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The proper task of man ; and sure, to sing
of nature's laws, and nature's mighty King,
Is bliss supreme. Let gods with mortals join!
The subje& may transport a breast divine.
ADDRESSED TO THE RIGHT HON. THE EARL OF CLARB.
HAT frenzy has of late possess'd the brain ;
Tho’ few can write, yet fewer can refrain.
So rank our soil, our bards rise in such store,
Their rich retaining patrons scarce are more :
The last indulge the fault the first commit,
And take off ftill the offal of their wit.
So shameless, so abandon'd, are their ways,
They poach Parnassus, and lay fnares for praise.
None ever can without admirers live, Who have a penfion or a place to give. Great ministers ne'er fail of great deserts ; The herald gives them blood, the poet parts. Sense is of course annex'd to, wealth and pow'r ; No Muse is proof against a golden show'r. Let but his lordship write some poor lampoon, He's Horac'd up in doggrel like his own ; Or if to rant in tragick rage he yields, Falfe Fame cries Athens ;' honeft Truth Moorfields.' Thus fool'd, he flounces on thro' foods of ink, Flags with full fail, and rises but to fink.
Some venal pens fo prostitute the bays, Theis panegyricks lash, their fatire's praise : 2. Ga
So nauseously and so unlike they paint,
N's an Adonis, M-ra saint.
Metius with those fam'd heroes is com par'd
That led in triumph Porus and Tallard.
But such a shameless Muse must laughter move,
That aims to make Salmoneus vie with Jove.
To form great works puts Fate itself to pain ;
E'en Nature labours for a mighty man ;
And, to perpetuate her hero's fame,
She strains no less a poet next to frame.
Rare as the hero's is the poet's rage ;
Churchills and Drydens rise but once an age.
With earthquakes tow'ring Pindar's birth begun,
And an eclipse produc'd Alcmena's fon :
The fire of gods o’er Phæbus cast a shade,
But with a hero well the world repaid.
No bard for bribes should prostitute his vein,
Nor dare to flatter where he should arraign.
To grant big Thraso valoar, Phormio fense,
Should indignation give, at least offence.
I hate such mercenaries, and would try
From this reproach to rescue poetry.
Apollo's sons should scorn the fervile art,
And to court-preachers leave the fulsome part.
• What, then, you'll fay, 'must no true sterling pals,
Because impure allays fome coin debafer"
Yes-praise, if justly offerd, I'll allow,
And when I meet with merit scribble too.
The man who's honest, open, and a friend,
Glad to oblige, uneasy to offend;
Forgiving others, to himself severe ;
Tho' earnest easy, civil yet sincere ;
Who seldom but thro' great good-nature errs;
Detesting fraud as much as flatterers :
'Tis he my Muse's homage should receive,
If I could write, or Holles could forgive.
But pardon, learned youth, that I decline
A name so lov'd by me, so lately thine..
When Pelham you resign'd, what could repair
A lofs so great, unless Newcastle's heir ?
Hydaspes, that the Asian plains divides,
From his bright urn in pureft chryftal, glides ;
But when new-gathering streams enlarge his courfe,
He's Indus nam'd, and rolls with mightier force ;
In fabled floods of gold his current lows,
And wealth on nations, as he runs, bestows.
Direct me, Clare ! to name some nobler Muse,
That for her theme thy late recess may chuse ;
Such bright descriptions Mall the subject dress,
Such varied scenes, such pleafing images,
That swains shall leave their lawns, and nymphs their bow'rs,
And quit Arcadia for a feat like yours.
But say, who shall attempt th’advent'rous part,
Where Nature borrows dress from Vanbrugh's art?
If, by Apollo taught, he touch the lyre,
Stones mount in columns, palaces aspire,
And rocks are animated with his fire.
'Tis he can paint in verse those rising hills,
Their gentle vallies, and their alver rills;
Close groves and op'ning glades with verdure spread,
Flow'rs fighing sweets, and shrubs that ballam bleed;
With gay variety the prospect crown'd,
And all the bright horizon fmiling round ;
Whilft I attempt to tell how ancient fame
Records from whence the villa took it's name.
In times of old, when British nymphs were known
To love no foreign fashions like their own ;
When dress was monstrous, and fig-leaves the mode,
And quality put on no paint but woad ;
Of Spanish red unheard was then the name,
(For cheeks were only taught to blush by fame)
No beauty, to increase her crowd of flaves;
Rose out of wash, as Venus out of waves ;
yer leadscomb was on the toilet plac'd,
Not yet broad eyebrows were reduc'd by paste;
No shape-smith set up shop, and drove a trade
To mend the work wife Providence had made;
Tires were unheard of, and unknown the loom,
And thrifty fiłk-worms span for times to come i
Bare limbs were then the marks of modesty;
All, like Diana, were below the konce.
The men appear'd a rough undaunted race,
Surly in show, unfashion'd in addrefs;
Upright in actions, and in thought fincere,
And strictly were the same they would appear,
Honour was plac'd in probity alone,
For villains had no titles but their own.
None travell’d to return politely mad,
But ftill what fancy wanted reason had.
Whatever Nature ask'd their hands could give ;
Unlearn'd in feasts, they only eat to live.
No cook with art increas'd physicians fees,
Nor serv'd up death in soups and fricassées.
Their taste was, like their temper, unrefin'd;
For looks were then the language of the mind.
Ere right and wrong by turns set prices bore,
And conscience had it's rate, like common whore;
Or tools to great employments had pretence,
Or merit was made out by imprudence;
Or coxcombs look'd affuming in affairs,
And hamble friends grew haughty ministers :
In those good days of innocence here ftood
Of oaks, with heads unfhorn, a solemn wood,
Frequented by the Druids, to bestow
Religious honours on the mifletoe.
The naturalists are puzzled to explain
How trees did first this stranger entertain ;
Whether the busy birds ingraft it there,
Or else some deity's mistaken care,
As Druids thought; for when the blasted oak
By lightning falls, this plant escapes the stroke.
So, when the Gauls the tow'rs of Rome defac'd,
And Aames drove forward with outrageous waste,
Jove's favour'd capitol uninjur'd loud;
So sacred was the mansion of a god.
Shades honour'd by this plant the Druids chose,
Here for the bleeding victims altars rose:
To Hermes oft they paid their facrifice,
Parent of arts, and patron of the wise.
Good rules in mild persuasions they convey'd,
Their lives confirming what their lectures said.
None violated truth, invaded right,
Yet had few laws but will and appetite,
The people's peace they ftudy'd, and profess'd
No politicks but publick interest.
Hard was their lodging, homely was their food,
For all their luxury was doing good.
No mitred priest did then with princes vie,
Nor o'er his matter claim supremacy:
Nor were the rules of faith allow?d more pure
For being several centuries obscure.
None lost their fortunes, forfeited their blood,
For not believing what none understood :
Nor Simony nor finecure were known ;
Nor would the bee work honey for the drones
Nor was the way invented, to dismiss
Frail Abigails with fat pluralities.
But then, in fillets bound, a hallow?d band,
Taught how to tend the flocks, and till the land
Could tell what murrains in what months begun,
And how the seasons travell!d with the sun :
When his dim orb feemd wading thro' the air,
They told that rain on dropping wings drew near;