An anonymous adaptation of Spenser's Tears of the Muses, in couplets. The Muses, disgusted by affairs in Britain, plead their case before Prince Frederick ("Germanicus"). The dismal failure of court patronage for literature and the arts in the reigns of George I and George II had been censured by Pope and the Dunciad and was a general topic of conversation in Opposition circles. The Prince of Wales, in open rebellion against his parents, supported a small stable of writers, chief among them James Thomson.
Joseph Warton: "At a visit at Twickenham, the prince very pleasantly observed to Pope, that his professed love to princes was inconsistent with his dislike of kings, since princes may in time be kings. 'Sir,' replied Pope, I consider Royalty, under the known and authorized type of a lion: while he is young, and before his nails are grown, he may be approached and caressed with safety and pleasure'" Universal Magazine 101 (November 1797) 314.
Richard Alfred Davenport: "His satire, entitled The Tears of the Muses, was published in 1737, and was, I believe, the last work which he gave to the world previous to his retiring from the bustle of the metropolis. His retirement took place in the summer of 1737, and seems to have been partly occasioned by embarrassments, arising from 'a long train of broken trusts,' and partly by a wish for more quiet than he could enjoy in a crowded city" Chiswick British Poets (1822) 60:22-23.
Earl R. Wasserman: "His Tears of the Muses (1737), dedicated to the Society for the Encouragement of Learning, is a very loose and protracted paraphrase of Spenser's elegy and suggests the method that Hill's friend Pope used in versifying Donne. Hill made no acknowledgement of his debt to Spenser, and the Society appears not to have been learned enough to detect it" Elizabethan Poetry in the Eighteenth Century (1947) 148.
Christine Gerrard: "This is by no means an unqualified panegyric on the Prince, as Hill implies by his rather nervous defence of his allegorical satirical procedures in the Advertisement to the Reader. Germanicus, the 'sparkling PRINCE,' is not as effectual as he might be in his support for the arts: too preoccupied, hints Hill, with party politics. After the Muses address to him, one by one, their complaints about artistic decline in England, he advises them to go underground and disguise themselves as politicians in the 'Nine Cornish Boroughs' (the hotly contested seats controlled by Frederick's political patronage in the Duchy of Cornwall) until the times are more propitious. When the Prince wakes from his allegorical dream-vision he finds himself alone in an empty street, when 'ev'ry empty Muse was lost in Air'" The Patriot Opposition to Walpole (1994) 53-54.
GERMANICUS, for love, and Empire, born,
At once to govern Kingdoms, and adorn;
Too good for Greatness, but that Kings can bless,
Too firm for Fear, but of his Friend's Distress:
Fore-temp'ring Pow'r by Reason's generous Plan,
To task the Monarch, meditates the Man.
In a Town Grove, whence Dryads Noise exclude,
And hush loud Streets, to Sylvan Solitude,
Veil'd by a verdant Skreen's incircling Shade,
Whose angly Sides eight arching Lights pervade,
Friend to Mankind, their pensive Fav'rite stood;
Revolving precious Plans of purpos'd Good.
SOFT, to his Sight, a Female Suppliant press'd,
In all the speaking Marks of Mis'ry dress'd:
Down-look'd, relax'd of Mien, oft bending, low;
Now stopping short, now re-advancing, slow:
Pardon, she cry'd, th' intruding Sighs of Grief:
Hope is the friendless Wretche's last Relief.
GERMANICUS, who when Distress draws nigh,
Catches quick Sorrow, from the Suff'rer's Eye,
With gentle Waft invites her back'ning Fears,
And smiles the Warmth of Pity on her Tears.
Her, while advancing, heedful he survey'd,
Chance stretch'd his Eye to the remoter Shade:
Where, dimly obvious from the bord'ring Wood,
Dark'ning the Arches, Eight new Phantoms stood;
All, like the First, thin Forms of shivering Woe,
Wept All — in dumb, sad, solemn, circly Show!
THINK, cry'd th' Approacher, prostrate at his Feet,
How sharp is Insult! and Relief how sweet!
Pity a wretched Sisterhood of Tears:
Nine friendless Mourners, whom no Comfort cheers.
All Arts were Ours, that polish'd Life cou'd gain:
But Arts, and polish'd Life, were Ours in vain:
See! what Reward wish'd Knowledge cou'd impart!
Where Fool is Fashion, Ignorance is Art.
Urg'd by Derision, and escaping Hate,
We, sad, slow, Exiles, seek some gentler Fate.
To the bleak North's new-rising Coasts we go;
Less cold than These, amidst eternal Snow.
Glory's gay Beams, to whose felt Warmth we run,
More than supply the Absence of their Sun.
There, mourning Merit cannot miss Relief;
Where watchful Pow'r supplants prevented Grief.
Fam'd for Munificence, Thy princely Hand
Singly absolves an unbestowing Land.
Ah! Save the Friendless — Help the Wrong'd away:
Too poor to go, yet too un-lov'd to stay!
Pay but wish'd Passage from this cruel Shore:
And never, never, will we trust it more.
SCARCE had th' imploring Accents voic'd her Pray'r,
When the known Sounds and recollected Air
Through the false Semblance, natively convey'd,
To the charm'd Prince, a speaking Muse, betray'd.
Round, while, uncrediting the storied Woe,
His curious Eyes discov'ring Glances, throw,
Th' examin'd Umbrage, as he turn'd, reveal'd
Each Muse, that every distant Arch conceal'd.
Waiting impatient, for the finish'd Tale,
Quit your vain Hope, he cry'd, by Want's thin Veil
Unhid, to 'scape the Rev'rence of my Zeal,
Who all your Power, through all your Changes, feel.
JOYFUL, He snatch'd th' Implorer from the Ground,
Then, turning graceful, bow'd progressive, round;
Press'd their joint Access undisguis'd and gay;
And shone, receptive of each effluent Ray.
SEATED, and circled by the beamy Train,
Their Shapes, resuming, and Themselves again,
Tell me, said He — Ye Soul-inspiring Nine!
Ye living Fires, that give the Great, to shine!
Who, quick'ning Regal Courage into Flame,
Guide it, by Justice, to immortal Fame!
Why wou'd ye leave a Land distinguish'd, long,
For Love of Valour, and for Hate of Wrong?
Where Freedom unrestrain'd her Empire holds,
And Legal Monarchy new Bloom unfolds?
He paus'd — and CLIO answering, thus began,
Perish pale Malice! — It oblit'rates Man.
Where Envy blasts, the Muse inspires in vain:
No human Culture, there, extends its Reign.
Lost in Malignity by civil Hate,
Virtues that clash with Virtues curse a State.
Stifled in Faction, Arts unfriended sink:
Or, pigmy'd into partial Flatt'ry shrink.
Hist'ry must blush, the Wiles of Spleen to pen,
And grace the bloodless Broils of angry Men.
SMOTHER'D in Self, there breathes no public Soul,
Where sep'rate Strugglings gen'ral Strength controul:
There, Policy's old gen'rous Straitness bends;
And shifting Medium crawls, to sidelong Ends.
There, Fraud triumphant tempts the Just to fall:
And every one Man's Gain is Loss, to All.
There, Love internal, checking Sighs that roam,
Begins, and ends all Charity, — at Home.
Each Pray'r appropriates one Man's modest Aim:
And humbly trusts to God the Common Claim.
Crush'd by Contempt of Praise, Exertion dies:
And Public Spirit, laugh'd at, shuns to rise.
THITHER when Hope misleads th' Historic Muse,
Swift let her seek some Scene of nobler Views.
Where guileless Pow'r no Praise to Graft ascribes,
Where Courage scorns Deceit, and Duty — Bribes.
Where nervous Meaning dares, directly, speak:
And crooked Windings teach no Truth to sneak.
'Tis found — for, see! — The icy Pole dissolves!
Honour's new Warmth with sunny Force evolves!
There, glows Event! There, more than Roman Arms
Clash their prophetic Thunder's fear'd Alarms!
There, the puls'd Public beats, in ev'ry Vein:
Strong, to one Purpose, lifts with equal Strain.
No vile Pretension, there, at Titles aims:
No Pride-swoln Lumber lazy Lordship shames.
There, shines the Sword, in Honour's guarded Track,
No Knighthood blushes, on a Miser's Back.
No bought Emblaz'nings Eminence efface,
No dirty Dignity sublimes Disgrace.
There, Heroes multiply: and labouring Fame
Grows busy, — to record each sparkling Name.
SHE ceas'd. — The Prince his Patriot Eyes withdrew,
Weigh'd the long Charge, and wish'd it, Half, untrue.
Sigh'd at the Waste domestic Discord made:
And mourn'd unfriended Arts, by Spleen betray'd.
Then view'd the Sisters, re-prepar'd to hear:
While ERATO, soft sighing, charm'd his Ear.
LUR'D, said the am'rous Muse, from Realms above,
Pleas'd I descended on this Land of Love;
Look'd and approv'd: and form'd aerial Schemes,
Of heart-felt Tyes, and Hope's elusive Dreams;
Vainly propos'd — Each Sex by Each to mend;
And smooth the rugged Paths of Life, with Friend.
Snatch'd at One sweet Example, New to Fame,
Urg'd its dear Pow'r, th' Unhappier to reclaim:
Misguided Millions hail'd th' acknowledg'd Charms;
And lov'd Perfection, when it bless'd Thy Arms.
But, ah! too lost a Length Themselves were gone!
They worship'd, and confess'd: — but still sinn'd on.
Yet I, vain Hoper! Still new Helps apply:
And, ever failing, wou'd for ever try.
To slighted Beauty wou'd new Powers impart;
And stretch the aided Empire of the Heart.
Teach Man, that Woman's Strength in Softness lies:
Teach Woman, why the Modest charm the Wise.
Useless to Either, I from Both, remove.
Money's th' inspiring Muse of modish Love!
O'er Truth and Passion, Avarice prevails:
All Vows are venal, and all Sighs are Sales.
Int'rest and Vanity, and Self, disarm
Mutual Esteem, till neither Sex can charm.
Then, blanc unnat'ral Whims pervert Desire:
Attraction failing, they exchange Attire.
Then, Man's lac'd Lightness apes the Lady's Air:
And bluff big Boldness masculates the Fair.
With changing Sexes, Love's lost Motives change,
From Wish to Wish the short-liv'd Passions range.
Recorded Constancy becomes Romance:
And, among Millions, Two may love — by Chance!
WHY should I, then, supporting present Scorn,
Stretch my too patient Hope, to Times unborn?
When, to the North, where Nature shines unstain'd,
Confiding Sexes love, with Faith unfeign'd.
Their native Beauties, in no Clime excell'd,
To rising Force by conscious Worth impell'd;
While through the sparkling Eye taught Spirit breaks,
And the felt Lustre of their Fame partakes.
THE Lover Prince unwillingly believ'd
Faults, which his nobler Nature scarce conceiv'd,
Touch'd for the Honour of the Human Heart,
His own glow'd painful, with ideal Smart.
When loftier Accents from URANIA broke,
And snatch'd his list'ning Soul, while Science spoke.
FROM Heav'n's unfounded Depth, she cry'd, I stole
Angelic Fire, and form'd a NEWTON'S Soul.
Taught him the secret Walks of God to tread;
And 'twixt the starry Worlds his Spirit led:
All Aether op'ning to a Mortal's Eyes,
Till Earth sent Colonies, and held the Skies!
What King, for This, magnificently just,
Bless'd him in Life, or dignified his Dust?
What voted Honours mark th' Aspirer's Race?
What thinking Statues emulate his Face?
He, who immortaliz'd his Country's Name,
Beyond Ten Thousand Conqu'rors bounded Fame,
He, who, to lift Mankind, new Heav'ns display'd,
And every Human Breather nobler made,
Did He to public Fame All Nature raise?
And is He poorly left to private Praise!
In such a Land, ah! what can arts expect?
What Claim has hopeless Science, but Neglect?
O! Fate of wintry Worth, by Climate cross'd!
Budding untimely, to be nip'd in Frost!
NEWTON has multiplied the Suns! — yet pours
In vain, the Light of all their Orbs, on Ours.
When will th' incurious Courts, for which, He found
New Worlds, find Will to trace an Old one round?
What promis'd Pension ships th' unshaken Soul,
To dare Discov'ry, and ungloom the Pole?
What coasting Keel, indenting Southern Strands,
Starts the long Shores of Cloud-benighted Lands?
No annual Bounty, persevering, kind,
Draws the dark Veil, that covers half Mankind.
What regal Influ'nce, easing Learning's Birth,
Now, adds new Stars to Heav'n? or Arts, to Earth?
Who sows Munificence, to root up Sloth,
And call forth Harvests, of eternal Growth?
HAIL, to the Land, where War makes Science Room!
Where Realms from Desarts rise! and Ruins bloom!
Where Conquest, spreading to embrace Distress,
Lets loose Ambition, not to waste, but bless!
There, Pow'r inverts Destruction, into Birth;
And the prolific Sword empeoples Earth!
There, Desolation, fruitful in Decay,
Fades, into Opulence, and strengthens Sway.
There, Ports (un-native) indrawn Seas confine:
And climbing Streams o'er channel'd Mountains shine.
There, public Splendor swallows private Pride,
And Claims which All Men share in, All Men, guide.
There, Art rewarded, strains excited Skill;
Till dazling Wonders wid'ning Empire fill.
The fierce free Tartar sees the Tartar taught;
Grins, at advancing Rule, and pants for Thought.
Then, in long Link, new Nations forward draw:
And the drain'd Wilds of Nature crowd to Law.
Hail, promis'd Land! — All, now, that seems severe,
Is — that, removing hence, We leave YOU here.
URANIA stopp'd, and bow'd — The Prince, whose Heart
Inly confess'd the Pow'r of cherish'd Art,
Nobly approving Praise, so justly warm;
Smil'd, conscious of his inborn Right to charm.
NEXT, rose TERPSICHORE, — melodious Muse!
Soft, her first Accents, like descending Dews:
Sweet, and slow-swelling, till in livelier Sound,
Gay, to the ravish'd Ear, quick Transports bound.
Tim'd to the tuneful Voice, each trembling Tree
Strain'd its tugg'd Roots, and labour'd to be free.
Warm'd through the wak'ning Stone, the sculptur'd Ear
Of every Darting Statue seem'd to hear.
Air catch'd, and length'ning back the mazy Notes,
Curls, while the undulating Music floats.
Earth, list'ning, to inhale harmonious Pain,
Sigh'd it, in soft Vibration, back again.
PARDON a mourning Muse, that leaves, with Tears,
The Land, that lov'd GERMANICUS endears.
But, ah! what Toils, what Anguish, shalt thou bear!
What endless Labour must o'erload thy Care!
Ere thy lost Views a Taste like Thine, inspire,
And sparkling Kingdoms catch Thy manly Fire!
NEAR Opera's fribling Fugues, what Muse can stay?
Where wordless Warblings winnow Thought, away!
Music, when Purpose points her not the Road,
Charms, to betray, and softens, to corrode.
Empty of Sense, the Soul-seducing Art
Thrills a slow Poison to the sick'ning Heart.
Soft sinks Idea, dissolute in Ease,
And all Life's feeble Lesson is, to please.
Spirit, and Taste, and generous Toil, take Flight:
And lazy Love, and indolent Delight,
And low luxurious Weariness of Pain,
Lull the lost Mind, — and all its Powers are vain.
HENCE, to the Realms of Fame, ye Muses, fly.
There, to the Drum's big Beat, the Heart leaps high.
There, sighing Flutes but temp'ring Martial Heat,
Teach distant Pity and Revenge to meet.
The manly Pipe, there, scorns th' expanded Shakes,
That wind wav'd Nothings, till Attention akes.
There now, concurring Keys and Chords increase
The Heart's soft social Tyes, and cherish Peace.
Then, Trumpets, answ'ring Trumpets, shrill, and far,
Swell to the sounding Wind th' inspiring War.
There, the rows'd Soul, in Exercise, grows strong:
Nor pools to puddly Foulness, stopp'd, too long.
Strength'ning, and strengthned by, the Poet's Fire,
There, Music's meaning Voice exalts Desire.
There, Harmony not drowns, but quickens, Thought;
And Fools, unfeeling Words, by Notes are caught.
SOFT sigh'd the Prince, for suff'ring Music, pain'd,
And POLYHYMNIA, rising warm, complain'd.
Deign to be told, Impartial, Gen'rous, Wise!
Why fruitless Eloquence indignant flies.
Gall'd at lost Time, in Cases vainly clear'd,
At Truths, untouching, and at Sounds, unheard;
Blushing, while Oratory's lab'ring Strains
On Prae-decision, waste derided Pains;
And flourish'd Periods, to no Purpose fine,
Like Suns in Desarts, without Notice, shine,
Hating grave Insult, I disdain to stay,
Where Talk but trifles, and where Tropes but play.
If serious Rhet'ric sweats, where sneering Mutes
Hast'ning the hurried Question, crop Disputes;
If Law fells Argument, yet Forms must reign,
And, Custom pleading, Equity is vain;
If the dark Pulpit's short mysterious Art
Lifts Faith to Heav'n; and damns the Moral Heart;
Bear me, dishonour'd God! to some plain State,
Where Truth' in spite of Aye and No, is Weight.
Where Pleas of Right a reas'ning Bench persuade,
And Justice scorns in Precedent to trade.
Where no bold Blasphemy wou'd Faith enslave:
But, humble, honest, doubting, Works can save.
EUTERPE, watchful of her Sister's Close,
Snatch'd her sunk Cadence, and impatient rose.
Pleasure, she cry'd, is Mine; Mine, the gay Skill,
To paint the Fancy, and adorn the Will.
But, where dry Avarice has Taste betray'd,
Pleasure is Robbery, in Masquerade.
Contending Sexes push One common Aim:
And Youth, and Wit, and Beauty, meet, to game!
At Cards to conquer, or at Dice to sweep,
Is all the humble Joy, the Polish'd reap!
OR, if, aspiring to robuster Praise,
Some livelier Genius, Warmth more active sways,
Then, frock'd in groomy Sleekness, tight, and smart,
The pert, capp'd, Racer dares the Jockey's Art.
At Stake and Plate, his Skill profoundly shewn,
He from his Horse's Worth, presumes his own.
OR, nobly stung by John the Coachman's Claim,
Climbing th' advent'rous Box, disputes his Fame!
Scatt'ring malignant Dust, cracks Voice and Thong,
Glows, for a Livery's Right, and burns along!
Proudly display'd, looks back, and shouts, to find
Poor conscious John, less glorious, hang behind:
NOT so, th' Olympian Rivals charm'd, of Old,
When fiery Youths in whirling Chariots roll'd!
Then, the watch'd Signal bad the Rank disjoin;
And rushing Wheels dissolv'd the breaking Line:
Strain'd to th' expanded Whip's impulsive Sound,
Light leap'd th' exulting Axles o'er the Ground:
'Twixt crowding Nations, partial, panting, gay,
The prais'd plum'd Heroe skim'd the less'ning Way.
The smoaking Steeds obey'd the watchful Rein,
And winding warlike, swept the shouting Plain.
Now, graceful rais'd, now pendent in Carier,
High, and far-glitt'ring, shone the Charioteer,
Firm in his Seat, superior in his Mien,
Flew o'er the Course, and flam'd along the Green:
Martial in Gesture, Eminent in Grace,
His Birth and Grandeur light'ning from his Face.
OR, if to sweeter Contest match'd he mov'd,
And, in some Ball, led the kind Hand he lov'd,
The modest Fair, slow through the mazy Dance,
Swam to the love-sick Soul, in soft Advance.
No light coarse Frisking kick'd off Woman's Air:
No strong, stretch'd, Limb out-trod Attraction, there.
Decent their Pleasures, and discreetly weigh'd;
Active the Youth, and delicate the Maid.
Honour, by Elegance, its Right maintain'd:
And, Thought correcting Rapture, Prudence reign'd.
MOURNFUL MELPOMENE, with Tragic Frown,
Spoke next: and thus deplor'd a tasteless Town.
Why drove the Scenic Muse to shine, in vain,
Where Wit is Levity, and Art is Gain?
Where Law's blind Hope wou'd curb Corruption's Rage,
Yet, left undue Contempt to taint the Stage?
Hence, Theatres, neglected into Shame,
Catching at Concourse, Purity disclaim.
By Pow'r deserted, make their humbler Court
To Rake, and Rancour, or to Fool and Sport.
Piqu'd to Reprizal, unconfed'rate Wit,
Noting the popular, evades the fit.
Then, the Play plots on State-craft, laughs at Truth:
Misguides Allegiance, or unsinews Youth.
Thither crowds Faction, to be taught Complaint:
Where Pow'r, the Martyr, might have reign'd, the Saint.
There, Wisdom bleeds, by Pleasure's feath'ry Dart:
And Love's loose Hand unstrings the slacken'd Heart.
There, Discontent first trys her tim'rous Force;
Hints, and finds Help, and dares her dang'rous Course.
There, Froth, Farce, Flatt'ry, Chance, Sedition, rule:
And Virtue scarce finds Place, in Virtue's School!
FAREWELL, forsaken Stage. — When Courts refuse
To urge Wit's wand'ring Rein, she shames a Muse.
Hail! from AFAR — Thou, fate-foretelling Light!
Beaming prognostic, through the Eye of Night!
Kindling a hundred Realms, th' enliv'ning Flame
Wings the wak'd Energy of courted Fame.
There, Empire flashing into Glory's Blaze,
Conscious Intention blushes not at Praise.
There' spurring Virtue, Wit has leave to mean:
And Pow'r, exciting Passion, prompts the Scene.
So must it be, ere Tragic Fire is felt!
But, where grave Thoughts are Marks, for Fools to pelt;
Where tir'd, illit'rate, viewless, yawning Pride
Must hear, unlist'ning, and, un-taught, decide,
There, let lost Sentiment mispoint no Beam;
To hope, were Blindness: and to wish, a Dream!
UP leap'd THALIA, glowing red with Rage,
Fir'd and indignant at a farceful Age.
Shall Comedy's insulted Muse, she cry'd,
Hold Hoops, to Tumblers! —
She paus'd, — unable to proceed; — sigh'd strong:
Repell'd the big Disdain — and trac'd her Wrong.
SHALL COMEDY, for sworded Harlequin,
Split Lathes? and arm him, for the mimic Scene!
While He, proud Impotence! with modish Strut,
Cocks bluff, diffusive of his wooden Cut!
Must she swing Gypsies o'er the winnow'd Pit,
Mounting Posteriors, in Defect of Wit!
Or clap some human Whirlwind's blust'ring Rage,
That, o'er twelve Heads descending, shakes the Stage!
Stare, while th' unmanly Reptile's wriggling Twist
Threads the stav'd Ladder, and descends, unhiss'd?
Or, for the Rope-Aspirer's jirkful Tread,
Shall she poize right their emblematic Lead?
No. — Let implor'd Expulsion wing me thence!
Far let me, fly, to some fair Seat of Sense:
Where Life's stol'n Humour glows with mirthful Grace,
And Comic Picture copies Nature's Face.
Where imag'd Passion, dear to the Polite,
Leaves low Buffoon'ry to the Rabble's Right.
Tir'd, yet untask'd, let me no longer wait,
Laughing unheeded, — at the laughing —Great:
While, with the Roar of Boys, to Tricks they run,
Which Mobs shou'd shout at, and the Wise shou'd shun.
Gravely, good Souls! reserving solid Scorn,
For Thoughts, to feel whose Force, Themselves were born.
WARM'D in Wit's Cause, lamenting Genius lost,
Nor tasting Ecstasy, at Judgment's Cost,
List'ning GERMANICUS, with pensive Grace,
Revolv'd wish'd Soft'nings, for a pitied Race:
When, like a Trumpet pouring Music's Flood,
Speaking CALLIOPE thrill'd through his Blood.
THERE was a Prince! ah! hid me add, ere long,
There is — impulsive of the Epic Song.
Flame of imperial Prominence, He shin'd:
Terror, at once, and Charm, of Humankind!
All the soft Praise of social Life his Due:
All the rais'd Pow'rs, of Arms, and Arts, he knew.
Fearless impell'd his Father's Fortune on:
And, in Youth's Dawn, a dazzling Victor, shone!
In Force resistless, yet undaring Wrong:
Honest, in Vengeance! and in Pity, strong!
Without, dwelt War, in all her thund'ring Din:
While Peace, in all her Stillness, wept, within.
Form'd for a Lover, for a Thinker taught;
Bloodless reflective Eminence, He sought:
Born to be greatest, chose but to be best:
But Heav'n, that knew his Use, forbad his Rest.
Then, from the Calms of conqu'ring Thought, he rose,
Glow'd in tempestuous War, and scorn'd Repose.
Uncrown'd, gave Crowns, at Will, their Thorns untry'd;
And, more than reigning, without reigning died.
SUCH, though the Land, I leave cou'd shew, me, still,
Calm Seasons call not for a Pilot's Skill.
Peace is the Blessing, Commerce loves to chuse:
But War, and, Glory, task the Epic Muse.
Farewel, sure Subject of my future Song!
When, rising shameful at a People's Wrong,
In Times yet distant, Thy rememb'ring Hand
Lets loose Correction at some foreign Land.
Then, loud as Thy Applause, reclaim us, All:
And every Muse of Nine shall wait thy Call.
SPEAKING she rose: and, with her, rising slow,
Her Eight sad Sisters, sighing, turn'd to go.
Lively upstarting from his shadow'd Seat,
Stay, cry'd the Prince, alarm'd, — suspend Retreat.
Just though your Anger, yet Revenge forbear:
Lest, taught by Muses, Man forgets to spare.
Too soon, degen'rate Nature warps awry,
The Bad to copy, and the Good to fly.
Have you beheld Wit's Stream discolour'd glide,
And pour'd lost Azure on th' unconscious Tide?
Think the Blame yours, who Heav'n's best Tincture bring,
To stain the Current, yet neglect the Spring!
Wou'd you, at once, coerulean Depth renew?
And, gayly bright'ning, flush th' Improvement, through?
High, at the Source, th' infulsive Tinge bestow:
And ev'ry downward Drop shall tinctur'd flow.
BUT, while, a Vagrant, Inspiration strays,
And, here and there, unlicens'd Pow'r displays,
Though sep'rate individual Strollers share
Some uncollective Scatt'rings, of your Care;
This Way, and That, through some faint Hint of Light
Gleams, like a Meteor, and shrinks back in Night,
Or, mingling Beams, to form some deathless Blaze,
Once in an Age, You, POPES, or THOMSONS, raise:
All the lost Labour serves but to express
How wide our Wants! how thinly we possess!
Till the Day breaks, expect no gen'ral Glow:
For, the Sky darken'd, keeps all dark, below.
HERE, for Wit's Fountain, dream not of a Court.
False and injurious; slight th' unweigh'd Report.
Meant, for a Clime, where Thrones appropriate Pow'r,
And One Man's Passions All Mens Rights devour.
But, in free States, where Liberty may chuse,
Taste knows no Monarch, and obeys no Muse;
Senates their Muses, Property their Aim:
Their Boast but Safety; — and their Plaything, Fame.
NO — wou'd your willing Culture waste no Toil?
Wou'd your Bays thrive in a reluctant Soil?
Ductile of Form, and changing Shapes at Will,
Assume new Sex, new Names, new Views, new Skill,
Safe, in sage Politics, conceal your Wit:
Then, by my Bounty, qualify'd to sit,
Nine Cornish Boroughs might assign you Place,
Where, mix'd unthought-of, You may shun Disgrace.
There, breathing unsuspected Influence, lurk,
Till patient Progress crowns your arduous Work.
Thence, shall descending Radiance Taste convey:
And willing Kingdoms make the Muses Way.
Till, Time slow fav'ring, You may quit Disguise,
And wear Wit, plain, among th' unlaughing wise.
PAUSING, He smil'd Humanity, so kind,
That ev'ry Muse was touch'd, and chang'd her Mind:
All bow'd, Consent, to His grave Purpose wrought;
And, thus, URANIA voic'd her Sister's Thought.
BORN to a People's Hearts, their DARLING, shine!
Let every Wish, and Hope, and Joy, be Thine!
Mov'd by the magic Mercy of Thy View,
We feel good Counsel, and embrace it too.
One sole Condition grant, and we obey:
No dang'rous Notice must detect our Stay!
Hid in Thy Grove, each menial Muse shall claim
Domestic Shelter from Reproach and Shame:
Till, by thy Scheme; their yet unrivall'd Friend!
Their Infl'ence widens, and their Suff'rings end.
Then, shewn the World, and privileg'd to please,
And, gath'ring Face and Fashion, by Degrees,
Seen at Assemblies, Belles may Jokes forbear:
Nor, shocking modest Strangers, turn and stare!
THUS, in his Shade, from public Pain exempt,
Sleeping, the Visionary Poet dreamt.
Then wak'd; and found his sparkling PRINCE was there:
But ev'ry empty Muse was lost in Air.