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And Britain's rivers round the cieling flow.
Here bold Description with her pencil stands,
To roll the billows over shining sands;
Strong on the eye th' inverted figures fall,
And the rich cornice sets on fire the wall :
Tame on his anchor here supports his head,
And Humber heavy with his pigs of lead;
While Avon's waters into Severn roll,
And the Tine tumbles out her mines of coal ;
There in green gold the Medway seems to burn, 3
And pour down fishes from her foaming urn;
While silver Isis joins her husband Tame,)
And in each other lose their ancient name.
In sculpture too proportion learns to please,
When every beauty swells by nice degrees;
Where by the chisel's meant the poet's pen,
That files and polishes the works of men,
Softens the rugged surface of the song,
Yet turns the feature regular and strong ;
Commands the limbs in attitudes to rise,
sto And live and walk before the reader's eyes.
Beneath her palm hence sun-burnt Egypt ’s seen,]
The roughen'd fret-work suits the matron's mien :
In molten ore Minerva lends her aid,
And lifts to life the rude unletter'd maid :
Rais’d by her hand Nile's daughter quits the ground,
Hardens her mummies, hears her sistrum sound,
Towers like her pyramids, sublimely bold,
And almost rises half her height in gold.
So the slack rope the dextrous dancer tries, so
Poiz'd on a pole betwixt air, earth, and skies,
Walks o’er the waves of heads that roll below,
His limbs look supple, and his steps tread slow :
Beneath his foot the sturdy cable bends,
Mounts as he moves, and drops as he descends:
Back start the crowd : he, glorying in his strength,
Springs on his feet, and rises half his length.
By architecture last he lays the scheme,
And by some model bids his genius flame,
Works up the whole, and sees the building shine,580
In all its parts, with conduct and design:
upon so fine a plan,
The test, the wonder, and delight of man,
Will stand the shocks and injuries of time,
Built upon nature, and the true sublime.
Thus life-resembling Allegory lies
Behind a veil, remote from vulgar eyes :
ali, so Transparent veil 1 in hieroglyphics wrought, =fagences
Which only covers not obscures the thought;
Where silver urns express the figur’d food,
And more is meant than first is understood ;
Old Age and Time in hoary forms appear,
And proper emblems represent the year;
There oft[blue Neptune for the sea is seen,]
And rivers rising from their beds in green ;
In golden lines th' autumnal season glows,
And winter through a blustering period blows :
Here brother twins unbar rude Fancy's gate,
Dress her wild dreams, and on the goddess wait,
Romantic dreams! from Superstition sprung,
Which Ariosto taught, and Spenser sung.
Then every grotto in its Genius spoke,
And Hamadryads from each hollow oak;
Ev'n Echo learn’d to answer to her name,
And babbled louder than the babbling stream,
Now when some rival poem you peruse,
O let not Envy blind the partial Muse!
Where merit is, esteem it as your own,
And in its triumphs let your light be shown;
Let Albion ask from whence an author came,
And judge according to the writer's name ;
French, English, Irish, be alike to you,
And gladly give an Infidel his due :
Scorn that mean artifice of unjust praise,
Nor think to flatter, is to gain the bays ;
bro 6% ke Those two extremes the worthy will despise, Who hate with reason, and with reason prize.
And yet to malice sure I'm much oblig'd,
On every side by calumny besiegd:
To critics much I owe, who make me mend;
And Envy I could almost call my friend;
These taught my youthful steps an early care,
To tread with caution, and proceed with fear :
Oft in my mind their black aspersions came,
And made me tremble at the love of fame ; bro
Ev’n now I dread their jealousy and spite,
And faint in fancy every line I write.
How long before the Muses can succeed !
To please the world is now a task indeed!
All former methods vainly we pursue,
The world is old, and calls for something new;
Nothing will take with this judicious age,
But lines well labor’d, and a studied page ;
Wherelrich variety relieves the mind, I
And beams of fancy strike the critic blind;- 630
Exalted notions which great souls contain,
Thoughts big with life, and bursting from the brain ;
Surprising novelties that never tire,
But lead the reader on from fire to fire.
Avoid the harshness of discordant chime,]
Sense ill atones for violated rhyme ;
R R’s jar untuneful o'er the quivering tongue,
And serpent S with hissings spoils the song :)
When triplets like the furies join their hands,
Unlock their folds, and break their lawless bands; 540
Else Cerberus like the threefold monster stands.
'Tis true a triplet might succeed by chance,
And ev'n twelve feet judiciously advance ;
But those experiments are fatal found,
And seldom us'd but when we call for sound :
All Alexandrines from the page expunge,
That o'er the paper take an unweildly lunge.
Compounded epithets had need be few,]
But those familiar, and uncommon too ;
Some oft like Janus wear a double face,
A mongrel-mixture, and a motley-race;
With those the mountains must be always bleak,
And no kind north wind stir the sleeping lake ;
But ever-fanning breezes cool the morn,]
And suns red-rising the grey dawn adorn.).
Others to wild description turn their style,
Make storms blow gently, and black whirlwinds
From each dark point the scattering clouds disperse,
And gleams of golden sun-shine' gild the verse :
1 Without Apollo's necessary aid,
What is description ? an eternal shade.
Weak eyes and judgments glaring objects strike ; ]
Both are but dazzled and deceiy'd alike.
But above all avoid that Siren sea,
Where men of wit are often cast away;
A tempting vice, long mentioned in the schools,
The pride of coxcombs, and the food of fools:
Here vanity holds forth her flattering glass,
And self-conceit adores her swelling face ;
Where rival worth in vain pretends to vie,