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Confider them, and read them o'er and o'er,
Go, fee them play'd, then read them as before,
For tho' in many things they grofsly fail,
Over our paffions ftill they fo prevail,
That our own grief by theirs is rock'd asleep,
The dull are forc'd to feel, the wife to weep.
Their beauties imitate, avoid their faults.
First on a plot employ thy careful thoughts;
Turn it with time a thousand several ways:
This oft alone has giv'n fuccefs to Plays.
Reject that vulgar error, wich appears
So fair, of making perfect characters:
There's no fuch thing in Nature, and you'll
A faultlefs Monfter, which the world ne'er faw.
Some faults must be, that his misfortunes drew;
But fuch as may deferve compaffion too.
Befides the main defign compos'd with art,
Each moving Scene must be a Plot apart.
Contrive each little turn, mark ev'ry place,
As Painters firft chalk out the future face:
Yet be not fondly your own flave for this;
But change hereafter what appears amifs.
Think not fo much where fhining thoughts to pla-
As what a Man would fay in fuch a cafe.
Neither in Comedy will this fuffice,
The Player too must be before your eyes;
And tho' 'tis drudgery to ftoop fo low,
To him you must your fecret meaning fhow.
Expofe no fingle Fop, but lay the load
More equally, and fpread the folly broad.
Mere Coxcombs are too obvious; oft we fee
A Fool derided by as bad as he,
Hawks fly at nobler game, in this low way;
A very Owl may prove a Bird of prey.
Small Poets thus will one poor Fop devour;
But to collect, like Bees, from ev'ry flow'r
Ingredients to compofe that precious juice,
Which ferves the world for pleafure and for ufe,
Buckingham. In spite of faction, this would favour get;
But Falstaff *) ftands inimitable yet.
Another fault which often may be fall,
Is, when the wit of fome great Poet shall
So overflow, that is, be none at all,
That even his Fools fpeak fenfe, as if poffeft,
And each by inspiration breaks his jeft.
If once the juftnefs of each part be loft,
Well we may laugh, but at the Poet's coft.
That filly thing men call fheer-wit, avoid,
With which our Age fo naufeously is cloy'd,
Humour is all. Wit fhould be only brought
To turn agreably fome proper thought.
But fince the Poets we of late have known,
Shine in no drefs fo much as in their own,
The better by example to convince,
Cast but a view on this wrong fide of sense.
First a Soliloquy is calmly made,
Where ev'ry reafon is exactly weigh'd;
Which once perform'd, moft opportunely comes
Some Hero frighted at the noife of drums,
For her fweet fake, whom at firft fight he loves,
And all in Metaphor his paffion proves;
But fome fad accident, tho' yet unknown,
Parting this pair, to leave the Swain alone;
He ftreight grows jealous, tho' we know not why,
Then, to oblige his Rival, needs will die:
But first he makes a speech, wherein he tells
The abfent Nymph, how much his flame excells.
And yet bequeaths her generously now
To that lov'd Rival whom he does not know;
Who ftreight appears, but who can Fate with
Too late, alas! to hold his hafty hand,
That just has giv'n himfelf the cruel stroke,
At which his very Rival's heart is broke;
*) An adınirable Character in fome Plays of Shakspeare.
He more to his new Friend than Mistress kind,
Most fadly mourns at being left behind;
Of fuch a death prefers the pleafing charms
To love, and living in a Lady's arms.
What shameful, and what monft'rous things are
And then they rail at thofe they cannot please;
Conclude us only partial to the dead:
And grudge the fign of old Ben-Johnson's head:
When the intrinfic value of the stage
Can fcarce be judg'd, but by a following Age;
For Dances, Flutes, Italian fongs, and Rhime,
May keep up finking nonfenfe for a time.
But that must fail, which now fo much o'er-rules,
And fenfe no longer will fubmit to Fools.
Wentworth Dillon, Graf von Roscommon, geb. in Irland ums J. 1633, gest. 1684. Man hat von ihm nur wenige Gedichte, die aber noch immer sehr geschäßt werden, und von ihnen keines so sehr als sein Essay on Translated Verse. Dr. Johnson giebt ihm (Lives, Vol. I, p. 325.) das rühmliche Zeugniß, daß er vielleicht der einzige korrekte ens glische Schriftsteller vor Addison sey; und Pope erklärt ihn für den einzigen moralisch unsträflichen Dichter unter Karls 1. Regierung:
in all Charles's days
Rofcommon only boasts unspotted lays.
Viel Neues und Eigenthümliches enthält freilich der Unters richt nicht, der in diesem Versuche dem Ueberseßer eines poes tischen Werks ertheilt wird. Er schränkt sich vornehmlich auf die Pflichten ein, daß jener ein feinem Genie gemåßes, der Uebersehung würdiges, Original wählen, daß er dasselbe völlig verstehen, alles Dunkle und Sprachwidrige vermeiden, und alle die verschiednen Schattirungen der Schreibart beis behalten müsse. Über das größte Verdienst dieses Gedichts ist die Art seiner Ausführung, die gewiß, des an sich trocks nen Gegenstandes wegen nicht wenig Schwierigkeiten hatte, und der edle, männliche, eindruckvolle Lehrton, der diesen Versuch zu dem Range eines würdigen Gegenstücks von Pos pe's Versuch über die Kritik erhebt.
The first great Work, (a Task perform'd by
Is, that yourself may to yourself be true :
No Mafk, no Tricks, no Favour, no Referve;
Diffect your Mind, examine ev'ry Nerve.
Whoever vainly on his Strength depends,
Begins like Virgil, but like Maevius, ends,
That Wretch (in fpite of his forgotten Rhymes)
Condemn'd to live thro' all fucceeding Times,
With pompous Nonfenfe and a bellowing Sound
Sung lofty Ilium tumbling to the Ground.
And (if the Mufe can through paft Ages fee)
That noify, nauseous, gaping fool was he;
Exploded when with univerfal fcorn
The Mountains laboured and a Mouse was born.
Learn, learn, Crotona's brawny Wrestler
Audacious Mortals, and be timely wife!
'Tis I that call, remember Milo's End,
Wedg'd in that Timber, which he ftrove to rend.
Each Poet with a different Talent writes,
One praises, one inftru&ts, another bites.
Horace did ne'er afpire to Epic Bays,
Nor lofty Maro ftoop to Lyric Lays.
Examine how your Humour is inclin'd,
And which the ruling Paffion of your Mind;
Then, feeck a Poet who your way does bend,
And choose an Author as you choose a Friend.
United by this fympathetic Bond,
You grow familiar, intimate, and fond;
Your Thoughts, your Words, your Stiles, your
No longer his Interpreter, but He.
With how much Eafe is a young Mufe be-
How nice the Reputation of the Maid?
Your early, kind, paternal Care appears,
By chaft Inftruction of her tender Years.
The first Impreffion in her infant Breaft
Will be the deepeft, and fhould be the best.
Let not Austerity breed fervile Fear;
No wanton Sound offend her Virgin-ear.
Secure from foolish Pride's affected State,
And specious Flatt'ry's more pernicious Bait,