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40

Till Juliusb first recall'd each exiled maid,
And Cosmo own’d them in the Etrurian shade:
Then, deeply skill'd in love's engaging theme,
The soft Provençal pass’d to Arno's stream:
With graceful ease the wanton lyre he strung;
Sweet flow'd the lays—but love was all he sung.
The gay description could not fail to move,
For, led by nature, all are friends to love.

But Heaven, still various in its works, decreed 45
The perfect boast of time should last succeed.
The beauteous union must appear at length,
Of Tuscan fancy, and Athenian strength :
One greater Muse Eliza's reign adorn,
And e'en a Shakespeare to her fame be born! 50

Yet ah! so bright her morning's opening ray,
In vain our Britain hoped an equal day!
No second growth the western isle could bear,
At once exhausted with too rich a year.
Too nicely Jonson knew the critic's part;
Nature in him was almost lost in art.
Of softer mould the gentle Fletcher came,
The next in order, as the next in name;
With pleased attention, ʼmidst his scenes we find
Each glowing thought that warms the female mind;

55

VARIATION,

1

Ver. 45. But Heaven, still rising in its works, decreed

6 Julius the Second, the immediate predecessor of Leo the Tenth.

G

61

Each melting sigh, and every tender tear;
The lover's wishes, and the virgin's fear.
His
every

strain the Smiles and Graces own;
But stronger Shakespeare felt for man alone:
Drawn by his pen, our ruder passions stand
The unrival'd picture of his early hand.

65

70

With a gradual steps and slow, exacter France Saw Art's fair empire o'er her shores advance : By length of toil a bright perfection knew, Correctly bold, and just in all she drew : Till late Corneille, with Lucan’se spirit fired, Breathed the free strain, as Rome and he inspired : And classic judgment gain'd to sweet Racine The temperate strength of Maro's chaster line.

75

But wilder far the British laurel spread, And wreaths less artful crown our poet's head.

VARIATIONS,

Ver. 63. His every strain the Loves and Graces own; 71. Till late Corneille from epick Lucan brought

The full expression, and the Roman thought:

c Their characters are thus distinguished by Mr. Dryden.

d About the time of Shakespeare, the poet Hardy was in great repute in France. He wrote, according to Fontenelle, six hundred plays. The French poets after him applied themselves in general to the correct improvement of the stage, which was almost totally disregarded by those of our own country, Jonson excepted.

e The favourite author of the elder Corneille.

80

Yet he alone to every scene could give
The historian's truth, and bid the manners live.
Waked at his call I view, with glad surprise,
Majestic forms of mighty monarchs rise.
There Henry's trumpets spread their loud alarms,
And laureld Conquest waits her hero's arms.
Here gentler Edward claims a pitying sigh,
Scarce born to honours, and so soon to die!
Yet shall thy throne, unhappy infant, bring
No beam of comfort to the guilty king :
The timef shall come when Glo'ster's heart shall

bleed,
In life's last hours, with horror of the deed;
When dreary visions shall at last present
Thy vengeful image in the midnight tent:
Thy hand unseen the secret death shall bear,
Blunt the weak sword, and break the oppressive

85

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spear!

95

Where'er we turn, by Fancy charm’d, we find Some sweet illusion of the cheated mind. Oft, wild of wing, she calls the soul to rove With humbler nature, in the rural grove; Where swains contented own the quiet scene, And twilight fairies tread the circled green: Dress'd by her hand, the woods and valleys smile, And Spring diffusive decks the enchanted isle. 100

Turno tempus erit, magno cum optaverit emptum
Intactum Pallanta, etc.

VIRG.

0, more than all in powerful genius blest, Come, take thine empire o'er the willing breast ! Whate'er the wounds this youthful heart shall feel, Thy songs support me, and thy morals heal! There every thought the poet's warmth may raise, There native music dwells in all the lays. O might some verse with happiest skill persuade Expressive Picture to adopt thine aid ! What wondrous draughts might rise from every

page! What other Raphaels charm a distant age!

106

110

Methinks e'en now I view some free design, Where breathing nature lives in every line:

VARIATIONS.

Ver. 101. O, blest in all that genius gives to charm,

Whose morals mend us, and whose passions warm !
Oft let my youth attend thy various page,
Where rich invention rules the unbounded stage :
There every scene the poet's warmth may raise,
And melting music find the softest lays :
O might the Muse with equal ease persuade
Expressive Picture to adopt thine aid !
Some powerful Raphael should again appear,

And arts consenting fix their empire here.
111. Methinks e'en now I view some fair design,

Where breathing Nature lives in every line;
Chaste and subdued, the modest colours lie,
In fair proportion to the approving eye:
And see where Anthony lamenting stands,
In fixt distress, and spreads his pleading hands :
O'er the pale corse the warrior seems to bend,

115

Chaste and subdued the modest lights decay,
Steal into shades, and mildly melt away.
And see where Anthony, in tears approved,
Guards the pale relics of the chief he loved :
O'er the cold corse the warrior seems to bend,
Deep sunk in grief, and mourns his murder'd friend!
Still as they press, he calls on all around,
Lifts the torn robe, and points the bleeding wound.

121

But who is he, whose brows exalted bear A wrath impatient, and a fiercer air? Awake to all that injured worth can feel, On his own Rome he turns the avenging steel ; Yet shall not war's insatiate fury fall (So heaven ordains it) on the destined wall. See the fond mother, 'midst the plaintive train, Hung on his knees, and prostrate on the plain!

125

VARIATION.

Ver. 122. A rage impatient, and a fiercer air ?

E'en now his thoughts with eager vengeance doom
The last sad ruin of ungrateful Rome.
Till, slow advancing o'er the tented plain,
In sable weeds, appear the kindred train :
The frantic mother leads their wild despair,
Beats her swoln breast, and rends her silver hair ;
And see, he yields! the tears unbidden start,
And conscious nature claims the unwilling heart !
O’er all the man conflicting passions rise ;

& See the tragedy of Julius Cæsar. h Coriolanus. See Mr. Spence's Dialogue on the Odyssey.

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