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Nature, in spite of all his skill, crept in:
His feelings strong, his words enforc'd with weight.
His action's always strong, but sometimes such,
Why must the hero with the nailor vie,
And hurl the close-clench'd fist at nose or eye?
In royal John, with Philip angry grown,
I thought he would have knock'd poor Davies down.
To fright a king so harmless and so tame?
Last Garrick came.-Behind him throng a train Of snarling critics, ignorant as vain.
One finds out-"He's of stature somewhat low"Your hero always should be tall, you know. "True nat❜rál greatness all consists in height." Produce your voucher, critic.-"Sergeant Kite." Another can't forgive the paltry arts
By which he makes his way to shallow hearts;
For me, by nature form'd to judge with phlegm, I can't acquit by wholesale, nor condemn. The best things carried to excess are wrong: The start may be too frequent, pause too long; But, only us'd in proper time and place, Severest judgment must allow them grace.
If bunglers, form'd on imitation's plan, Just in the way that monkeys mimic man,
Their copied scene with mangled arts disgrace,
When reason yields to passion's wild alarms,
Let wits, like spiders, from the tortur'd brain Fine-draw the critic-web with curious pain; The gods, a kindness I with thanks must pay,Have form'd me of a coarser kind of clay; Nor stung with envy, nor with spleen diseas'd, A poor dull creature, still with nature pleas'd; Hence to thy praises, Garrick, I agree,
And, pleas'd with nature, must be pleas'd with thee.
Now might I tell, how silence reign'd throughout, And deep attention hush'd the rabble rout! How ev'ry claimant, tortur'd with desire, Was pale as ashes, or as red as fire:
But, loose to fame, the Muse more simply acts,
The judges, as the several parties came, With temper heard, with judgment weigh'd each claim,
And, in their sentence happily agreed,
In name of both, great Shakspeare thus decreed. "If manly sense; if nature link'd with art; "If thorough knowledge of the human heart; "If pow'rs of acting vast and unconfin'd; "If fewest faults with greatest beauties join'd; "If strong expression, and strange pow'rs which lie "Within the magic circle of the eye;
"If feelings which few hearts, like his, can know, "And which no face so well as his can show ; "Deserve the pref'rence;-Garrick, take the chair; "Nor quit it-till thou place an equal there.”
FROM THE PROPHECY OF FAMINE.
Two boys, whose birth beyond all question springs
Jockey and Sawney to their labours rose;
Jockey, whose manly high-bon'd cheeks to crown With freckles spotted flam'd the golden down, With mickle art could on the bagpipes play, E'en from the rising to the setting day; Sawney as long without remorse could bawl Home's madrigals, and ditties from Fingal. Oft at his strains, all natural though rude, The Highland lass forgot her want of food, And, whilst she scratch'd her lover into rest, Sunk pleas'd, though hungry, on her Sawney's breast.
Far as the eye could reach, no tree was seen, Earth, clad in russet, scorn'd the lively green. The plague of locusts they secure defy, For in three hours a grasshopper must die. No living thing, whate'er its food, feasts there, But the cameleon, who can feast on air. No birds, except as birds of passage, flew, No bee was known to hum, no dove to coo. No streams as amber smooth, as amber clear, Were seen to glide, or heard to warble here. Rebellion's spring, which through the country ran, Furnish'd, with bitter draughts, the steady clan. No flow'rs embalm'd the air, but one white rose, Which on the tenth of June by instinct blows, By instinct blows at morn, and, when the shades Of drizzly eve prevail, by instinct fades.