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Fometimes their verdant honours leave the woods,
And their dry urns defraud the thirsty floods;
Nor ftill the rivers a full channel yield,
Nor Spring with flowery beauties paints the field:
The Bards no lefs fuch fickle changes find,
Dampt is the noble ardor of the mind;
Their wonted toil her wearied powers refuse;
Their fouls grow flack and languid to the Muse,
Deaf to their call; their efforts are withstood;
Round their cold hearts congeals the freezing blood.
You'd think the Muses fled; the God no more
Would fire the bofom where he dwelt before,
No more return!—how often, though in vain,
The Poet would renew the wonted strain !
Nor fees the Gods who thwart his fruitless care,
Heaven relentless to his prayer.
Some read the antient Bards, of deathlefs fame,
And from their raptures catch the noble flame
By juft degrees; they feed the glowing vein,
And all th' immortal ardour burns again
In its full light and heat; the fun's bright ray
Thus (when the clouds difperfe) reftores the day:
Whence shot this fudden flash that gilds the pole?
The God, the God comes rufhing on his foul;
Fires with ethereal vigour every part,
Through every trembling limb he seems to dart,
Works in each vein, and fwells his rifing heart.
Deep in his breaft the heavenly tumult plays,
And fets his mounting spirits on a blaze.
Nor can the raging flames themselves contain,
For the whole God defcends into the man.
He quits mortality, he knows no bounds,
But fings infpir'd in more than human founds.
Nor from his breast can shake th' immortal load,
But pants and raves impatient of the God;
And, rapt beyond himself, admires the force
That drives him on reluctant to the course.
He calls on Phoebus, by the God oppreft,
Who breathes exceffive spirit in his breast;
No force of thirst or hunger can control
The fierce, the ruling transport of his foul.
Oft in their fleep, infpir'd with rage divine,
Some Bards enjoy the visions of the Nine :
Vifions! themfelves with due applaufe may crown,
Vifions that Phoebus or that Jove may own.
To fuch an height the God exalts the flame,
And fo unbounded is their thirst of fame.
But here, ye youths, exert your timely care,
Nor truft th' ungovernable rage too far;
Ufe not your fortune, nor unfurl your fails,
Though foftly courted by the flattering gales,
Refuse them ftill; and call your judgment in,
While the fierce God exults and reigns within ;.
To reason's standard be your thoughts confin'd,
Let judgment calm the tempeft of the mind.
Indulge your heat with conduct, and restrain;
Learn when to draw, and when to give the rein..
But always wait till the warm raptures cease,
And lull the tumults of the foul to peace;
Then, nor till then, examine strictly o'er
What your wild fallies might suggest before.
Be fure, from nature never to depart;
To copy nature is the task of art.
The noblest poets own her sovereign sway,
And ever follow where she leads the way.
From her the different characters they trace,
That mark the human or the favage race,
Each various and distinct; in every stage
They paint mankind; their humours, sex, and age ;
They fhew what manners the flow fage become,
What the brisk youth in all his sprightly bloom.
In every word and sentiment explain,
How the proud monarch differs from the [wain.
I naufeate all confounded characters,
Where young Telemachus too grave appears,
Or reverend Neftor acts beneath his years.
poet fuits his fpeeches, when he fings,
To proper perfons, and the state of things;
On each their just distinctions are bestow'd,
To mark a male, a female, or a God.
Thus when in heaven feditious tumults rife,
Amongst the radiant senate of the skies,
The fire of Gods, and fovereign of mankind,
In a few words unfolds his facred mind.
Not so fair Venus; who at large replies,
And pities Troy, and counts her miseries,
Woes undeferv'd: but with contention fir'd,
And with the fpirit of revenge infpir'd,
Fierce June ftorms amidst the blest abodes,
And tuns with loud complaints the liftening Gods.
When youthful * Turnus the ftern combat claims,
His rifing heart is fill'd with martial flames;
Impell'd by rage, and bent to prove his might,
His foul fprings forward, and prevents the fight;
Rouz'd to revenge, his kindling spirits glow,
Confirm his challenge, and provoke the foe,
The fugitive of Troy.-But while his rage
And youthful courage prompts him to engage,
On Latium's king incumbent it appears,
Grown old in prudence, piety, and years,
To weigh events, and youthful heat affwage,
With the cold caution and the fears of age.
In Dido's various character is feen,
The furious lover and the gracious queen :
When Troy's fam'd chief, commanded from above,
Prepares to quit her kingdom, and her love;
She raves, the ftorms with unavailing care,
Grown wild with grief, and frantic with despair.
Through every street she flies, with anguish stung,
And broken accents flutter on her tongue;
Her words confus'd and interrupted flow,
Speak and exprefs the hurry of her woe.
How in this Dido is that Dido loft,
Who late receiv'd the Trojan's on her coast,
And bade them banish grief, and fhare her throne,
Difmifs their fears, and think her realms their own!
great orators confult, and thence
Draw all the moving turns of eloquence;
That Sinon may his Phrygian foes betray,
And lead the crowd, as fraud directs the way }^
That wife Ulyffes may the Greeks detain,
While Troy yet stood, from measuring back the main.
Need I name † Neftor, who could talk to peace,
With melting words, the factious kings of Greece?
Whofe foft addrefs their fury could control,
Mould every paffion, and fubdue the foul!
These foothing arts to | Venus fure were known,
To beg immortal arms to grace her son ;
Her injur'd fpoufe each thrilling word infpires,
With every pang of love to fecond her defires.
With niceft art the fair adulteress draws
Her fond addreffes from a diftant caufe ;
And all her guileful accents are defign'd
To catch his paffions, and enfnare his mind.
'Tis hence the poet learns in every part
To bend the foul, and give with wondrous art
A thousand different motions to the heart.
Hence, as his fubject gay or fad appears,
He claims our joy, or triumphs in our tears.
Who, when he fees how § Orpheus' forrows flow,
Weeps not his tears, and answers woe for woe?
When he his dear Eurydice deplores
To the deaf rocks, and folitary fhores;
+ Hom. Iliad. Lib. II. Iliad. Lib. I. vers. 246.
* Vid. Æneid. Lib. II.
† Æneid. Lib. VIII. v. 370.
§ Virgil. Georgic. Lib. IV. v. 464.