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Firm Doric pillars found
your solid base : The fair Corinthian crowns the higher space : Thus all below is strength, and all above is grace. In easy dialogue is Fletcher's praise ; He mov'd the mind, but had not power to raise. Great Johnson did by strength of judgment please; Yet, doubling Fletcher's force, he wants his ease. In diff’ring talents both adorn'd their age ; One for the study, t’other for the stage. But both to Congreve justly shall submit, One match'd in judgment, both o’ermatch'd in wit. In him all beauties of this age we see, Etherege his courtship, Southern's purity, The satire, wit, and strength of manly Wycherly. All this in blooming youth you have atchiev'd: Nor are your foild contemporaries griev'd. So much the sweetnefs of your manners move, We cannot envy you, because we love. Fabius might joy in Scipio, when he saw A beardless consul made against the law, And join his suffrage to the votes of Rome; Though he with Hannibal was overcome. Thus old Romano bow'd to Raphael's fame, And scholar to the youth he taught became.
laurel had sustain'd! Well had I been depos’d, if you had reign'd:
The father had descended for the son ;
For only you are lineal to the throne.
Thus, when the state one Edward did depose,
A greater Edward in his room arose.
But now, not I, but poetry is curs'd ;
For Tom the second reigns like Tom the first.
But let them not mistake my patron's part,
Nor call his charity their own desert.
Yet this I prophesy; thou shalt be seen,
(Tho with some short parenthesis between)
High on the throne of wit, and, seated there,
Not mine, that's little, but thy laurel wear.
Thy first attempt an early promise made;
That early promise this has more than paid.
So bold, yet so judiciously you dare, ,
least praise is to be regular.
Time, place, and action, may with pains be wrought;
But genius must be born, and never can be taught.
This is your portion ;
your native store; Heaven, that but once was prodigal before, To Shakespear gave as much ; she could not
give him more.
your post : That's all the fame
For 'tis impossible you should proceed.
Already I am worn with cares and age,
And just abandoning th’ungrateful stage:
Unprofitably kept at heaven's expence,
I live a rent-charge on his providence :
Whom I foresee to better fortune born,
Be kind to my remains ; and O defend,
Against your judgment, your departed friend !
Let not th'insulting foe my fame pursue,
But shade those laurels which descend to you :
And take for tribute what these lines express :
You merit more ; nor could my love do less.
Excellent Tragedy call’d, Heroic Love.
, wert thou not my friend,
How could I envy, what I must commend !
But since 'tis nature's law in love and wit,
That youth should reign, and withering age submit,
With less regret those laurels I resign,
Which, dying on my brows, revive on thine.
With better grace an ancient chief may yield
The long contended honors of the field,
Than venture all his fortune at a cast,
And fight, like Hannibal, 'to lose at last.
Young princes, obstinate to win the prize,
Tho yearly beaten, yearly yet they rise :
Old monarchs, tho successful, still in doubt,
Catch at a peace, and wisely turn devout.
Thine be the laurel then ; thy blooming age
Can best, if any can, support the stage ;
Which so declines, that shortly we may see
Players and plays reduc'd to fecond infancy.
Sharp to the world, but thoughtless of renown,
They plot not on the stage, but on the town,
And, in despair their empty pit to fill,
fome foreign monster in a bill. Thus they jog on, still tricking, never thriving, And murd’ring plays, which they miscal reviving. Our sense is nonsense, thro their pipes convey'd ; Scarce can a poet know the play he made 'Tis so disguis’d in death ; nor thinks 'tis he That suffers in the mangled tragedy.
Thus Itys first was kill'd, and after dress’d
For his own fire, the chief invited guest.
I say not this of thy successful scenes,
Where thine was all the glory, theirs the gains.
With length of time, much judgment, and more toil,
Not ill they acted, what they could not spoil.
Their setting-fun still shoots a glimmering ray,
Like ancient Rome, majestic in decay :
And better gleanings their worn soil can boast,
Than the crab-vintage of the neighb'ring coast.
This diff'rence yet the judging world will see;
Thou copiest Homer, and they copy thee.
IS hard, my friend, to write in such an age,
As damns, not only poets, but the stage.
That sacred art, by heaven itself infus’d,
Which Moses, David, Solomon have us’d,