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Fruitful of folly and of vice, it shows
Cuckolds, and cits, and bawds, and pimps, and beaux;
Rough country knights are fond of every shire;
Of every fashion gentle fops appear;
And punks of different characters we meet,
As frequent on the stage as in the pit.
Our modern wits are forced to pick and cull,
And here and there by chance glean up a fool:
Long ere they find the necessary spark,
They search the town, and beat about the Park;
To all his most frequented haunts resort,
Oft dog him to the ring, and oft to court,
As love of pleasure or of place invites ;
And sometimes catch him taking snuff at White's.
Howe'er, to do you right, the present age
Breeds very hopeful monsters for the stage;
That scorn the paths their dull forefathers trod,
And won't be blockheads in the common road.
Do but survey this crowded house to-night :-
Here's still encouragement for those that write.
Our author, to divert his friends to-day,
Stocks with variety of fools his play;
And that there may be something gay and new,
Two ladies-errant has exposed to view :
The first a damsel, travelled in romance;
The t'other more refined; she comes from France: Rescue, like courteous knights, the nymph from danger; And kindly treat, like well-bred men, the stranger.
EPILOGUE TO THE BRITISH ENCHANTERS.1
WHEN Orpheus tuned his lyre with pleasing woe,
Rivers forgot to run, and winds to blow,
While listening forests covered, as he played,
The soft musician in a moving shade.
That this night's strains the same success may find,
The force of magic is to music joined;
Where sounding strings and artful voices fail,
The charming rod and muttered spells prevail.
1 A dramatic poem written by the Lord Lansdown.
Let sage Urganda wave the circling wand
On barren mountains, or a waste of sand,
The desert smiles; the woods begin to grow,
The birds to warble, and the springs to flow.
The same dull sights in the same landscape mixt,
Scenes of still life, and points for ever fixed,
A tedious pleasure on the mind bestow,
And pall the sense with one continued show;
But as our two magicians try their skill,
The vision varies, though the place stands still,
While the same spot its gaudy form renews,
Shifting the prospect to a thousand views.
Thus (without unity of place transgrest)
The enchanter turns the critic to a jest.
But howsoe'er,1 to please your wandering eyes,
Bright objects disappear and brighter rise:
There's none can make amends for lost delight,
While from that circle we divert your sight.
HORACE.-ODE III., BOOK III.
Augustus had a design to rebuild Troy, and make it the metropolis of the Roman empire, having closeted several senators on the project: Horace is supposed to have written the following Ode on this occasion.
THE man resolved, and steady to his trust,
Inflexible to ill, and obstinately just,
May the rude rabble's insolence despise,
Their senseless clamours and tumultuous cries;
The tyrant's fierceness he beguiles,
And the stern brow, and the harsh voice defies,
And with superior greatness smiles.
Not the rough whirlwind, that deforms
Adria's black gulf, and vexes it with storms,
The stubborn virtue of his soul can move ;
Not the red arm of angry Jove,
That flings the thunder from the sky,
And gives it rage to roar, and strength to fly.
Should the whole frame of nature round him break,
In ruin and confusion hurled,
1 But HOWSOE'ER.] A word, which nobody would now use in verse, and not many in good prose.
He, unconcerned, would hear the mighty crack,1
And stand secure amidst a falling world.
Such were the godlike arts that led
Bright Pollux to the blest abodes;
Such did for great Alcides plead,
And gained a place among the gods;
Where now Augustus, mixed with heroes, lies,
And to his lips the nectar bowl applies:
His ruddy lips the purple tincture show,
And with immortal strains divinely glow.
By arts like these did young Lyæus rise:
His tigers drew him to the skies,
Wild from the desert and unbroke:
In vain they foamed, in vain they stared,
In vain their eyes with fury glared;
He tamed 'em to the lash, and bent 'em to the yoke.
Such were the paths that Rome's great founder trod,
When in a whirlwind snatched on high,
He shook off dull mortality,
And lost the monarch in the god.
Bright Juno then her awful silence broke,
And thus the assembled deities bespoke.
Troy, says the goddess, perjured Troy has felt
The dire effects of her proud tyrant's guilt;
The towering pile, and soft abodes,
Walled by the hand of servile gods,
Now spreads its ruins all around,
And lies inglorious on the ground.
An umpire, partial and unjust,
And a lewd woman's impious lust,
Lay heavy on her head, and sink her to the dust.
Since false Laomedon's tyrannic sway,
That durst defraud the immortals of their pay,
Her guardian gods renounced their patronage,
Nor would the fierce invading foe repel;
To my resentment, and Minerva's rage,
The guilty king and the whole people fell.
1 Crack,] plainly used here for the sake of the rhyme; for the poet knew very well that the word was low and vulgar. To ennoble it a little he adds the epithet “mighty,” which yet has only the effect to make it even ridiculous.
And now the long protracted wars are o'er, The soft adulterer shines no more;
No more does Hector's force the Trojans shield,
That drove whole armies back, and singly cleared the field.
My vengeance sated, I at length resign
To Mars his offspring of the Trojan line:
Advanced to godhead let him rise,
And take his station in the skies;
There entertain his ravished sight
With scenes of glory, fields of light;
Quaff with the gods immortal wine,
And see adoring nations crowd his shrine:
The thin remains of Troy's afflicted host,
In distant realms may seats unenvied find,
And flourish on a foreign coast;
But far be Rome from Troy disjoined,
Removed by seas from the disastrous shore;
May endless billows rise between, and storms uunumbered roar.
Still let the curst, detested place,
Where Priam lies, and Priam's faithless race,
Be covered o'er with weeds, and hid in grass.
There let the wanton flocks unguarded stray;
Or, while the lonely shepherd sings,
Amidst the mighty ruins play,
And frisk upon the tombs of kings.
May tigers there, and all the savage kind,
Sad, solitary haunts and silent deserts find;
In gloomy vaults, and nooks of palaces,
May the unmolested lioness
Her brinded whelps securely lay,
Or, coucht, in dreadful slumbers waste the day.
While Troy in heaps of ruins lies,
Rome and the Roman Capitol shall rise;
The illustrious exiles unconfined
Shall triumph far and near, and rule mankind.
In vain the sea's intruding tide
Europe from Afric shall divide,
And part the severed world in two:
Through Afric's sands their triumphs they shall spread,
And the long train of victories pursue
To Nile's yet undiscovered head.
Riches the hardy soldier shall despise,
And look on gold with undesiring eyes,
Nor the disbowelled earth explore
In search of the forbidden ore;
Those glittering ills concealed within the mine,
Shall lie untouched, and innocently shine.
To the last bounds that nature sets,
The piercing colds and sultry heats,
The godlike race shall spread their arms;
Now fill the polar circle with alarms,
Till storms and tempests their pursuits confine;
Now sweat for conquest underneath the line.
This only law the victor shall restrain,
On these conditions shall he reign;
If none his guilty hand employ
To build again a second Troy,
If none the rash design pursue,
Nor tempt the vengeance of the gods anew.
A curse there cleaves to the devoted place,
That shall the new foundations rase:
Greece shall in mutual leagues conspire
To storm the rising town with fire,
And at their armies' head myself will show
What Juno, urged to all her rage, can do.
Thrice should Apollo's self the city raise,
And line it round with walls of brass,
Thrice should my favourite Greeks his works confound,
And hew the shining fabric to the ground;
Thrice should her captive dames to Greece return,
And their dead sons and slaughtered husbands mourn.
But hold, my muse, forbear thy towering flight,
Nor bring the secrets of the gods to light:
In vain would thy presumptuous verse
The immortal rhetoric rehearse ;1
The mighty strains, in lyric numbers bound,
Forget their majesty, and lose their sound.
1 Rehearse,] a word Mr. Addison is very fond of, because it afforded a rhyme for verse; but it disgraces an ode, and should indeed be banished from all poetry.