« ZurückWeiter »
“ Immortal Shades,” said he, “if aught be
SIXTH LAD. due
LAUDER,—thy authors Dutch, and German, To my attempts 't is owing all to you:”
There is no need to disinter, man: Then took the laurels, fresh’ning from his hand,
To search the mould'ring anecdote, And crown'd the temples of the sacred band.
For source of all that Milton wrote:
We'll own from these, and mauy more, Others, in crowds, stood muttering behind, " Who is the guest?-He looks as he were
The bard enrich'd his ample sture. blind
Phoebus himself could not escape 0! this is Milton, to be sure the man
The tricks of this poetic ape; That stole, from others, all his rhymeless plan; For, to complete his daring vole', “ From those conceited gentlemen, perchance,
From his enliven'd wheels he stole, That rush to hail him with such complaisance;
Prometheus-like, the solar ray, Ay—that's the reason of this fawning fuss;
That animated all his clay.
Prometheus-like, then chain him down;
Prey on his vitals of renown;
With critic talons, and with beak, CRIME in a poet, sirs, to steal a thought?
Upon his fame thy vengeance wreak: No, that 't is not; if it be good for aught :
It grows again at ev'ry hour, 'Tis lawful theft; 't is laudable to boot;
Fast as the vulture can devour.
SEVENTH LAD. Lights on a happy thought-and makes it all his Multonum, vir, O facinus nefarium! own;
Exagitavit tanquam plagiarium: Flies, like a bee, along the Muses' field,
Miramur, hanc qui protulisset thesin, Peeps in, and tastes what any flow'r can yield,
Quid esse, Momus, crederet poesin. Free, from the various blossom that he meets,
Num, quæso, vult ut, hâc obstetricante, To pick, and cull, and carry home the sweets;
Dicendum sit quod nemo dixit ante? While, saunt'ring out, the heavy, stingless drone
O admirandam hominis versuti
Dixisset ipse, nimium securus,
Quod nemo dicet præsens, aut futurus,
Dum felis ungues persequentur murem,
Miltonum, scilicet, fuisse furem.
Exulent ergo, (cjus ex effatis)
Quicunque nomen usurparint vatis; That he had stoln the greater part, by much, Nullum vocemus, prorsus, ad examen Both of his plan, and matter, from the Dutch: Eorum sensum, vim, aut modulamen;
Furantur omnes habeamus verum
Poetam, exhinc, unicum Lauderum!
A DIALOGUE ON CONTENTMENT. he?"
J. What ills, dear Phebe, would it not prevent, FIFTH LAD.
To learn this one short lesson“ be content !" WHEN Oxford saw, in her Radclivian dome, No very hard prescription, in effect, Greek skill, and Roman rival'd here at home; This same content; and yet, thro’its neglect, Wond'ring she stood; 'till one judicious spark What mighty evils do we human elves, Address'd the crowd, and made this sage re- As Prior calls us, bring upon ourselves! mark
Evils that Nature never meant us for, “ The most unlicens'd plagiary--this Gibbs~ The vacuums, that she really does abhor: Nothing in all his pile, but what he cribs. Of all the ways of judging things amiss,
No instance shows our weakness more than this, “The ground be builds upon is not his own
That men on Earth won't set their hearts at rest, I know the quarry whence he had his stone
When God in Heaven does all things for the best: The forest too where all bis timber grow'd
What strange, absurd perverseness! -
P. Hold, good brother, 'T is all a borrow'd work, from base to spire." Don't put yourself, I pray, in such a pother;
'T is a fine thing to be content; why, true; Thus, with our epic architect, he deals,
'T is just, and right, we know, as well as you; Who says that Milton in his poem steals:
And yet, to be so, after all this rout, Steals, if he will—but, without licence? no;
Sometimes has puzzled you yourself, I doubt. Pedlars in verse, unmeaningly, Him Phæbus licens'd; and the Muses Nine Help'd the rare thief to raise up-a design.
| From the French word vol, signifying theft.
Polks in the rigour of their health, and strength, P. Why, for this reason-tho'it should be true, May rail at discontent, in words at length;
That what is just and right, is easy too, Who yet, when disappointed of their wishes, Such ease is nothing of a talking kind, Will put you off with surly humphs, and pishes; But of right will, that likes to be resign'd, “ Let's be content and easy;"--gen'ral stuff! And cherishes a grace which, with regard Your happy people are content enough;
To the unpractis'd, may sometimes be hard:
Of neither cost, vor culture; when indeed,
Where, like a seed, it must have light and air
To help its growt!), according to the care J. Nay, Phebe, don't go on so fast; l'hat owners take, whose philosophic skill Your just rebuke now suits yourself at last; Will much depend upon the weather still;
[bad Methinks you wander widely from the fact Good should not make them careless, nor should "T is not how you, or I, or others act,
J. Right, provided it be had,
I'll not dispute; but own, what you have said Wou'd hinder all, but many sorts of ill:
Has hit the nail, directly, on the head: This it will do; and, give me leave to say, Easy or hard, all pains, within our pow'r, Much lessen such as it can't take away;
Are well bestow'd on such a charming flow'r.
TOM THE PORTER.
A swinging show'r oblig'd him to stand still;
So, in the right-hand passage thro' the gate, P. Monstrous? why monstrous? let that word | He pitch'd his burthen down, just by the grate, be barr'd,
From whence the doleful accent sounds away, And I shau't stick to say, I think it hard, “ Pity--the poord hungry-debtors-pray." And very hard, nay, I could alınost add,
To the same garrison, from Paul's ChurchThat, in some cases, 't is not to be had
An half-drown'd soldier ran to mount the guard: J. Not to be had! content! it costs us nought; Now Tom, it seems, the Ludgateer, and he 'T is purchas'd only with a little thought; Were old acquaintance, formerly, all three; We need not fetch it from a distant clime, And as the coast was clear, by cloudy weather, It may be found at home, at any time;
They quickly fell into discourse together. Our very cares contribute to its growth,
"T was in December, when the Highland clans It knows no check, but voluntary sloth;
Had got to Derbyshire from Preston Pans; None but ourselves can rob us of its fruit; And struck all London with a general panic It finds, whene'er we use it, fresh recruit; But mark the force of principles Britannic. The more we gather, still the more it thrives, The soldier told 'em fresh the city news, Fresh as our hopes, and lasting as our lives:
Just piping hot from stockjobbers, and Jews; Not to be bad is wrong ;-but I forgot,
Of French Meets landing, and of Dutch neutrality; You did not say quite absolutely not,
Of jealousies at court amongst the quality; But could almost have said so; the almost,
Of Swarston-bridge, that never was pull'd down; Perhaps, was meant against a florid boast
Of all the rebels in full march to town; Of such content as, when a trial came
And of a hundred things beside, that made Severe enough, would hardly own its name
Lord may'r himself, and aldermen afraid ; P. Perhaps it was, and now your fire is spent,
Painting with many an oath the case in view,
And ask'd the porter—what he thought to do? You can reflect, I find, that this content,
“Do?" says he, gravely—'what I did before; Which you are fond of celebrating so,
What I have done these thirty years, and more; May, now and then, be difficult to show,
Carry, as I am like to do, my pack,
Glad to maintain my belly by my back;
If that but hold, I care not; for my part,
Come as come will,'t shall never break my heart; 'Tis just and right, you own, as well as me; I don't see folks that fight about their thrones, Now, for my part, I rather choose to see
Mind either soldiers' Aesh, or porters' bones; The easiness of what is just and right,
Whoe'er gets better, when the battle's fought, Which makes it more encouraging to sight, Thy pay nor mine will be advanc'd a groatThan scarecrow hardships, that almost declare But to the purpose--now we are met here, Content an un-come-at-able affair;
I'll join, if t'will, for one full mug of beer.” And, consequently, tempt one to distrust,
The soldier, touch'd a little with surprise For difficulties, what is right and just:
To see bis friend's indifference, replies Thus I object to hardship; if you please,
“ What you say, Tom, I own is very good, Show for what reason you object to ease But our religion !” (and be du'd his blood)
“ What will become of our religion !"_" True!" You may remember, when you first began'
How tracing, step by step, the simplest line,
We grounded, rais'd, and tinish'd our design:
And then adjusted ev'ry stroke to ours:
Made English, French, Italian-Hebrew too-
Explain'd how best, and soonest they were learn'd;
Show'd where to end, as well as to commence, ON THE ART OF ENGLISH POETRY. At that one central point of vies-good sense.
There fix your eye then,--if you mean to write
Verse that is fit to read, or to recite:
Is but, at best, an artificial fool;
But you, who have it, and would give to prose
Consider how the short-hand scheme, in part,
May be apply'd to the poetic art:
To write, or read in that, you understood,
good; Yet how, in matters of poetic reach,
The more that words were proper and exact, Untaught myself, shall I pretend to teach? In book, or speech, the more we could contract: Well I remember that my younger breast
The hand, you know, became a kind of test,
If incorrect the language, or absurd,
Full oft a letter for a word would do.
Form to yourself, directly, the design
That word, or phrase-in measure that you
May come the nearest to prosaic ease :
You 'll see the cases from the rule exempt,
Whilst it directs, in gen’ral, your attempt;
And verse be, still, as natural as prose.
The worth in poetry is Nature's part:
Bat poor encouragement for you to hope That Nature's image may the best repass:
Perhaps may show you what is here desigud: In plain, familiar English, for your sake,
A young beginner struggling, you may see, This untry'd province I will undertake;
With all his might--t was so at least with me And rules for verse as readily instill,
With all the splutter of his tinibs to swim, As if ability had equall'd will:
And keep his brains, and breath, above the brim; Fair stipulation, first, on either side,
Whiist, the inore eager he to gain his art, In form, and manner, here annex'd, imply'd- The sooner ev'ry linb is thrown athwart;
Conditions are-that, if the Muse should err, Till by degrees he learns, with less ado,
To Nature's motions poising he conforms,
Taught, as the smoother wave sha! yield, to yield,
Soon as you can then, learn to lay aside Begin with me, and construe what I write, All wild endeavours against Nature's tide; Not to preclude your judgment, but excite; Which way she bends take notice, and comply; Just as you once examin'd what I taught, The verse that will not, burn, or throw it by: Proin first to last, with unaddicted thought, May be the subject does not suit your skill- So while, at your request, I venture here Disiniss, dismiss-till one comes up that will: To play the master, see that all be clear; If sense, if Nature succour not the theme,
Preserve the freedom, which you always took, All art and skill is strise against the stream; Nor, if it teach amiss, regard the book. If they assist to waft your verses o'er,
Thus, unencumber'd, let us move along, Stretch forward, and possess the wish’d-for shore. As road sball lead us, to the mount of song;
T was from a certain native sense, and wit, Still keeping, so far by agreement ty’d, That cane--Poeta nascitur, non lit
Good verse in prospect, and good sense for guide. Adage forbidding any rhyming blade, That was not born a poet, to be made; For if to sing, (in music) or to hear,
SENSE presuppos'd, and resolute intent Require a natural good voice, or ear;
To regulate thereby poetic bent,
Let us examine language once again,
Of words, in English, may assist your aim. Of this if critics should demand a sign,
The end of speech, vouchsaf'd to human kind, Strong inclination should be one of mine;
Is to express conceptions of the mind : A fair desire is seldom known to spring,
By painted speech, or writing's wond'rous aid, But where there is some fitness for the thing: The lines of thought are legibly display'd ; Tho', by untoward circumstances check'd,
In any place, at any time appear, There lies a genius, but without effect;
And silent figure speaks to mental ear; Many a fine plant, uncultivated, dies;
Surprising permanence of meaning, found And worse, with more encouragement, may rise: For distant voice, and momentary sound : Des Mecænates hat bad Maro been,
Whether by Heav'n, at first, the huge effect Had not Mecænas rais'd the Muse within ? Reveal'd, or by inventive wit-reflect
Yours, honest pupil, when you are inclin'd, What good may follow, if a man exert May versify, according to your mind;
The talent right, what ill, if he pervert; She has no reason, to no patron ty'd,
And to exertion, whether good, or bad, To prostitute her favours to a side;
What strength engaging poetry may add; Nor to false taste, if any such the age
That, if successful in your present drift, Shall run into, to sacrifice her page;
You may not risk to desecrate the gift. Much less, with any vicious topic vile,
You see, in speaking, or by sound, or ink, An art of chaster off-pring to defile:
The grand inceptive caution is—to think; All verse unworthy of an English Muse,
To measure, ponder, ruminate, digest, Of short-hand race, she may, and must refuse. Or phrase whatever, that betokens best Ancient and modern aptitude to run
A due attention to make art, and skill, Into some errours, which you ought to shun, Turn all to good, or least of all to ill; Will now and then occasion, I foreset,
Never to give, on any warm pretence, In place, or out, a præcipe from me:
To just observers cause of just offence: When this shall happen, never stand to try To truth, to good, undoubtedly, belong The where of its appearance, but the why; The skill of poets, and the charms of song. Lest, by authorities, or old, or new,
In verse, or prose, in nature, or in art, You should be tempted to incur them too; The head begins the movement, or the heart; Since the most celebrated names infer
If both unite, if both be clear and sound, No sort of privilege in you to err:
Then may perfection in a work be found; Far from it-even, where they may excel, Then does the preacher, then the poet shine, Barely to imitate is not so well;
And justly take the title of divine. Much less should their authority prevail,
By common sense the word has been all led Or warrant you to follow, where they sail. To make distinction of the heart and head;
'Tis not to search for precedents alone, Distinction worthy of your keenest ken, But how to forin a judgment of your own; In passing judgment upon books, and men; In writing verse that is your main affair,
Upon yourself, before you shall submit Main end of all my monitory care,
To other judges what yourself has writ. Who hate servility to common law,
The heart, the head, it may suffice to note, That keeps an equitable right in awe;
Two diff'rent kinds of poetry promote; By use and custom justifies its lot,
One more sublime, more sacred, and severe, Its mødes, and fashions, whether right, or not; That shines in Poetry's celestial sphere; Cramps the free genius, clips the Muse's wing, One of an useful, tho’an bumbler birth, And to one poet ties another's string;
That ornaments its iwwer globe of Earth; Producing, from their hardiy various lines, These we shall here ascribe, if you think fit, So many copies, and so few designs.
One to good sense, the other to good wit; By neither names, nor numbers, be deterr'd; And grant that, whichsoever be display'd, Nor yield to mix amongst the servile herd: It must have something of the other's aid; Exert the liberty, which all avow,
Without some wit solidity is dull, Tho' slaves in practice and begin just now, As bad the sprightly nonscose, to the full.
To clothe them both in language, and by rule, Write what the good may praise, as they peruse,
And bless, with no unfruitful fame, the Muse.
Where rerse adorns an inoffensive theme.
From task impos'd, from any kind of force,
A stiff, and starch'd production comes, of course;
Sooner, so ask'd, that willing numbers flow,
Tho' prompt, if proper the occasion rise,
But if a fair and friendly call invite,
Speeds on the verse to opportune delight;
Cuts all delays to satisfaction short,
The noun, the name, the substantive, the thing, As, by this present writing, one may see,
Dear Muse of mine, is just the case with thee.
A gen'rous Muse, I must again repeat,
Disdains the poor, poetical conceit
And writing only to be thought to do 't;
Mistaken poets seek for private fame;
”T is gen’ral use that sanctifies the name.
But keep your readers in remembrance still,
Your future judges—tho' 't is in your choice
In wbat committees who shall have a voice:
Stand all excluded from the legal vote.
Verse any readers, for whom verse is writ,
May to the press, or to the flames commit:
A poet signs the judgment on his verse,
If readers, worthy to be pleas'd, rehearse;
Laughs at their blame, and smiles at their apo
'T will add to future versifying ease
To think on judges, whom you ought to please ;
To fancy some of your selected friends
Discussing points, to which a subject tends;
By whom you guess it would be well discuss'd, All else,- what need of caution to forbear?
And judgment form'd, that you might safely trust;
If you conceive them sitting on the bench,
Anticipating Fancy may supply,
And save the trouble to the real eye:
Judgment awaken'd may improve the theme
With righter verdict, tho' the court 's a dream.
TISED IN ENGLAND.
I heard two neighbours talk, the other night,
About this new distemper-giving plan,
Which some so wrong, and others think so right;
Short was the dialogue--md thus it ran,
WRITTEN WIEN IT FIRST BEGAN TO BE PRAC