cruel exile drove
The queen of beauty, and the court of love,
The Muses droop’d, with their forsaken arts,
And the sad Cupids broke their useless darts :
Our fruitful plains to wilds and deserts turn'd,
Like Eden's face, when banish'd man it mourn’d.
Love was no more, when loyalty was gone,
The great supporter of his awful throne.
Love could no longer after beauty stay,
But wander'd northward to the verge of day,
As if the sun and he had lost their way.
But now the illustrious nymph, return'd again,
Brings every grace triumphant'in her train.
The wond'ring Nereids, though they raised no storm,
Foreslow'd her passage, to behold her form:
Some cried, ' A Venus;' some,' A Thetis pass’d;'
But this was not so fair, nor that so chaste.
Far from her sight flew Faction, Strife, and Pride;
And Envy did but look on her, and died.
Whate'er we suffer'd from our sullen fate,
Her sight is purchased at an easy rate.
Three gloomy years against this day were set;
But this one mighty sum has clear'd the debt:
Like Joseph's dream, but with a better doom,
The famine past, the plenty still to come.
For her the weeping heavens become serene;
For her the ground is clad in cheerful green:
For her the nightingales are taught to sing,
And Nature has for her delay'd the spring.
The Muse resumes her long-forgotten lays,
And Love restored his ancient realm surveys,
Recals our beauties, and revives our plays;
His waste dominions peoples once again,
And from her presence dates his second reign.
But awful charms on her fair forehead sit,
Dispensing what she never will admit:
Pleasing, yet cold, like Cynthia’s silver beam,
The people's wonder, and the poet's theme.
Distemperd Zeal-Sedition-canker'd Hate-
No more shall vex the church, and tear the state:
No more shall Faction civil discords move,
Or only discords of too tender love:
Discord, like that of music's various parts;
Discord, that makes the harmony of hearts;
Discord, that only this dispute shall bring,
Who best shall love the duke, and serve the king.
A LETTER TO SIR GEORGE ETHEREGE.
To you who live in chill degree,
As map informs, of fifty-three,
And do not much for cold atone,
By bringing thither fifty-one,
Methinks all climes should be alike,
From tropic e’en to pole arctic;
Since you have such a constitution
As no where suffers diminution.
You can be old in grave debate,
And young in love-affairs of state;
And both to wives and husbands show
The vigour of a plenipo.
Like mighty missioner you come
“ Ad Partes Infidelium."
A work of wondrous merit sure,
So far to go, so much ť endure;
And all to preach to German dame,
Where sound of Cupid never came.
Less had you done, had
As far as Drake or Pinto went,
For cloves or nutmegs to the Line-a,
Or e'en for oranges to China.
That had indeed been charity;
Where love-sick ladies helpless lie,
Chapp'd, and for want of liquor dry.
But you have made
Within the circle of the Bear.
What region of the earth's so dull,
That is not of your labours full ?
Triptolemus (so sung the Nine)
Strew'd plenty from his cart divine.
But 'spite of all these fable-makers,
He never sow'd on Almain acres :
No, that was left by fate's decree,
To be perform’d and sung by thee.
Thou break’st through forms with as much ease
As the French king through articles.
In grand affairs thy days are spent,
In waging weighty compliment,
With such as monarchs represent.
They, whom such vast fatigues attend,
Want some soft minutes to unbend,
To show the world that now and then
Great ministers are mortal men.
Then Rhenish rummers walk the round;
In bumpers every king is crown'd;
Besides three holy mitred Hectors,
And the whole college of Electors.
No health of potentate is sunk,
That pays to make his envoy drunk.
These Dutch delights, I mention’d last,
Suit not, I know, your English taste:
For wine to leave a whore or play
Nor need this title give offence,
For here you were—your Excellence,