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Nor let thy mountain-belly make pretence
Of likeness ; thine's a tympany of sense.
A tun of man in thy large bulk is writ;
But sure thou’rt but a kilderkin of wit.
like mine, thy gentle numbers feebly creep:
Thy tragic mufe gives smiles, thy comic, sleep.
With whate'er gall thou set'st thyself to write,
Thy inoffensive fatires never bite.
In thy felonious heart though venom lies,
It does but touch thy Irish pen, and dies.
Thy genius calls thee not to purchase fame
In keen Tambics, but mild Anagram.
Leave writing plays, and chuse for thy command
Some peaceful province in Acrostic land.
There thou may'ft Wings display, and Altars raise,
And torturé one poor word ten thousand
ways. Or, if thou woud'st thy different talents suit, Set thy own songs, and fing them to thy lute.”
He said ; but his last words were scarcely heard:
For Bruce and Longvil had a trap prepar'd,
And down they fent the yet declaiming bard.
Sinking, he left his drugget robe behind,
Borne upwards by a subterranean wind.
The mantle fell to the young prophet's part,
With double portion of his father's art.
RH A P P S O D Y. Here follows one of the best versified poems in
our language, and the most mafterly production of its author. The severity with which Walpole is here treated, was in consequence of that minister's having refused to provide for Swift in England, when applied to for that purpose in the year 1725 (if I remember right). The feverity of a poet, however, gave Walpole very little uneasiness. A man whose schemes, like this minister's, seldom extended beyond the exigency of the year,
but little regarded the contempt of pofterity.
A And milions miss for one that
And millions miss for one that hits.
Young's universal paffion, pride,
Was never known to spread so wide.
Say, Britain, could you ever boast
poets in an age, at most ? Our chilling climate hardly bears A sprig of bays in fifty years :
While ev'ry fool his claim alledges,
As if it grew in common hedges.
Vi hat reason can there be asiign'd
For this perverseness in the mind ?
Brutes find out where their talents lie:
A bear will not attempt to fly;
A founder'd horse will oft debate
Before he tries a five-barr'd gate :
A dog, by instinct, turns afide,
Who sees the ditch too deep and wide.
But man we find the only creature,
Who, led by folly, combats nature ;
Who, when she loudly cries forbear,
With obstinacy fixes there ;
And, where his genius leait inclines,
Absurdly bends his whole designs.
Not empire to the rising fun,
By valour, conduct, fortune won ;
Not highest wisdom in debates
For framing laws to govern states ;
Not skill in sciences profound,
So large, to grasp the circle round;
Such heav'nly influence require,
As how to strike the Muse's lyre.
Not beggar's brat, on bulk begots
Not bastard of a pedlar Scot;
Not boy brought up to cleaning shoes,
The spawn of Bridewell, or the ftews;
Not infants dropt, the fpurious pledges
of gipfies litt'ring under hedges,
Are fo disqualify'd by fate
To rise in church, or law, or state,
As he whom Phæbus, in his ire,
Hath blasted with poetic fire.
What hope of custom in the fair,
While not a soul demands your ware ?
Where you have nothing to produce
For private life, or public use?
Court, city, country, want you not ;
You cannot bribe, betray, or plot.
For poets law makes no provision ;
The wealthy have you in derision;
Of state affairs you cannot smatter;
Are aukward, when you try to flatter ;
Your portion, taking Britain round,
Was just one annual hundred pound;
Now not so much as in remainder,
Since Cibber brought in an attainder;
For ever fix'd by right divine
(A monarch's right) on Grub-ftreet line.
Poor starvling bard, how small thy gains !
How unproportion'd to thy pains !
And here a simile comes pat in:
Though chickens take a month to fatten,
The guests, in less than half an hour,
Will more than half a score devour ;
So, after toiling twenty days
To earn a stock of
and praise, Thy labours, grown the critic's prey, Are swallow'd o'er a dish of tea ;.
Gone, to be never heard of more ;
Gone, where the chickens went before.
How shall a new attempter learn
Of diff'rent fpirits to discern,
And how distinguish which is which,
The poet's vein, or scribbling itch?
Then hear an old experienc'd finner,
Instructing thus a young beginner.
Consult yourself, and, if you find
A powerful impulse, urge your mind;
Impartial judge within your breast
What subject you can manage best;
Whether your genius most inclines
To fatyre, praise, or hum'rous lines;
To elegies in mournful tone,
Or prologue, sent from hand unknown,
Then, rifing with Aurora's light,
The muse invok’d, fit down to write ;
Blot out, correct, infert, refine,
Enlarge, diminish, interline ;
Be mindful, when invention fails,
To scratch your head, and bite your nails.
Your poem finish'd, next, your care
Is needful to transcribe it fair.
In modern wit all printed trash is
Set off with num'rous breaks and dates.com
To statesmen would you give a wipe,
You print it in Italic type.
When letters are in vulgar shapes,
"Tis ten to one the wit escapes ;