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They trust in armies, and their courage dies,
In wisdom, wealth, in fortune, and in lies;
But all they trust in, withers, as it must,
When he commands, in whom they place no truft.
Vengeance at last pours down upon their coast,
A long despis’d, but now victorious hoft,
Tyranny sends the chain that must abridge
The noble sweep of all their privilege,
Gives liberty the last, the mortal shock,
Slips the slave's collar on, and snaps the lock.
A. Such lofty strains embellish what you teach,
Mean you to prophecy, or but to preach?
B. I know the mind that feels indeed the fire
The muse imparts, and can command the lyre,
Acts with a force, and kindles with a zeal,
Whate'er the theme, that others never feel.
If human woes her soft attention claim,
A tender sympathy pervades the frame,
pours a fenfibility divine
Along the nerve of ev'ry feeling line.
But if a deed not tamely to be borne,
Fire indignation and a sense of scorn,
The strings are swept with such a pow'r, so loud,
The storm of music shakes th' astonish'd crowd.
So when remote futurity is brought
Before the keen enquiry of her thought,
A terrible sagacity informs
The poet's heart, he looks to distant storms,
He hears the thunder e'er the tempest low'rs,
And arm'd with strength surpassing human pow'rs,
Seizes events as yet unknown to man,
And darts his soul into the dawning plan.
Hence, in a Roman mouth, the graceful name
Of prophet and of poet was the fame,
Hence British poets too the priesthood shar'd,
And ev'ry hallow'd druid was a bard.
But no prophetic fires to me belong,
I play with fyllables, and sport in song.
1. At Westminster, where little poets strive To set a distich upon six and five,
Where discipline helps op’ning buds of sense,
And makes his pupils proud with silver pence,
I was a poet too-but modern taste
Is so refin'd and delicate and chaste,
That verse, whatever fire the fancy warms,
Without a creamy smoothness has no charms.
Thus, all success depending on an ear,
And thinking I might purchase it too dear,
If sentiment were sacrific'd to found,
And truth cut short to make a period round,
I judg’d a man of sense could scarce do worse,
Than caper in the morris-dance of verse.
B. Thus reputation is a spur to wit,
And some wits flag through fear of losing it.
Give me the line, that plows its stately course
Like a proud swan, conq’ring the stream by force.
That like some cottage beauty strikes the heart,
Quite unindebted to the tricks of art.
When labour and when dullness, club in hand,
Like the two figures at St. Dunstan’s stand,
Beating alternately, in measur’d time,
The clock-work tintinabulum of rhime,
Exact and regular the sounds will be,
But such mere quarter-strokes are not for me.
From him who rears a poem lank and long,
To him who strains his all into a song,
Perhaps some bonny Caledonian air,
All birks and braes, though he was never there,
Or having whelp'd a prologue with great pains,
Feels himself spent, and fumbles for his brains ;
A prologue interdalh'd with many a stroke,
An art contriv'd to advertise a joke,
So that the jest is clearly to be feen,
Not in the words--but in the gap between. .
Manner is all in all, whate'er is writ,
The substitute for genius, sense, and wit.
To dally much with subjecis mean and low,
Proves that the mind is weak, or makes it fo.
Neglected talents rust into decay,
And ev'ry effort ends in push-pin play,
The man that means success, should foar above
A soldier's feather, or a lady's glove,
Else summoning the muse to such a theme,
The fruit of all her labour is whipt-cream.
As if an eagle few aloft, and then-
Stoop'd from bis highest pitch to pounce a wren.
As if the poet purposing to wed,
Should carve himself a wife in gingerbread.
Ages elaps'd e’er Homer's lamp appear’d,
e'er the Mantuan swan was heard, To carry nature lengths unknown before, To give a Milton birth, ask'd ages more. Thus genius rose and set at order'd times, And shot a day-spring into diftant climes, Ennobling ev'ry region that he chose, He sunk in Greece, in Italy he rose, And tedious years of Gothic darkness pass’d, Emerg’d all splendor in our ise at last. Thus lovely Halcyons dive into the main, Then show far off their shining plunes again.