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Mr. Hume's Essays, page 265.
Those compositions, which we read the oftenest, and which every man of taste has got by heart, have the recommendation of fimplicity, and have nothing surprising in the thought, when divested of that elegance of expresfion, and harmony of numbers, with which it is cloathed. If the merit of the composition lies in a point of wit, it may strike at first ; but the mind anticipates the thought in the second perusal, and is no longer affected by it. When I read an epigram of Martial, the first line recalls the whole; and I have no pleasure in repeating to myself what I know already. But each line, each word in CATULLUS has its merit ; and I am never tired with che perusal of him. It is sufficient to run over COWLEY once ; but Parnell, after the fiftieth reading, is as fresh as at the firft.
Essay of SIMPLICITY and REFINEMENT.
And his REMARKS on HOMER's Battles of
the FROGS and Mice.
Right HoNOR A BL E.
RO B E R T,
EARL of OXFOR D.
EARL MORTIM E R.
CUCH were the notes, thy once-lov'd Poet fung,
For him, thou oft haft bid the world attend,
For Swift and him, despis’d the farce of state, The fober follies of the wise and great; Dextrous, the craving, fawning croud to quit, And pleas’d to 'scape from flattery to wit.
Absent or dead, still let a friend be dear, (A figh the abfent claims, the dead a tear) Recal those nights that clos'd thy toilsom days, Still hear thy PARNELL in his living lays : : : Who careless, now, of int’rest, fame, or fate, Perhaps forgets that OXFORD e'er was great ; Or deeming meanest what we greatest call, Beholds thee glorious only in thy fall.
And sure, if ought below the seats divine Can touch Immortals, 'tis a soul like thine : A soul supreme, in each hard instance try'd, Above all pain, all paffion, and all pride, The rage of pow'r, the blast of public breath, The lust of lucre, and the dread of death.
In vain to deserts thy retreat is made ; The Muse attends thee to thy filent shade :