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The Bards now paint the arms their heroes wield,
And each bold figure on the glittering shield.
Great * Aventinus, great Alcides' son,
Wore the proud' trophy which his father won ;
An hundred serpents o'er the buckler roll d,
And Hydra hiss’d froin 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 famod Eridanus to glide,
Or sport on fabled Achelöus' side.
Or hoary Nereus' numerous race display,
The hundred azure sisters of the sea.
With them the nymphs that haunt their native woods,
And the long orders of the Sylvan Gods.
With gay descriptions fprinkle here and there
instructive sentences with care,
That touch on life, fome moral good pursue,
And give us virtue in a transient 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 illustrate mighty things by small;
With due success the licens’d Poet dares,
When to the † ants the Phrygians he compares,
Who, leaving Carthage, gather to the seas;
Or the laborious Tyrians to the g bees.
Virg. Æneid. Lib. VII. v. 656. + Ibid. Lib. IX. W. 402 Ibid. Lib. I. v. 434.
But swarming * 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 Ausonia's coafts.
The lofty Muse who sung the Latian war,
Would think such trivial things beneath her care,
How from his majesty would Virgil fall,
If Turnus, scarce repelld 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 resound;
Slow he gives way, and crops the springing grain,
Turns on each side, and stops to graze again.
In every point the thing is just, we know,
But then the image is itself too low:
For Turnus, sprung from such a glorious strain,
The vile resemblance would with scorn disdain.
With better grace the g lion may appear,
Who, singly impotent the crowd to dare,
Repel, or stand their whole embody'd war,
Looks grimly back, and rolls his glaring eye,
Despairs to conquer, and disdains to fly.
Since fictions are allow'd, be sure, 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 Nain ; * Iliad. Lib. II. v. 469. + Ibid. Lib. XI. v. 557. $Æneid. Lib. IX. v. 792. | Homer's Iliad. Lib.
Some think they could not pass the time away,
In such long narratives, and cool delay,
Amidst the raging tumult of the day.
But yet we hear fierce Diomed relate
The crime of bold Lycurgus, and his fate;
And Glaucus talks of brave Bellerophon,
Doom'd for a lawless passion not his own;
Sets forth the hero's great exploits to view,
How the bold chief the diré Chimæra slew,
The Solymäan host, and Amazonian crew.
For those surprizing fictions are design'd
With their sweet falfhoods to delight the mind;
The Bards expect no credit should be given
To the bare lye, though authoriz'd by heaven,
Which oft with confidence they vent abroad,
Beneath the needful sanction of a god.
'Twas thus the * roasted heifers of the sun
Spoke o'er the fire with accents not their own ;
'Twas thus + Achilles' fteed his silence broke,
And § Trojan ships in human voices fpoke ;
As wrought by heaven these wonders they relate,
All airy visions of the ivory gate !
Speak things but once, if order be your care,
For more the cloy'd attention will not bear,
And tedious repetitions tire the ear.
In this we differ from the Grecian train,
Who tell | Atrides' visions o'er again.
* Homer. Odys. Lib. XII. v. 395.
+ Iliad. Lib. XVII. v. 426.
Ş Virgil, Æneid. Lib. X. v. 228. Vid. Iliad. Lib. II.
*Tis not enough with them we know the cause
Why great Achilles from the war withdraws,
Unless the * weeping hero, on the fhore,
Tells his blue mother all we heard before.
So much on punctual niceties they stand,
That, when their kings dispatch some high command,
All, word for word, th' embassadors + rehearse
In the same tenor of unvaried verse.
Not so did § Venulus from Arpi bring
The final answer of th' Ætolian king,
Let others labour on a vast design,
A less, but polith'd with due care, be thine.
To change its structure, be your last delight;
Thus spend the day, and exercise the night,
Incessant in your toil. But if you
A larger field and subject for your Muse;
If scanty limits should the theme confine,
Learn with just art to lengthen the design
Beyond its native bounds; the roving mind
A thousand methods to this end may find;
Unnumber'd fictions may with truths be join’d.
Nature supplies a fund of matter ftill;
Then cull th' rich variety at will.
See! how the I Bard calls down th’embattled Gods,
All rang'd in factions, from their bright abodes ;
Hom. Iliad. Lib. I. v. 370. + Ibid. Lib. IX. v. 264. ☆ Virg. Æneid. Lib. XI. v. 243. | All these
particulars, to the end of this paragraph, are taken from Homer and Virgil.
Who, fir'd with mutual hate, their arms employ,
And in the field declare for Greece or Troy ;
Till Jove convenes a council to affwage
Their rising fury, and suspend their rage ;
Though the blest Gods, remov'd from human eyes,
Live in immortal ease within the distant skies.
And now th’infernal realm his theme he makes,
The reign of Pluto, the Tartarean lakes,
The Furies dreadful with their curling snakes.
He gathers omens from each bird that flies,
And signs from every wing that beats the skies.
He now describes a banquet, where the guest
Prolongs with narratives the royal feast.
Or at the glorious hero's tomb we read
ordain'd in honour of the dead.
And oft for mercies in old times display'd,
To their own Gods their annual rites are paid.
For monstrous Python Nain, their praises rise,
And lift the fame of Phoebus to the skies.
In hymns Alcides' labours they resound,
While Cacus lies extended on the ground,
Alternate sing the labours of his hands,
Enjoin'd by fierce Eurystheus' stern commands;
The den of Cacus crowns the grateful strain,
Where the grim monster breathes bis flames in vain.
Mark how sometimes the Bard without control
Exerts his fire, and pours forth all his soul;
His lines fo daring, and his words so strong;
We see the subject figurid in the song :