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A. Is genius only found in epic lays? Prove this, and forfeit all pretence to praife. Make their heroic pow'rs your own at once, Or candidly confefs yourself a dunce.

B. These were the chief, each interval of night
Was grac'd with many an undulating light;
In lefs illuftrious bards his beauty fhone
A meteor or a ftar, in thefe, the fun.

The nightingale may claim the topmost bough,
While the poor grasshopper muft chirp below.
Like him unnotic'd, I, and fuch as I,
Spread little wings, and rather skip than fly,
Perch'd on the meagre produce of the land,
An ell or two of profpect we command,
But never peep beyond the thorny bound
Or oaken fence that hems the paddoc round.

In Eden e'er yet innocence of heart
Had faded, poetry was not an art;
Language above all teaching, or if taught,
Only by gratitude and glowing thought,

Elegant

Elegant as fimplicity, and warm
As extafy, unmanacl'd by form,
Not prompted as in our degen'rate days,
By low ambition and the thirst of praise,
Was natural as is the flowing stream,

And yet magnificent, a God the theme.
That theme on earth exhausted, though above
'Tis found as everlasting as his love,

Man lavish'd all his thoughts on human things,
The feats of heroes and the wrath of kings,
But ftill while virtue kindled his delight,
The fong was moral, and fo far was right.
'Twas thus till luxury feduc'd the mind,
To joys less innocent, as lefs refin'd,
Then genius danc'd a bacchanal, he crown'd
The brimming goblet, feiz'd the thyrfus, bound
His brows with ivy, rufh'd into the field

Of wild imagination, and there reel'd

The victim of his own lafcivious fires,

And dizzy with delight, profan'd the facred wires.

Anacreon,

Anacreon, Horace, play'd in Greece and Rome This Bedlam part; and, others nearer home, When Cromwell fought for pow'r, and while he reign'd The proud protector of the pow'r he gain'd, Religion harfh, intolerant, auftere,

Parent of manners like herself severe,

Drew a rough copy of the Chriftian face
Without the fmile, the sweetness, or the grace;
The dark and fullen humour of the time
Judg'd ev'ry effort of the mufe a crime;
Verse in the fineft mould of fancy cast,
Was lumber in an age fo void of tafte:
But when the fecond Charles affum'd the fway,

And arts reviv'd beneath a fofter day,

Then like a bow long forc'd into a curve,
The mind releas'd from too constrain'd a nerve,
Flew to its firft pofition with a fpring
That made the vaulted roofs of pleasure ring.
His court, the diffolute and hateful school
Of wantonnefs, where vice was taught by rule,

Swarm'd

Swarm'd with a scribbling herd as deep inlaid
With brutal luft as ever Circe made.
From these a long fucceffion, in the rage
Of rank obscenity debauch'd their age,
Nor ceas'd, 'till ever anxious to redress
Th' abuses of her facred charge, the prefs,
The muse inftructed a well nurtur'd train
Of abler votaries to cleanse the stain,
And claim the palm for purity of song,
That lewdness had ufurp'd and worn fo long.
Then decent pleasantry and sterling sense
That neither gave nor would endure offence,
Whipp'd out of fight with fatyr juft and keen,
The puppy pack that had defil'd the scene.

In front of these came Addifon. In him
Humour in holiday and fightly trim,
Sublimity and attic taste combin❜d,
To polish, furnish, and delight the mind.
Then Pope, as harmony itself exact,
In verse well disciplin'd, complete, compact,

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Gave virtue and morality a grace

That quite eclipfing pleasure's painted face,
Levied a tax of wonder and applause,

Ev'n on the fools that trampl'd on their laws.
But he (his musical fineffe was fuch,
So nice his ear, fo delicate his touch)
Made poetry a mere mechanic art,
And ev'ry warbler has his tune by heart.
Nature imparting her fatyric gift,

Her ferious mirth, to Arbuthnot and Swift,
With droll fobriety they rais'd a fiile
At folly's coft, themselves unmov'd the while.
That conftellation fet, the world in vain
Must hope to look upon their like again.

A. Are we then left-B. Not wholly in the dark,
Wit now and then, ftruck fmartly, fhows a fpark,
Sufficient to redeem the modern race
From total night and abfolute difgrace.
While fervile trick and imitative knack
Confine the million in the beaten track,

Perhaps

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