« VorigeDoorgaan »
A woman now may live, tho' past her prime,
So hallow'd and so gracious is the time.
Bankrupt of deities, with all their train,
And set to work without his tools in vain,
Not genius-crampt (but what can genius do
When it's tied down to one and one make two ?)
How can poor Poet stir ? In such a case
We must do something to supply their place.
See, at his beck, all Nouns renouncing sense,
Start into persons of some consequence. 80
Proud of new being, tread poetic ground,
And aggregate their attributes around;
These he may use of right, as his own growth,
In all the rest confin'd to sober Truth.
To bless a nation, see Charlotta come, 'Twas Anson, and not Neptune, brought her home. A single Nereid stirr'd not from below, The duce a conch did e'er one Triton blow; But, in revenge she plongh'd her subject main, With every virtue 'tending in her train.
7 go Hark, 'tis a people's universal voice, That bless, while they approve their Sov’reign's
On such a theme, my Lord, might one extend Far as one would, nor strictest Truth offend,
'Twere only proper epithets to find,
To every grace of person and of mind;
With decent dress, and emblem to improve
All that can merit our esteem and love.
But then to Poetry where's the pretence ?
Locke and Sir Isaac write not plainer sense, no
From the first ages down to modern time,
Derive the pleasing stream of verse and rhime,
However vast from its first source it rose,
Th’inverted river dwindles as it flows.
Thus from the lunar hills some other Nile,
Swoln with new stores from snows that melt the while,
Stretches his current on to fiercer suns,
And glads a thousand nations as he runs,
Till having reach'd, proud of his long career,
Those sands which belt the middle of our spħereplo.
Exhal’d, absorb’d, diverted, dry foot cross'd,
And, finger'd into rivulets, is lost.
Fall'n cherub; Simile! who erst divine,
Cloath'd with transcendant beauty didst outshine
Plain angel Poesy; how art thou lost !
Sunk in Oblivion's pit! from what height tossid !
Thus to plain Narrative confin'd alone,
Figure, Description, Simile quite gone ;
The whole affair evinc'd which we contend,
The thing has had its day, and there's an end, 120
With Milton, Epic drew its latest breath,
Since Shakspere, Tragedy puts us to death;
Th' assassin Satire sheaths the keen stiletto,
And languishes, depriv’d of the Concetto;
age' with pious eye no longer views The great mortality of gross abuse.
Soft Elegy has dried up all her tears,
And Gray composes once in seven years;
Celia's and Delia's shine no more in song,
Nor ballad bauls the deafen'd streets along.
My Lord, a little patience further still,
To “Wit is gone,” by way of codicil;
Who but will say the thing that hears me tell ?-
The man mistakes—Lord Melcombe's very well,
Suppose I said–O could I! War is done,
Means it there's no such thing, as sword, or gun?
Party and Faction dead, whoever grants,
Means he that every man has what he wants ?
In all these cases is implied alone,
That there's no object to employ them on.
A Court, my Lord, and Minister to hit,
And cry corruption, make all public wit:
'Tis on this sense my reason chiefly stands-
There may be cash enough in private hands.
Now where could Malice bite, or Envy sting,
The polish'd model of a perfect King ?
Of Ministers what mighty matters tell ?
They give, we know, but neither buy nor sell.
Add we to what we've said, this little more,
That all that can be wrote, is wrote before ; 158
That pool of knowledge fish'd, poach'd, dragg'd and
Till nothing bigger than a grig remain’d;
And painful writers think it a good day,
If they can hook a news-paper essay,
And must remain so till blank years of grace,
Suspending future writing, shall take place ;
Put down our piddling, bobbing, and allow
The spawn and fry of Science time to grow.
But while we're on this subject, 'tis worth thinking,
How little salt has kept this world from stinking
'Tis the same wit, at different times alive,
Sunk at Whitehall, to rise up at Queenhithe.
Born in whatever clime, whatever age,
We trace it first from the Athenian stage,
Where Liberty a little licence claim’d,
There, just as somewhere else, that shan't be nam'd;
Taught all her sons this fav’rite to adore,
Much for itself, because abusive more ;
For every comic writer braided it,
Two threads of Scandal to one thread of Wit: 1%
O'er all, see Aristophanes preside,
And fash his lightnings round on every side,
Struck the sham patriot, the swoln Poet wasted,
Alas! e'en Socrates himself he blasted.
What was the burst directly over head, So loud its echo, now its fires so red, Tho' oft thro' Time's thick cloud the trembling
gleam We only catch, but miss the vivid beam; While half-seen thoughts, like meteors, twinkle light, And draw their lucid trails athwart the night.. 186
Hither, unto their fountain, other stars Repairing, swell their own peculiars, By tincture or reflection ; Lucian hence, His golden urn replenish'd, and long since Rabelais from both his urinal drew full; From him, and them, Swift crowded his close-stool. Howe'er it came, with the strange passion stung, To raise his choicest fruit on rankest dung; Fully convinc'd his jessamine and rose Smelt sweetest, planted by his little house :
190 Yet still some cleaner parts distinguish'd lay, Like cherry-stones upon a child's c-C-o.
The nasty lines, my Lord, demand excuse, Happ'ly the times are free from that abuse : Our decent manners all obsceneness flout, And Wit is at one entrance quite shut out,