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ADDISON (1672–1719); Rt. Hon. J..
38-45, 48, 49
ON A CERTAIN LADY AT COURT.
[Henrietta HOWARD, COUNTESS OF SUFFOLK.]
I know the thing that 's most uncommon !
(Envy, be silent; and attend !) I know a reasonable woman;
Handsome and witty, yet a friend !
Not warped by passion, awed by rumour ;
Not grave through pride, or gay through folly; An equal mixture of good humour
And sensible soft melancholy.
'Has she no faults then,' Envy says, “Sir?'
Yes, she has one, I must aver !
The woman 's deaf, and does not hear !
ODE ON SOLITUDE.
[This imitation of HORACE's Ode, Beatus integer, &c., was written in 1700, when young ALEXANDER POPE was not twelve years old. The present is his revised text of 1736.] HAPPY the man! whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound; Content to breathe his native air
In his own ground:
Whose herds, with milk; whose fields, with bread;
Whose flocks supply him with attire : Whose trees, in Summer yield him shade;
In Winter, fire.
Blest! who can unconcern'dly find
Hours, days, and years slide soft away In health of body, peace of mind,
Quiet by day,
Sound sleep by night; study and ease
Together mixt; sweet recreation ;
Thus, let me live, unseen! unknown!
Thus, unlamented, let me die !
Tell where I lie!
THESE, equal syllables alone require; Though oft, the ear the open vowels tire ! While expletives, their feeble aid do join ; And ten low words oft creep in one dull line ; While they ring round the same unvaried chimes, With sure returns of still expected rhymes. Where'er you find the cooling western breeze, In the next line, it whispers through the trees. If crystal streams with pleasing murmurs creep, The Reader 's threatened, not in vain, with sleep. Then, at the last, and only couplet fraught With some unmeaning thing they call a thought, A needless Alexandrine ends the Song, That, like a wounded snake, draws its slow length along.
Leave such to tune their own dull rhymes; and know What 's roundly smooth, or languishingly slow ! And praise the easy vigour of a line, Where DENHAM's strength and WALLER's sweetness join!
[True ease in writing comes from art, not chance;
Soft is the strain when ZEPHYR gently blows;
When AJAX strives, some rock's vast weight to throw,