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A strong Perfume, as in his Car he rode, 106 Of Asfa Fætida proclaim'd the God.
Their Feuds forgot, the Doctors, with Amaze And rev'rent Awe, on the Procession gaze.
V. 106. A strong Perfume, as in his Car he rode,
Of Affa Foetida proclaim'd the God. Asa Fætida, vulgarly called Devil's Dung ; Abundance of which is found about the Peak in DerbyShire. (See Cotton's Natural History of that Place.]
Quod fi 'tàm Graijs, Novitas invifa fuisset,
Quam nobis, quid nunc effet vetus? Idem.
HANKS to much Industry and Pains,
Much Twisting of the Wit and Brains,
Translation has unlock'd the Store,
And spread abroad the Grecian Lore,
While Sophocles his Scenes are grown,
E'en as familiar as our own.
No more shall Taste presume to speak,
From its Enclosures in the Greek;
But, all its Fences broken downl,
Lie at the Mercy of the Town.
Critic, I hear thy Torrent rage,
< 'Tis Blasphemy against that Stage,
" Which Æschylus his Warmth design’d,
• Euripides his Taste refin'd,
* And Sophocles his last Direction,
Stamp'd with the Signet of Perfection.'
Perfection's but a Word ideal,
And bears about it nothing real,
And Excellence was never hit
In the firft Eflays of Man's Wit.
Shall ancient Worth, or ancient Fame
Preclude the Moderns from their Claim ?
Must they be Blockheads, Dolts, and Fools,
Who write not up to Grecian Rules?
Who tread in Buskins or in Socks,
Muft they be damn'd as Hetorodox,
Nor Merit of good Works prevail,
Except within the claffic Pale?
'Tis Stuff that bears the Name of Knowledge,
Not current half a Mile from College ;
Where half their Lectures yield no more
(Besure I speak of Times of Yore)
Than just a niggard Light, to mark
How much we all are in the Dark.
As Rushlights in a spacious Room,
Just burn enough to form a Gloom.
When Shakespeare leads the Mind a Dance,
From France to England, hence to France,
Talk not to me of Time and Place;
I own I'm happy in the Chace.
Whether the Drama's here or there,
'Tis Nature, Shakespeare every where.
The Poet's Fancy can create,
Contract, enlarge, annihilate,
Bring past and present close together,
In Spite of Distance, Seas, or Weather.
And thut up in a single Action,
What cost whole Years in its Transaction.
So, Ladies at a Play, or Rout,
Can flirt the Universe about,
Whose geographical Account
Is drawn and pictur'd on the Mount.
Yet, when they please, contract the Plan,
And shut the World up in a Fan.
True Genius, like Armida's Wand,
Can raise the Spring from barren Land.
While all the Art of Imitation,
Is piif’ring from the first Creation;
Transplanting Flowers with useless Toil,
Which wither in a foreign Soil.
As Conscience often sets us right,
By its interior active Light,
Without th' Allistance of the Laws
So combat in the moral Cause ;
To Genius, of itself discerning,
Without the mystic Rules of Learning,
Can from its present Intuition,
Strike at the Truth of Composition.
Yet those who breathe the classic Vein,
Enlisted in the mimic Train,
Who ride their Steed with double Bit,
Not run away with by their Wit,
Delighted with the Pomp of Rules,
The Specious Pedantry of Schools;
(Which Rules, like Crutches, ne'er became
Of any Use but to the Lame)
Pursue the Method fet before 'em,
Talk much of Order and Decorum,
Of Probability of Fiction,
Of Manners, Ornament, and Diction,
And with a Jargon of hard Names,
(A Privilege which Dulness claims)
And merely us'd by way of Fence,
To keep out plain and common Sense,
Extol the Wit of antient Days,
The simple Fabric of their Plays ;
Then from the Fable, all so chaste,
Trick'd up in antient-modern Taste,
So mighty gentle all the While,
In such a sweet descriptive Stile,
While Chorus marks the servile Mode
With fine Reflexion, in an Ode,
Present you with a perfect Piece,
Form’d on the Model of old Greece.
Come, prithee Critic, set before us,
The Use and Office of a Chorus.
What! filent! Why then, I'll produce
Its Services from antient Use.
'Tis to be ever on the Stage,
Attendants upon Grief or Rage,
To be an arrant Go-between,
Chief-Mourner at each dismal Scene ;
Shewing its Sorrow, or Delight,
By shifting Dances, left and right.
Not much unlike our modern Notions,
Adagio or Allegro Motions ;
To watch upon the deep Distress,
And Plaints of Royal Wretchedness ;
And when, with Tears, and Execration,
They've pour'd out all their Lamentation,
And wept whole Cataracts from their Eyes,
To call on Rivers for Supplies,
And with their Hais and Hees and Hoes
To make a Symphony of Woes.
Doubtless the Antients want the Art
To strike at once upon the Heart.
Or why their Prologues of a Mile
In simple - call it-humble Stile,
In unimpassion’d Phrase to say
< 'Fore the beginning of this Play,
• I, hapless Poiydore, was found
• By Fishermen, or others, drown'd!
« Or, I, a Gentleman, did wed,
• The Lady I wou'd never bed,
« Great Agamemnon's royal Daughter,
( Who's coming hither to draw Water.'
Or need the Chorus to reveal
Reflexions, which the Audience feel ;
And jog them, lest Attention fink,
To tell them how and what to think?
Oh, where's the Bard, who at one View,
Cou'd look the whole Creation through,
Who travers'd all the human Heart,
Without Recourse to Grecian Art ?
He scorn’d the Modes of Imitation,
Of Altering, Pilfering, and Translation,