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Thou couldt anatomise with ready Art,
And skilful Hand, Crimes lockt close up i'tß' Heart,
Thou couldst unfold dark Plots, and them that Path
By which Ambition climbid to Greatness bath
Thou couldst the Rises, Turns, and Falls of States,
How near they were their Periods and Dates;
Couldst mad the Subject into popular Rage,

And the grown Seas of that great Storm affwage;
Dethrone ufurping Tyrants, and place there
The lawful Prince and true Inberiter;
Knew'j; all dark Turnings in the Labyrinth
Of Policy, which who but knows be finn’th,
Save thee, who un-infected didft walk in't
As the great Genius of Government.
And when thou laidst thy Tragic Buskin by
To court the Stage with gentle Comedy,
How new, how proper thHumours, how express'd
In rich Variety, how neatly dress’d
In Language, bow rare Plots, what Strength of Wit
Shin'd in the Face and Limb of it !
The Stage grew narrow while thou grewji to be
In thy whole Life an Excʻllent Comedy.

To these a Virgin-modesty which first met
Applaufë with Blush and Fear, as if be yet
Had not deferu'd; 'till bold with constant Praise
His Brows admitted the unfought for Bays.
Nor would be ravish Fame; but let Men free
To their own Vote and Ingenuity.
When his fair Shepherdess on the guilty Stage,
Was martyr'd between Ignorance and Rage;
At which the impatient

Virtues of those few
Could judge, grew high, cryid Murder: though he knew
The Innocence and Beauty of bis Child,
He only, as if unconcerned, smil'de

Princes

every Limb

1

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43 Princes have garber'd fince each scatter'd Grace, Each Line and Beauty of that injur'd Face And on thunited Parts breatb'd

fuch a Fire As spight of Malice fae phall ne'er expire.

Attending, not affecting, thus the Crown,
Till every Hand did belp to set it on,
He came to be fole Monarch, and did reign
In Wit's great Empire, abs’lute Sovereign.

44 John Harris,

On Mr. JOHN FLETCHER, and his WORKS;

never before Published,

XIX.
O flatter living Fools is easy Slight:

But hard, to do the living-dead Men Right. 43 Princes have gather'd fince each featter'd Grace,

Each Line and Beauty of that injur'd Face;] This relates to King Charles the First causing The Faithful Shepherdess to be reviv'd, and acted before him. The Lines are extremely beautiful, and do honour to the King's Tafte in Poetry, which as it comes from an Adversary (tho certainly a very candid one, and who before condemn'd the Fire-brandScriblers and Meteor-Wits of his Age) is a strong Proof of its being a very good one. Queen Elizabeth may be call'd the Mother of the English Poets; James the First was a Pedagogue to them, encourag'd their Literature but debas'd it with Puns and Pedantry : Charles the First reviv'd a good Taste, but the Troubles of his Reign prevented the great Effects of his Patronage.

44 John Harris was of New-College, Oxford, Greek Professor of the University, and so eminent a Preacher that he was calld a second ChrySofton. In the Civil Wars he sided with the Presbyterians, and was one of the Asembly of Divines, and is the only Poet in this Collection whom we certainly know to have been for the Parliament against the King. His Poem has great Merit; the fine Break after the mention of the Earl of Esex, and the Simile of the Elm and Clusters of Grapes, deserve a particular Attention. After this Simile I have struck out some Lines that were unequal in Merit to their Brethren, left the Reader, tired with these, fhould ftop too fhort; for those which now follow, tho' unjust with regard to Beaumont, are poetically good.

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To praise a landed Lord, is gainful Art :
But thankless to pay Tribute to Desert.
This should have been my Task: I had Intent
To bring my Rubbish to thy Monument,
To stop some Crannies there, but that I found
No Need of least Repair ; all firm and found.
Tby well-built Fame doth still itself advance
Above the World's mad Zeal and Ignorance,
Though thou diedst not posest of that same Pelf,
Which nobler Souls call Dirt, the City, Wealth:
Yet thou hast left unto the Times so great
A Legacy, a Treasure so compleat,
That 'twill be hard, I fear, to prove thy Will:
Men will be Wrangling, and in Doubting still,
How so vast Sums of Wit were left behind;
And yet nor Debts, nor Sharers, they can find.
'Twas the kind Providence of Fate to lock
Some of this Treasure up; and keep a Stock
For a Reserve until these sullen Days:
When Scorn, and Want, and Danger, are the Bays
That crown the Head of Merit. But now be,
Who in thy Will batb part, is rich and free.
But there's a Caveat enter'd by Command,
None should pretend, but those can understand.

45 Henry Moody, Bart.

43 Sir Henry Moody was of the Number of those Gentlemen who had honorary Degrees conferr'd by King Charles the First at his Return to Oxford after the Battle of Edgehill. The Poem has some ftrong Marks of Genius in it, particularly in these Lines,

until these sullen Days :
When Scorn, and Want, and Danger, are the Bays

That crown the Head of Merit.
I confess myself a great Admirer of Verses in Rhime, whose Pauses run
into each other as boldly as blank Verse itself. When our Moderns cor-
rected

many Faults in the Measure of our Verse by making the Accents always fall on right Syllables, and laying aside those harsh Elisions us'd

by

On the Deceased Author, Mr. John FLETCHER,

his Plays; and especially, The Mad Lover.

46

XX.
While his well-organ'd Body doth retreat

To its first Matter, and the Formal Heat
Triumphant fits in Judgment to approve
Pieces above our Censure, and our Love ;

by our ancient Poets, they mistook this Run of the Verses into each other after the Manner of Virgil, Homer, &c. for a Fault, which depriv'd our Rhime of that Grandeur and Dignity of Numbers which arises from a perpetual change of Pauses, and turn'd whole Poems into Distichs,

46 The first four Lines of this Copy of Verses, I own, are quite above my Comprehension. What formal Heat can mean, and Head fitting in Judgment, is a Riddle too intricate for me to guess at. Then, why any Piece should be above our Candour, I am equally at a loss to understand. If these Verses are printed among Sir Afton Cokaine's Poems, they may, perhaps, stand in a more intelligible Plight. But, as I never met with that Gentleman's Writings, I'll venture to subjoin my Suspicion how the Text might have originally stood.

Whilf bis well-organ'd Body is retird
To its first Matter, and the formal Herd
Triumphant fits in Judgment, to approve

Pieces above our Censure, and our Love; The formal Herd I would interpret to be the Croud of Fanatics, that swarm'd at the Time of the first Publication of Beaumont's and Fletcher's Works. Then, as to the Correction in the fourth Line, it gives an Antithesis that makes good Sense; whereas Candour and Love are merely Tautology. An excellent Work may, with Reason, be said to be as much above Censure, as it is above our Admiration and Praises. The Word approve, I conceive, is to be taken in an equivocal Sense; not, directly, to commend; but to see whether the Piece, under Judgment, will stand the Teft of being approved.

Mr. Theobald. This Note of Mr. Theobald's is ingenious; but there are great Liberties taken, and the Sense is, I believe, made totally different from the true one, which at best is very obscure. Formal Heat, I take to be a metaphysical and logical Term for the Soul, as the Formal Cause is that which constitutes the Effence of any thing. Fletcher's Soul therefore now fits in Judgment, to approve Works deserving of Praise to Cenfure for Candour, it is certainly a very probable Conjecture.

Such,

Such, as dare boldly venture to appear
Unto the curious Eye, and Critic Ear :
Lo, the Mad Lover in these various Times
Is press’d to Life, t'accuse us of our Crimes.
While Fletcher liv’d, who equal to him writ
Such lasting Monuments of natural Wit ?
Others might draw their Lines with Sweat, like these
That (with much Pains) a Garrison inclose;
Whilst bis sweet, fluent, Wein did gently runt
As uncontrold and smoothly as the Sun.
After his Death, our Theatres did make
Him in his own unequal, Language speak:
And now, when all the Muses out of their
Approved Modesty silent appear,
This Play of Fletcher's braves. the envious: Light
As Wonder of our Ears, ance; now our Sight.
Three-and-fourfold-bleft Poet, who the Lives
Of Poets, and of Theatres; survives!
A Groom, or Oftler of some Wit, may bring
His Pegasus to the Castalian Spring;
Boast, be a Race oʻer the Pharfalian Plain,
Or happy Tempe's Valley, dares maintain:
Brag, at one Leap, upon the double Cliffe
(Were it as high as monstrous Tenariffe)
Of far-renown'd Parnaffus be will get,
And there: (to amaze the World ) confirm his Seat :
When our admired Fletcher vaunts not Aught,

And sighted every thing he writ'as Naught :
While all our English wondring World (in's Cause)
Made this great City echo with Applaujė.
Read him, therefore, all that can read; and those,
That cannot, learn; if y'are not Learning's Foes 3
And wilfully resolved to refuse
The gentle Raptures of this happy Muse.

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