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While nursed by you she sees her myrtles bloom
Green and unwither'd o'er his hononr'd tomb;
Excase her doubts, if yet she fears to tell
What secret transports in her bosom swell:
With conscious awe she hears the critic's fame,
And blushing hides her wreath at Shakspeare's name.
Hard was the lot those injured strains endured,
Unown'd by Science, and by years obscured:
Fair Fancy wept; and echoing sighs confessM
A fix.t despair in every tuneful breast.
Not with more grief tlV afflicted swains appear,
When wintry wind«s deform the plenteous year;
When lingering frosts the ruin'd seats invade,
Where Peace resorted, and the Graces play'd.
Each rising art by just gradation moves, Toil builds on toil, and age on age improves: The Muse alone unequal dealt her rage, And graced with noblest pomp her earliest stage. Preserved through time, the speaking scenes impart Each changeful wish of Phaedra's tortured heart: Or paint the curse that mark'd the ♦Theban's reign, A bed incestuous, and a father slain. With kind concern our pitying eyes o'erflow, Trace the sad tale, and own another's woe.
To Rome removed, with wit secure to please, The comic sisters kept their native ease: With jealous fear declining Greece beheld Her own Mcnander's art almost excell'd! But every Muse essay'd to raise in vain Some iabour'd rival of her tragie strain; Ilyssus' laurels, though transferr'd with toil, Droop'd their fair leaves, nor knew th' unfriendly soil.
As Arts expired, resistless Dulness rose; Goths, priests, or Vandals,—all were Learning's foes.
* The (Edipu? of Sophocles.
Till* Julius first recallV. each exiled maid,
But Heaven, still various in its works, decreed
Yet, ah! so bright her morning's opening ray,
}With gradual steps, and slow, exacter France Saw Art's fair empire o'er her shores advance:
* Julius II. the immediate predecessor of l.eo X. t I heir characters are thus di-ftingnis'ml by Mr. Dryden. \ About the time of shakspeare, the pnei Uar.i./wasin jrreat repute in Friuce. He wrote, according to tontciieilc, s.x hundred plays.
By length of toil a bright perfection knew,
But wilder far the British laurel spread,
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:
DressM by her hand the woods and valleys smile,
And spring diffusive decks th' enchanted isle.
The French poets after him applied themselves in general to the correct improvement of the sla^e, which was almost totally disregarded by those of our own country, Joiisou excepted.
* The favourite author of the elder Corneille. f Tempns erit Turno, maguo cur.i optaverit einptum Intac'.uiu Pallanta. &c.'
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. Oh, 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!
Methinks e'en now I view some free design,
But who tis he, whose brows exalted bear
Thus, generous Critic, as thy bard inspires,
The sister Arts sha.Il nurse their drooping fires;
* See tiie tragedy of Julius C.xsar. t Coriolaius. See Mr. Speme's dialogue on Die Odyssey.
Each from his scenes her stores alternate bring,
So spread o'er Greece, th* harmonious whole un-
DIRGE IN CYMBELINE.
Sung by Guiderus and Arviragus over Fidele, supposed to be dead.
To fair Fidele's grassy tomb
Soft maids and village hinds shall bring
And rifle all the breathing Spring.
To vex witli shrieks this quiet grove;
And melting virgins own their love.
No goblins lead their nightly crew;
And dress thy grave with pearly dew!