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An art peculiar to yourself alone,
To join the virtues of two styles in one.
Oh! were your author's principle receiv'd,
Half of the labʼring world would be reliev'd :
For not to wish is not to be deceiv'd.
Revenge would into charity be chang’d,
Because it costs too dear to be reveng'd :
It costs our quiet and content of mind,
And when 'tis compass'd leaves a sting behind.
Suppose I had the better end o’th' staff,
Why should I help th’ill-natur'd world to laugh?
'Tis all alike to them, who get the day ;
They love the spite and mischief of the fray.
No; I have cur'd myself of that disease ;
Nor will I be provok’d, but when I please :
But let me half that cure to you restore ;
You give the salve, I laid it to the fore.
Our kind relief against a rainy day, Beyond a tavern, or a tedious play, We take your book, and laugh our spleen away. If all your tribe, too studious of debate, Would cease false hopes and titles to create, Led by the rare example you begun, Clients would fail, and lawyers be undone.
TO MY DEAR FRIEND
Mr. C O N G R E V E,
Comedy.call’d, The DOUBLE DEALER.
ELL then, the promis'd hour is come at last,
The present age of wit obscures the past : Strong were our fires, and as they fought they writ, ? Conqu’ring with force of arms, and dint of wit :
Theirs was the giant race, before the flood;
And thus, when Charles return’d, our empire stood.
Like Janus he the stubborn foil manur'd,
With rules of husbandry the rankness cur’d;
Tam'd us to manners, when the stage was rude;
And boistrous English wit with art indu'd.
Our age was cultivated thus at length;
But what we gain'd in skill we lost in strength.
Our builders were with want of genius curst;
The second temple was not like the first :
the best Vitruvius, come at length;
Our beauties equal, but excel our strength.
. VOL. II.
Firm Doric pillars found your solid base :
The fair Corinthian crowns the higher space:
Thus all below is strength, and all above is grace.
In easy dialogue is Fletcher's praise ;
He mov'd the inind, but had not power to raise.
Great Johnson did by strength of judgment please;
Yet, doubling Fletcher's force, he wants his ease.
In diff'ring talents both adorn'd thcir age ;
One for the study, t'other for the stage.
But both to Congreve justly all submit,
One match'd in judgment, both o’ermatch'd in wit,
In him all beauties of this age we see,
Etherege his courtship, Southern's purity,
The satire, wit, and strength of manly Wycherly.
All this in blooming youth you have atchiev'd:
Nor are your foil'd contemporaries griev'd.
So much the sweetness of your manners move,
We cannot envy you, because we love.
Fabius might joy in Scipio, when he saw
A beardless consul made against the law,
And join his suffrage to the votes of Rome;
Though he with Hannibal was overcome.
Thus old Romano bow'd to Raphael's fame,
And scholar to the youth he taught became.
laurel had sustain'd! Well had I been depos’d, if you had reign'd:
The father had descended for the son ;
For only you are lineal to the throne.
Thus, when the state one Edward did depose,
A greater Edward in his room arose.
But now, not I, but poetry is curs'd ;
For Tom the second reigns like Tom the first.
But let them not mistake my patron's part,
Nor call his charity their own desert.
Yet this I prophesy; thou shalt be seen,
(Tho with some short parenthesis between)
High on the throne of wit, and, seated there,
Not mine, that's little, but thy laurel wear.
Thy first attempt an early promise made ;
That early promise this has more than paid.
So bold, yet so judicioully you dare,
least praise is to be regular.
Time, place, and action, may with pains be wrought;
But genius must be born, and never can be taught.
This is your portion ; this your native store ;
Heaven, that but once was prodigal before,
To Shakespear gave as much ; she could not
give him more.
Maintain your post : That's all the fame you
Already I am worn with cares and age,
And just abandoning th' ungrateful stage:
Unprofitably kept at heaven's expence,
I live a rent-charge on his providence :
muse and grace adorn,
Whom I foresee to better fortune born,
Be kind to my remains; and O defend,
Against your judgment, your departed friend!
Let not th’insulting foe my
fame pursue, But shade those laurels which descend to you : And take for tribute what these lines express: You merit more ; nor could my love do less.
Auspicious poet, wert thou not my friend,
How could I envy, what I must commend! But since 'tis nature's law in love and wit, That youth should reign, and withering age submit,