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How far is this from the Mæonian stile?
Who neither knows nor would observe a rule;

“ Muse, speak the man, who, since the siege of Troy, And chooses to be ignorant and proud,

“ So many towns, such change of manners saw." Rather thau own his ignorance, and learn ?

One with a flaslı begins, and ends in smoke,
Let every thing have its due place and time.

The other out of smoke brings glorious light:
A comic subject loves an humble verse:

And (without raising expectation high)
Thyestes scorns a low and comic style:

Surprises us with daring miracles,
Yet Comedy sometimes may raise her voice,

The bloody Lestrygons, Charybdis' gulph,
And Chremes be allow'd to foam and rail :

And frighted Greeks, who near the Ætna shore
Tragedians too lay by their state to grieve;
Peleus and Telephus, exil'd and poor,

Hear Scylla bark, and Polyphemus roar,

He doth not trouble us with Leda's eggs,
Forget their swelling and gigantic words.

When he begins to write the Trojan war ;
He that would have spectators share his grief,
Must write not only well, but movingly,

Nor, writing the return of Diomed,
And raise men's passions to what height he will. Go back as far as Meleager's death:
We weep and laugh, as we see others do:

Nothing is idle, each judicious line
He only makes me sad who shews the way,

Insensibly acquaints us with the plot ;
And first is sad himself; then, Telephus,

He chooses only what he can improve,
I feel the weight of your calamities,

And truth and fiction are so aptly mix’d,
And fancy all your miseries my own:

That all seems uniform, and of a piece.
But if you act them ill, I sleep or laugh:

Now hear what every auditor expects,
Your looks must alter, as your subject does,

If you intend that he should stay to hear
From kind to fierce, from wanton to severe ;

The epilogue, and see the curtain fall.
For nature forms, and softens us within,

Mind how our tempers alter in our years,
And writes our fortune's changes in our face. And by that rule form all your characters.
Pleasure inchants, impetuous rage transports,

One that hath newly learn d to speak and go,
And grief dejects and wrings the tortur'd soul; Loves childish plays, is soon provok”d and pleas'd,
And these are all interpreted by speech :

And changes every hour his wavering mind.
But he whose words and fortunes disagree,

A youth that first casts off his tutor's yoke,
Abjur'd, unpity'd, grows a public jest.

Loves horses, hounds, and sports, and exercise,
Observe the characters of those that speak,

Prone to all vice, impatient of reproof,
Whether an honest servant, or a cheat,

Proud, careless, fond, inconstant, and profuse.
Or one whose blood boils in his youthful veins,

Gain and ambition rule our riper years,
Or a grave matron, or a busy nurse,

And make us slaves to interest and power.
Extorting merchants, careful husbandmen,

Old men are only walking hospitals,
Argives or Thebans, Asians or Greeks.

Where all defects and all diseases crowd,
Follow report, or feign coherent things;

With restless pain, and more tormenting fear;
Describe Achilles, as Achilles was,

Lazy, morose, full of delays and hopes, , Impatient, rash, inexorable, proud,

Oppress'd with riches which they dare not use;
Scorning all judges, and all law but arms;

Ilinatur'd censors of the present age,
Medea must be all revenge and blood,

And fond of all the follies of the past.
Ino all tears, Ixion all deceit,

Thus all the treasure of our flowing years,
lo must wander, and Orestes mourn.

Our ebb of life for ever takes away.

your bold Muse dare tread unbeaten paths, Boys must not have th' ambitious care of men, And bring new characters upon the stage,

Nor men the weak anxieties of age.
Be sure you keep them up to their first height. Some things are acted, others only told;
New subjects are not easily explain'd,

But what we hear moves less than what we see;
And you had better choose a well-known theme Spectators only have their eyes to trust,
Than trust to an invention of your own:

But auditors must trust their ears and you;
For what originally others writ,

Yet there are things improper for a scene,
May be so well disguis'd, and so improv'd,

Which men of judgment only will relate.
That with some justice it may pass for yours;

Medea must not draw her murdering knife,
But then you must not copy trivial things,

And spill her children's blood upon the stage,
Nor word for word too faithfully translate,

Nor Atreus there his horrid feast prepare.
Nor (as some servile imitators do)

Cadmus and Progne's metamorphosis,
Prescribe at first such strict uneasy rules,

(She to a swallow turn'd, he to a snake)
As you must ever slavishly observe,

And whatsoever contradicts my sense,
Or all the laws of decency renounce.

I hate to see, and never can believe.
Begin not as th' old poetaster did,

Five acts are the just measure of a play.
“ Troy's famous war, and Priam's fate, I sing." Never presume to make a God appear,
In what will all this ostentation end ?

But for a business worthy of a God;
The labouring mountain scarce brings forth a And in one scene no more than three should speak.

A chorus should supply what action wants,


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And hath a generous and manly part;

Be perfect in the Greek originals, Bridles wild rage, loves rigid honesty,

Read them by day, and think of them by night. And strict observance of impartial laws,

But Plautus was admir'd in former time Sobriety, security, and peace,

With too much patience (not to call it worse): And begs the Gods who guide blind fortune's wheel, His harsh, unequal verse was music then, To raise the wretched and pull down the proud. And rudeness had the privilege of wit. But nothing must be sung between the acts,

When Thespis first expos’d the Tragic Muse, But what some way conduces to the plot.

Rude were the actors, and a cart the scene, First the shrill sound of a small rural pipe Where ghastly faces stain'd with lees of wine (Not loud like trumpets, nor adorn'd as now) Frighted the children, and amus'd the crowd; Was entertainment for the infant stage,

This Æschylus (with indignation) saw, And pleas'd the thin and bashful audience

And built a stage, found out a decent dress, Of our well meaning, frugal ancestors.

Brought vizards in (a civiler disguise), 'But when our walls and limits were enlarg’d, And taught men how to speak, and how to act. And men (grown wanton by prosperity)

Next Comedy appear’d with great applause,
Study'd new arts of luxury and ease,

Till her licentious and abusive tongue
The verse, the music, and the scenes improv'd; Waken’d the magistrates' coercive power,
For how should ignorance be judge of wit, And forc'd it to suppress her insolence.
Or men of sense applaud the jest of fools ?

Our writers have attempted every way;
Then came rich clothes and graceful action in, And they deserve our praise, whose daring Muse
Then instruments were taught more moving notes,

Disdain'd to be beholden to the Greeks, And eloquence with all her pomp and charms And found fit subjects for her verse at home. Foretold us useful and sententious truths,

Nor should we be less famous for our wit, As those deliver'd by the Delphic God.

Than for the force of our victorious arms; The first tragedians found that serious style But that the time and care that are requir'd Too grave for their uncultivated age,

To overlook, and file, and polish well, And so brought wild and naked satyrs in,

Fright poets from that necessary toil. Whose motion, words, and shape, were all a farce, Democritus was so in love with wit, (As oft as decency would give them leave)

And some men's natural impulse to write, Because the mad ungovernable rout,

That he despis'd the help of art and rules, Full of confusion, and the fumes of wine,

And thought none poets till their brains were crackt; Lov'd such variety and antic tricks.

And this hath so intoxicated some, But then they did not wrong themselves so much That (to appear incorrigibly mad) To make a god, a hero, or a king,

They cleanliness and company renounce. (Stript of his golden crown and purple robe) For lunacy beyond the cure of art, Descend to a mechanic dialect,

With a long beard, and ten long dirty nails, Nor (to avoid such meanness) soaring high

Pass current for Apollo's livery. With empty sound and airy notions fly:

O my unhappy stars ! if in the Spring For tragedy should blush as much to stoop

Some physic had not cur'd me of the spleen, To the low mimic follies of a farce,

None would have writ with more success than l; As a grave matron would to dance with girls. But I must rest contented as I am, You must not think that a satiric style

And only serve to whet that wit in you, Allows of scandalous and brutish words,

To which I willingly resign my claim.
Or the confounding of your characters.

Yet without writing I may teach to write,
Begin with Truth, then give Invention scope, Tell what the duty of a poet is,
And if your style be natural and smooth,

Wherein his wealth and ornaments consist,
All men will try, and hope to write as well; And how he may be form’d, and how improv'd,
And (not without much pains) be undeceiv'd : What fit, what not, what excellent or ill.
So much good method and connexion may

Sound judgment is the ground of writing well; Improve the common and the plainest things. And when Philosophy directs your choice A satyr that comes staring from the woods,

To proper subjects rightly understood,
Must not at first speak like an orator:

Words from your pen will naturally flow;
But, though his language should not be refin'd, He only gives the proper characters,
It must not be obscene and impudent.

Who knows the duty of all ranks of men,
The better sort abhors scurrility,

And what we owe our country, parents, friends, And often censures what the rabble likes.

How judges and how senators should act, Unpolish'd verses pass with many men,

And what becomes a general to do. And Rome is too indulgent in that point ;

Those are the likest copies, which are drawn But then to write at a loose rambling rate,

By the original of human life. 'In hope the world will wink at all our faults, Sometimes in rough and undigested plays Is such a rash ill-grounded confidence,

We meet with such a lucky character, As men may pardon but will never praise.

As, being humour'd right, and well pursued,

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Succeeds much better than the shallow verse But no authority of gods nor men

Allow of any mean in poesy.
And chiming trifles of more studious pens.
Greece had a genius, Greece had eloquence,

As an ill concert, and a coarse perfume,
For her ambition and her end was fame.

Disgrace the delicacy of a feast,
Our Roman youth is diligently taught

And might with more discretion have been spar'd;
The deep mysterious art of growing rich,

whose end is to delight,

And the first words that children learn to speak

Admits of no degrees, but must be still
Are of the value of the names of coin.

Sublimely good, or despicably ill.
Can a penurious wretch, that with his milk

In other things men have some reason left,
Hath suck'd the basest dregs of usury,

And one that cannot dance, or fence, or run,
Pretend to generous and heroic thoughts?

Despairing of success, forbears to try;
Can rust and avarice write lasting lines ?

But all (without consideration) write ;
But you, brave youth, wise Numa's worthy heir, Some thinking that th' omnipotence of wealth
Remember of what weight your judgment is,

Can turn them into poets when they please.
And never venture to commend a book,

But, Piso, you are of too quick a sight
That has not pass'd all judges and all tests.

Not to discern which way your talent lies,
A poet should instruct, or please, or both. Or vainly with your genius to contend;
Let all your precepts be succinct and clear,

Yet if it ever be your fate to write,
That ready wits may comprehend them soon, Let your productions pass the strictest hands,
And faithful memories retain them long.

Mine and your father's, and not see the light
All superfluities are soon forgot.

Till time and care have ripen'd every line.
Never be so conceited of your parts,

What you keep by you, you may change and mend;
To think you may persuade us what you please, But words once spoke can never be recall’d.
Or venture to bring in a child alive,

Orpheus, inspir'd by more than human power,
That cannibals have murder'd and devour'd.

Did not, as poets feign, tame savage beasts,
age explodes all but morality;

But men as lawless and as wild as they,
Austerity offends aspiring youths ;

And first dissuaded them from rage and blood.
But he that joins instruction with delight,

Thus, when Amphion built the Theban wall, Profit with pleasure, carries all the votes.

They feign'd the stones obey'd his magic lute:
These are the volumes that enrich the shops,

Poets, the first instructors of mankind,

pass with admiration through the world, Brought all things to their proper, native use ; And bring their author to eternal fame.

Some they appropriated to the Gods,
Be not too rigidly censorious,

And some to public, some to private ends:
A string may jar in the best master's hand,

Promiscuous love by marriage was restrain'd,
And the most skilful archer miss his aim;

Cities were built, and useful laws were made:
But in a poem elegantly writ,

So great was the divinity of verse,
I would not quarrel with a slight mistake

And such observance to a poet paid.
Such as our nature's frailty may excuse ;

Then Homer's and Tyrtæus' martial Muse
But he that hath been often told his fault,

Wahen’d the world, and sounded loud alarms.
And still persists, is as impertinent

To verse we owe the sacred oracles,
As a musician that will always play,

And our best precepts of morality:
And yet is always out at the same note:

Some have by verse obtain'd the love of kings,
When such a positive abandon'd fop

(Who with the Muses ease their weary'd minds.) (Among his numerous absurdities)

Then blush not, noble Piso, to protect
Stumbles upon some tolerable line,

What Gods inspire, and kings delight to hear.
I fret to see them in such company,

Some think that poets may be form’d by art;
And wonder by what magic they came there.

Others maintain that Nature makes them so:
But in long works sleep will sometimes surprise ; I neither see what art without a vein,
Homer himself hath been observ'd to nod.

Nor wit without the help of art can do;
Poems, like pictures, are of different sorts, But mutually they crave each other's aid,
Some better at a distance, others near,

He that intends to gain th’ Olympic prize,
Some love the dark, some choose the clearest light,

Must use himself to hunger, heat, and cold,
And boldly challenge the most piercing eye;?

Take leave of wine and the soft joys of love;
Some please for once, some will for ever please.

And no musician dares pretend to skill,
But, Piso, (though your knowledge of the world,

Without a great expense of time and pains:
Join'd with your father's precepts, make you wise) But every little busy scribbler now
Remember this as an important truth,

Swells with the praises which he gives himself,
Some things admit of mediocrity ;

And, taking sanctuary in the crowd,
A counsellor, or pleader at the bar,

Brags of his impudence, and scorns to mend.
May want Messala's powerful eloquence,

A wealthy poet takes more pains to hire
Or be less read than deep Cascellius;

A flattering audience, than poor tradesmen da
Yet this indifferent lawyer is esteem'd;

To persuade customers buy their goods.

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'Tis hard to find a man of great estate,

A poetaster, in his raging fit, That can distinguish flatterers from friends.

(Follow'd and pointed at by fools and boys) Never delude yourself, nor read your book

Is dreaded and proscrib’d by men of sense : Before a brib'd and fawning auditor;

They make a lane for the polluted thing, For he'll commend and feign an extasy,

And fly as from th' infection of the plague, Grow pale or weep, do any thing to please.

Or from a man whom, for a just revenge, True friends appear less mov'd than counterfeit; Fanatic phrenzy sent by Heaven pursues. As men that truly grieve at funerals,

If (in the raving of a frantic Muse) Are not so loud as those that cry for hire.

And minding more his verses than his way, Wise were the kings who never chose a friend, Any of these should drop into a well, Till with full cups they had unmask'd his soul, Though he might burst his lungs to call for help, And seen the bottom of his deepest thoughts. No creature would assist or pity him, You cannot arm yourself with too much care But seem to think he fell on purpose in. Against the smiles of a designing knave.

Hear how an old Sicilian poet dy'd ; Quintilius (if his advice were ask’d)

Empedocles, mad to be thought a god, Would freely tell you what you should correct, In a cold fit leap'd into Ætna's flames. Or, if you could not, bid you blot it out,

Give poets leave to make themselves away; And with more care supply the vacancy ;

Why should it be a greater sin to kill, But if he found you fond and obstinate

Than to keep men alive against their will? (And apter to defend than mend your faults), Nor was this chance, but a deliberate choice; With silence leave you to admire yourself,

For if Empedocles were now reviv'd, And without rival hug your darling book.

He would be at his frolic once again, The prudent care of an impartial friend

And his pretensions to divinity. Will give you notice of each idle line,

'Tis hard to say, whether for sacrilege, Shew what sounds harsh, and what wants orna. Or incest, or some more unheard-of crime, ment,

The rhyming fiend is sent into these men: Or where it is too lavishly bestow'd;

But they are all most visibly possest, Make you explain all that he finds obscure,

And, like a baited bear when he breaks loose, And with a strict inquiry mark your faults ; Without distinction seize on all they meet: Nor for these trifles fear to lose your love.

None ever 'scap'd that came within their reach, Those things which now seem frivolous and slight, Sticking like leeches, till they burst with blood; Will be of a most serious consequence,

Without remorse insatiably they read, When they have made you once ridiculous.

And never leave till they have read men dead.

and boni

POMFRET-A. D. 1677-1703.

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With the best wines each vintage could afford.
If Heaven the grateful liberty would give,

Wine whets the wit, improves its native force,
That I might choose my method how to live; And gives a pleasant flavour to discourse;
And all those hours propitious Fate should lend, By making all our spirits debonair,
In blissful ease and satisfaction spend ;

Throws off the lees, the sediment of care.
Near some fair town I'd have a private seat, But as the greatest blessing Heaven lends
Built uniform, not little, nor too great;

May be debauch'd, and serve ignoble ends;
Better, if on a rising ground it stood;

So, but too oft, the grape's refreshing juice
On this side fields, on that a neighbouring wood. Does many mischievous effects produce.
It should within no other things contain

My house should no such rude disorders know,
But what are useful, necessary, plain:

As from high drinking consequently flow;
Methinks 'tis nauseous; and I'd ne'er endure Nor would I use what was so kindly given,
The needless pomp of gaudy furniture.

To the dishonour of indulgent Heaven.
A little garden, grateful to the eye ;

If any neighbour came, he should be free,
And a cool rivulet run murmuring by:

Us’d with respect, and not uneasy be,
On whose delicious banks a stately row

In my retreat, or to himself or me.
Of shady limes, or sycamores, should grow.

What freedom, prudence, and right reason gave,
At th' end of which a silent study placid,

All men may, with impunity, receive:
Should be with all the noblest authors grac'd: But the least swerving from their rule's too much ;
Horace and Virgil, in whose mighty lines

For what's forbidden us, 'tis death to touch.
Immortal wit, and solid learning, shines ;

That life may be more comfortable yet,
Sharp Juvenal, and amorous Ovid too,

And all my joys refin'd, sincere, and great ;
Who all the turns of love's soft passion knew : I'd choose two friends, whose company would be
He that with judgment reads his charming lines, A great advance to my felicity:
In which strong art with stronger nature joins,

Well-born, of humours suited to my own,
Must grant his fancy does the best excel;

Discreet, and men as well as books have known:
His thoughts so tender, and expressd so well. Brave, generous, witty, and exactly free
With all those moderns, men of steady sense,

From loose behaviour, or formality :
Esteem'd for learning, and for eloquence.

Airy and prudent; merry, but not light;
In some of these, as fancy should advise,

Quick in discerning, and in judging right:
I'd always take my morning exercise :

Secret they should be, faithful to their trust;
For sure no minutes bring us more content,

In reasoning cool, strong, temperate, and just ;
Than those in pleasing, useful studies spent. Obliging, open ; without huffing, brave;
I'd have a clear and competent estate,

Brisk in gay talking, and in sober grave:
That I might live genteelly, but not great :

Close in dispute, but not tenacious; try'd
As much as I could moderately spend ;

By solid reason, and let that decide :
A little more, sometimes t'oblige a friend.

Not prone to lust, revenge, or envious hate;
Nor should the sons of poverty repine

Nor busy medlers with intrigues of state:
Too much at fortune, they should taste of mine Strangers to slander, and sworn foes to spite;
And all that objects of true pity were,

Not quarrelsome, but stout enough to fight;
Should be reliev'd with what my wants could spare; Loyal, and pious, friends to Cæsar ; true,
For that our Maker has too largely given,

As dying Martyrs, to their Maker too.
Should be return'd in gratitude to Heaven.

In their society I could not miss
A frugal plenty should my table spread;

A permanent, sincere, substantial bliss.


Would bounteous Heaven once more indulge, I'd
With healthy, not luxurious, dishes spread ;

(For who would so much satisfaction lose,
Enough to satisfy, and something more,

As witty nymphs, in conversation, give)
To feed the stranger, and the neighbouring poor.

Near some obliging modest fair to live:
Strong meat indulges vice, and pampering food

For there's that sweetness in a female mind,
Creates diseases, and inflames the blood.

Which in a man's we cannot hope to find ;
But what's sufficient to make nature strong,

That, by a secret, but a powerful art,
And the bright lamp of life continue long,

Winds up the spring of life, and does impart
I'd freely take; and, as I did possess,

Fresh vital heat to the transported heart.
The bounteous Author of my plenty bless.

I'd have her reason all her passion sway:
I'd bave a little vault, but always stor'd

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