THE opera first Italian masters taught,
Enrich'd with songs, but innocent of thought,
Britannia's learned theatre disdains
Melodious trifles and enervate strains;
And blushes on her injur'd stage to see
Nonsense well tun'd and sweet stupidity.
No charms are wanting to thy artful song,
Soft as Corelli, but as Virgil strong,
From words so sweet new grace the notes receive,
And music borrows helps she us'd to give.
Thy style hath match'd what ancient Romans knew,
Thy flowing numbers far excel the new;
Their cadence in such easy sound convey'd,
That height of thought may seem superfluous aid;
Yet in such charms the noble thoughts abound,
That needless seem the sweets of easy sound.
Landscapes how gay the bow'ry grotto yields,
Which thought creates and lavish fancy builds!
What art can trace the visionary scenes,
The flow'ry groves, and everlasting greens,
The babbling sounds that mimic echo plays,
The fairy shade, and its eternal maze,