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Steals from the fhouting crowd, and quits the plains,
To fing the fylvan Gods in rural strains;
Or calls the Mufes to Albunea's fhades,
Courts, and enjoys, the vifionary maids.
So labour'd fields, with crops alternate bleft,
By turns lie fallow, and indulge their reft;
The fwain contented bids the hungry foil
Enjoy a sweet viciffitude from toil;
Till earth renews her genial powers to bear,
And pays his prudence with a bounteous
On a strict view your solid judgment frame,
Nor think that genius is in all the fame;
How oft the youth, who wants the facred fire,
Fondly mistakes for genius his defire ?
Courts the coy Mufes, though rejected ftill,
Nor nature feconds his misguided will:
He ftrives, he toils with unavailing care;
Nor heaven relents, nor Phoebus hears his prayer.
He with fuccefs, perhaps, may plead a cause,
Shine at the bar, and flourish by the laws;
Perhaps discover nature's fecret springs,
And bring to light th' originals of things.
But fometimes precept will fuch force impart,
That nature bends beneath the power of art.
Befides, 'tis no light province to remove
From the rash boy the fiery pangs of love;
Till, ripe in years, and more confirm'd in age,
He learns to bear the flames of Cupid's rage;
Oft hidden fires on all his vitals prey,
Devour the youth, and melt his foul away
-blot out his golden dreams,
The tuneful poets, and Caftalian streams;
Struck with a fecret wound, he weeps and fighs;
In every thought the darling phantoms rife;
The fancy'd charmer swims before his fight,
His theme all day, his vifion all the night:
The wandering object takes up all his care,
Nor can he quit th' imaginary fair.
Mean time his fire, unconscious of his pain,
Applies the temper'd medicines in vain ;
The plague, fo deeply rooted in his heart,
Mocks every flight attempt of Pæan's art;
The flames of Cupid all his breaft inspire,
And in the lover's quench the poet's fire.
When in his riper years, without control,
The Nine have took poffeffion of his foul;
When, facred to their god, the crown he wears,
To other authors let him bend his cares;
Confult their styles, examine every part,
And a new tincture take from every art.
First study Tully's language and his sense,
And range that boundless field of eloquence.
Tully, Rome's, other glory, still affords
The best expreffions and the richest words;
As high o'er all in eloquence he fstood,
As Rome o'er all the nations the fubdued.
Let him read men and manners, and explore
The site and distances from shore to shore ;
Then let him travel, or to maps repair,
And fee imagin'd cities rifing there;
Range with his eyes the earth's fictitious ball,
And pass o'er figur'd worlds that grace the wall.
Some in the bloody fhock of arms appear,
To paint the native horrors of the war ;
Through charging hofts they rufh before they write,
And plunge in all the tumult of the fight.
But fince our lives, contracted in their date
By fcanty bounds and circumfcrib'd by fate,
Can never launch through all the depths of arts,
Ye youths, touch only the material parts;
There stop your labour, there your fearch control,
And draw from thence a notion of the whole.
From diftant climes when the rich merchants come,
To bring the wealth of foreign regions home;
Content the friendly harbours to explore,
They only touch upon the winding fhore;
Nor with vain labour wander up and down
To view the land, and wilt every town;
That would but call them from their former road,
To fpend an age in banishment abroad;
Too late returning from the dangerous main,
To fee their countries and their friends again.
Still be the facred poets your delight,
Read them by day, confult them in the night;
From thofe clear fountains all your raptures bring,
And draw for ever from the Mafes fpring.
But let your fubje&t in your bosom roll,
Claim every thought, and draw in all the foul.
That conftant object to your mind difplay,
Your tail all night, your labour all the day.
I need not all the rules of verse disclose,
Nor how their various measures to difpofe;
The tutor here with eafe his charge may guide
To join the parts and numbers, or divide.
Now let him words to ftated laws fubmit,
Or yoke to measures, or reduce to feet ;
Now let him foftly to himself rehearse
His first attempts and rudiments of verse;
Fix on those rich expreffions his regard
To ufe made facred by fome ancient bard;
Toft by a different guft of hopes and fears,
He begs of heaven an hundred eyes and ears.
Now here, now there, coy nature he purfues,
And takes one image in a thousand views.
He waits the happy moment that affords
The nobleft thoughts, and most expreffive words,
He brooks no dull delay; admits no reft;
A tide of paffion ftruggles in his breaft;
Round his dark foul no clear ideas play,
The most familiar objects glide away.
All fixt in thought, astonish'd he appears,
His foul examines, and confults his ears;
And racks his faithlefs memory, to find
Some traces faintly sketch'd upon his mind.
There he unlocks the glorious magazine,
And opens every faculty within;
Brings out with pride their intellectual spoils,
And with the noble treasure crowns his toils;
And oft' meer chance fhall images difplay,
That ftrike his mind engag'd a different way.
Still he perfifts; regrets no toil nor pain,
And fill the task, he tried before in vain,
Plies with unweary'd diligence again.
For oft' unmanageable thoughts appear,
That mock his labour, and delude his care;
Th' impatient bard, with all his nerves apply'd,
Tries all the avenues on every fide;
Refolv'd and bent the precipice to gain;
Though yet he labours at the rock in vain ;
By his own ftrength and heaven, with conqueft grac'd,
He wins th' important victory at last;
Stretch'd by his hands the vanquish'd monster lies,
And the proud triumph lifts him to the skies.
But when ev'n chance and all his efforts fail,
Nor toils, nor vigilarice, nor cares prevail;
His past attempts in vain the boy renews,
And waits the fofter feafons of the Mufe;
He quits his work; throws by his fond defires;
And from his task reluctantly retires.
Thus o'er the fields the fwain purfues his road,
Till ftopt at length by fome impervious flood,
That from a mountain's brow, o'ercharg'd with rains,
Bursts in a thundering tide, and foams along the plains ;
With horror chill'd, he traverses the shore,
Sees the waves rife, and hears the torrent roar;
Then griev'd returns; or waits with vain delay,
Till the tumultuous deluge rolls away.
But in no Iliad let the youth engage
His tender years, and unexperienc'd age;