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EPISTLE TO MR. JERVAS, WITH MR. DRYDEN'S TRANSLATION OF FRESNOY'S ART OF
THIS Verse be thine, my friend, nor thou refuse
This from no venal or ungrateful Muse.
Whether thy hand strike out some free design,
Where Life awakes, and dawns at ev'ry line;
Or blend in beauteous tints the colour'd mass,
And from the canvas call the mimic face:
Read these instructive leaves, in which conspire
Fresnoy's close Art, and Dryden's native Fire:
And reading wish, like theirs, our fate and fame.
So mix'd our studies, and so join'd our name;
Like them to shine thro' long succeeding age,
So just thy skill, so regular my rage.
Smit with the love of Sister-Arts we came,
And met congenial, mingling flame with flame;
Like friendly colours found them both unite,
And each from each contract new strength and light.
How oft in pleasing tasks we wear the day,
While summer-suns roll unperceiv'd away;
How oft our slowly-growing works impart,
While Images reflect from art to art;
How oft review; each finding like a friend
Something to blame, and something to commend!
What flatt'ring scenes our wand'ring fancy wrought,
Rome's pompous glories rising to our thought!
Together o'er the Alps methinks we fly,
Fir'd 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-study'd marbles fix our eye;
A fading Fresco here demands a sigh:
Each heav'nly piece unwearied we compare,
Match Raphael's grace with thy lov'd 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 exprest
The living image in the painter's breast!
Thence endless streams of fair Ideas flow,
Strike in the sketch, or in the picture glow;
Thence Beauty, waking all her forms, supplies
An Angel's sweetness, or Bridgewater's eyes.
Muse at that Name thy sacred sorrows shed,
Those tears eternal that embalm the dead:
Call round her Tomb each object of desire,
Each purer frame inform'd with purer fire:
Bid her be all that cheers or softens life,
The tender sister, daughter, friend, and wife:
Bid her be all that makes mankind adore;
Then view this Marble, and be vain no more!
Yet still her charms in breathing paint engage;
Her modest cheek shall warm a future age.
Beauty, frail flow'r that ev'ry season fears,
Blooms in thy colours for a thousand years.
Thus Churchill's race shall other hearts surprise,
And other Beauties envy Worsley's eyes;
Each pleasing Blount shall endless smiles bestow,
And soft Belinda's blush for ever glow.
Oh, lasting as those Colours may they shine,
Free as thy stroke, yet faultless as thy line;
New graces yearly like thy works display,
Soft without weakness, without glaring gay;
Led by some rule, that guides, but not constrains;
And finish'd more thro' happiness than pains.
The kindred Arts shall in their praise conspire;
One dip the pencil, and one string the lyre.
Yet should the Graces all thy figures place,
And breathe an air divine on ev'ry face;
Yet should the Muses bid my numbers roll
Strong as their charms, and gentle as their soul;
With Zeuxis' Helen thy Bridgewater vie,
And these be sung 'till Granville's Mira die;
Alas! how little from the grave we claim!
Thou but preserv'st a Face, and I a Name.
EPISTLE TO RICHARD BOYLE, EARL OF
'TIS strange, the Miser should his Cares employ
To gain those Riches he can ne'er enjoy:
Is it less strange, the Prodigal should waste
His wealth, to purchase what he ne'er can taste?
Not for himself he sees, or hears, or eats;
Artists must choose his Pictures, Music, Meats:
He buys for Topham, Drawings and Designs,
For Pembroke, Statues, dirty Gods, and Coins;
Rare monkish Manuscripts for Hearne alone,
And Books for Mead, and Butterflies for Sloane. ***
For what has Virro painted, built, and planted?
Only to show, how many Tastes he wanted.
What brought Sir Visto's ill got wealth to waste?
Some Dæmon whisper'd, Visto! have a Taste."
Heav'n visits with a Taste the wealthy fool,
And needs no Rod but Ripley with a Rule.
See! sportive fate, to punish awkward pride,
Bids Bubo build, and sends him such a Guide:
A standing sermon, at each year's expense,
That never Coxcomb reach'd Magnificence !
You show us, Rome was glorious, not profuse,
And pompous buildings once were things of Use.
Yet shall, my Lord, your just, your noble rules
Fill half the land with Imitating-Fools;
Who random drawings from your sheets shall take,
And of one beauty many blunders make;
Load some vain Church with old Theatric state,
Turn Arcs of triumph to a garden-gate;
Reverse your Ornaments, and hang them all
On some patch'd dog-hole ek'd with ends of wall;
Then clap four slices of Pilaster on't,
That, lac'd with bits of rustic, makes a Front;
Shall call the winds thro' long arcades to roar,
Proud to catch cold at a Venetian door;
Conscious they act a true Palladian part,
And, if they starve, they starve by rules of art.
Oft have you hinted to your brother Peer
A certain truth, which many buy too dear:
Something there is more needful than Expense,
And something previous ev'n to Taste 'tis Sense:
Good Sense, which only is the gift of Heav'n,
And tho' no Science, fairly worth the seven:
A Light, which in yourself you must perceive;
Jones and Le Nôtre have it not to give.
To build, to plant, whatever you intend,
To rear the Column, or the Arch to bend,
To swell the Terrace, or to sink the Grot;
In all, let Nature never be forgot.
But treat the Goddess like a modest fair,
Nor over-dress, nor leave her wholly bare;
Let not each beauty ev'rywhere be spy'd,
Where half the skill is decently to hide.
He gains all points, who pleasingly confounds,
Surprises, varies, and conceals the Bounds.
Consult the Genius of the Place in all;
That tells the Waters or to rise, or fall;
Or helps th' ambitious Hill the heav'ns to scale,
Or scoops in circling theatres the Vale;
Calls in the Country, catches op'ning glades,
Joins willing woods, and varies shades from shades;
Now breaks, or now directs th' intending Lines;
Paints as you plant, and, as you work, designs.
Still follow Sense, of ev'ry Art the Soul,
Parts answ`ring parts shall slide into a whole,
Spontaneous beauties all around advance,
Start ev'n from Difficulty, strike from Chance;
Nature shall join you; Time shall make it grow
A Work to wonder at - perhaps a STOWE.
Without it, proud Versailles! thy glory falls;
And Nero's Terraces desert their walls:
The vast Parterres a thousand hands shall make,
Lo! COBHAM comes, and floats them with a Lake:
Or cut wide views thro' Mountains to the Plain,
You'll wish your hill or shelter'd seat again.
Ev'n in an ornament its place remark,
Nor in an Hermitage set Dr. Clarke.
Behold Villario's ten years' toil complete;
His Quincunx darkens, his Espaliers meet;
The Wood supports the Plain, the parts unite,
And strength of Shade contends with strength of Light;
A waving Glow the bloomy beds display,
Blushing in bright diversities of day,
With silver-quiv'ring rills mæander'd o'er-
Enjoy them, you! Villario can no more;
Tir'd of the scene Parterres and Fountains yield,
He finds at last he better likes a Field.
Thro' his young Woods how pleas'd Sabinus stray'd,
Or sat delighted in the thick'ning shade,
With annual joy the redd'ning shoots to greet,
Or see the stretching branches long to meet!
His Son's fine Taste an op`ner Vista loves,
Foe to the Dryads of his Father's groves;
One boundless Green, or flourish'd Carpet views,
With all the mournful family of Yews;
The thriving plants, ignoble broomsticks made,
Now sweep those Alleys they were born to shade.