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758

SON G.

To a SCOTCH TUNE:

The BIRKS OF ENDER MAY.

I.

HE smiling morn, the breathing spring,
T!

Invite the tuneful birds to fing:
And while they warble from each spray,
Love melts the universal lay.
Let us, Amanda, timely wife,
Like them improve the hour that flies ;
And, in soft raptures, waste the day,
Among the shades of Endermay,

II.

For foon the winter of the year,
And age, life's winter, will appear :
At this, thy living bloom must fade ;
As that will strip the verdant shade.
Our taste of pleasure then is o'er;
The feather'd fongsters love no more ::
And' when they droop, and we decay,
Adieu the shades of Endermay!

OF

OF VERBAL CRITICIS M.

ADVERTISEMENT TO THE ift AND 2d EDITIONS.

AS the design of the following poem is to rally the

abuse of Verbal Criticism, the author could not, without manifest partiality, overlook the Editor of Milton, and the Restorer of Shakespeare. With regard to the latter, lie has read over the many and ample spea. cimens with which that Scholiaft has already obliged the publick : and of these, and these only, he pretends to give his opinion. But, whatever he

may. think of the Critic, not bearing the least ill-will to the Man, he deferred printing these verses, though written several months ago, till he heard that the subscription

for a new edition of Shakespeare was closed. He begs leave to add likewise, that this poem was un

dertaken and written entirely without the knowledge of the Gentleman to whom it is addressed. Oily as it is a public testimony of his. inviolable esteem for Mr. Pope, on that account, particularly, he wishes, it may not be judged to increase the number of mean performances, with which the town is almost daily peftered.

Oft todisturb, and oft divert, mankind,
The Reading Coxcomb is of special note,
By rule a Poet, and a Judge by rote :
Grave son of idle Industry and Pride,

3 Whom learning but perverts, and books misguide.

o fam'd for judging, as for writing well, That rarest science, where so few excel;

Whose

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Whose life, severely scann'd, transcends thy lays,
For wit supreme is but thy second praise :
'Tis thine, O Pope, who chuse the better part,
To tell how false, how vain, the Scholiast's art,
Which nor to taste, nor genius lias pretence,
And, if 'tis learning, is not common sense.
In error obstinate, in wrangling loud,

15
For trifles eager, positive, and proud ;
Deep in the darkness of dull authors bred,
With all their refuse lumber'd in his head,
What
every

dunce from every dunghill drew
Of literary offals, old or new,
Forth steps at last the felf-applauding wight,
Of points and letters, chaff and straws, to write :
Sagely resolv’d to swell each bulky piece
With venerable toys, from Rome and Greece;
How oft, in Homer, Paris curl'd his hair; 25
If Aristotle's cap were round or square ;
If in the cave, were Dido first was sped,
To Tyre she turn'd her heels, to Troy her head.

Such the choice anecdotes, profound and vain,
That store a Bentley's and a Burman's brain :

30 Hence, Plato quoted, or the Stagyrite, To prove

that flame ascends, and snow is white : Hence, much hard study, without sense or breeding, And all the grave impertinence of reading. "If Shakespeare says, the noon-day sun is bright, 35 His Scholiast will remark, it then was light; 'Turn Caxton, Winkin, each old Goth and Hun, To rectify the reading of a pun.

Thus

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Thus, nicely triling, accurately dull,
How one may toil, and toil—to be a fool!

40
But is there then no honour due to age ?
Ne reverence to great Shakespeare's noble page?
And he, who half a life has read him o'er,
His mangled points and commas to restore,
Meets he such slight regard in nameless lays, 45
Whom Bufo treats, and Lady Woud-be pays ?

Pride of his own, and wonder of this age,
Who first created, and yet rules, the stage,
Bold to design, all-powerful to express,
Shakespeare each passion drew in every
Great above rule, and imitating none;
Rich without borrowing, Nature was his own.
Yet is his fenfe debas'd by gross allay:
As gold in mines lies mix'd with dirt and clay.
Now, eagle-wing'd, his heavenward fight he takes;
The big stage thunders, and the soul awakes :
Now, low on earth, a kindred reptile creeps ;
Sad Hamlet quibbles, and the hearer flecps.

Such was the Poet: next the Scholiast view;
Faint though the colouring, yet the features true. 60

Condemn’d to dig and dung a barren soil,
Where hardly tares will grow with care and toil,
He, with low industry, goes gleaning on
From good, from bad, from mean, neglecting uone :
His brother book-worm so, in shelf or stall, 65
Will feed alike on Woollton and on Paul,
By living clients hopeless now of bread,
He pettyfogs a scrap from authors dead:
M

See

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Such that grave

75

See him on Shakespeare pore, intent to steal
Poor farce, by fragments, for a third-day meal.

bird in northern seas is found,
Whose name a Dutchman only knows to sound.
Where-e'er the king of fish moves on before,
This humble friend attends from shore to shore :
With eye

still earnest, and with bill inclin’d,
He picks up what his patron drops behind;
With those choice cates his palate to regale,
And is the careful Tibbald of a whale.

Blest genius! who bestows his oil and pains
On each dull paffage, each dull book contains;
The toil more grateful, as the talk more low:
So carrion is the quarry of a crow.
Where his fam'd author's page is flat and poor,
There, most exact the reading to restore;
By dint of plodding, and by sweat of face,
A bull to change, a blunder to replace :
Whate'er is refuse critically gleaning,
And mending nonsense into doubtful meaning.

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V.78. This remarkable bird is called the Strundt-Jager. Here you see how he purchases his food : and the same author, from whom this account is taken, telts us farther how he comes by his drink. You may see him, adds the Dutchman, frequently pursuing a sort of feamew, called Kulge-Gehef, whom he torments inceffantly to make him void an excrement; which being liquid, ferves him, I imagine, for drink. See a Col. lection of Voyages to the North.

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