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On Mr. DRYDEN'S RELIGIO LAICI.
By the Earl of RosCOMMON.
BE gone, you flaves, you idle vermin go,
Fly from the fcourges, and your mafter know; Let free, impartial, men from Dryden learn Mysterious fecrets, of a high concern,
And weighty truths, folid convincing fense,
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
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 mufe,
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 fupply'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 fheep for actions, not for thoughts,
Hath too much mercy to fend men to hell,
For humble charity, and hoping well.
To what ftupidity 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.
By G. GRANVILLE, Lord LANSDOWNE.
S flow'rs, tranfplanted from a fouthern fky,
But hardly bear, or in the railing die
Miffing their native sun, 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 fenfeless draught.
While we transfufe, the nimble spirit flies,
Escapes unfeen, evaporates, and dies.
Who then to copy Roman wit desire,
Muft imitate with Roman force and fire,
In elegance of ftyle and phrafe 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.
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 filks of Afia 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 mufe,
The nobleft feeds of foreign wit to choose :
Feafting our sense so 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.
To Mr. DRYDEN, by JOSEPH ADDISON, Efq.
HOW long, great poet, fhall thy facred lays
Provoke our wonder, and transcend our praise!
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 rising thought;
Penfive 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.
Thou mak'ft the beauties of the Romans known,
And England boasts of riches not her own :
Thy lines have heighten'd Virgil's majesty,
And Horace wonders at himself in thee.
Thou teacheft Perfius to inform our isle
In fmoother numbers, and a clearer style:
And Juvenal, inftructed in thy page,
Edges his fatire, and improves his rage.
Thy copy cafts a fairer light on all,
And ftill outfhines the bright original.
Now Ovid boafts th' advantage of thy fong,
And tells his ftory in the British tongue;
Thy charming verfe, and fair translations show
How thy own laurel first began to grow;
How wild Lycaon, chang'd by angry Gods,
And frighted at himself, ran howling thro' the woods.
O may'st thou still the noble tale prolong,
Nor age, nor fickness interrupt thy song :
Then may we wondering read, how human limbs
Have water'd kingdoms, and dissolv'd in streams,
Of thofe rich fruits that on the fertile mould
Turn'd yellow by degrees, and ripen'd into gold:
How fome in feathers, or a ragged hide,
Have liv'd a second life, and different natures try'd.
Then will thy Ovid, thus transform'd, reveal
A nobler change than he himself can tell.
Mag. Coll. Oxon.
June 2, 1693.