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to our softest affections; others again brighten the character of that state, and allure virtuous souls to pursue the divine advantage of it, the mutual assistance in the way to salvation. Are not the cxxviith and cxxviiith Psalms indited on this very subject? Shall it be lawful for the press and the pulpit to treat of it with a becoming solemnity in prose, and must the mention of the same thing in poesy be pronounced for ever unlawful? Is it utterly unworthy of a serious character to write on this argument, because it has been unhappily polluted by some scurrilous pens? Why may I not be permitted to obviate a common and a growing mischief, while a thousand vile poems of the amorous kind swarm abroad, and give a vicious taint to the unwary reader? I would tell the world that I have endeavoured to recover this argument out of the hands of impure writers, and to make it appear that virtue and love are not such strangers as they are represented. The blissful intimacy of souls in that state will afford sufficient furniture for the gravest entertainment in verse; so that it need not be everlastingly dressed up in ridicule, nor assumed only to furnish out the lewd sonnets of the times. May some happier genius promote the same service that I proposed, and by superior sense, and sweeter sound, render what I have written contemptible and useless! The imitations of that noblest Latin poet of modern ages, Casimire Sarbiewski, of Poland, would need no excuse, did they but arise to the beauty of the original. I have often taken the freedom to add ten or twenty lines, or to leave out as many, that I might suit my song more to my own design, or because I saw it impossible to present the force, the fineness, and the fire of his expression in our language. There are a few copies wherein I have borrowed some hints from the same author, without the mention of his name in the title. Methinks I can allow so superior a genius now and then to be lavish his imagination, and to indulge some excursions beyond the limits of sedate judgment: the riches and glory of his verse make atonement in abundance. I wish some English pen would import more of his treasures, and bless our nation.

The inscriptions to particular friends are warranted and defended by the practice of almost all the Lyric writers. They frequently convey the rigid rules of morality to the mind in the softer method of applause. Sustained by their example, a man will not easily be overwhelmed by the heaviest censures of the unthinking and unknowing; especially when there is a shadow of this practice in the divine Psalmist, while he inscribes to Asaph or Jeduthun his songs, that were made for the harp, or (which is all one) his Lyric odes, though they are addressed to God himself.

In the poems of heroic measure, I have attempted in rhyme the same variety of cadence, comma and period, which blank verse glories in as its peculiar elegance and ornament. It degrades the excellency of the best versification when the lines run on by couplets, twenty together, just in the same pace, and with the same pauses. It spoils the noblest pleasure of the sound: the reader is tired with the tedious uniformity, or charmed to sleep with the unmanly softness of the numbers, and the perpetual chime of even cadences.

In the essays without rhyme, I have not set up Milton for a perfect pattern; though he shall be for ever honoured as our deliverer from the bondage. His works contain admirable and unequalled instances of bright and beautiful diction, as well as majesty and sereneness of thought. There are several episodes in his longer works, that stand in supreme dignity without a rival; yet all that vast reverence, with which I read his Paradise Lost, cannot persuade me to be charmed with every page of it. The length of his periods, and sometimes of his parentheses, runs me out of breath: some of his numbers seem too harsh and uneasy. I could never believe, that roughness and obscurity added any thing to the true grandeur of a poem ; nor will I ever affect archaisms, exoticisms, and a quaint uncouthness of speech, in order to become perfectly Miltonian. It is my opinion, that blank verse may be written with all due elevation of thought in a modern style, without borrowing any thing from Chaucer's Tales, or running back so far as the days of Colin the Shepherd, and the reign of the Fairy Queen. The oddness of an antique sound gives but a false pleasure to the ear, and abuses the true relish, even when it works delight. There were some such judges of pocsy among the old Romans; and Martial ingeniously laughs at one of thein, that was pleased even to astonishment with obsolete words and figures;

Attonitusque legis terrai frugiferai.

So the ill-drawn postures and distortions of shape that we meet with in Chinese pictures charm a sickly fancy by their very awkwardness; so a distempered appetite will chew coals and sand, and pronounce it gustful.

In the Pindarics, I have generally conformed my lines to the shorter size of the ancients, and avoided to imitate the excessive lengths to which some modern writers have stretched their sentences, and espc

cially the concluding verse. In these the ear is the truest judge; nor was it made to be enslaved to any precise model of elder or later times.

After all, I must petition my reader to lay aside the sour and sullen air of criticism, and to assume the friend. Let him choose such copies to read at particular hours, when the temper of his mind is suited to the song. Let him come with a desire to be entertained and pleased, rather than to seek his own disgust and aversion; which will not be hard to find. I am not so vain as to think there are no faults, nor so blind as to espy none: though I hope the multitude of alterations in this second edition are not without amendment. There is so large a difference between this and the former, in the change of titles, lines, and whole poems, as well as in the various transpositions, that it would be useless and endless, and all confusion, for any reader to compare them throughout. The additions also make up half the book, and some of these have need of as many alterations as the former. Many a line needs the file to polish the roughness of it, and many a thought wants richer language to adorn and make it shine. Wide defects and equal superfluities may be found, especially in the larger pieces; but I have at present neither inclination nor leisure to correct, and I hope I never shall. It is one of the biggest satisfactions I take in giving this volume to the world, that I expect to be for ever free from the temptation of making or mending poems again. So that my friends may be perfectly secure against this impression's growing waste upon their hands, and useless, as the former has done. Let minds that are better furnished for such performances pursue these studies, if they are convinced that poesy can be made serviceable to religion and virtue. As for myself, I almost blush to think that I have read so little, and written so much. The following years of my life shall be more entirely devoted to the immediate and direct labours of my station, excepting those hours that may be employed in finishing my imitation of the Psalms of David, in Christian language, which I have now promised the world 7.

I cannot court the world to purchase this book for their pleasure or entertainment, by telling them that any one copy entirely pleases me. The best of them sinks below the idea which I form of a divine or moral ode. He that deals in the mysteries of Heaven, or of the Muses, should be a genius of no vulgar mould and as the name Vates belongs to both; so the furniture of both is comprised in that line of Horace,

cui mens divinior, atque os Magna sonaturum.

But what Juvenal spake in his age, abides true in ours: A complete poet or a prophet is such a one,

Qualem nequeo monstrare, et sentio tantùm.

Perhaps neither of these characters in perfection shall ever be seen on earth, till the seventh angel has sounded his awful trumpet; till the victory be complete over the beast and his image, when the natives of Heaven shall join in concert with prophets and saints, and sing to their golden harps "salvation, honour, and glory to him that sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever."

May 14, 1709.

6 Naturam expellas furcâ licet, usque recurret.


Will this short note of Horace excuse a man who has resisted nature many years, but has been sometimes overcome? 1736. Edition the 7th.

7 In the year 1719 these were finished and printed.

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HAST thou not seen, impatient boy!
Hast thou not read the solemn truth,
That gray experience writes for giddy youth
On every mortal joy?

Pleasure must be dash'd with pain:
And yet, with heedless haste,
The thirsty boy repeats the taste,
Nor hearkens to despair, but tries the bowl again.
The rills of pleasure never run sincere,
(Earth has no unpolluted spring)
From the curs'd soil some dangerous taint they bear;
So roses grow on thorns, and honey wears a sting.
In vain we seek a Heaven below the sky;

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KEEP silence, all created things,

And wait your Maker's nod:

The Muse stands trembling while she sings
The honours of her God.

Life, Death, and Hell, and worlds unknown

Hang on his firm decree:

He sits on no precarious throne,

Nor borrows leave to be.

Th' Almighty voice bid ancient Night
Her endless realms resign,

And lo, ten thousand globes of light
In fields of azure shine.

Now Wisdom with superior sway
Guides the vast moving frame,
While all the ranks of being pay
Deep reverence to his name.

He spake; the Sun obedient stood,
And held the falling day:

Old Jordan backward drives his flood,
And disappoints the sea.

Lord of the armies of the sky,

He marshals all the stars;
Red comets lift their banners high,
And wide proclaim his wars.

Chain'd to his throne a volume lies,
With all the fates of men,
With ev'ry angel's form and size
Drawn by th' eternal pen.

His providence unfolds the book,
And makes his counsels shine:
Each opening leaf, and every stroke,
Fulfils some deep design.

Here he exalts neglected worms
To sceptres and a crown;
Anon the following page he turns,
And treads the monarch down.

Not Gabriel asks the reason why,
Nor God the reason gives;
Nor dares the favourite-angel pry
Between the folded leaves.

My God, I never long'd to see
My fate with curious eyes,
What gloomy lines are writ for me,
Or what bright scenes shall rise.

In thy fair book of Life and Grace
May I but find my name
Recorded in some humble place,
Beneath my Lord the Lamb!


Ir grieves me, Lord, it grieves me sore,
That I have liv'd to thee no more;

What are my eyes, but aids to see
The glories of the Deity

'Inscrib'd with beams of light

On flowers and stars? Lord, I behold
The shining azure, green and gold;


But when I try to read thy name, a dimness veils my

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And wasted half my days;

My inward power shall burn and flame
With zeal and passion for thy name; [praise.
Iwould not speak, but for my God, nor move, but to his

With my melodious breath,
I'd tear away the vital chord,
A bloody victim to my Lord,

[in death.

And live without that impious string, or show my zeal


GOD is a name my soul adores,
Th' Almighty Three, th' Eternal One;
Nature and Grace, with all their powers,
Confess the Infinite Unknown.

From thy Great Self thy being springs;
Thou art thine own original,
Made up of uncreated things,
And Self-sufficience bears them all.

Thy voice produc'd the seas and spheres,
Bid the waves roar, and planets shine;
But nothing like thy Self appears,
Through all these spacious works of thine.

Still restless Nature dies and grows;
From change to change the creatures run:
Thy being no succession knows,
And all thy vast designs are one:

A glance of thine runs through the globes,
Rules the bright worlds, and moves their frame;
Broad sheets of light compose thy robes;
Thy guards are form'd of living flame.

Thrones and dominions round thee fall,
And worship in submissive forms;
Thy presence shakes this lower ball,
This little dwelling-place of worms.

How shall affrighted mortals dare
To sing thy glory or thy grace,
Beneath thy feet we lie so far,
And see but shadows of thy face?

Who can behold the blazing light?
Who can approach consuming flame?
None but thy wisdom knows thy might;
None but thy word can speak thy name.

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