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Here they, who long have known the useful stage,
Come to be taught themselves to teach the age.
commissioners our poets go,
To cultivate the virtue which you fow;
In your Lycæum first themselves refin'd,
And delegated thence to human-kind.
But as ambassadors, when long from home,
For new instructions to their princes come i
So poets, who your precepts have forgot,
Return, and beg they may be better taught:
Follies and faults elsewhere by them are shown,
But by your manners they correct their own.
Th’illiterate writer, emperic-like, applies
To minds diseas'd, unsafe, chance, remedies :
The learned in schools, where knowlege first
began, Studies with care the anatomy of man; Sees virtue, vice, and passions in their cause, And fame from science, not from fortune, draws. So Poetry, which is in Oxford made An art, in London only is a trade. There haughty dunces, whose unlearned pen Could ne'er spell grammar, would be reading men. Such build their poems
the Lucretian way; So many huddled atoms make a play;
And if they hit in order by some chance,
They call that nature, which is ignorance.
To fuch a fame let mere town-wits aspire,
nonsense their own cits admire.
Our poet, could he find forgiveness here,
Would wish it rather than a plaudit there.
He owns no crown from those Prætorian bands,
But knows that right is in the senate's hands,
Not impudent enough to hope your praise,
Low at the Muses feet his wreath he lays,
And, where he took it up, resigns his bays.
Kings make their poets whom themselves think fit,
But 'tis your fuffrage makes authentic wit.
O poor Dutch peasant, wing'd with all his fear,
Flies with more haste, when the French
arms draw near,
Than we with our poetic train come down,
For refuge hither, from th’infected town :
Heaven for our fins this summer has thought fit
To visit us with all the plagues of wit.
A French trcop first swept all things in its way ;
But those hot Monsieurs were too quick to stay:
Yet, to our cost, in that short time, we find
They left their itch of novelty behind.
Th’Italian merry-andrews took their place,
And quite debauch'd the stage with lewd grimace ::
Instead of wit, and humors, your delight
Was there to see two hobby-horses fight;
Stout Scaramoucha with rush lance rode in,
And ran a tilt at centaur Arlequin.
heard how amorous affes bray'd, And cats in gutters gave their serenade. Nature was out of countenance, and each day Some new-born monster shewn you for a play. But when all fail'd, to strike the stage quite dumb, Those wicked engines calld machines are come. Thunder and lightning now for wit are play'd, And shortly scenes in Lapland will be laid : Art magic is for poetry profest ; And cats and dogs, and each obscener beast, To which Ægyptian dotards once did bow, Upon our English stage are worshipp'd now: Witchcraft reigns there, and raises to renown Macbeth and Simon Magus of the town,
Fletcher's despis’d, your Jonson's out of fashion,
And wit the only drug in all the nation.
In this low ebb our wares to you are shown;
By you those staple authors worth is known;
For wit's á manufacture of your own.
you, who only can, their scenes have prais’d, We'll boldly back, and say, their price is rais’d.
FT has our poet wish'd, this happy seat
Might prove his fading Muse's last retreat ; I wonder'd at his wish, but now I find He fought for quiet, and content of mind ; Which noiseful towne, and courts can never know, And only in the shades like laurels grow. Youth, ere it sees the world, here studies rest, And age returning thence concludes it belt, What wonder if we court that happiness Yearly, to share, which hourly you poffels,
Teaching e'en you, while the vext world we show, Your peace to value more, and better know? 'Tis all we can return for favors past, Whose holy memory shall ever last, For patronage from him whose care prefides O'er every noble art, and every
science guides :
Bathurst, a name the learn'd with reverence know,
And scarcely more to his own Virgil owe;
age enjoys but what his youth deserv'd,
To rule those Mufes whom before he fery'd.
His learning, and untainted manners too,
We find, Athenians, are deriv'd to you:
Such antient hospitality there reits
yours, as dwelt in the first Grecian breasts,
Whose kindness was religion to their guests.
Such modesty did to our sex appear,
As, had there been no laws, we need not fear,
Since each of you was our protector here.
Converse so chaste, and so strict virtue fhown,
As might Apollo with the Muses own.
Till our return, we must despair to find
Judges fo just, so knowing, and so kind.