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Oh, where's the Bard, who at one view Cou'd look the whole creation through, Who travers'd all the human heart, Without recourse to Grecian art? He scorn'd the modes of imitation, Of altering, pilfering, and translation, Nor painted horror, grief, or rage, From models of a former age; The bright original he took, And tore the leaf from Nature's book. 'Tis Shakespeare, thus, who stands alone -But why repeat what you have shown? How true, how perfect, and how well, The feelings of our hearts must tell.
Author of the Rosciad.
Ir at a Tavern, where you'd wish to dine,
Critics of old, a manly liberal race, Approv'd or censur'd with an open face:
Boldly pursu'd the free decisive task,
But, as all states are subject to decay,
Now Quack and Critic differ but in name, Empirics frontless both, they mean, the same;
This raw in Physic, that in Letters fresh,
Yet, in these leaden times, this idle age, When, blind with dulness, or as blind with rage, Author 'gainst author rails with venom curst, And happy He who calls out blockhead first; From the low earth aspiring genius springs, And sails triumphant, born on eagle wings. No toothless spleen, no venom'd critic's aim, Shall rob thee, Churchill, of thy proper fame; While hitch'd for ever in thy nervous rhyme, Fool lives, and shines out fool to latest time.
Pity perhaps might wish a harmless fool
If some small wit, some silk-lin'd verseman, rakes
Courtier, physician, lawyer, parson, cit, All, all are objects of theatric wit. Are ye then, Actors, privileg'd alone, To make that weapon, ridicule, your own? Professions bleed not from his just attack, Who laughs at pedant, coxcomb, knave, or quack; Fools on and off the stage are fools the same, And every dunce is satire's lawful game. Freely you thought, where thought has free'st room, Why then apologize for what? to whom?
Though Gray's-Inn wits with authorsquires unite, And self-made giants club their labour'd mite, Though pointless satire make its weak escape, In the dull babble of a mimic ape, Boldly pursue where genius points the way, Nor heed what monthly puny critics say. Firm in thyself, with calm indifference smile, When the wise Vet'ran knows you by your stile, With critic scales weighs out the partial wit, What I, or You, or He, or no one writ;