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Zarley. While awkward pride, tho' fafe from war's
Round his plump body buckles ancient arms,
And, from an honeft juftice of the peace,
Starts up at once a demi-god of Greece;
Too firm of heart by ridicule to fall,
The finifh'd hero crowns his country hall,
Ordain'd to fill, if fire his glory fpare,
The lumber garret of his wifer heir.
Not lefs abfurd to flatter NERO's eyes
Arofe the portrait of coloffal fize:
Twice fifty feet th' enormous fheet was fpreat,
To lift o'er gazing flaves the monster's head,
When impious Folly fway'd Oppreffion's rod,
And fervile Rome ador'd the mimic God.
Think not, my friend, with fupercilious air,
I rank the portrait as beneath thy care,
Bleft be the pencil! which from death can fave
The femblance of the virtuous, wife, and brave;
That youth and emulation ftill may gaze
On thofe inspiring forms of ancient days,
And, from the force of bright example bold,
Rival their worth, and be what they behold."
Bleft be the pencil! whofe confoling pow'r,
Soothing foft Friendf hip in her penfive hour,
Dispels the cloud, with melancholy fraught,
That abfence throws upon her tender thought.
Bleft be the pencil! whofe enchantment gives
To wounded Love the food on which he lives.
Rich in this gift, tho' cruel ocean bear
The youth to exile from his faithful fair,
He in fond dreams hangs o'er her glowing cheek,
Still owns her prefent, and ftill hears her speak:
Oh! LOVE, it was thy glory to impart
Its infant being to this magic art!
Infpir'd by thee, the foft Corinthian maid
Her graceful lover's fleeping form portray'd:
Her boding heart his near departure knew,
Yet long'd to keep his image in her view:
Pleas'd fhe beheld the fteady fhadow fall
By the clear lamp upon the even wall:
The line fhe trac'd with fond precision true,
And, drawing, doated on the form she drew;
Nor, as fhe glow'd with no forbidden fire,
Conceal'd the fimpel picture from her fire:
His kindred fancy, ftill to nature juft,
Copied her line, and form'd the mimic buft.
Thus from thy power, infpiring LOVE, we trace
The modell'd image, and the pencil'd face!
We pity Genius, when, by interest led,
His toils but reach the femblance of a head;
Yet are thofe cenfures too fevere and vain,
That fcorn the Portrait as the Painter's bane.
Tho' up the mountain winds the arduous road
That leads to pure Perfection's bright abode,
In humbler walks fome tempting laurels grow,
Some flowers are gather'd in the vale below:
Youth on the plain collects increasing force,
To climb the feep in his meridian courfe.
While Nature fees her living models share
The tifing artift's unremitting care,
She on his mind her every charm imprints,
Her eafy poftures, and her perfect tints
Till his quick pencil, in maturer hour,
Becomes her rival in creative power.
ESSAY ON HISTORY;
Ep. III. v. 191—254.
Far other views the liberal Genius fire
Whose toils to pure Hiftoric praise, aspire,
Nor Moderation's dupe, nor Faction's brave,
Nor Guilt's apologift, nor Flattery's flave:
Wife, but not cunning; temperate, not cold;
Servant of Truth, and in that just controul
By which mild Nature fways the manly foul,
And Reafon's philantropic spirit draws
To Virtue's intereft, and Freedom's caufe;
Those great ennoblers of the human name,
Pure fprings of Power, of Happiness, and Fame!
To teach their influence, and spread their sway,
The juft Hiftorian winds his toilfome way;
From filent darknefs, creeping o'er the earth,
Redeems the finking trace of useful worth;
In Vice's bofom marks the latent thorn,
And brands that public peft with public fcorn.
A lively teacher in a moral school!
In that great office fteady, clear, and cool!
Pleas'd to promote the welfare of mankind,
And by informing meliorate the mind!
Such the bright tafk committed to his care!
Boundless its ufe; but its completion rare.
Critics have faid. Tho' high th' Hiftorian's
His Laws are fimple tho' his Province large;
Two obvious rules enfure his full fuccefs
To speak no Fallehood; and no Truth suppress:
Art must to other works a luftre lend,
But History pleases, howfoe'er it's penn'd."
Perchance in ruder periods; but in those,
Where all the luxury of Learning flows,
To Truth's plain fare no palate will fubmit,
Each reader grows an Epicure in Wit;
And Knowdlege muft his nicer tafte beguile
With all the poignant charms of Attic style.
The curious Scholar, in his judgment choice,
Expects no common Notes from History's voice;
But all the tones, that all the paffions fuit,
From the bold Trumpet to the tender Lute:
Yet if thro' Mufic's fcale her voice fhould range
Now high, now low, with many a pleafing change,
Grace must thro' every variation glide,
In every movement Majefty prefide:
With eafe not careless, tho' correct not cold;
Soft without languor, without harshnefs bold.
Tho' Affectation can all works debase,
In Language, as in life, the bane of Grace!
Regarded ever with a fcornful fmile,
She most is cenfur'd in th' Historic style:
Yet her infinuating power is fuch,
Not ev❜n the Greeks efkap'd her baleful touch;
Hence the fictious Speech, and long Harangue,
Too oft, like weights, on ancient Story hang,
Lefs fond of labour, modern pens devife
Affected beauties of inferior fize:
They in a narrower compafs boldly strike
The fancied Portrait, with no feature like;
And Nature's fimple colouring vainly quit,
To boaft the brilliant glare of fading Wit.
Those works alone may that bleft fate expect
To live thro' time, unconscious of neglect,
That catch, in fpringing from no fordid fource,
The ease of Nature, and of Truth the force.
ESSAY ON EPIC POETRY.
Ep. I. v. 187 ff.
Say ye! whofe curious philofophic eye
Searches the depth where Nature's fecrets lie;
Ye, who can tell how her capricious fit
Directs the flow and ebb of human wit,
And why, obedient to her quick command,
Spring-tides of Genius now enrich her fav'rite land,
Now fink, by her to different climes affign'd,
And only leave fome worthiefs weeds behind!
Say! why in Greece, unrival'd and alone,
The fovereign Poet grac'd his Epic throne?
Why did the realm that echoed his renown,
Produce no kindred heir to claim his crown?
If, as the liberal mind delights to think,
Fancy's rich flow rs their vital effence drink
From Liberty's pure ftreams, that largely roll
Their quick'ning virtue thro' the Poet's foul;
Why, in the period when this Friend of Earth
Made Greece the model of heroic worth,
And faw her votaries act, beneath her fway,
Scenes more fublime than Fiction can display,
Why did the Epic Mufe's filent lyre
Shrink from thofe feats that fummon'd all her fire?
Or if, as courtly Theorists maintain,
The Mufes revel in a Monarch's reign;
Why, when young Ammon's foul, athirft for
Call'd every Art to celebrate his name;
When ready Painting, at his fovereign nod,
With aweful thunder arm'd this mimic God!
Why did coy Poefy, tho' fondly woo'd,
Refufe that dearer fmile for which he fued,
And fee him fhed, in martial Honor's bloom,
The tear of envy on Achilles' tomb?