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What though no friends in sable weeds appear,
So peaceful rests, without a stone, a name,
Poets themselves must fall like those they sung, Deaf the praised ear, and mute the tuneful tongue. Even he, whose soul now melts in mournful lays, Shall shortly want the generous tear he pays; Then from his closing eyes thy form shall part, And the last pang shall tear thee from his heart; Life's idle business at one gasp be o'er, The Muse forgot, and thou be loved no more!
ROBERT EARL OF OXFORD AND
Such were the notes thy once-loved poet sung, Till death untimely stopp'd his tuneful tongue. Oh, just beheld and lost! admired and mourn'd! With softest manners, gentlest arts, adorn'd! Bless'd in each science! bless’d in every strain ! Dear to the Muse! to Harley dear—in vain!
For him thou oft hast bid the world attend, Fond to forget the statesman in the friend; For Swift and him despised the farce of state, The sober follies of the wise and great; Dexterous the craving, fawning crowd, to quit, And pleased to 'scape from flattery to wit.
Absent or dead, still let a friend be dear, (A sigh the absent claims, the dead a tear) Recall those nights that closed thy toilsome days, Still hear thy Parnell in his living lays; Who, careless now of interest, fame, or fate, Perhaps forgets that Oxford e'er was great; Or deeming meanest what we greatest call, Beholds thee glorious only in thy fall.
I sent to the Earl of Oxford with Dr. Parnell's Poems, published by our author after the Earl's imprisonment in the Tower, and retreat into the country, in the year 1721.
And sure if aught below the seats divine
In vain to deserts thy retreat is made,
JAMES CRAGGS, ESQ.
SECRETARY OF STATE,
1720. A soul as full of worth as void of pride, Which nothing seeks to show, or needs to hide, Which nor to guilt nor fear its caution owes, And boasts a warmth that from no passion flows. A face untaught to feign; a judging eye, That darts severe upon a rising lie, And strikes a blush through frontless flattery.
All this thou wert; and being this before,
WITH MR. DRYDEN'S TRANSLATION OF FRESNOY'S ART
This verse be thine, my friend! nor thou refuse
Smit with the love of sister-arts we came, And met congenial, mingling flame with flame;
1 This epistle, and the two following, were written some years before the rest, and originally printed in 1717.
Like friendly colours found them both unite,
wrought, Rome's pompous glories rising to our thought! Together o'er the Alps, methinks we fly, Fired with ideas of fair Italy. With thee on Raphael's monument I mourn, Or wait inspiring dreams at Maro's urn: With thee repose where Tully once was laid, Or seek some ruin's formidable shade. While fancy brings the vanish'd piles to view, And builds imaginary Rome anew, Here thy well-studied marbles fix our eye; A fading fresco here demands a sigh: Each heavenly piece unwearied we compare, Match Raphael's grace with thy loved Guido's air, Caracci's strength, Correggio's softer line, Paulo's free stroke, and Titian's warmth divine.
How finish'd with illustrious toil appears This small well-polish'd gem, the work of years ? ! Yet still how faint by precept is express'd The living image in the painter's breast! Thence endless streams of fair ideas flow, Strike in the sketch, or in the picture glow;
? Fresnoy employed above twenty years in finishing his poem.