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On Mr. DRYDEN'S RELIGIO LAICI. By the Earl of RoscoMMO N.

BE gone, you flaves, you idle vermin go,

Fly from the fcourges, and your master know;
Let free, impartial, men from Dryden learn
Myfterious fecrets, of a high concern,
And weighty truths, folid convincing fenfe,
Explain'd by unaffected eloquence.

What can you (Reverend Levi) here take ill?
Men ftill had faults, and men will have them ftill;
He that hath none, and lives as angels do,
Must be an angel; but what's that to you?

While mighty Lewis finds the pope too great,
And dreads the yoke of his impofing feat,
Our fects a more tyrannic power affume,
And would for fcorpions change the rods of Rome;
That church detain'd the legacy divine;
Fanatics caft the pearls of heaven to swine:
What then have thinking honeft men to do,
But chufe a mean between th' ufurping two?



Nor can th' Ægyptian patriarch blame thy muse,
Which for his firmnefs does his heat excufe;
Whatever councils have approv'd his creed,
The preface fure was his own act and deed.
Our church will have that preface read, you'll fay :
"Tis true but fo fhe will th' Apocrypha ;
And fuch as can believe them, freely may.

But did that God (fo little understood)
Whofe darling attribute is being good,
From the dark womb of the rude chaos bring
Such various creatures and make man their king,
Yet leave his favourite man, his chiefest care,
More wretched than the vileft infects are?

O! how much happier and more safe are they?
If helpless millions must be doom'd a prey
To yelling furies, and for ever burn
In that fad place from whence is no return,
For unbelief in one they never knew,

Or for not doing what they could not do !
The very fiends know for what crime they fell,
And fo do all their followers that rebel :
If then a blind, well-meaning, Indian stray,
Shall the great gulph be fhew'd him for the way?
For better ends our kind Redeemer dy'd,

Or the faln angels room will be but ill supply'd.
That Chrift, who at the great deciding day,
(For he declares what he refolves to fay)
Will damn the goats for their ill-natur'd faults,
And fave the sheep for actions, not for thoughts,


Hath too much mercy to fend men to hell,
For humble charity, and hoping well.

To what stupidity are zealots grown,
Whofe inhumanity, profufely fhown
In damning crowds of fouls, may damn their own.

I'll err at least on the fecurer fide,

A convert free from malice and from pride.

To my Friend, Mr. JOHN DRYDEN, on his feveral excellent Tranflations of the ancient Poets.


S flow'rs, tranfplanted from a fouthern sky,
But hardly bear, or in the railing die;
Miffing their native fun, at best retain

But a faint odour, and furvive with pain:
Thus ancient wit, in modern numbers taught,
Wanting the warmth with which its author wrote,
Is a dead image, and a senseless draught.
While we transfufe, the nimble fpirit flies,
Escapes unfeen, evaporates, and dies.
Who then to copy Roman wit defire,
Muft imitate with Roman force and fire,
In elegance of style and phrase the fame,
And in the sparkling genius, and the flame.
Whence we conclude from thy tranflated fong,
So juft, fo fmooth, fo foft, and yet so strong,
Coeleftial poet! foul of harmony!
That every genius was reviv'd in thee.

B 2


Thy trumpet founds, the dead are rais'd to light,
Never to die, and take to heaven their flight;
Deck'd in thy verfe, as clad with rays they fhine,
All glorified, immortal, and divine.
As Britain in rich foil abounding wide,
Furnish'd for ufe, for luxury, and pride,
Yet fpreads her wanton fails on every shore
For foreign wealth, infatiate still of more ;
To her own wool the silks of Asia joins,
And to her plenteous harvests India's mines ;
So Dryden, not contented with the fame
Of his own works, though an immortal name,
To lands remote fends forth his learned muse,
The nobleft feeds of foreign wit to choose :
Feafting our fenfe fo many various ways,
Say, is't thy bounty, or thy thirst of praise?
That, by comparing others, all might fee,
Who most excel, are yet excell'd by thee.


HOW long, great poet, fhall thy facred lays Provoke our wonder, and tranfcend our praife! Can neither injuries of time, or age,

Damp thy poetic heat, and quench thy rage?

Not fo thy Ovid in his exile wrote;

Grief chill'd his breaft, and check'd his rifing thought;
Pensive and fad, his drooping muse betrays
The Roman genius in its last decays.

Prevailing warmth has ftill thy mind poffeft,
And fecond youth is kindled in thy breast.



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