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MANY by Numbers judge a Poet's fong ;
And smooth or rough, with them, is right or wrong, In the bright Muse tho’thoufand charms conspire, Her voice is all these tuneful fools admire ; Who haunt Parnassus but to please their ear, Not mend their minds ; as some to Church repair Not for the doctrine, but the music there. Thefe equal fyllables alone require, Tho' oft the ear the open vowels tire ; While expletives their feeble aid do join ; And ten low words oft creep in one dull line : While they ring round the same unvary'd chimes, With sure returns of still expected rhimes ; Where'er you find “ the cooling western brecze," In the next line, it " whispers thro' the trees :" If crystal streams “ with pleasing murmurs creep,'' The reader's threaten'd (not in vain) with “ sleep :" Then, at the last and only couplet fraught With some unmeaning thing they call a thought, A needlefs Alexandrine end the fong, That, like a wounded snake, drags it slow length along. Leave such to tune their own dull rhimes, and know What’s roundly smooth, or languilbingly now; And praise the easy vigour of a line, Where Denham's strength, and Waller's sweetness join. True case in writing comes from art, not chance, As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance
'Tis not enough no harshness gives offence,
The found must seem an echo to the sense :
Soft is the strain when Zephyr gently blows,
And the smooth stream in smoother numbers flows ;
But when loud surges lash the founding shore,
The hoarse, rough verse should like the torrent roar :
When Ajax strives fome rock’s vast weight to throw,
The line too labours, and the words move flow;
Not so, when swift Camilla fcours the plaint,
Flies o’er the’ unbending corn, and skims along the maio.
Hear how Timotheus' vary'd lays surprise,
And bid alternate passions fall and rife!
While, at each change, the fou of Libyan Jove
Now burns with glory, and then melts with love ;
Now his fierce eyes with sparkling fury glow,
Now fighs steal out, and tears begin to flow
Persians and Greeks like turns of nature found,
And the World's victor stood subdued by Sound !
row to live happpieft ; how avoid the pains,
The disappointments, and disgusts of those
Who would in pleasure all their hours employ ;
The precepts here of a divine old man
I could recite. Tho' old, he still retain'd
His manly sense, and energy of mind.
Virtuous and wise he was but not severe ;
He still remember'd that he once was young :
His easy presence check'd no decent joy.
Him even the diffolute admir'd; for he
A graceful looseness when he pleas's put on,
And laughing could instruct. Much had he read,
Much more had seen ; he studied from the life,
And in th' original perus'd mankind.
Vers'd in the woes and vanities of life,
He pitied man : and much he pitied those
Whom falsely-smiling fate has curs’d with means
To dissipate their days in queft of joy.
Our aim is Happiness ; 'tis yours, 'tis mine,
He faid, 'tis the pursuit of all that live;
Yet few attain it, if 'twas e'er attain'd.
But they the widest wander from the mark,
Who thro’ the flow'ry paths of faunt'ring Joy
Seek the coy Goddess; that from stage to ftage
Invites us ftill, but shifts as we pursue,
For, not to name the pains that pleasure brings
To counterpoise itself, relentless Fate
Forbids that we thro'gay voluptuous wilds
Should ever roam: And were the Fates more kind,
Our narrow luxuries would soon be ftale.
Were these exhaustless, Nature would grow fick,
And cloy'd with pleasure, fqueamishly complain
That all was vanity, and life a dream.
Let nature reft: Be busy for yourfelf,
And for your friend; be busy even in vain,
Rather than teaze her sated appetites.
Who never fasts, no banquet e'er enjoys;
Who never toils or watches, never sleeps.
Let nature reft : And when the taste of joy.
Grows keen, indulge ; but shun satiety.
'Tis not for mortals always to be bleft.
But him the least the dull or painful hours
Of life oppress, whom fober Sense conducts,
And Virtue, thro* this labyrinth we tread,
Virtue and Sense I mean not to disjoin ;
Virtue and Sense are one : and, trust me, he
Who has not virtue is not truly wise
Virtue (for mere Good-nature is a fool)
Is fense and fpirit, with humanity;
'Tis fometimes angry, and its frown confounds ;
''Tis even vindi&tive, but in vengeance just.
Knaves fain would laugh at it ; some great ones dare ;
But at his heart the most undaunted fon
Of fortunę dreads its name and awful charms.
To nobleft uses this determines wealth :
This is the solid pomp of prosperous days ;
The peace and shelter of adversity.
And if you pant for glory build your fame
On this foundation, which the secret shock
Defies of Envy and all-lapping Time.
The gaudy gloss of Fortune only strikes
The vulgar eye : The fuffrage of the wife,
The praise that's worth ambition, is attain'd
By sense alone, and dignity of mind.
Virtue, the strength and beauty of the soul,
Is the best gift of Heaven : a happiness
That even above the smiles and frowns of fate
Exalts great Nature's favourites : a wealth
That ne'er encumbers, nor to baser hands
Can be transferr'd : it is the only good
Man justly boafts of, or can call his own
Rich are oft by guilt and baseness earn'd ;
Or dealt by chance to shield a lucky knave,
Or throw a cruel fun!hine on a fool.
But for one end, one much-neglected use,
Are riches worth your care (for Nature's wants
Are few, and without opulence supplied)
This noble end is, to produce the Soul :
To shew the virtues in their faireft light;
To make Humanity the Minifter
Of bounteous Providence ; and teach the breast
That generous luxury the Gods enjoy.-
Thus, in his graver vein, the friendly Sage
Sometimes declaim'd. Of right and Wrong he taught
Truths as refin'd as ever Athens heard ;
And (itrange to tell !) he practis'd what he preach'd.
N frolick's hour, cre serious thought had birth,
There was a time, my dear CORNWALLIS, when
The Muse would take me on her airy wing
And waft to views romantic; there present
Some motley vision, shade and fun : the cliff
Oe'r hanging, sparkling brooks, and ruins grey :
Bade me meanders trace, and catch the form
Of various clouds, and rainbows learn to paint.
Sometimes Ambition, brushing by, would twitch
My mantle, and, with winning look sublime,
Allure to follow. What tho' steep the track,
Her mountain's top would overpay, when climb'd,
The scaler's toil her temple there was fine,