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Thy pen had well described her graceful air,
Nor must Roscommon pass neglected by,
plains. But see where artful Dryden next appears, Grown old in rhyme, but charming even in years! Great Dryden next! whose tuneful Muse affords The sweetest numbers and the fittest words. Whether in comic sounds or tragic airs She forms her voice, she moves our smiles or tears. If satire or heroic strains she writes, Her hero pleases, and satire 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 given already, much, and promised more : Congreve shall still preserve thy fame alive, And Dryden's Muse shall in his friend survive.
I'm tired with rhyming, and would fain give o'er, But justice still demands one labour more: The noble Montagu remains unnamed, For wit, for humour, and for judgment, famed: To Dorset he directs his artful Muse, In numbers such as Dorset's self might use.
How negligently graceful he unreins
their streams :
receive The last poor present that my Muse can give. I leave the arts of poetry and verse To them that practise them with more success. Of greater truths I'll now prepare to tell; And so at once, dear Friend and Muse! farewell.
RIGHT HON. SIR JOHN SOMERS,
LORD-KEEPER OF THE GREAT SEAL.
IF yet your thoughts are loose from state affairs,
Britain advanced, and Europe's peace restored, By Somers' counsels, and by Nassau's sword.
To you, my Lord, these daring thoughts belong, Who help'd to raise the subject of my song; To
you the hero of my verse' reveals His great designs, to you in council tells His inmost thoughts, determining the doom Of towns unstorm'd, and battles yet to come. And well could you, in your immortal strains, Describe his conduct, and reward his pains ; But since the state has all your cares engrossid, And poetry in higher thoughts is lost, Attend to what a lesser Muse indites, Pardon her faults, and countenance her flights,
On you, my Lord, with anxious fear I wait, And from your judgment must expect my fate, Who, free from vulgar passions, are above Degrading envy or misguided love. If you, well pleased, shall smile upon my lays, Secure of fame, my voice I'll boldly raise, For next to what you write is what you praise,
dismal echo is decay'd,
Others, in bold prophetic numbers skilld,
My Muse, expecting, on the British strand
of smoke. O that some Muse, renown’d for lofty verse, In daring numbers would thy toils rehearse! Draw thee, beloved in peace and fear'd in wars, Inured to noonday sweats and midnight cares ! But still the godlike man, by some hard fate, Receives the glory of his toils too late: Too late the verse the mighty act succeeds;
the hero, one the poet breeds. A thousand years in full succession ran Ere Virgil raised his voice, and sung
the man Who, driven by stress of Fate, such dangers bore On stormy seas and a disastrous shore; Before he settled in the promised earth, And
gave the empire of the world its birth. Troy long had found the Grecians bold and fierce Ere Homer muster'd
in verse; Long had Achilles quell’d the Trojans' lust, And laid the labour of the gods in dust, Before the towering Muse began her flight, And drew the hero raging in the fight,
up their troops
Engaged in tented fields and rolling floods,
And here, perhaps, by Fate's unerring doom,
The race of Nassaus was by Heaven design'd To curb the proud oppressors of mankind, To bind the tyrants of the earth with laws, And fight in every injured nation's cause, The world's great patriots; they for justice call, And, as they favour, kingdoms rise or fall. Our British youth, unused to rough alarms, Careless of fame, and negligent of arms, Had long forgot to meditate the foe, And heard, unwarm'd, the martial trumpet blow ; But now, inspired by thee, with fresh delight, Their swords they brandish, and require the fight; Renew their ancient conquests on the main, And act their fathers' triumphs o'er again; Fired when they hear how Agincourt was strow'd With Gallic corpse' and Cressy swam in blood, With eager warmth they fight, ambitious all Who first shall storm the breach or mount the wall. In vain the thronging enemy, by force, Would clear the ramparts, and repel their course;