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What we conceive with ease we can express :
Words to the notions flow with readiness.
Observe the language well in all you write,
And swerve not from it in your loftieft flight.
The smoothest verse and the exactcft sense
Displease us, if ill English give offence:
A barbarous phrase no reader can approve;
Nor bombast, noise, or affectation love.
In short, without pure language, what you write
Can never yield us profit or delight.
Take time for thinking; never work in haste;
And value not yourself for writing faft.
A rapid poem with such fury writ,
Shews want of judgment, not abounding wit.
More pleas'd we are to see a river lead
His gentle streams along a flowery mead,
Than from high banks to hear loud torrents roar,
With foamy waters on a muddy Thore.
Gently make haste, of labour not afraid;
A hundred times consider what you've said:
Polish, repolith, every colour lay,
And sometimes add, but oftener take away.
'Tis not enough when swarming faults are writ, 175
That here and there are scatter'd sparks of wit:
Each object must be fix'd in the due place,
And differing parts have corresponding grace:
Till by a curious art dispos’d, we find
One perfect whole, of all the pieces join'd.
Keep to your subject close in all you say;
Nor for a founding sentence ever stray.
The public censure for your writings fear,
And to yourself be critic most severe.
Fantastic wits their darling follies love :
But find you faithful friends that will reprove,
That on your works may look with careful eyes,
And of your faults be zealous enemies :
Lay by an author's pride and vanity,
And from a friend a flatterer descry,
Who seems to like, but means not what he says:
Embrace true counsel, but suspect false praise.
A sycophant will every thing admire:
Each verse, each sentence sets his soul on fire:
All is divine! there's not a word amiss !
195, He shakes with joy, and weeps with tenderness, He overpowers you with his mighty praise. Truth never moves in those impetuous ways: A faithful friend is careful of your fame, And freely will your heedless errors blame; ;
200 He cannot pardon a neglected line, But verse to rule and order will confine. Reprove of words the too-affected found; Here the sense flags, and your expression's round, Your fancy tires, and your discourse grows vain, 205 Your terms improper, make them juft and plain. Thus 'tis a faithful friend will freedom use; But authors, partial to their darling muse, Think to protect it they have just pretence, And at your friendly counsel take offence. Said you
of this, that the expression's flat? Your servant, Sir, you must excuse me that, He answers you. This word has here no grace, Pray leave it out: That, Sir, 's the properest place. This turn I like not: 'Tis approv'd by all. 215 Thus, resolute not from one fault to fall,
If there's a syHable of which you doubt, ,
Tis a fure reason not to blot it out.
Yet still he says you may his faults confute,
And over him your power is absolute:
But of his feign'd humility take heed;
'Tis a bait laid to make you hear him read.
And when he leaves you happy in his muse,
Restless he runs some other to abuse,
And often finds; for in our scribbling times
No fool can want a sot to praise his rhymes;
The flatteft work has ever in the court,
Met with some zealous ass for its support:
And in all times a forward scribbling fop
Has found fome greater fool to cry him
As a fair nymph, when rising from her bed,
With sparkling diamonds dresses not her head,
But without gold, or pearl, or costly scents,
Gathers from neighb'ring fields her ornaments ;
Such, lovely in its dress, but plain withal, 235
Ought to appear a perfect Pastoral:
Its humble method nothing has of fierce,
But hates the rattling of a lofty verse:
There native beauty pleases, and excites,
And never with harsh sounds the ear affrights.
But in this style a poet often spent,
In rage throws by his rural instrument,
And vainly, when disorder'd thoughts abound,
Amidst the Eclogue makes the trumpet found:
Pan flies alarm'd into the neighbouring woods,
And frighted nymphs dive down into the floods.
Oppos'd to this another, low in style,
Makes shepherds speak a language base and vile :
His writings, flat and heavy, without found,
Kissing the earth, and creeping on the ground; 250
You'd swear that Randal in his ruftic strains,
Again was quavering to the country swains,
And changing without care of found or dress,
Strephon and Phyllis, into Tom and Bels.
'Twixt these extremes 'tis hard to keep the right; 255
For guides take Virgil, and read Theocrite:
Be their juft writings, by the gods inspir’d,
Your constant pattern practis'd and admir'd.
By them alone you'll easily comprehend
How poets, without shame, may condescend 260
To fing of gardens, fields, of flowers, and fruit,
To stir up shepherds, and to tune the flute;
Of love's rewards to tell the happy hour,
Daphne a tree, Narcissus made a flower,
And by what means the Eclogue yet has power 265
To inake the woods worthy a conqueror:
This of their writings is the grace and flight;
Their risings lofty, yet not out of fight.
The Elegy that loves a mournful style, With unbound hair weeps at a funeral pile, 270 It paints the lovers torments and delights, A mistress flatters, threatens, and invites : But well these raptures if you'll make us fee, You must know love as well as poetry. I hate those lukewarm authors, whose forc'd fire 275 In a cold style describe a hot desire, That figh by rule, and raging in cold blood Their Nuggish muse whip to an amorous mood: Their feign’d transports appear but flat and vain; They always figh, and always hug their chain, 28Q