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that the said T. Warton should execute and perform the duties of his said office with the utmost dignity and decorum, Now KNOW ye, That we have thought it meet to draw up a due and proper Table of Instructions, hereunto annexed, for the use of the said Thomas Warton, in his said poetical exercise and employment, which we do hereby most strictly will and enjoin the said Thomas Warton to abide by and follow, under pain of incurring our most high displeasure.
Given at our Court at St. James's, this
30th day of May, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-five.
Vivant Rex & Regina.
Rev. THOMAS WARTON, B.D. AND
P:L. &c. &c. ... ,
Chamberlain's Ofice, May 30th, 1785. 1st, That in fabricating the catalogue of Regal Virtues (in which task the Poet may much assist his invention by perusing the Odes of his several predecessors) you be particularly careful not to omit his Chastity, his skill in Mechanics, and his Royal Talent of Child-getting
2dly, It is expected that you should be very liberally endowed with the gift of Prophecy; but be very careful not to predict any event but what may be perfectly acceptable to your Sovereign, such as the subjugation of America, the destruction of the Whigs, long-life, &c. &c.
3dly, That' you be always provided with a due assortment of true, good-looking, and legitimate words ; and that you do take all necessary care not to apply them but on their proper occasions ; as for example, not to talk of dove-eyed peace, nor the gentle olive, in time of war; nor of trumpets, drums, fifes, nor * ECHOING CARS, in times of peace --as, for the sake of poetical conveniency, several of your predecessors have been known to do.
· 4thly, That as the Sovereign for the time being must always be the best, the greatest, and the wisest, that ever existed ; so the year also, for the time being, must be the happiest, the mildest, the fairest, and the most prolific that ever occurred.—What reflections upon the year past you think proper.
5thly, That Music being a much higher and diviner science than Poetry, your Ode
* It is evident from this expression, that these instructions had not been delivered to Mr. Warton at the time of his writing his last famous Ode on the Birth-day of his Majesty : a circumstance which makes that amazing composition still more extraordinary.
must always be adapted to the Music, and not the Music to your Ode.--The omission of a line or two cannot be supposed to make any material difference either in the poetry or in sense.
Othly, That as these sort of invitations have of late years been considered by the Muses as mere cards of compliment, and of course have been but rarely accepted, you must not waste more than twenty lines in invoking the Nine, nor repeat the word “ Hail!” more than fifteen times at farthest.
7thly, And finally, That it may not be amiss to be a little intelligible *.
* This is an additional proof that Mr. Warton had not received, the Instructions at the time he composed his said Ode.