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EPISTLE . .. TO ROBERT Earl of Oxford,
and Earl MORTIMER.
CUCH were the notes thy once-lov'd Poet sung,
'Till Death untimely stop'd his tuneful tongue. Oh just beheld! and loft! admir'd and mourn’d! With softest manners, gentlest arts adorn'd! Bleft in each science, blest in ev'ry strain! 5 Dear to the Muse! to HARLEY dear---in vain!
For him, thou oft haft bid the World attend, Fond to forget the statesman in the friend; For Swift and him, despis’d the farce of state, The sober follies of the wife and great ; 10 Dextrous, the craving, fawning croud to quit, And pleas'd to 'scape from Flattery to Wit.
NOTES. Epift. to Robert Earl of Oxford.] This Epistle was sent to the Earl of Oxford with Dr. Parnelle's Poems published by our Author, after the said Earl's Imprisonment in the Tower, and Retreat into the Country, in the Year 1721.
Absent or dead, still let a friend be dear, (A sigh the absent claims, the dead a tear) Recall those nights that clos'd thy toilfome days, Still hear thy Parnell in his living lays, 16 Who, careless now of Int'rest, Fame, or Fate, Perhaps forgets that Oxford e'er was great ; Or deeming meanest what we greatest call, Beholds thee glorious only in thy Fall. 20
And sure, if aught below the seats divine Can touch Immortals, 'tis a Soul like thine: A Soul supreme, in each hard instance try'd, Above all Pain, all Passion, and all Pride, The rage of Pow'r, the blast of public breath, 25 The lust of Lucre, and the dread of Death.
In vain to Deserts thy retreat is made ; The Muse attends thee to thy silent shade : 'Tis hers, the brave man's latest steps to trace, Rejudge his acts, and dignify disgrace. 30 When Int’rest calls off all her sneaking train, And all th'oblig'd desert, and all the vain ; She waits, or to the scaffold, or the cell, When the last ling’ring friend has bid farewel,
Ev'n now, she shades thy Ev'ning-walk with bays,
TO JAMES CRAGGS, Esq.
SECRETARY of STATE. A Soul as full of Worth, as void of Pride, 0 Which nothing seeks to shew, or needs to
hide, Which nor to Guilt nor Fear, its Caution owes, And boasts a Warmth that from no Paffion flows. A Face untaught to feign; a judging Eye, 5). That darts severe upon a rising Lye, And strikes a blush thro’ frontless Flattery. J All this thou wert, and being this before, Know, Kings and Fortune cannot make thee more. Then scorn to gain a Friend by servile ways, 10 Nor wish to lose a Foe these Virtues raise ; But candid, free, sincere, as you began, Proceed---a Minister, but still a Man. Be not (exalted to whate'er degree) Alham'd of any Friend, not ev'n of Me: 15 The Patriot's plain, but untrod, path pursue; If not, 'tis I must be asham'd of You.
Secretary of State] In the Year 1-24. P.
To Mr. JERVAS,
With Mr. Deyden's Translation to
FRESNOY's Art of Painting.
THIS Verfe be thine, my friend, nor thou
refuse This, from no venal or ungrateful Muse. Whether thy hand strike out some free design, Where Life awakes, and dawns at ev'ry line; Or blend in beauteous tints the colour'd mass, 5 And from the canvas call the mimic face: : Read these instructive leaves, in which conspire Fresnoy's close Art, and Dryden's native Fire : And reading with, like theirs, our fate and fame, So mix'd our studies, and so join'd our name ; 10 Like them to shine thro' long succeeding age, So just thy skill, so regular my rage.
Note's. Epift. to Mr. Jervas.] This Epistle, and the two following, were written some years before the rest, and originally printed in 1717. P.