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hopes of having it in my power ever to make him
It is impossible for me to come near your Lord. ship, in any kind, and not to receive some favour ; and while in appearance I am only making an acknowledgment (with the usual underhand dealing of the world) I am, at the same time, insinuating my own interest.
I cannot give your Lordship your due, without tacking a bill of my own privileges. It is true, if a man never committed a folly, he would never stand in need of a protection : but then power would have nothing to do, and goodnature no occasion to fhew itself; and where those qualities are, it is pity they should want objects to Niine upon. I must confess this is no reason why a man should do an idle thing, nor indeed any good excuse for it, when done, yet it reconciles the uses of such authority and goodness, to the necessities of our follies; and is a sort of poetical logic, which, at this time, I'would make use of, to argue your Lordship into a protection of this play. It is the first offence I have committed in this kind, or indeed, in any kind of poetry, though not the first made public; and therefore, I hope, will the more eafily be pardoned: but had it been acted, when it was first written, more might have been said in its behalf; ignorance of the town and stage would then have been excufes in a young writer, which now, almost four years experience, will scarce allow of. Yet I must declare myself fenfible of the goodnature of the town, in receiving this play fo kindly,
ith all its faults, which I must own were, for the
most part, very industriously covered by the care of the players; for I think, scarce a character but received all the advantage it would admit of, from the justness of the action.
As for the critics, my Lord, I have nothing to say to, or against, any of them of any kind; from those who make just exceptions, to those who find fault in the wrong place. I will only make this general answer in behalf of my play, (an answer which Epictetus advises every man to make for himself to his censurers) viz. That if they who find Come faults in it were as intimate with it as I am, they would find a great many more.
This is a confeffion which I needed not to have made ; but however, I can draw this use from it, to my own advantage, that I think there are no faults in it but what I do know; which, as I take it, is the first step to an amendment.
Thus I may liye in hopes (some time or other) of making the town amends; but you, my Lord, I never can, though I am ever
Your Lordship's most obedient,
c o N G R = v E.
virtue in pursuit of fame appears,
And forward shoots the growth beyond the years,
We timely court the rising hero's cause;
And on his fide, the poet wisely draws;
Bespcaking him hereafter, by applause.
The days will come, when we shall all receive
Returning interest, from what now we give;
Instructed, and supported by that praise,
And reputation, which we strive to raise.
Nature fo coy, so hardly to be woo'd,
Flies, like a mistress, but to be pursu'd.
O Congreve! boldly follow on the chace;
she looks behind, and wants thy strong embrace ;
She yields, the yields, surrenders all her charms,
Do you but force her gently to your arms :
Such acrves, such
your lines appear,
As you were made to be her ravisher.
Dryden has long extended his command,
By right divine, quite through the muses land;
Absolute lord ; and hoiding now froin none,
But great Apollo, his undoubted crown;
(That empire settled, and grown old in pow'r)
Can wish for nothing, but a succeffor :
Not to enlarge his limits, but maintain
Those provinces, which he alone could gain.
His eldest Wycherly, in wise retreat,
Thought it not worth his quiet to be great.
Loose, wand'ring Etherege, in wild pleasures tost,
And foreign int’rests, to his hopes long lost :
Poor Lee and Otway dead! Congreve appears,
The darling, and last comfort of his years :
May'st thou live long in thy great Master's smiles,
And growing under him, adorn these illes :
But when -when part of bim (be that but late)
His body yielding must submit to fate,
Leaving his deathlefs works, and thce behind,
(The natural fucceffor of his mind)
Then may'lt thou finish what he has begun;
Heir to his merit, but in fame his fon.
What thou hast done, thews all is in thy pow's ;
And to write better, only must write more.
'Tis something to be willing to commend;
But my best praise is, that I am your friend.
HE danger's great in these cenforious days,
When critics are so rife, to venture praise :
When the infectious and ill-natur'd brood
Behold, and damn the work because 'tis good;
And with a proud, ungenerous spirit, try
To pass an ostracism on poetry.
you, my friend, your worth does safely bear
Above their spleen; you have no cause for fear;
Like a well-mestled hawk, you took your flight
Quite out of reach, and almost out of fight,
As the strong sun, in a fair summer's day,
You rise, and drive the.mists and clouds away,
The owls and bats, and all the birds of prey.
Each line of yours like polith'd steel's so hard,
In beauty safe it wants no other guard :
Nature herself's beholden to your dress,
Which though still like, much fairer you express.
Some vainly striving honour to obtain,
Leave to their heirs the traffic of their brain,
Like China under ground, the ripening ware,
In a long time, perhaps grows worth our care :
But you now reap the fame, so well you've fown;
The planter tastes his fruit to ripeness grown.
As a fair orange-tree at once is seen,
Big with what's ripe, yet springing still with green;
So at one time my worthy friend appears,
With all the sap of youth, and weight of years,
Accept my pious love, as forward zeal,
Which, though it ruins me, I can't conceal :
Expos'd to censure for my weak applause,
I'm pleas'd to suffer in fo just a cause :
And though my offering may unworthy prove,
Take, as a friend, the wishes of my love.
WIT, like true gold, refin’d from all allay,
Immortal is, and never can decay;
'Tis in all times and languages the same ;
Nor can an ill translation quench the flame :
For though the form and fashion don't remain,
Th’intrinsic value still it will retain.
Then let each ied scene be writ with art ;
And judgment sweat to form the labour'd part;
Each character be just, and Nature seen;
Without th' ingredient, wit, 'tis all but phlegm :
For that's the soul, which all the mass my move,
And wake our passions into grief, or love.
But you, too bounteous, fow your wit fo thick,
We are surpriz'd, and know not where to pick:
And while with clapping, we are just to you,
Ourselves we injure, and lose something new.
What mayn't we then, great youth, of thee presage!
Whose art and wit so much transcend thy age ?
How wilt thou shine at thy meridian height,
Who, at thy rising, giv'lt so vast a light?
When Dryden dying all the world deceive,
Whom we immortal, as his works, believe ;
Thou shalt succeed, the glory of the stage,
Adorn and entertain the comic age.