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Not with more grief th' afflicted swains appear,
When wintry winds deform the plenteous year;
When lingering frosts the ruin'd seats invade
Where Peace resorted, and the Graces play’d.

Each rising art by just gradation moves, Toil builds on toil, and age on age improves : The Muse alone unequal dealt her rage, And grac'd with noblest pomp her earliest stage, Preserv'd thro' time, the speaking scenes impart Each changeful wish of Phædra's tortur'd heart : Or paint the curse, that mark'd the Theban's reign, A bed incestuous, and a father slain. With kind concern our pitying eyes o’erflow, Trace the sad tale, and own another's woe.

To Rome remov'd, witla wit secure to please,
The comic Sisters kept their native ease.
With jealous fear declining Greece beheld
Her own Menander's art almost excell'd!

Muse essay'd to raise in vain
Some labour'd rival of her tragic strain;
Ilissus' laurels, tho' transferr'd with toil,
Droop'd their fair leaves, nor knew the unfriendly soil.

But every

As arts expir'd, resistless Dulness rose; Goths, priests, or Vandals,—all were Learning's foes.

* The Oedipus of Shophocles.

Till #Julius first recall'd each exil'd maid,
And Cosmo own'd them in th’ Etrurian shade:
Then deeply skill'd in love's engaging theme,
The soft Provencal pass'd to Arno's stream:
With graceful ease the wanton lyre he strung,
Sweet flow'd the lays—but love was all he sung,
The gay description could not fail to move,
For, led by nature, all are friends to love.

But heaven, still various in its works, decreed
The perfect boast of time should last succeed.
The beauteous union must appear at length,
Of Tuscan fancy, and Athenian strength :
One greater Muse Eliza's reign adorn,
And even a Shakspeare to her fame be born.

Yet ah! so bright her morning's opening ray, In vain our Britain hoped an equal day! No second growth the western isle co’ld bear, At once exhausted with too rich a year. Too nicely Jonson knew the critic's part ; Nature in him was almost lost in art. Of softer mold the gentle Fletcher came, The next in order, as the next in name. With pleas’d attention 'midst his scenes we find Each glowing thought, that warms the female mind ; Each melting sigh, and every tender tear, The lover's wishes, and the virgin's fear,

* Julius II., the immediate predecessor of Leo. X.

His* every strain the Smiles and Graces own;
But stronger Shakspeare felt for man alone ;
Drawn by his pen, our ruder passions stand
Th’unrivallid picture of his early hand,

† With gradual steps, and slow, exacter France Saw Art's fair empire o'er her shores advance : By length of toil a bright perfection knew, Correctly bold, and just in all she drew. Till late Corneille, with Lucan's spirit fir'd, Breath'd the free strain, as Rome and He inspir'd : And classic judgment gain'd to sweet Racine The temperate strength of Maro's chaster line.

But wilder far the Britislrlaurel spread, And wreaths less artful crown our poet's head. Yet He alone to every scene could give Th' historian's truth, and bid the manners live. Wak'd at his call I view, with glad surprise, Majestic forms of mighty monarchs rise. There Henry's trumpets spread their loud alarms, And laurel’d Conquest waits her hero's arms.

* Their characters are thus distinguished by Mr. Dryden.

+ About the time of Shakspeare, the poet Hardy was in great repute in France. He wrote, according to Fontenelle, six hundred plays. The French poets aster him applied themselves, in general, to the correct improvement of the stage, which was almost totally disregarded by those of our own country -Jonson excepted.

| The favourite author of the elder Corneille.

Here gentler Edward claims a pitying sigh,
Scarce born to honours, and so soon to die !
Yet shall thy throne, unhappy infant, bring
No beam of comfort to the guilty king :
The time shall come, when Glo'ster's heart shall bleed
In life's last hours, with horror of the deed :
When dreary visions shall at last present
Thy vengeful image in the midnight tent:
Thy hand unseen the secret death shall bear,
Blunt the weak sword, and break th' oppressive spear.

Where'er we turn, by fancy charm’d, we find
Some sweet illusion of the cheated mind.
Oft, wild of wing, she calls the soul to rove
With humbler nature, in the wral grove ;
Where swains contented own the quiet scene,
And twilight fairies tread the circled green:
Dress'd by her hand, the woods and valleys smile,
And Spring diffusive decks th’inchanted isle.

O more than all in powerful genius blest,
Come, take thine empire o'er the willing breast!
Whate'er the wounds this youthful heart shall feel,
Thy songs support me, and thy morals heal!
There every thought the poet's warmth may raise,
There native music dwells in all the lays.

Tempus erit Turno, magno cùm optaverit emptum
Intactum Pallanta, &c.

O might some verse with happiest skill persuade
Expressive Picture to adopt thine aid !
What wondrous draughts might rise from every page:
What other Raphaels charm a distant age !

every line :

Methinks even now I view some free design,
Where breathing Nature lives in
Chaste and subdued the modest lights decay,
Steal into shades, and mildly melt away.
-And see, where Anthony, in tears approv'd,
Guards the pale relics of the chief he lov’d:
O'er the cold corse the warrior seems to bend,
Deep sunk in grief, and mourns his murder'd friend!
Still as they press, he calls on all around,
Lifts the torn robe, and points the bleeding wound.

But † who is he, whose brows axalted' bear
A wrath impatient, and a fiercer air ?
Awake to all that injur'd worth can feel,
On his own Rome he turns th' avenging steel.
Yet shall not war's insatiate fury fall,
(So heaven ordains it) on the destin'd wall.
See the fond mother, 'midst the plaintive train,
Hung on his knees, and prostrate on the plain!
Touch'd to the soul, in vain he strives to hide
The son's affection, in the Roman's pride :

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* See the tragedy of Julius Cæsar. + Coriolanus. See Mr. Spence's Dialogue on the Odyssey.

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