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Shakes Heav'n's eternal throne with dire alarms,
And sets th' Almighty Thunderer in arms!
Whate'er his pen describes I more than see,
Whilst ev'ry verse, array'd in majesty,
Bold and sublime, my whole attention draws,
And seems above the critick's nicer laws.
How are you struck with terror and delight,
When angel with archangel copes in fight!
When great Meffiah's outspread banner shines,
How does the chariot rattle in his lines !
What sound of brazen wheels, what thunder, scare,
And itun the reader with the din of war !
With fear my spirits and my blood retire,
To see the seraphs sunk in clouds of fire ;
But when, with eager steps, from hence I rise,
And view the first gay scenes of Paradise,
What tongue, what words of rapture, can express
A vision so profuse of pleasantness !
Oh! had the poet ne'er prophan'd his pen,
To varnish o'er the guilt of faithless men,
His other works might have deserv'd applause:
But now the language can't support the cause;
While the clean current, tho' serene and bright,
Betrays a bottom odious to the fight.
But now, my Muse, a softer strain rehearse,
Turn ev'ry line with art, and smooth thy verse ;
The courtly Waller next commands thy lays :
Mufe! tune thy verse with art to Waller's praise.
While tender airs and lovely dames inspire
Soft melting thoughts, and propagate desire,
So long shall Waller's strains our passion move,
And Sacharissa's beauty kindle love.
Thy verse, harmonious bard! and flatt'ring song,
Can make the vanquish'd great, the coward strong;
Thy verse can thew e’en Cromwell's innocence,
And compliment the storm that bore him hence!
Oh, had thy Muse not come an age too soon,
But seen great Nassau on the British throne,
How had his triumphs glitter'd in thy page,
And warm'd thee to a more exalted rage!
What scenes of death and horror had we view'd,
And how had Boyn's wide current reek'd in blood!
Or if Maria's charms thou wouldft rehearse,
In smoother numbers and a softer verse,
Thy pen had well describ'd her graceful air,
And Gloriana would have seem'd more fair.
Nor muft Roscommon pass neglected by,
That makes e’en rules a noble poetry ;
Rules, whose deep sense and heav'nly numbers fhew
The best of criticks and of poets too.
Nor, Denham! must we e'er forget thy strains,
While Cooper's Hill commands the neighb'ring plains.
But see where artful Dryden next appears,
Grown old in rhyme, but charming e'en in years!
Great Dryden next! whose tuneful Mufe affords
The sweetest numbers and the fittest words.
Whether in comick sounds or tragick airs
She forms her voice, she moves our fmiles or tears.
If satire or heroick strains she writes,
Her hero pleases, and her fatire bites.
From her no harsh unartful numbers fall
She wears all dresses, and she charms in all.
How might we fear our English poetry,
That long has flourish’d, should decay with thee,
Did not the Muses other hope appear,
Harmonious Congreve ! and forbid our fear:
Congreve ! whose fancy's unexhausted store
Has giv'n already much, and promis'd more;
Congreve shall still preserve thy fame alive,
And Dryden's Muse fall in his friend survive.
I'm tir'd with rhyming, and would fain give o'er,
But justice ftill demands one labour more :
The noble Montague remains upnam'd,
For wit, for humour, and for judgment, fam'd;
To Dorfet he directs his artful Muse,
In numbers such as Dorset's self might use.
How negligently graceful he unreins
His verse, and writes in loose familiar strains !
How Nafiau's god-like acts adorn his lines,
And all the hero in full glory shines !
We see his army set in just array,
And Boyn's dy'd waves run purple to the sea.
Nor Simois, choak'd with men, and arms, and blood,
Nor rapid Xanthus celebrated flood,
Shall longer be the poet's highest themes,
Tho' gods and heroes fought promiscuous in their streams :
But now, to Nassau's fecret councils rais'd,
He aids the hero whom before he prais'd.
I've done at length—and now, dear friend! receive
The last poor present that my Mufe can give :
I leave the arts of poetry and verse,
To them that practise 'em with more fuccefs.
Of greater truths I'll now prepare to tell ;
And so, at once, dear friend and Muse, farewel!
Ode to May
The Hymn of Cleanthes
London; or, The Progress of Commerce
The Vanity of Human Wishes
Monimia to Philccles
The Lawyer's Farewel to his Muse
Vissons for younger Minds
Death and the Doctor
Ode to Death, from the French of the King of Prussia
Health. An Epistle
Henry and Emma
A Letter to Sir Robert Walpole
Day. A Pastoral
Ode to Liberty
Verses, addressed to Mrs. Digby
Invocation to the Nightingale
Sonnet, to Britannia
Ode to the Atheist
An Account of the greatest Englisi Poets