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Like theirs, our Friendship! and I boast my name
This labour past, of heav'nly subjects sing,
THE HON. SIMON HARCOURT.
THE following lines confer great honour on their young and highly accomplished author. The ideas are noble and poetical, the sentiments manly and grave, and the expression such as to give full effect to the whole. Pope never received a finer compliment than in the lines commencing-" Say, wondrous youth!"
Mr. Harcourt was only son to the Lord Chancellor Harcourt, and died in 1720. His Epitaph by Pope is one of the very few that have escaped with but little injury from the severity of Johnson.
TO MR. POPE.
ON THE PUBLISHING HIS WORKS.
He comes, he comes! bid ev'ry Bard prepare
Great Sheffield's Muse the long procession heads,
First gives the palm she fir'd him to obtain,
Thus Chiron did the youth he taught applaud,
But hark, what shouts, what gath'ring crowds rejoice! Unstain'd their praise by any venal voice, Such as th' ambitious vainly think their due, When prostitutes, or needy flatt'rers sue. And see the Chief! before him laurels borne; Trophies from undeserving temples torn; Here Rage enchain'd reluctant raves, and there Pale Envy dumb, and sick'ning with despair, Prone to the earth she bends her loathing eye, Weak to support the blaze of majesty.
But what are they that turn the sacred page?
The GRACES these; and see how they contend,
The pæans cease; thy glorious labour ends.
Here fix'd, the bright eternal Temple stands,
Its prospect an unbounded view commands:
Say, wond'rous youth, what column wilt thou choose, What laurell'd arch for thy triumphant Muse?
Tho' each great Ancient court thee to his shrine,
Tho' ev'ry laurel through the dome be thine,
(From the proud Epic, down to those that shade 35 The gentler brow of the soft Lesbian maid)
Go to the Good and Just, an awful train,
Thy soul's delight, and glory of the Fane:
MR. BOWLES objects to Dr. Warton's preference of Fenton's verses, and thinks "these lines of Lord Lyttelton much superior to all the other recommendatory verses, as elegant and correct in themselves, as the sentiments they convey appear sincere, and worthy an ingenious, liberal, and cultivated mind. There is a small inaccuracy," he adds, "in one or two expressions, and perhaps it would have been better if Virgil's speech had formed the conclusion."
Of the comparative merits of these commendatory poems the reader must be allowed to form his own judgment; but it is somewhat extraordinary that Mr. Bowles should recommend as an amendment, that the poem should close with Virgil's speech, when this is evidently already the case.
TO MR. POPE.
From Rome, 1730.
IMMORTAL Bard! for whom each Muse has wove
The darken'd age's last remaining light!
To thee from Latian realms this verse is writ,
Inspir'd by memory of ancient Wit:
For now no more these climes their influence boast,
From Tyrants, and from Priests, the Muses fly,
Nor Baie now, nor Umbria's plain they love,
To Thames's flow'ry borders they retire,
So in the shades, where cheer'd with summer rays
Soon as the faded, falling leaves complain
Of gloomy winter's unauspicious reign,
No tuneful voice is heard of joy or love,
But mournful silence saddens all the grove.
Unhappy Italy! whose alter'd state
Has felt the worst severity of fate:
Not that Barbarian hands her fasces broke,
And bow'd her haughty neck beneath their yoke;
Her Cities desert, and her fields unsown;
That sacred Wisdom from her bounds is fled,
Oft kiss, with lips devout, some mould'ring stone,
Those hallow'd ruins better pleas'd to see
Than all the pomp of modern Luxury.
As late on Virgil's tomb fresh flow'rs I strow'd,
While with th' inspiring Muse my bosom glow'd,
Crown'd with eternal bays my ravish'd eyes
"Great Bard! whose numbers I myself inspire,
Nor, when each soft engaging Muse is thine,
Of thee more worthy were the task to raise A lasting column to thy Country's Praise, To sing the Land, which yet alone can boast That Liberty corrupted Rome has lost, Where Science in the arms of Peace is laid; And plants her Palm beneath the Olive's shade. Such was the Theme for which my lyre I strung, Such was the People whose exploits I sung; Brave, yet refin'd, for Arms and Arts renown'd, With diff'rent bays by Mars and Phoebus crown'd, 70 Dauntless opposers of tyrannic sway,
But pleas'd, a mild AUGUSTUS to obey.
If these commands submissive thou receive,
And howl with Furies in tormenting fire;
MR. CHRISTOPHER PITT was Rector of Pimperne, near Blandford, in Dorsetshire. He early distinguished himself by an elegant version of Vida's Art of Poetry, and afterwards by his translation of the Æneid, which is preferred by many to that of Dryden. That Pope thought favourably of Pitt's translation appears in a letter from Mr. Spence, in which he says, "Before this, I gave you Mr. Pope's real sentiment on your first book. I dare say it was his real sentiment; because, as I told you, I took care to ask him the question before I had mentioned my being acquainted with you, and it was literally what I told you."
TO MR. POPE,
ON HIS TRANSLATION OF HOMER'S ILIAD.
'Tis true, what fam'd Pythagoras maintain'd, That souls departed in new bodies reign'd: