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Like commons the nobility resort,
In crowding heaps to fill your moving court :
To welcome your approach the vulgar run,
Like some new envoy from the distant sun ;
And country-beauties by their lovers go,
Blessing themselves, and wondering at the show.
So when the new-born phenix first is seen,
Her feather'd subjects all adore their queen,
And while she makes her progress through the East,
From every grove her numerous train's increased;
Each poet of the air her glory sings,
And round her the pleased audience clap their

wings.

TO MR. LEE,

ON HIS

TRAGEDY OF

ALEXANDER THE GREAT."

1677.

The blast of common censure could I fear, Before your play my name should not appear; For 'twill be thought, and with some colour too, I рау the bribe I first received from

you; That mutual vouchers for our fame we stand, And play the game into each other's hand; And as cheap pen'worths to ourselves afford, As Bessus and the brothers of the sword. Such libels private men may well endure, "When states and kings themselves are not secure; For ill men, conscious of their inward guilt, Think the best actions on by-ends are built.

And yet my silence had not scaped their spite;
Then
envy

bad not suffer'd me to write ;
For, since I could not ignorance pretend,
Such merit I must envy or commend.
So

many candidates there stand for wit,
A place at court is scarce so hard to get:
In vain they crowd each other at the door;
For e'en reversions are all begg'd before:
Desert, how known soe'er, is long delay'd,
And then, too, fools and knaves are better paid.
Yet, as some actions bear so great a name
That courts themselves are just for fear of shame;
So has the mighty merit of your play
Extorted praise, and forced itself away.
'Tis here, as 'tis at sea; who farthest

goes, Or dares the most, makes all the rest his foes : Yet when some virtue much outgrows the rest, It shoots too fast and high to be express'd; As his heroic worth struck Envy dumb Who took the Dutchman, and who cut the boom. Such praise is yours, while you the passions move, That 'tis no longer feign'd, 'tis real love, Where Nature triumphs over wretched Art; We only warm the head, but

you

the heart. Always you warm; and if the rising year, As in hot regions, brings the sun too near, 'Tis but to make your fragrant spices blow, Which in our cooler climates will not grow. They only think you animate your theme With too much fire, who are themselves all phlegm. Prizes would be for lags of slowest pace, Were cripples made the judges of the race. Despise those drones who praise, while they accuse The too much vigour of your youthful Muse.

That humble style which they your virtue make
Is in your power : you need but stoop and take.
Your beauteous images must be allow'd
By all, but some vile poets of the crowd.
But how should any sign-post dauber know
The worth of Titian or of Angelo?
Hard features every bungler can command;
To draw true beauty shows a master's hand.

TO THE

EARL OF ROSCOMMON,

ON HIS

EXCELLENT ESSAY ON TRANSLATED VERSE.

1680.

WHETHER the fruitful Nile, or Tyrian shore,
The seeds of arts and infant-science bore,
'Tis sure the noble plant, translated first,
Advanced its head, in Grecian gardens nursed.
The Grecians added verse; their tuneful tongue
Made Nature first, and Nature's God, their song.
Norstopp'd translation here: for conquering Rome,
With Grecian spoils, brought Grecian numbers

home,
Enrich'd by those Athenian Muses more,
Than all the vanquish'd world could yield before;
Till barbarous nations, and more barbarous times,
Debased the majesty of verse to rhymes ;
Those rude at first, a kind of hobbling prose,
That limp'd along, and tinkled in the close.
But Italy, reviving from the trance
Of Vandal, Goth, and Monkish ignorance,

With pauses, cadence, and well-voweld words,
And all the graces a good ear affords,
Made rhyme an art; and Dante's polish'd page
Restored a Silver, not a Golden age.
Then Petrarch follow'd, and in him we see
What rhyme, improved in all its height, can be;
At best a pleasing sound, and fair barbarity.
The French pursued their steps; and Britain, last,
In manly sweetness all the rest surpass’d.

The wit of Greece, the gravity of Rome,
Appear exalted in the British loom:
The Muses' empire is restored again,
In Charles's reign, and by Roscommon's pen.
Yet modestly he does his work survey,
And calls a finish'd poem an Essay;
For all the needful rules are scatter'd here,
Truth smoothly told, and pleasantly severe;
So well is art disguised, for nature to appear.
Nor need those rules to give translation light;
His own example is a flame so bright,
That he who but arrives to copy well,
Unguided will advance, unknowing will excel.
Scarce his own Horace could such rules ordain,
Or his own Virgil sing a nobler strain.
How much in him may rising Ireland boast,
How much in gaining him has Britain lost !
Their island in revenge has ours reclaim’d;
The more instructed we, the more we still are

shamed. "Tis well for us his generous blood did flow Derived from British channels long ago, That here his conquering ancestors were nursed, And Ireland but translated England first: By this reprisal we regain our right, Else must the two contending nations fight;

A nobler quarrel for his native earth,
Than what divided Greece for Homer's birth.
To what perfection will our tongue arrive,
How will invention and translation thrive,
When authors nobly born will bear their part,
And not disdain the inglorious praise of art!
Great generals thus, descending from command,
With their own toil provoke the soldiers' hand.
How will sweet Ovid's ghost be pleased to bear
His fame augmented by an English peer

I!
How he embellishes his Helen's loves,
Outdoes his softness, and his sense improves !
When these translate, and teach translators too,
Nor firstling kid, nor any vulgar vow,
Should at Apollo's grateful altar stand:
Roscommon writes; to that auspicious hand,
Muse, feed the bull that spurns the yellow sand.
Roscommon! whom both court and camps com-

mend, True to his prince, and faithful to his friend ; Roscommon! first in fields of honour known, First in the peaceful triumphs of the gown, Who both Minervas justly makes his own. Now let the few beloved by Jove, and they Whom infused Titan form’d of better clay, On equal terms with ancient wit engage, Nor mighty Homer fear, nor sacred Virgil's page: Our English palace opens wide in state, And, without stooping, they may pass the gate.

Į The Earl of Mulgrave,

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