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We must approve the doctrine, since we see
The soul of god-like Homer breathe in thee.
Old Ennius first, then Virgil felt her fires;
But now a British Poet she inspires.
To you, O Pope! the lineal right extends,
To you th' hereditary muse descends.
At a vast distance we of Homer heard,
Till you brought in, and nat'raliz'd the Bard;
Bade him our English rights and freedom claim,
His voice, his habit, and his air the same.
Now in the mighty Stranger we rejoice,
And Britain thanks thee, with a public voice.
See! too, the Poet, a majestic shade,
Lifts up in awful pomp his laurel'd head,
To thank his Successor, who sets him free
From the vile hands of Hobbs and Ogilby;
Who vext his venerable Ashes more,
Than his ungrateful Greece, the living Bard before. 20
While Homer's thoughts in thy bold lines are shown,
Tho' worlds contend, we claim him for our own;
Our blooming boys proud Ilion's fate bewail;
Our lisping babes repeat the dreadful tale,
Ev'n in their slumbers they pursue the theme,
Start, and enjoy a fight in ev'ry dream.
By turns the Chief and Bard their souls inflame,
And ev'ry little bosom beats for fame.
Thus shall they learn (as future times will see)
From Him to conquer, or to write from Thee.
In ev'ry hand we see the glorious song,
And Homer is the theme of every tongue.
Parties in State poetic schemes employ,
And Whig and Tory side with Greece and Troy;
Neglect their feuds; and seem more zealous grown
To push those countries' interests, than their own.
Our busiest Politicians have forgot
How Sommers counsel'd, and how Marlbro' fought;
But o'er their settling coffee gravely tell,
What Nestor spoke, and how brave Hector fell.
Our softest Beaux and Coxcombs you inspire,
With Glaucus' courage, and Achilles' fire.
Now they resent affronts which once they bore,
And draw those swords that ne'er were drawn before;
Nay, ev'n our Belles, inform'd how Homer writ,
Learn thence to criticise on modern Wit.
Let the mad Critics to their side engage
The envy, pride, and dulness of the age:
In vain they curse, in vain they pine and mourn,
Back on themselves their arrows will return:
Whoe'er would thy establish'd fame deface,
Are but immortaliz'd to their disgrace;
Live, and enjoy their spite, and share that fate,
Which would, if Homer liv'd, on Homer wait.
And lo! his second labour claims thy care,
Ulysses' toils, succeed Achilles' war.
Haste to the work; the ladies long to see
The pious frauds of chaste Penelope.
Helen they long have seen, whose guilty charms
For ten whole years engag'd the world in arms.
Then, as thy Fame shall see a length of days,
Some future Bard shall thus record thy Praise:
"In those blest times, when smiling Heav'n and Fate
Had rais'd Britannia to her happiest state,
When wide around she saw the World submit,
And own her Sons supreme in Arts and Wit;
Then Pope and Dryden brought in triumph home,
The Pride of Greece, and Ornament of Rome;
To the great task each bold Translator came,
With Virgil's Judgment, and with Homer's Flame. 70
Here the pleas'd Mantuan swan was taught to soar,
Where scarce the Roman eagles towr'd before:
And Greece no more was Homer's native earth,
Tho' her sev❜n rival cities claim'd his birth;
On her sey'n cities he look'd down with scorn,
And own'd with pride, he was in Britain born."
WHEN the Essay on Man was first published, without the name of the author, it was attributed to different writers of the time, and among the rest to Mr. Harte; who appears from the following lines to have formed his style so closely on that of Pope, as to leave himself little claim to originality either of sentiment or expression.
To move the springs of nature as we please,
To think with spirit, but to write with ease:
With living words to warm the conscious heart,
Or please the soul with nicer charms of art,
For this the Grecian soar'd in Epic strains,
And softer Maro left the Mantuan plains:
Melodious Spenser felt the lover's fire,
And awful Milton strung his heav'nly lyre.
'Tis yours, like these, with curious toil to trace
The pow'rs of language, harmony, and grace;
How Nature's self with living lustre shines;
How Judgment strengthens, and how Art refines :
How to grow bold with conscious sense of fame,
And force a pleasure which we dare not blame;
To charm us more thro' negligence than pains,
And give ev'n life and action to the strains:
Led by some law, whose pow'rful impulse guides
Each happy stroke, and in the soul presides:
Some fairer image of perfection, giv'n
T' inspire mankind, itself deriv'd from heav'n.
O ever worthy, ever crown'd with praise;
Blest in thy life, and blest in all thy lays!
Add that the Sisters ev'ry thought refine;
Or ev❜n thy life be faultless as thy line;
Yet envy still with fiercer rage pursues,
Obscures the virtue, and defames the muse.
A soul like thine, in pains, in grief resign'd,
Views with vain scorn the malice of mankind:
Not critics, but their planets prove unjust:
And are they blam'd who sin because they must?
Yet sure not so must all peruse thy lays;
I cannot rival and yet dare to praise.
A thousand charms at once my thoughts engage,
Sappho's soft sweetness, Pindar's warmer rage,
Statius' free vigour, Virgil's studious care,
And Homer's force, and Ovid's easier air.
So seems some Picture, where exact design,
And curious pains, and strength and sweetness join:
Where the free thought its pleasing grace bestows,
And each warm stroke with living colour glows:
Soft without weakness, without labour fair;
Wrought up at once with happiness and care!
How blest the man that from the world removes
To joys that MORDAUNT, or his POPE approves;
Whose taste exact each author can explore,
And live the present and past ages o'er:
Who free from pride, from penitence, or strife,
Move calmly forward to the verge of life:
Such be my days, and such my fortunes be,
To live by reason, and to write by thee!
Nor deem this verse, tho' humble, thy disgrace;
All are not born the glory of their race:
Yet all are born t' adore the great man's name,
And trace his footsteps in the paths to fame.
The Muse who now this early homage pays,
First learn'd from thee to animate her lays:
A Muse as yet unhonour'd, but unstain'd,
Who prais'd no vices, no preferment gain'd:
Unbias'd, or to censure or commend,
Who knows no envy, and who grieves no friend;
Perhaps too fond to make those virtues known,
And fix her fame immortal on thy own.
VOLTAIRE AU ROI DE PRUSSE.
Vous y cherchiez le vrai, vous y goutez le beau ;
Quelques traits échappés d'une utile morale,
Dans leurs piquans écrits brillent par intervalle ;
Mais Pope approfondit ce qu'ils ont effleuré;
D'un esprit plus hardi, d'un pas plus assuré,
Il porta le flambeau dans l'abîme de l'être,
Et l'homme avec lui seul apprit à se connoître.
L'Art quelquefois frivole, et quelquefois divin,
L'Art des vers est dans Pope utile au genre humain.
Ar Stowe in Buckinghamshire, the seat of Earl Temple, is a building called the Temple of British Worthies, designed by Kent. One of the niches has a bust of Pope, with the following inscription:
Who uniting the correctness of Judgment to the fire of Genius,
by the melody and power of his numbers,
gave sweetness to Sense, and grace to Philosophy.
He employed the pointed brilliancy of Wit to chastise the vices, and the eloquence of Poetry to exalt the virtues of human nature; and being without a rival in his own age,
imitated and translated, with a spirit equal to the originals,
the best Poets of Antiquity.