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set up in its room. There is a third person?, the living glory of our English poetry, who has disclaimed the use of it upon the stage, though no man ever employed it there so happily as he. It was the strength of his genius that first brought it into credit in Plays, and it is the force of his example that has thrown it out again. In other kinds of writing it continues still, and will do so till some excellent spirit arises that has leisure enough, and resolution, to break the charm, and free us from “ the troublesome boudage of rhyming,” as Mr. Milton very well calls it, and has proved it as well by what he has wrote in another way. But this is a thought for times at some distance; the present age is a little too warlike; it may perhaps furnish out matter for a good poem in the next, but it will hardly encourage one now. Without prophesying, a man may easily know what sort of laurels are like to be in request.
Whilst I am talking of verse, I find myself, I do not know how, betrayed into a great deal of prose. I intended no more than to put the reader in mind what respect was due to any thing that fell from the pen of Mr. Waller. I have heard his lastprinted copies which are added in the several editions of his poems very slightly spoken of, but certainly they do not deserve it: they do indeed discover themselves to be his last, and that is the worst we can say of them. He is there
Jam senior; sed cruda Deo viridisque seneetus S. The same censure, perhaps, will be passed on the pieces of this Second Part. I shall not so far en: Mr. Dryden.
S Virg. Æn. vi. ver. 304.
gage for them, az to pretend they are all equal to whatever he wrote in the vigour of his youth; yet they are so much of a piece with the rest, that any man will at first sight know them to be Mr. Wallers. Some of them were wrote very early, but not put into former collections, for reasons obvious enough, but which are now ceased. The play was altered to please the court: it is not to be doubted who sat for the Two Brothers' characters.
It was agreeable to the sweetness of Mr. Waller's temper to soften the rigour of the tragedy, as he expresses it: but whether it be so agreeable to the nature of tragedy itself to make every thing come off easily, I leave to the critics. In the prologue and epilogue there are a few verses that he has made use of upon another occasion; but the reader may be pleased to allow that in him that has been allowed so long in Homer and Lucretius. Exact writers dress up their thoughts so very well always, that when they have need of the same sense, they cannot put it into other words but it must be to its prejudice. Care has been taken, in this book, to get together every thing of Mr. Waller's that is not put into the former collection; so that between both, the reader may make the set complete.
It will, perhaps, be contended, after all, that some of these ought not to have been published; and Mr. Cowley's 4 decision will be urged, that a neat tomb of marble is a better monument than a great pile of rubbish. It might be answered to this, that the pictures and poems of great masters have been always valued, though the last hand
* In the preface to his works.
were not put to them: and I believe none of those gentlemen that will make the objection would refuse a sketch of Raphael's or one of Titian's draughts of the first sitting. I might tell them, too, what care has been taken, by the learned, to' preserve the fragments of the ancient Greek and Latin poets : there has been thought to be a divinity in what they said; and therefore the least pieces of it have been kept up and reverenced like religious relics: and I am sure, take away the mille anni, and impartial reasoning will tell us, there is as much due to the memory of Mr. Waller, as to the most celebrated names of Antiquity.
But, to wave the dispute now of what ought to have been done, I can assure the reader what would have been, had this edition been delayed. The following Poems were got abroad, and in a great many bands: it were vain to expect that, among so many admirers of Mr. Waller, they should not meet with one fond enough to publish them. They might have staid, indeed, till by frequent transcriptions they had been corrupted extremely, and jumbled together with things of another kind; but then they would have found their way into the world: so it was thought a greater piece of kind. ness to the Author to put them out whilst they continue genuine and unmixed, and such as he himself, were he alive, might own.
5 Alluding to that verse in Juvenal,
*** Et uni cedit Homero
Propter mille annos * * *
Mr. C. Dryden.
TO THE RIGHT HON.
THE LADY MARGARET CAVENDISH
HARLEY. Let others boast the Nine Aonian maids, Inspiring streams, and sweet resounding shades, Where Phæbus heard the rival bards rehearse, , And bade the laurels learn the lofty verse: In vain ! por Phæbus nor the boasted Nine Inflame the raptur'd soul with rays divine: None but the fair infuse the sacred fire, And love with vocal art informs the lyre.
When Waller, kindling with celestial rage,
As angels love, congenial souls unite
The florid and sublime, the grave and gay,
In Waller's fame, O fairest Harley! view
Such soul-attracting airs were sung of old, When blissful years in golden.circles rollid: