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barley. While awkward pride, tho'safe from war's
Round his plump body buckles ancient arms,
And, from an honest justice of the peace,
Starts up at once a demi.god of Greece';
Too firm of heart by ridicule to fall,
The finish'd hero crowns his country hall,
Ordain’d to fill, if fire his glory spare,
The lumber garret of his wiser heir.
Not less absurd to flatter Nero's eyes
Arole the portrait of colosal fize:
Twice fifty feet th’ enormous sheet was spreat,
To lift o'er gazing flaves the monster's head,
When impious Folly sway'd Oppression's rod,
And servile Rome ador'd the mimic God.
Think not, my friend, with supercilious air,
I rank the portrait as beneath thy care,
Blest be the pencil! which from death can save
The semblance of the virtuous, wise, and brave;
That youth and emulation still may gaze
On those inspiring forms of ancient days,
And, from the force of bright example bold,
Rival their worth, and be what they behold.“
Blest be the pencil! whose consoling pow'r,
Soothing foft Friends hip in her penfive hour,
Dispels the cloud, with melancholy fraught,
That absence throws upon her tender thought.
Bleft be the pencil! whose enchantment gives
To wounded Love the food on which he lives.
Rich in this gift, tho' cruel ocean bear
The youth to exile from his faithful fair,
He in fond dreams hangs o'er her glowing cheek,
Still owns her present, and still hears her speak:
Oh! love, it was thy glory to impart
Its infant being to this magic art!
Inspir'd by thee, the soft Corinthian maid
Her graceful lover's sleeping form portray'd:
Her boding heart his near departure knew,
Yet long’d to keep his image in her view:
Pleas'd she beheld the steady shadow fall
By the clear lamp upon the even wall:
The line she trac'd with fond precision true,
And, drawing, donted on the form The drew;
Nor, as the glow'd with no forbidden fire,
Conceal'd the fimpel picture from her fire:
His kindred fancy, still to nature juft,
Copied her line, and form'd the mimic bust,
Thus from thy power, inspiring Love, we trace
The modellid image, and the pencil'd face!
We pity Genius, when, by interest led,
His toils but reach the semblance of a head;
Yet are those censures too severe and vain,
That scoin the Portrait as the Paintér's bane.
Tho' up the mountain winds the arduous road
That leads to pure Perfection's bright abode,
In humbler walks fome tempting laurels grow,
Some flowers are gather'd in the vale below:
Youth on the plain collects increasing force,
To climb the feep in his meridian course.
While Nature lees her living models share
The rifing artist's unremitting care,
She on his mind her every charm imprints,
Her easy postures, and her perfect tints
Till his quick pencil, in maturer hour,
Recomes her rival in creative power.
ESSAY ON HISTORY;
Ep. III. v. 191-254.
Far other views the liberal Genius fire
Whose toils to pure Historic praise, aspire,
Nor Moderation's dupe, nor Faction's brave,
Nor Guilt's apologist, nor Flattery's slave:
Wise, but not cunning; temperate, not cold;
Servant of Truth, and in that just controul
By which mild Nature lways the manly soul,
And Reason's philantropic spirit draws
To Virtue's interest, and Freedom's cause;
Those great ennoblers of the human name,
Pure springs of Power, of Happiness, and Fame!
To teach their influence, and spread their sway,
The just Historian winds his toilfome way;
From filent darkness, creeping o'er the earth,
Redeems the sinking trace of useful worth;
In Vice's bosom marks the latent thorn,
And brands that public pest with public scorn.
A lively teacher in a moral school!
In that great office steady, clear, and cool!
Pleas'd to promote the welfare of mankind,
And by informing meliorate the mind!
Such the bright task committed to his care!
Boundless its use; but its completion rare.
Critics have said. „Tho' high th' Historian's
His Laws are simple tho' his Province large;
Two obvious rules ensure his full success
To speak no Falsehood; and no Truth suppress:
Art must to other works a lustre lend,
But History pleases, howsoe’er it's penn'd.“
Perchance in ruder periods; but in those,
Where all the luxury of Learning flows,
To Truth's plain fare nó palate will submit,
Each reader grows an Epicure in Wit;
And Knowdlege must his nicer taste beguile
With all the poignant charms of Attic style.
The curious Scholar, in his judgment choice,
Expects no common Notes from History's voice ;
But all the tones, that all the passions luit,
From the bold Trumpet'to the tender Lute:
Yet if thro' Music's scale her voice should range
Now high, now low, with many a pleasing change,
Grace must thro' every variation glide,
In every movement Majesty preside:
With ease not careless, tho' correct not cold;
Soft without languor, without harshnels bold.
Tho' Affectation can all works debase,
In Language, as in life, the bane of Grace!
Regarded ever with a scornful smile,
She most is censur'd in th' Historic style :
Yet her insinuating power is such,
Not ev'n the Greeks ef kap'd her baleful touch;
Hence the fictious Speech, and long Harangue,
Too oft, like weights, on ancient Story hang,
Less fond of labour, modern pens devise
Affected beauties of inferior fize:
They in a narrower compass boldly strike
The fancied Portrait, with no feature like;
And Nature's simple colouring vainly quit,
To boast the brilliant glare of fading Wit.
Those works alone may that blest fate expect
To live thro' time, unconscious of neglect,
That catch, in springing from no fordid source,
The ease of Nature, and of Truth the force.
ESSAY ON EPIC POETRY.
Ep. I. v. 187 M.
Say ye! whose curious philosophic eye
Searches the depth where Nature's fecrets lie;
Ye, who can tell how her capricious fit
Directs the flow and ebb of human wit,
And why, obedient to her quick command,
Spring-tides of Genius now enrich her fav’rite land,
Now link, by her to different climes aflign'd,
And only leave fome worthless weeds behind!
Say! wliy in Greece, unrivald and alone,
The fovereign Poet grac'd his Epic throne?
Why did the realm that echoed his renown,
Produce no kindred heir to claim his crown?
If, as the liberal mind delights to think,
Fancy's rich flow rs their vital essence drink
Fron Liberty's pure streams, that largely roll
Their quick’ning virtue thro' the Poet's soul;
Why, in the period when this Friend of Earth
Made Greece the model of heroic worth,
And saw her votaries act, beneath her sway,
Scenes more fublime than Fiction can display,
Why did the Epic Muse's silent lyre
Shrink from those feats that funimond all her fire ?
Or if, as courtly Theorists maintain,
The Muses revel in a Monarch's reign;
Why, when young Ammon's foul, athirst for
Call'd every Art to celebrate his name;
When ready Painting, at his fovereign nod,
With aweful thunder arm'd this miinic God!
Why did coy Poefy, tho' fondly wood,
Refuse that dearer finile for which he sued,
And see him shed, in martial Honor's bloom,
The tear of envy on Achilles' tomb?