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mon with him, and so much admired, that they are in every Body's Mouth, and need not my Commendation. The frequent and continued Applauses of the Theatre make almost a whole Nation judge with me, and I should be really proud, if a sullen Critick or two were to differ from me, to stand by Nature, against their Rules; and profess my self his Admirer
If I were to go on to a particular Detail, I might easily prove what I assert; tho' the modest Apology he makes for himself will fatisfy any reasonable Man. * It is not (fays he) given to every body to excel ; and I hope there may be some kind of Praise reserved for those who only endeavour after it ; if not, I must own my. Pree tentions that way are upon a very ill Foat. However, I believe I shall never be more-folicitous about these Matters than they really deferve. I won't deny but that I have the natural. Tenderness of a Parent for these Children of my Brain ; and I don't believe I have Philosophy enough to stand by and see 'em, misused and murdered, without any lawful Reafon : But wherever they shall be found
* See the Dedication of bis Plays to the Eari of Warwick.
guilty of apparent Treason against the Lams of Parnassus," I fiall give 'em up with the Refolution of the first BRUTUS. I believe there might be fomething said for 'em, if Isliould take the Liberty of writing Examens, as was done by the older CORNEILLE upon his oron PLAYS.. But whatsoever the French thought of these Things, I can't help looking on 'em as an insufferable Piece of Vanity : 'Tis making Trifles Matters of the last Consequence and Importance. And yet Apologies and laboured Discourses, have been written upon these Occasions, as if the Fate of a Nation depended upon the regular Conduct of Poem.
Scilicet id curat Populus.
7 bo', by the way, I never heard that the best Writer in Criticism could raise the Reputation of & Play that was funk, by telling the World: they ought to have been better pleasd with it ; or destroy the Success of one that was well received, by upbraiding Mankind with their Ignorance in these Matters. They are these · Petulancies that fix so great a Degree of Contempt upon the Names of Author and Poet; and if they did mot fall into these ridiculous Invectives upon one another, the unlearned World would use 'em all with more Reverence and Respect. I hope this is B 4
enough at present; but if there should be any farther Occasion, you will find me as ready to defend his Writings, as you will always find me
PO E M
To the MEMORY of
NICHOLAS ROWE, Efq;
By Mr. BECKIN G H A M.
S then the Symnions true! does partial Fate
Retract so carly what it gavę so late? Must the Grave chuse? ---Must ROWE the Tributo pay, And Mesit moulder with the common Clay? Is the grim Tyrant then so jealous grown? Strikes he at human Fame to build his own? Has nof th' insulting Monarch Wreaths enow, But muft the Robber strip the Poet’s Brow?
Ler Nature in her hoary Years decay,
Does facred Heat Prophetick Breasts inspire ?? Burns not the Poet’s with an equal Fire? From Heav'n a joint Commission can he clain, His Soul as large, as facred is his Name; Both universal Benefits design'd, Both sent to govern, and to save Mankind; T unveil mysterious Truths to buman Sights And set the falfe bewilderd Judgment right, Instructed great Ideas to im part, To warm the Bofoni, and enrich the Heart. Are we not grateful when the Lamp of Day Shoots forth a genial Heat, and vernal Ray, To bless the honeft Rustick's Wint’ry Toil, And bid the careful anxious Florist smile? Or in fome Clime, where nearer Beams abound, And Heats immod’rate scorch the cleaving Ground, When some fierce Channel from the feyen-mouth'd Nile Pours forth its Plenty on the Sun-burnt Soil; Cements with lavish Streams the gaping Earth, And gives the hidden Treasures timely Birth