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His soul inspires me, while thy praise I write,
And I, like Teucer, under Ajax fight;
Bids thee, through me, be bold; with dauntless breast
Contemn the bad, and emulate the best.
Like his, thy critics in the attempt are lost;
When most they rail, know then, they envy most.
In vain they snarl aloof; a noisy crowd,
Like women's anger, impotent and loud.
While they their barren industry deplore,
Pass on secure, and mind the goal before,
Old as she is, my muse shall march behind,
Bear off the blast, and intercept the wind.
Our arts are sisters, though not twins in birth,
For hymns were sung in Eden's happy earth :
But oh, the painter muse, though last in place,
Has seized the blessing first, like Jacob's race.
Apelles' art an Alexander found,
And Raphael did with Leo's gold abound;
But Homer was with barren laurel crown'd,
Thou hadst thy Charles a while, and so had I;
But pass we that unpleasing image by.
Rich in thyself, and of thyself divine,
All pilgrims come and offer at thy shrine.
A graceful truth thy pencil can command ;
The fair themselves go mended from thy hand,
But likeness in thy work is eloquent.
Though nature there her true resemblance bears,
A nobler beauty in thy piece appears.
So warm thy work, so glows the generous frame,
Flesh looks less living in the lovely dame.
Thou paint'st as we describe, improving still,
When on wild nature we ingraft our skill,
Yet not creating beauties at our will.
But poets are confined in narrower space, To speak the language of their native place ;
The painter widely stretches his command,
Thy pencil speaks the tongue of every land.
From hence, my friend, all climates are your own,
Nor can you forfeit, for you hold of none.
All nations all immunities will give
To make you theirs, where'er you, please to live ;
And not seven cities, but the world, would strive.
Sure some propitious planet then did smile,
When first you were conducted to this isle ;
Our genius brought you here, to enlarge our fame,
For your good stars, are every where the same,
Thy matchless hạnd, of every region free,
Adopts our climate, not our climate thee.
* Great Rome and Venice early did impart
To thee the examples of their wondrous art.
Those masters, then but seen, not understood,
With generous emulation fired thy blood;
For what in nature's dawn the child admired,
The youth endeavour'd; and the man. acquired,
If yet thou hast not reach'd their high degree,
'Tis only wanting to this age, not thee.
Thy genius, bounded by the times, like mine,
Drudges on petty draughts, nor dare design
A more exalted work, and more divine.
For what a song, or senseless opera,
Is to the living labour of a play;
Or what a play to Virgil's work would be,
Şuch, is a single piece to history.
But we, who life bestow, ourselves must live;
Kings cannot reign unless their subjects give;
And they, who pay the taxes, bear the rule :
Thus thou, sometimes, are forced to draw a fool ;t
* He travelled very young into Italy. DRYDEN.
+ Mr Walpole says, that “where Sir Godfrey offered one picture to fame, he sacrificed twenty to lucre, and he met with customers of so little judgment, that they were fond of being paint
But so his follies in thy posture sink,
The senseless idiot seems at last to think.
Good heaven! that sots and knaves should be so vain,
To wish their vile resemblance may remain,
And stand recorded, at their own request,
To future days, a libel or a jest !
Else should we see your noble pencil trace
Our unities of action, time, and place;
A whole composed of parts, and those the best,
With every various character exprest;
Heroes at large, and at a nearer view;
Less, and at distance, an ignoble crew;
While all the figures in one action join,
As tending to complete the main design.
More cannot be by mortal art exprest,
But venerable age shall add the rest :
For time shall with his ready pencil stand,
Retouch your figures with his ripening hand,
Mellow your colours, and imbrown the teint,
Add every grace, which time alone can grant;
shall your fame convey,
And give more beauties than he takes away.