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What impulfe bids the ocean rife and fall;
What motions shake and rock the trembling ball.
Though foreign fubjects had engag'd their care,
The rage, the din and thunder of the war,
Through the loud field; the genius of the earth;
Or rules to raise the vegetable birth:
Yet 'tis but feldom, and when time and place
Require the thing, and reconcile to grace.
Those foreign objects necessary feem,
And flow, to all appearance, from the theme;
With so much art fo well conceal'd they please,
When wrought with skill, and introduc'd with ease.
Should not* Anchifes, fuch occasion shown,
Refolve the questions of his god-like fon?
If fouls depriv'd of heaven's fair light repair
Once more to day, and breathe the vital air?
Or if from high Olympus firft they came,
Infpir'd with portions of ethereal flame,
Though here encumber'd with the mortal frame?
Tire not too long one subject when you write,
For 'tis variety that gives delight;
But when to that variety inclin'd,
You feek new objects to relieve the mind,
Be fure let nothing forc'd or labour'd seem,
But watch your time, and steal from off
Conceal with care your longing to depart,
For art's chief pride is still to cover art.
*Vid. Æneid. Lib. VI.
So* Mulciber, in future ages skill'd,
Engrav'd Rome's glories on Æneas' shield,
On the bright orb her future fame enroll'd,
And with her triumphs charg'd the rising gold;
Here figur'd fights the blazing round adorn,
There his long line of heroes yet unborn.
But if a Poet of Aufonian birth
Defcribes the various kingdoms of the earth,
Wide interfperft; the Medes, or fwarthy Moors;
The different natures of their foils explores,
And paints the trees that bloom on India's fhores :
On his own land he looks with partial eyes,
And lifts the fair Hefperia to the fkies;
To all the fair Hefperia he prefers,
And makes the woods of Bactria yield to her's,
With proud Panchaia; though her groves she boasts,
And breathes a cloud of incenfe from her coafts.
Hear then, ye generous youths, on this regard
I fhould not blame the conduct of the Bard,
Who in foft numbers, and a flowing strain,
Relieves and reconciles our ears again.
When I the various implements had fung
That to the fields, and rural trade belong,
In fweet harmonious measures would I tell
How § nature mourn'd when the great Cæfar fell.
When Bacchus' curling vines had grac'd my lays,
The rural pleasures | next should share my praise.
Virg. Æneid. Lib. VIII. v. 626. + Virg. Georgic. Lib. II. v. 136. Georg. Lib. I. v. 466.
The labour ended, and compleat the whole,
Some Bards with pleasure wander round the goal,
The flights and fallies of the Mufe prolong,
And add new beauties to the finish'd song;
Pleas'd with th' excursion of the charming strain,
We strive to quit the work, but strive in vain.
Thus, were the bees the subject of my Muse,
Their laws, their natures, and celestial dews;
Poor Ariftæus fhould his fate difclofe,
His mother's counfel fhould affwage his woes;
Old Proteus here fhould ftruggle in his chain,
There in foft verfe the Thracian Bard complain
(As Philomela on a poplar's bough
Bewails her young, melodious in her woe).
Pangean steeps his forrows should return,
And vocal Thrace with Rhodope should mourn ;
Hebrus fhould roll low-murmuring to the deep,
And barbarous nations wonder why they weep.
Thus too the Poets, who the names declare
Of kings and nations gathering to the war,
Sometimes diverfify the ftrain, and fing
The wondrous change of the † Ligurian king.
While for his Phaëton his forrows flow,
And his harmonious ftrains beguile his woe,
O'er all the man the fnowy feathers rife,
And in a tuneful fwan he mounts the skies.
Thus too § Hippolitus, by Dian's care
And Pæan's art, returns to upper air.
Georg. Lib. XI. v. 317. † Æneid. Lib. X. v. 185. neid. Lib. VII. v. 756.
The Bards now paint the arms their heroes wield,
And each bold figure on the glittering shield.
Great * Aventinus, great Alcides' fon,
Wore the proud' trophy which his father won ;
An hundred ferpents o'er the buckler roll`d,
And Hydra hifs'd from all her heads in gold.
Now blooming Tempe's cool retreats they fing,
And now with flowery beauties paint the spring.
Now with a sylvan scene the floods they hide;
Or teach the fam'd Eridanus to glide,
Or fport on fabled Achelöus' fide.
Or hoary Nereus' numerous race difplay,
The hundred azure fifters of the sea.
With them the nymphs that haunt their native woods,
And the long orders of the Sylvan Gods.
With gay defcriptions fprinkle here and there
Some grave instructive sentences with care,
That touch on life, fome moral good purfue,
And give us virtue in a tranfient view;
Rules, which the future fire may make his own,
And point the golden precepts to his fon.
Sometimes on little images to fall,
And thus illuftrate mighty things by small;
With due fuccefs the licens'd Poet dares,
When to the ants the Phrygians he compares,
Who, leaving Carthage, gather to the feas
Or the laborious Tyrians to the § bees.
*Virg. Æneid. Lib. VII. v. 656.
§ Ibid. Lib. I. v. 434.
But fwarming * flies, offensive animals,
That buz incessant o'er the smoaking pails,
Are images too low, to paint the hosts
That roll and blacken o'er Aufonia's coafts.
The lofty Muse who sung the Latian war,
Would think fuch trivial things beneath her care.
How from his majesty would Virgil fall,
If Turnus, fcarce repell'd from Ilion's wall,.
Retiring grimly with a tardy pace,
Had e'er been figur'd by the patient † ass !
Whom unregarded troops of boys surround,
While o'er his fides their rattling strokes refound;
Slow he gives way, and crops the springing grain,
Turns on each fide, and ftops to graze again.
In every point the thing is juft, we know,
But then the image is itself too low :
For Turnus, fprung from fuch a glorious strain,
The vile refemblance would with fcorn difdain.
With better grace the § lion may appear,
Who, fingly impotent the crowd to dare,
Repel, or ftand their whole embody'd war,
Looks grimly back, and rolls his glaring eye,
Defpairs to conquer, and disdains to fly.
Since fictions are allow'd, be fure, ye youths,
Your fictions wear at least the air of truths.
When Glaucus meets Tydides on the plain,
Inflam'd with rage, and reeking from the slain;
Iliad. Lib. II. v. 469. SÆneid. Lib. IX. v. 792. VI. v. 119.
+ Ibid. Lib. XI. v. 557.
Homer's Iliad. Lib.