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EPISTLE THE TWELFTH.
TO MY FRIEND MR. MOTTEUX,* ON HIS TRAGEDY CALLED
BEAUTY IN DISTRESS.
'Tis hard, my friend, to write in such an age,
* Peter Motteux, to whom this piece is addressed, was born in Normandy, but settled as a merchant in London very young, and lived in repute. He died in a house of ill fame near the Strand, and was supposed to have been murdered, in 1718. He produced eleven dramatic pieces, and his Beauty in Distress is thought much the best of them : it was played in Lincoln's-inn-fields by Betterton's company in 1698. D.
Nor, when accus'd by me, let them complain :
19 Rebellion, worse than witchcraft] From 1 Sam. xv. 23. • For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,' &c. T.
And, like pure gold, it bends at every touch:
EPISTLE THE THIRTEENTH.*
TO MY HONOURED KINSMAN JOHN DRIDEN, OF CHESTERTON,
IN THE COUNTY OF HUNTING DON, ESQ.
How bless'd is he, who leads a country life, Unvex'd with anxious cares, and void of strife! Who studying peace, and shunning civil rage, Enjoy'd his youth, and now enjoys his age;
* This poem was written in 1699. The person to whom it is addressed was cousin-german to the poet, and a younger brother of the baronet. D.
| How bless'd is he] This is one of the most truly Horatian epistles in our language, comprehending a variety of topics and useful reflections, and sliding from subject to subject with ease and propriety. Writing this note in the year 1799, I am much struck with the lines that follow the 175th, as containing the soundest political truths. Dr. J. W.
All who deserve his love, he makes his own;
Just, good, and wise, contending neighbours come, From your
award to wait their final doom; And, foes before, return in friendship home. Without their cost, you terminate the cause; And save the expense of long litigious laws : Where suits are travers'd; and so little won, That he who conquers is but last undone: Such are not your decrees; but so design'd, The sanction leaves a lasting peace behind : Like your own soul, serene; a pattern of your
mind. Promoting concord, and composing strife, Lord of yourself, uncumber'd with a wife; Where, for a year, a month, perhaps a night, Long penitence succeeds a short delight: Minds are so hardly match’d, that e'en the first, Though pair’d by Heaven, in Paradise were curs’d. For man and woman, though in one they grow, Yet, first or last, return again to two. He to God's image, she to his was made; So, farther from the fount the stream at random
How could he stand, when, put to double pain, He must a weaker than himself sustain ! Each might have stood perhaps; but each alone; Two wrestlers help to pull each other down.
Not that my verse would blemish all the fair ; But yet if some be bad, 'tis wisdom to beware;
And better shun the bait than struggle in the snare.
No porter guards the passage of your door,
like Jacob, are Rebecca's heir. So may your stores and fruitful fields increase; And ever be you bless'd, who live to bless. As Ceres sow'd, where'er her chariot flew; As heaven in deserts rain'd the bread of dew; So free to many, to relations most, You feed with manna your own Israel host. With crowds attended of
your You seek the champain sports, or sylvan chase : With well breath'd beagles you surround the wood, E'en then industrious of the common good : And often have you brought the wily fox To suffer for the firstlings of the flocks; Chas'd even amid the folds; and made to bleed, Like felons, where they did the murderous deed. This fiery game your active youth maintain’d, Not yet by years extinguish'd, though restrain'd: You season still with sports your serious hours : For age but tastes of pleasures, youth devours.