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Came Blackmore, and cry'd, “Look, all these are And so spying one who came only to gaze, my lays,

A hater of verse, and despiser of plays ; But at present I beg you'd but read my Essays." To him in great form, without any delay, Lampooners and critics rush'd in like a tide,

(Though a zealous fanatic) presented the bay. Stern Dennis and Gildon came first side-by side. All the wits stood astonish'd at hearing the god Apollo confess'd that their lashes had stings, So gravely pronounce an election so oud ; But beadles and hangmen were never chose kings. And though Prior and Pope only laugh'd in his face, Steele long had so cunningly manag'd the town,

Most others were ready to sink in the place. He could not be blam'd for expecting the crown; Yet some thought the vacancy open was kept, Apollo demurr'd as to granting his wish,

Concluding the bigot would never accept : But wish'd him good luck in his project of fish. But the hypocrite told them, he well understood, Lame Congreve, unable such things to endure,

Though the function was wicked, the stipend was

good. Of Apollo begg'd either a crown or a cure; To refuse such a writer, Apollo was loth,

At last in rush'd Eusden, and cry'd, “ Who shall And almost inclin'd to have granted him both.

have it, When Buckingham came, he scarce card to be Apollo begg'd pardon, and granted his claim;

But I, the true laureat, to whom the king gave it?" seen, Till Phæbus desir'd his old friend to walk in;

But vow'd though, till then he ne'er heard of his
But a laureat peer had never been known,
The commoners claim'd that place as their own.
Yet if the kind god had been ne'er so inclin'd
To break an old rule, yet he well knew his mind,
Who of such preferment would only make sport,

ON THE TIMES.
And laugh'd at all suitors for places at court.
Notwithstanding this law,yet Lansdowne was nam'd, Hear, for once, a poet preach.

Since in vain our parsons teach,
But Apollo with kindness his indolence blam'a,

Vice has lost its very name, And said he would choose him, but that he should

Skill and cozenage thought the same; fear

Only playing well the game.
An employment of trouble he never could bear.

Foul contrivances we see
A prelate' for wit and for eloquence fam'd, Call'd but ingenuity:
Apollo soon miss'd, and he needs not be nam’d; Ample fortunes often made
Since, amidst a whole bench, of which some are so Out of frauds in every trade,
bright,

Which an aukward child afford
No one of them shines so learn’d and polite.

Enough to wed the greatest lord.

The miser starves to raise a son, To Shippen, Apollo was cold with respect,

But, if once the fool is gone, Since he for the state could the Muses neglect :

Years of thrift scarce serve a day, But said, in a greater assembly he shin'd,

Rake-hell squanders all away.
And places were things he had ever declin'd.

Husbands seeking for a place,
Trapp, Young, and Vanbrugh, expected reward, Or toiling for their pay;
For some things writ well : but Apollo declar'd, While their wives undo their race
That one was too flat, the other too rough,

By petticoats and play:
And the third sure already had places enough. Breeding boys to drink and Jice,

Carrying girls to comedies,
Pert Budgell came next, and, demanding the bays, where mamma's intrigues are shown,
Said, “ Those works must be good, which had Addi- which ere long will be their own,
son's praise;".

Having first at sermon slept,
But Apollo reply'd, “Child Eustace, 'tis known,

Tedious day is weekly kept Most authors will praise whatsoever's their own.”

By worse hypocrites than men, When Philips came forth, as starch as a Quaker,

Till Monday comes to cheat again. Whose simple profession's a Pastoral-maker;

Ev'n among the noblest-born, Apollo advis'd him from playhouse to keep,

Moral virtue is a scorn; And pipe to nought else but his dog and his sheep.

Gratitude, but rare at best,

And fidelity a jest.
Hughes, Fenton, and Gay, came last in the train, All our wit but party-mocks,
Too modest to ask for the crown they would gain: All our wisdom raising stocks :
Phæbus thought them too bashful, and said they counted folly to defend
would need

Sinking side, or falling friend.
More boldness, if ever they hop'd to succeed. Long an officer may serve,

Prais'd and wounded, he may starve:
Apollo, now driven to a cursed quandary,
Was wishing for Swift, or the fam'd Lady Mary :

No receipt, to make him rise,
Nay, had honest Toin Southerne but been within We, whose ancestors have shin'd

Like inventing loyal lies. callBut at last he grew wanton, and laugh'd at them all :

In arts of peace, and fields of fame,

To ill and idleness inclin'd, 3 Dr. Atterbury, bishop of Rochester.

Now are grown a public shame.

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Fatal that intestine jar,
Which produc'd our civil war!

ON THE DEITY,
Ever since, how sad a race!

WRETCHED mankind ! void of both strength and
Senseless, violent, and base!

skill!
Dextrous at nothing but at doing ill!
In merit humble, in prett nsions high,

Among thein none, alas! more weak than I,
ON THE DUKE OF YORK

And none more blind : though still I worthless
The best I ever spoke, or ever wrote. (thought

But zealous heat exalts the humblest mind;
I

feel a strange impulse, a strong desire, Within my soul such strong impulse I find (For what vain thoughts will not a Muse inspire?) 'The heavenly tribute of due ] raise to pay : To sing on lofty subjects, and to raise

Perhaps 'tis sacred, and I must obey.
My own low faie, by writing James's praise.

Yet such the subjects, various, and so high,
Oft' have we heard the wonders of his youth,
Observ'd those seeds of fortititude and truth,

Stupendous wonders of the Deity!
Which since have spread so wide, so wondrous high, And that as boundless goodness shining more!

Miraculous effects of boundless power !
The good distress'd beneath that shelter lie.

All these so numbe rless my thoughts attend,
In arms more active than ev'n war requir'd,

Oh where shall I begin, or ever end?
And in the midst of thighty chiefs admir'u.
Of all Heaven's gifts, no temper is so rare,

But on that theme which ev’n the wise abuse,
As so much courage mix'd with so much care. So sacred, so sublime, and so abstruse,
When martial fire makes all the spirits boil, Avruptly to break ott, wants no excuse.
And forces youth to military toil;
No wonder it should fiercely then engage :

"Vhile others vainly strive to know thee more, Women thermselves will venture in a rage :

Let me in silent reverence adore; But in the midst of all that furious heat,

Wishing that human power were bigher rais'd, While so intent on actions brave and great,

Only that thine might be more nokly prais'd! For others' lives to feel such tender fears,

Thrice happy angels in their high degree,
And, careless of his own, to care for theirs,

Created worthy of extolling thee!
Is that composure which a hero makes,
And which illustrious York alone partakes,
With that great man', whose fame has flown so

PROLOGUE
Who taught him first the noble art of war. [far,
Oh, wondrous pair! whom equal virtues crown,

TO THE ALTERATION OF JULIUS CÆSAR.
Oh worthy of each other's vast renown!

Hope to mend Shakespeare ! or to match his style! None but Turenne with York could glory sliare, And none but York deserves so great a master's Tis such a jest would make a Stoc smile.

Too fond of fame, our poet soars too high, Scarce was he come to bless his native isle,

Yet freely owns he wants the wings to fly : And reap the soft reward of glorious toil,

So sepsible of his presumptuous thought, But, like Alcides, still new dangers call

That he confesses while he does the fault;

This to the fair will no great wonder prove,
His courage forth, and still he vanquish'd all.

Who oft in blushes yield to what they love.
At sea, that bloody scene of boundless rage,
Where floating castles in fierce fames engage,

Of greatest actions, and of noblest men,

This story most deserves a poet's pen : (Where Mars himself does frowningly coinmand,

For who can wish a scene more justly fam'd, And by lieutenants only fights at land)

When Rome and mighty Julius are but nam'd !
For his own fame howe'er he fought before,

That state of heroes who the world had brav'd!
For England's honour yet he ventur'd more.
In those black times, when, faction raging high, Yet lath he was to take so rough a way,

That wondrous man who such a state enslay'd!
Valour and Innocence were forc'd to fly,
With York they fled; but not deprest bis mind,

And after govern'd with so mild a sway,

At distance now of seventeen hundred years,
Still, like a dia inond in the dust, it shin'd.

Methinks a lovely ravisher appears ;
When from afar his drooping friends beheld
How in distress he ev'n himself excell’d;

Whom, though forbid by virtue to excuse,
How to his envious fate, his country's frown,

A nymph might pardon, and could scarce refuse,
His brother's will, he sacrific'd his own;
They rais'd their hearts, and never doubted more
But that just Heaven would all our joys restore.
So when black clouds surround Heaven's glorious

CHORUSES IN JULIUS CÆSAR,
face,
Tempestuous darkness covering all the place,
If we discern but the least glinmering ray

Whither is Roman honour gone?
Of that bright orb of fire which rules the day,

Where is your ancient virtue now? The cheerful sight our fainting courage warms,

That valour, which so bright has shone, Fix'd upon that we fear no future barms.

And with the wings of conquest flown,

Must to a haughty master bow:

Who, with our toil, our blood, and all we have beside, • The mareschal de Turenne.

Gorges his ill-got power, his humour,and his pride.

care.

CHORUS I.

FIRST.

SECOND

Fearless he will his life expose;

SECOND. So does a lion or a bear.

To kill a man, His very virtues threaten those,

The greatest since mankind began : Who more his hold ambition fear.

Learned, eloquent, and wise,
How supid wretches we appear,

Generous, merciful, and brave!
Who round the world for wealth and empire roam,
Yet never, never think what slaves we are at home!

Yet not too great a sacrifice,
Did men for this together join.

The liberty of Romne to save.
Quitting the free wild life of Nature ?
What other beast did eer design

But will not goodness claim regard,
The setting up his fellow.crcature,

And does not worth Jeserve reward ?
And of two nuschiefs choose the greater ?
Oh! rather than be slaves to bolà imperious men, Does not their country lie at stake?
Give us our wildness, and our woods, our huts and Can they do too much for her sake?

caves again.
There, secure from lawless sway,

Though dreadful be this doom of fate, Out of Pride or Envy's way;

Just is that power which governs all :
Living up to Nature's rules,

Better this wondrous man should fall,
Not deprav'd by knaves and fools:
Happily we all should live, and harmless as our sheep, Than a most glorious, virtuous state.
And at last as calmly dje as infants fall asleep.

FIRST.

BOTH SPIRITS TOGETHER.

CHORUS IV.

now.

CHORUS 11.

How great a curse has Providence Lo! to prerent this mighty empire's doom,

Thought fit to cast on human kind ! From bright unknown abodes of bliss I come,

Learning, courage, eloquence, The aaful genius of majestic Rome.

The gentlest nature, noblest mind,

Were interinixt in one alone;
Great is her danger : but I will engage

Yet in one moment overthrown.
Some few, the master-souls of all this age,
To do an act of just heroic rage.

Could chance, or senseless atoms, join

To form a soul so great as his? 'Tis hard, a man so great should fall so low; Or would those powers we hold divine More hard to let so brave a people bow

Destroy their own chiet master-piece ? To one themselves have rais'd, who scorns them where so much difficulty lies,

The doubtful are the only wise. Yet, oh! I grieve that Brutus should be stain'd, And, what must more perplex our thoughts, Whose life, excepting this one act, remain'd

Great Jove the best of Romans sends, So pure, that future times will think it feign'd. To do the very worst of faults,

And kill the kindest of his friends. Bat only he can make the rest combine;

All this is far ab,ve our reach,
The very life and soul of their design,

Whatever priests presume to preach.
The centre, where those mighty spirits join.
l'nthinking men no sort of scruples make;
Others do ill, only for mischief's sake;
But ev'n the best are guilty by mistake.

PROLOGUE
Thus some for envy, or revenge, intend

TO MARCUS BRUTUS. To bring the bold usurper to his end :

OUR But for bis country Brutus stabs bis friend.

scene is Athens. And great Athens nam'd, What soul so dull as not to be infam'd? Methinks, at mentioning that sacred place,

A reverend awe appears in every face,
CHORUS 111.

For men so fam'd, of such prodigious parts,
As taught the world all sciences and arts.

Amidst all these ye shall behold a man

The most applauded since mankind began, Telt., oh! tell me, whence arise

Out-shining ev’n those Greeks who most excel, These disorders in our skies?

Whose life was one fix'd course of doing well. Rome's great genius wildly gaz'd,

Oh! who can therefore without tears attend And the gods seemn all amaz'd.

On such a life, and such a fatal end ?

But here our autbor, besides other faults Know, in sight of this day's Sun,

Of ill expressions, and of vulgar thoughts,

Commits one crime that needs an act of grace, Such a deed is to be done,

And breaks the law of unity of place: Black enough to shroud the light

Yet to such noble patriots, overcome
Of all this world in dismal night.

By factious violence, and banish'd Rome,
FIRST

Athens alone a fit retreat could yield ;
What is this deed ?

And where can Brutus fall, but in Philippi field?

BY TWO AERIAL SPIRITS.

FIRST

SECOND.

CHORUS IV.

Some critics judge ev'n love itself too mean That free-born spirits should obey
A care to mix in such a lofty scene,

Wretches, who know not how to sway!
And with those ancient bards of Greece believe
Friendship has stronger charms to please or grieve:

Late we repent our hasty choice,

In vain bemoan so quick a turn.
But our more amorous poet, finding love

Hark all to Rome's united voice!
Amidst all other cares, still shines above,
Lets not the best of Romans end their lives

Better that we a while had borne

Ev'n all those ills which most displease,
Without just softness for the kindest wives.
Yet, if ye think his gentle nature such

Than sought a cure far worse than the disease.
As to have soften'd this great tale too much,
Soon will your eyes grow dry, and passion fall,
When ye reflect 'tis all but conjugal.

This to the few and knowing was addrest ; And now 'tis fit I should salute the rest. Most reverend dull judges ofthe pit,

Our vows thus cheerfully we sing, By Nature curs'd with the wrong side of wit !

While martial music fires our blood ; You need not care, whate'er you see to-night, Let all the neighbouring echoes ring How ill some players act, or poets write ;

With clamours for our country's good: Should our mistakes be never so notorious, An•l, for reward, of the just gods we claim You'll have the joy of being more censorious :

A life with freedom, or a death with fame. Show your small talent then, let that suffice ye; But grow not vain upon it, I advise ye:

May Rome be freed from wars alarms, Each petty critic can objections raise,

And taxes heavy to be borne; The greatest skill is knowing when to praise.

May she beware of foreign arms,

And send them back with noble scorn :

And, for reward, &c. CHORUSES IN MARCUS BRUTUS.

May she no more confide in friends,

Who nothing: farther understood,
CHORUS M.

Than only, for their private ends,
Dark is the maze poor mortals tread ;

To waste her wealth, and spill her blood : Wisdom itself a guide will need :

And for reward, &c. We little thought, when Cæsar bled,

Our senators, great Jove, restrain That a worse Cesar would succeed.

From private piques, they prudence call; And are we under such a curse,

From the low thoughts of little gain, We cannot change but for the worse?

And hazarding the losing all :
With fair pretence of foreign force,

And, for reward, &c.
By which Rome must herself enthral;
These, without blushes or remorse,

The shining arms with haste prepare,
Proscribe the best, impoverish all.

Then to the glorious combat fly ; The Gauls themselves, our greatest fces,

Our minds unclogg'd with farther care, Could act no mischiefs worse than those.

Except to overcome or die :

And, for reward, &c.
That Julius, with ambitious thoughts,
Had virtues too, his foes could find ;

They fight, oppression to increase,
These equal him in all his faults,

We for our liberties and laws; But never in his noble mind.

It were a sin to doubt success,

When freedom is the noble cause : 5 See the first and second chorụses, in the Poems. And, for reward, of the just gods we claim of Mr. Pope.

A life with freedom, or a death with fame.

THE

POEMS

OP

MATTHEW PRIOR.

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