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To the UNIVERSITY of OXFORD,
Spoken by Mr. HART, at the Acting of the SILENT WOMAN.
HAT Greece, when learning flourish'd, only knew,
Athenian judges, you this day renew.
Here too are annual rites to Pallas done,
And here poetic prizes loft or won.
Methinks I fee you, crown'd with olives, fit,
And strike a facred horror from the pit.
A day of doom is this of your decree,
Where even the best are but by mercy free:
A day, which none but Jonfon durft have wifh'd to fee.
Here they, who long have known the useful stage,
Come to be taught themselves to teach the age,
commiffioners our poets go,
To cultivate the virtue which you fow
In your Lycæum firft themselves refin'd,
And delegated thence to human-kind.
But as ambaffadors, when long from home,
For new inftructions to their princes come;
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 difeas'd, unfafe, chance, remedies:
The learned in fchools, where knowledge firft began,
Studies with care the anatomy of man;
Sees virtue, vice, and paffions in their caufe,
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, whofe unlearned pen
Could ne'er fpell 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 fome chance,
They call that nature, which is ignorance.
To fuch a fame let mere town-wits afpire,
And their gay nonfenfe their own cits admire.
Our poet, could he find forgiveness here,
Would with it rather than a plaudit there.
He owns no crown from those Prætorian bands,
But knows that right is in the fenate's hands,
Not impudent enough to hope your praife,
Low at the Mufes feet his wreath he lays,
And, where he took it up, refigns his bays.
Kings make their poets whom themfelves think fit,
But 'tis your fuffrage makes authentic wit.
O poor Dutch peasant, wing'd with all his fear,
Flies with more hafte, when the French arms
Than with our poetic train come down,
For refuge hither, from th' infected town:
Heaven for our fins this fummer has thought fit
To vifit us with all the plagues of wit.
A French troop first swept all things in its way;
But thofe hot Monfieurs were too quick to ftay:
Yet, to our coft, in that fhort 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:
Inftead of wit and humours, your delight
Was there to fee two hobby-horfes fight;
Stout Scaramoucha with rufh lance rode in,
And ran a tilt at centaur Arlequin.
For love you heard how amorous affes bray'd,
And cats in gutters gave their ferenade.
Nature was out of countenance, and each day
Some new-born monfter fhewn you for a play.
But when all fail'd, to ftrike the ftage quite dumb,
Thofe wicked engines call'd 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 profeft;
And cats and dogs, and each obfcener beast,
To which Egyptian dotards once did bow;
Upon our English ftage are worshipp'd now :
Witchcraft reigns there, and raises to renown
Macbeth and Simon Magus of the town,
Fletcher's defpis'd, your Jonfon'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 thofe ftaple authors worth is known;
For wit's a manufacture of your own.
When you, who only can, their fcenes have prais'd, We'll boldly back, and fay, their price is rais'd.
Spoken at OXFORD, by Mrs. MARSHALL.
FT has our poet wifh'd, this happy feat.
I wonder'd at his wish, but now I find
He fought for quiet, and content of mind;
Which noifeful towns, and courts can never know,
And only in the fhades like laurels grow.
Youth, ere it fees the world, here ftudies reft,
And age returning thence concludes it beft,
What wonder if we court that happiness
Yearly to fhare, which hourly you poffefs,
Teaching e'en you, while the vext world we fhow,
Your piece to value more, and better know?
'Tis all we can return for favours paft,
Whofe holy memory fhall ever laft,
For patronage from him whose care prefides
O'er every noble art, and every fcience guides:
Bathurst 4, a name the learn'd with reverence know?
And scarcely more to his own Virgil owe;
Whofe age enjoys but what his youth deferv'd,
To rule thofe Mufes whom before he ferv'd.
His learning, and untainted manners too,
We find, Athenians, are deriv'd to you:
Such antient hospitality there refts
In yours, as dwelt in the firft Grecian breasts,
Whofe kindness was religion to their guests.
4 Dr. Ralph Bathurst, paefident of Trinity College, Oxford, and Dean of Wells, a very loyal gentleman, and of great abilities. He died the 14th of June, 1704, in the 84th year of his age. See his life written by the ingenious Mr. Wharton, printed in 1761.
Such modesty did to our fex appear,
As, had there been no laws, we need not fear,
Since each of you was our protector here.
Converse fo chafte, and fo ftrict virtue fhown,
As might Apollo with the Mufes own.
Till our return, we must despair to find
Judges'fo juft, fo knowing, and fo kind.
To the UNIVERSITY of OXFORD.
Ifcord, and plots, which have undone our age,
With the fame ruin have o'erwhelm'd the ftage.
Our houfe has fuffer'd in the common woe,
We have been troubled with Scotch rebels too.
Our brethren are from Thames to Tweed departed,
And of our fifters, all the kinder-hearted,
To Edinburgh gone, or coach'd, or carted.
With bonny bluecap there they act all night
For Scotch half-crown, in English three-pence hight.
One nymph, to whom fat Sir John Falstaff's lean,
There with her fingle perfon fills the scene.
Another, with long ufe and age decay'd,
Div'd here old woman, and rofe there a maid.
Our trufty door-keepers of former time
There ftrut and fwagger in heroic rhime.
Tack but a copper-lace to drugget fuit,
And there's a hero made without difpute:
And that, which was a capon's tail before,
Becomes a plume for Indian emperor.
But all his fubjects, to exprefs the care
Of imitation, go, like Indians, bare: