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SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS.
WHEN Dryden, worn
bow'd with years,
Was doom'd (my friend, let pity warm thy tears,) The galling pang of penury to feel,
For ill-placed loyalty, and courtly zeal, To see that laurel, which his brows o'erspread, Transplanted droop on Shadwell's barren head, The Bard oppress'd, yet not subdued by fate, For very bread descended to translate:
And he, whose fancy, copious as his phrase, Could light at will expression's brightest blaze, On Fresnoy's lay employ'd his studious hour; But niggard there of that melodious power, His pen in haste the hireling task to close Transform'd the studied strain to careless prose, Which, fondly lending faith to French pretence, Mistook its meaning, or obscur'd its sense.
Yet still he pleas'd, for Dryden still must please,
Whether with artless elegance and ease
This artless elegance, this native fire Provok'd his tuneful heir * to strike the lyre, Who, proud his numbers with that prose to join, Wove an illustrious wreath for friendship's shrine.
How oft, on that fair shrine when Poets bind The flowers of song, does partial passion blind Their judgment's eye! How oft does truth disclaim
The deed, and scorn to call it genuine fame!
Mr. Pope, in his epiftle to Jervas, has these lines:
Read these instructive leaves, in which conspire