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pleasantly deceived, who expects an humble style from the subject, or a great subject from the style. It pleases the more universally, because it is agreeable to the taste both of the grave and the merry; but more particularly so to those who have a relish of the best wri. ters, and the noblest sort of poetry. I shall produce only one paffage out of this poet, which is the misfortune of his Galligarkins :
My Galligatkins, which have long withstood
This is admirably pathetical, and shews very well the vicissitudes of sublunary things. The rest goes on to a prodigious height ; and a man in Greenland could hardly have made a more pathetick and terrible complaint. Is it not surprising that the subject should be so mean, and the verse so pompous; that the least things in his poetry, as in a microscope, should grow great and formidable to the eye? especially considering that, not understanding French, he had no model for his style ? that he should haye no writer to imitate, and
himself be inimitable ? that he should do all this before he was twenty? at an age, which is usually pleased with a glare of false thoughts, little turns, and unnatural fustian? at an age, at which Cowley, Dryden, and I had almost said Virgil, were inconsiderable ? So foon was his imagination at its full strength, his judgement ripe, and his humour complete.
This poem was written for his own diverfion, without any design of publication. It was communicated but to me; but foon spread, and fell into the hands of pirates. It was put out, vilely mangled, by Ben Bragge; and impudently said to be corrected by the author. This grievance is now grown more epidemical; and no man now has a right to his own thoughts, or a title to his own writings. Xenophon answered the Persian, who de manded his arms, “ We have nothing now “ left but our arms and our valour; if we “ surrender the one, how: fhall we make “ use of the other?" Poets have nothing but their wits and their writings, and if they are plundered of the latter, I don't see what good the former can do them. To piraté,
and publickly own it, to prefix their names to the works they steal, to own and avow the theft, I believe, was never yet heard of but in England.
It will sound oddly to posterity, that, in a polite nation, in an enlightened age, under the direction of the most wise, most learned, and most generous encouragers of knowledge in the world, the property of a mechanick should be better secured than that of a scholar; that the poorest manual operations fhould be more valued than the noblest
products of the brain ; that it should be felony to rob a cobler of a pair of shoes, and no crime to deprive the best author of his whole subsistence; that nothing should make a man a sure title to his own writings but the stupidity of them; that the works of Dryden should meet with less encouragement than those of his own Flecknoe, or Blackmore; that Tillotfon and St. George, Tom Thumb and Temple, should be set on an equal foot. This is the reason why this very paper has been so long delayed ; and while the most impudent and scandalous libels are publickly vended by the pirates, this innocent work is forced to Steal abroad as if it were a libel.
Our present writers are by these wretches reduced to the same condition Virgil was, when the centurion seized on his estate. But I don't doubt but I can fix upon the Mæcenas of the present age, that will retrieve them from it. But, whatever effect this piracy may have, upon us, it contributed' very much to the advantage of Mr. Philips; it helped him to a reputation, which he neither desired nor expected, and to the honour of being, put upon a work of which he did not think himself, capable ; but the event shewed his inodesty. And it was reasonable to hope, that he, who could raise mean fübjects; fo high, should still be
more themes ; that "he, that could draw fuch noble ideas from a shilling, could not fait upon such a subject as the duke of Marlborough, which is capable of heightening eàven't he moji, low and trifling genius. And, indeed, most of the
great works which have been produced in the world have been owing less to the poet than the patron. Men of the greatest genius are sometimes lazy, and want a spur; often modest, and dare not *venture 'in pubfick; they certainly know their faults in the worst
elevated on greater
things, and even their best things they are not fond of, because the idea of what they ought to be is far above what they are. This induced me to believe that Virgil defired his work might be burnt, had not the sanie Augustus that desired him to write them, preserved them from destruction. A scribling beau may imagine a Poet may be induced to write, by the very pleasure he finds in writing but that is seldom, when people are necessitated to it. I have known men row, and use very
hard labour, for diversion, which, if they had been tied to, they would have thought themselves very unhappy.
But to return to Blenheim, that work fo much admired by Iome, and censured by others. I have often wished he had wrote it in Latin, that he might be out of the reach of the empty criticks, who could have as little understood his meaning in that language as they do his beauties in his own.
False criticks have been the plague of all ages; Milton himself, in a very polite court, has been compared to the rumbling of a wheel-barrow : he had been on the wrong 5