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If ranker weeds their foul contagion spread,
And daring Licence rais’d her impious head,
Check'd their lewd growth, and pull'd corruption down.
Here springs a wish, that none their pow'r profane :
Pure be his life, who writes, from ev'ry stain ;
Pure let his page with facred lustre shine ;
Let rigid virtue mark the blameless line.
If e’er (which heav'n avert!) he leaves her side,
To cringe to wealth, or swell the pomp of pride ;
When Lewdness pours his vile debauch’ries forth,
Drive the base wretch, ye Muses, from your train,
And bind, in dullness bind his barren brain,
That, when the strangled thought would press to light,
Vex’d, he may gnaw the guilty Pen in spight.
But hence; and darkness whelm th' apoftate throng!
To brighter themes I steer my wand'ring song.
That glorious list my raptur'd eyes survey,
Still in our hearts the warm reflection glows.
He hopes, he fears, he burns with strong defire,
Then grasps the Quill, to join the god-like choir.
Thus, if some youth, who shuns inglorious ease,
Where conqueft waits to crown the warrior's brow.
But Heav’n, who nerves the arm, and guides the hand, Forbids, that all, in war, and wit, command.
Few yet have sped, whose bold ambition dar'd
To snatch the wreath, which crowns the epic bard :
Through boundless space, beyond the birth of time.
Some nearer home their short excursions try,
Like bees, in summer fields, the buzzing throngs
Pour forth in odes, and elegies, and songs.
Some, humbler still, their petty pow'r employ,
Who glitter, flutter, shoot their stings, and die.
Dut cease to count, what rovers of the Quill,
In nameless tribes, infest the Muses' hill.
As atoms crowded in the solar ray,
Their embryo forms in endless mazes stray.
Yet see that groupe, no undistinguish'd choir,
Gentler in mien, and lovelier in attire :
Mark, how each Grace directs their pleasing toils,
And ev'ry Muse enlivens with her smiles.
Welcome, ye bards, these partners of your praise,
The virtuous Sapphos of our modern days.
Too long in wit had man usurp'd the throne,
-Till time and freedom broke the barrier dow!,
Till taste and learning travell’d fide by side,
And barb'rous rules and Salic laws destroy'd.
No further glories wait the grey goose Quill, Since wit and beauty try its potent skill; For these, whene'er they take the letter'd field, With twofold force the plumed weapon wield.
F I N I S,