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They trust in armies, and their courage dies,
In wisdom, wealth, in fortune, and in lies;
But all they trust in, withers, as it must,
When he commands, in whom they place no truft.
Vengeance at last pours down upon their coaft,
A long defpis'd, but now victorious hoft,
Tyranny fends the chain that must abridge
The noble sweep of all their privilege,
Gives liberty the laft, the mortal shock,
Slips the flave's collar on, and fnaps the lock.
A. Such lofty ftrains embellish what you teach,
Mean you to prophecy, or but to preach?
B. I know the mind that feels indeed the fire
The mufe imparts, and can command the lyre,
Acts with a force, and kindles with a zeal,
Whate'er the theme, that others never feel.
If human woes her foft attention claim,
A tender fympathy pervades the frame,
She pours a fenfibility divine
Along the nerve of ev'ry feeling line.
But if a deed not tamely to be borne,
Fire indignation and a sense of scorn,
The ftrings are swept with such a pow'r, so loud,
The ftorm of mufic shakes th' aftonifh'd crowd.
So when remote futurity is brought
Before the keen enquiry of her thought,
A terrible fagacity informs
The poet's heart, he looks to distant storms,
He hears the thunder e'er the tempeft low'rs,
And arm'd with ftrength furpaffing human pow'rs,
Seizes events as yet unknown to man,
And darts his foul into the dawning plan.
Hence, in a Roman mouth, the graceful name
Of prophet and of poet was the fame,
Hence British poets too the priesthood shar'd,
And ev'ry hallow'd druid was a bard.
But no prophetic fires to me belong,
I play with fyllables, and fport in fong.
A. At Westminster, where little poets
To fet a diftich upon fix and five,
Where difcipline helps op'ning buds of sense,
And makes his pupils proud with filver pence,
I was a poet too-but modern taste
Is fo refin'd and delicate and chaste,
That verfe, whatever fire the fancy warms,
Without a creamy smoothness has no charms.
Thus, all fuccefs depending on an ear,
And thinking I might purchase it too dear,
If fentiment were facrific'd to found,
And truth cut fhort to make a period round,
I judg'd a man of sense could scarce do worse,
Than caper in the morris-dance of verfe.
B. Thus reputation is a fpur to wit,
And fome wits flag through fear of lofing it.
Give me the line, that plows its stately course
Like a proud fwan, conq'ring the stream by force.
That like fome cottage beauty ftrikes the heart,
Quite unindebted to the tricks of art.
When labour and when dullness, club in hand,
Like the two figures at St. Dunstan's ftand,
Beating alternately, in meafur'd time,
The clock-work tintinabulum of rhime,
Exact and regular the founds will be,
But fuch mere quarter-ftrokes are not for me.
From him who rears a poem lank and long,
To him who strains his all into a fong,
Perhaps fome bonny Caledonian air,
All birks and braes, though he was never there,
Or having whelp'd a prologue with great pains,
Feels himself spent, and fumbles for his brains
A prologue interdash'd with many a stroke,
An art contriv❜d to advertise a joke,
So that the jeft is clearly to be seen,
Not in the words-but in the gap
Manner is all in all, whate'er is writ,
The fubftitute for genius, fenfe, and wit.
To dally much with fubjects mean and low,
Proves that the mind is weak, or makes it fo.
Neglected talents ruft into decay,
And ev'ry effort ends in pufh-pin play,
The man that means fuccefs, fhould foar above
A foldier's feather, or a lady's glove,
Elfe fummoning the mufe to fuch a theme,
The fruit of all her labour is whipt-cream.
As if an eagle flew aloft, and then-
Stoop'd from his highest pitch to pounce a wren.
As if the poet purpofing to wed,
Should carve himself a wife in gingerbread.
Ages elaps'd e'er Homer's lamp appear'd,
ages e'er the Mantuan fwan was heard,
To carry nature lengths unknown before,
To give a Milton birth, ask'd ages more.
Thus genius rofe and fet at order'd times,
And shot a day-spring into distant climes,
Ennobling ev'ry region that he chofe,
He funk in Greece, in Italy he rofe,
And tedious years of Gothic darkness pass'd,
Emerg'd all fplendor in our ifle at last.
Thus lovely Halcyons dive into the main,
Then fhow far off their fhining plumes again.